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8 Best Kept Secrets at Walt Disney World

It’s no surprise that guests love to travel to Walt Disney World time and time again to enjoy the Disney Parks, Disney Resorts, Disney Springs, and water parks. While there are attractions, dining, entertainment, shopping, and other amazing experiences that keep guests coming back over and over again, even the most seasoned of guests might overlook some incredible secrets and details that bring the vacation destination to life. These subtle details and secrets often pay tribute to the history of the Disney Parks, individuals who helped to create them, Disney characters, and so much more, but they are so subtle and seamlessly worked into the details that many guests never even notice them! From hidden details to secrets that are more functional in nature, there are plenty of amazing things to notice on any Disney vacation. Here are the eight best kept secrets at Walt Disney World.

 

1. Utilidors

While hundreds of thousands of guests walk through the Magic Kingdom each and every day, very few realize that as they enter into the front courtyard of the park, the ground begins to slope upwards. That’s because the Magic Kingdom is technically located on the second floor with the Utilidors found on the first floor. These unique underground hallways were purposely designed so that Cast Members could move throughout the park and take care of daily business without being seen by guests.

2. Kilimanjaro Safaris Barriers

One of the most popular attractions in Walt Disney World is Kilimanjaro Safaris in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This massive attraction brings guests on an authentic safari experience through the forests and savannahs of Africa where wild animals such as elephants, giraffes, lions, and more roam. While the animals seem to roam freely creating the illusion of a wild habitat, there are cleverly hidden barriers and divisions between each animal’s designated areas to prevent any issues. These barriers are so subtle and well hidden that many guests will never notice them!

3. Spaceship Earth’s Drains

Central Florida is home to some notoriously rainy thunderstorms and Epcot has a clever system to collect rainwater and avoid soaking guests. Spaceship Earth’s futuristic silver triangles are as functional as they are stylish in that whenever it rains, the gaps between each triangle collect the rainwater instead of letting it run down the structure onto guests below. The collected water is then funneled through pipes into World Showcase Lagoon for a natural rerouting that keeps guests dry.

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4. Forced Perspective

A special technique is used throughout all of Walt Disney World that uses a visual illusion to trick guests into thinking that buildings and structures are larger than they appear. Forced perspective is a technique where the first floor of a structure is built to normal scale, but each floor above it is built slightly smaller than the last to give the false appearance of height. Some notable structures that this technique was used on include the buildings of Main Street, Cinderella Castle, the American Adventure, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and the Haunted Mansion.

5. Madame Leota

The Haunted Mansion is one of the most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World and is also home to some of the most intriguing secrets and hidden details. One great secret is that of Madame Leota, the floating spirit head found in the séance scene of the attraction. Madame Leota is portrayed by Imagineer Leota Toombs who was handpicked by Walt Disney as the perfect face for the character. While her appearance was perfect, Toombs’ voice was dubbed to be too sweet, so voice actress Eleanor Audley who previously portrayed Lady Tremaine was brought in to add the eerie voice to the character. Toomb’s actual voice can be heard from Little Leota near the end of the attraction, beckoning guests to hurry back and return again.

6. Cinderella’s Crown

Behind Cinderella Castle is a beautiful courtyard with a fountain and detail that many guests overlook. The fountain features a small statue of Cinderella in her raggedy clothing kneeling and is just about eye level for children. Guests who stop for a moment to enjoy the beauty of the statue should bend to a lower height and notice the mural painted behind Cinderella. When viewed from the right angle, the crown painted behind her aligns perfectly with her head, showcasing her happily ever after.

7. Andy’s Footprints

Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the most popular areas in all of Walt Disney World thanks to its immersive theming and trio of popular and entertaining attractions for guests to enjoy. While wandering through the area, guests will certainly feel as though they have shrunk to the size of toys, but most guests overlook a great secret that brings the theming to life even more. Scattered throughout the land on the pavement are Andy’s massive footprints, further showing guests that they are truly tiny like toys and immersed in Andy’s backyard.

8. Eiffel Tower

World Showcase in Epcot features eleven different pavilions that each bring a country from around the world to life. One of the most popular pavilions in the area is the France Pavilion thanks to its beautiful architecture, delicious eateries, Impressions de France show, and more. An amazing detail of the pavilion that many guests do notice is the Eiffel Tower looming in the background, making the pathways truly feel like the streets of Paris. What most guests don’t realize is that the Eiffel Tower was built using Gustav Eiffel’s original plans, just at one tenth the scale to make it appear as though the structure is full sized in the distance.

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane first visited Walt Disney World when she was two years old, and despite spending most of the trip quarantined with the chicken pox she managed to fall in love with the place. Visiting WDW every year since, she especially loves learning about the history and small details of the parks, enjoying a Lapu Lapu, and eating/drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. When she's not in Disney, Caitlin lives in New York teaching preschool and spending her time counting down the days to her next trip.