Fun Facts About Walt Disney World Part 2
If you missed the first part of the article check it out here! Not much needs to be said so let’s jump right back into the fun stuff! Here’s Walt Disney World Fun Facts Part 2:
In part I of the article we talked about the underground tunnels (utilidors) underneath the park where employees can easily move from one place to another using transportation like golf carts. The other big reason for the utilidors is for trash removal. It’s hard to believe how much garbage is thrown away at the parks but it’s enough for Disney to have their very own trash system that runs through these utilidors.
The system is known as AVAC (Automated Vacuum Collection system) and has 17 collection points around Magic Kingdom. Every 15 minutes, trash is sucked through tubes at up to speeds of 60 mph to a compactor located behind Splash Mountain. The trash is compressed and moved off property. If you’re ever interested in taking a tour of the utilidors and learning more about stuff like this, take Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour!
Speaking of trash, have you ever noticed how there always seems to be a trash can near you when you need it? Well, Disney himself set up the garbage system so that you’d never be more than 30 steps away from a trash can after observing the amount of time guests would hold onto pieces of garbage before dropping them on the ground. Pretty interesting study! My family likes to play a game where without looking we all guess how many trash cans are in the visible area, winner gets to choose the next ride!
The Parks in Disney World were designed in such a way that when you’re in one land you won’t be distracted from things in other nearby lands. For example, when you’re in Liberty Square you’ll notice large trees and buildings that block your view of Fantasyland. You’ll also notice small things like the music they play or objects that catch your eye like the water wheel. This helps give each land a unique and strong identity so that as a visitor you really feel the history and environment.
The Not So Secret Suite
Yes, yes, there is a “secret” suite inside the castle at Magic Kingdom. At this point most people know about the room so it’s not a huge secret anymore. The room was built for Walt Disney and his family but was unfinished at the time of his death. For a while it was used as storage and even as a workspace for phone operators. In 2007 the room was given a makeover and is now primarily used for promotional giveaways, in fact, that’s the only way to stay in the suite unless you’re a very special guest! The room has a beautiful mosaic tile floor, stain glass windows, two queen canopy beds, an antique fireplace and luxurious spa tub for relaxing.
You Must Be 200 Feet Or Below
The tallest structure in the park is Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and stands at 199-feet tall. That’s not a random number or even a secret number chosen by Disney. In order to comply with aviation laws, any structure 200-feet or taller has to have flashing lights at the top. For some reason we don’t think giant red lights flashing on top of rides really brings the Disney magic!
Epcot, The Real World of Tomorrow
When Epcot was first planned out, Walt had a very different view of what it would be compared to what it is today. Epcot stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and that’s exactly what Walt wanted it to be. The plan was to select 20,000 people to live in the city which would have shopping centers, residential properties, restaurants, and even a climate controlled environment! Unfortunately, after Disney’s death the idea was deemed unrealistic and was scrapped. I can’t help but think what that community would be like had the project moved forward. If it a loud me to get in the parks for free then I’d gladly volunteer to be a resident of tomorrow!
Keeping Up With The Times
Do you ever remember using a bathroom in Liberty Square? Of course not, because to keep the historical accuracy of the times Disney did not put in any bathrooms! What about the restaurants in Liberty Square that have them? Their bathrooms are technically located in other lands! Talk about commitment!
The Giving Tree
If you’ve ever been in Liberty Square you’ve more than likely seen the, “Liberty Oak” the pride of Liberty Square. The 100-year old oak is the largest living specimen in Magic Kingdom and the largest tree ever transplanted on the Disney World property. Over 500 trees spread across the Disney Parks started as acorns from the magnificent oak!
One of the best parts of Soarin’ Around The World and Flight of Passage (outside of the feeling of flying) is the incredible smells that the ride puts out to make you feel like you’re actually in the environment you’re seeing. The smells are not isolated to just the rides, in fact, there are specially placed vents throughout the parks that subtly influence the feel of the place as you move from one area to another. So next time you’re walking down Main Street in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, notice the lovely smell of baked goods and vanilla that are seamlessly being sprayed out!
Drinks on Disney
Instead of handing over $4 for bottle of Dasani or searching for a drinking fountain to slowly fill up your own bottle, go to any of the Customer Service locations throughout the Parks and ask for a FREE ice water! That’s right, it’s no cost at all to get some nice cold water whenever you’d like. Just remember to ask for a large cup to combat that Florida heat!
The Magic Kingdom Castle might look huge to the average visitor and that’s exactly the way it was designed. The stones near the bottom of the castle are larger than the stones at the top. This gives the illusion that the castle is a lot taller than it actually is. The same effect can also be seen on the Haunted Mansion and the Main Street buildings.
That’s right, Disney actually paints the streets that you walk on so that you’re photos will look better. Kodak did a study with Disney that showed painted streets make your pictures appear more vivid.
The Concrete Path
Speaking of streets, the concrete path running through Liberty Square is meant to reflect the sewage canals that were going through the streets at that time. Luckily, they don’t use smellitizers here…
The Oil Rig of Life
We’ve all seen the gigantic Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, but did you know it’s built from an oil rig? That’s right, Disney designers and engineers decided that an oil rig was one of the strongest structures and used a 14-story rig to build the tree. There are over 100,00 leaves on the tree that are each more than a foot long and the tree trunk is made out of concrete, not wood.
Ashes to Ashes
Some people love Disney so much that they ask for it to be their resting place when they pass on. So it’s not the strangest thing for employees to see someone trying to spread the ashes of a loved one. Oddly enough (or maybe not) the most common place to see this done is on the grounds of the Haunted Mansion ride. Park staff actually have special containment and cleanup when this occurs.
Dean has been writing and blogging for over 10 years. He specializes in Disney theme park news including updates, openings, special events and general advice for travelers. He doesn’t shy away from the good, the bad and the ugly. His previous work includes being a Cast Member at Disneyland and working as a travel agent.