Walt Disney was all about details. No detail was too small. From the sights to the sounds, to the smells, every aspect of the guest experience is considered. Did you know there are some fun Magic Kingdom secrets Disney left for us all to overcover?
You may think you know everything there is to know about Walt Disney World and the Magic Kingdom…Until now!
Magic Kingdom General Facts
We all remember Richard Nixon’s famous line, “I am not a crook”, during his resignation speech, but did you know he actually gave this infamous speech at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World?
Nixon and Disney actually had a long history. At the time, Vice President Nixon was present at the opening of Disneyland in 1955, and then again present with Walt Disney in 1959 to dedicate the inaugural ride on the Monorail.
The first president to visit Disney was Harry S. Truman, though he didn’t visit the park until after his term since it wasn’t open yet! Both President Eisenhower and his Vice President, Richard Nixon, were present for the dedication and opening day of Disneyland. Other presidents to visit the famed Disney parks are John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Barack Obama.
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also visited Disney World, but they didn’t actually visit the parks. They just attended Disney Institute or meetings at the resorts. Party poopers.
The Magic Kingdom is actually the second floor. You may not realize it, but as you walk down Main Street USA, you are walking slightly uphill. After seeing Cast Members from the other lands walking through Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted to ensure this would not happen in his new Florida Project.
4. The Famous Utilidors
To keep the lands “authentic” and not have Cast Members from Adventureland walking through Tomorrowland, they built utilidors below the Magic Kingdom. This area is considered “backstage” and allows Cast Members to come and go under the Magic Kingdom out of sight from guests.
Fun Fact: There is even a Subway sandwich shop for employees in the utilidors!
5. Trash Facts
(The Magic Kingdom’s trash collection system can handle up to 50 tons of trash per day. This is sent through the underground Automated Vacuum Assisted Collection System (AVACS) at 60 miles per hour to a central location for processing.)
The 1964 – 1965 World’s Fair played a huge role in the creation of the Magic Kingdom. Rides like the Carousel of Progress, “it’s a small world”, and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, formerly the WEDway People Mover, were all attractions exhibited at the World’s Fair. With such a great response from the public, Disney incorporated them into the new park.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was also another exhibit at the fair, and this attraction helped to shape the Hall of Presidents attraction in Walt Disney World.
8. Disney Trains
Walt Disney had a love of trains that borderline obsession, which is why every single Disney park around the world has a train attraction in his honor. Even Disney Springs has a mini ride-on train for kids!
9. Size matters
Even though the Magic Kingdom is the most popular park in Walt Disney World, it is also the smallest park! At 107 acres, the Magic Kingdom is still significantly bigger than the 85 acre Disneyland park.
10. Massive Parking Lot
The parking lot for the Magic Kingdom is actually bigger than the park itself! At 125 acres, it is 20 acres larger than the Magic Kingdom, and can fit more than 12,000 cars!
11. For the Love of Animatronics
We know that Disney World is all about audio-animatronics. But did you know that there are over 1,000 original audio-animatronics in the Magic Kingdom?
12. Disney and the Super Bowl
After his big Super Bowl win in 1987, Phil Simms was asked, “Now that you won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next?”. It was then that it was proclaimed, “I’m going to Disney World!”.
This line has been said at every Super Bowl since (with the exception of 2005). It has also become a tradition for the winning team to actually go to Disney World and take part in a special parade down Main Street USA.
Is there anything more American than Mickey Mouse and football coming together in a parade?!
Main Street USA Facts
13. Perfect Pictures of Main Street USA
Disney partnered with Kodak for the creation of a perfect view of Cinderella Castle from Main Street. Walt planned for this to be the beacon of the park, and naturally, a hot spot for photos.
The red pavement was created special for this area. Kodak color specialists determined that the red pavement would compliment the Florida blue sky to create perfect pictures every time.
14. Famous Imagineers
Have you seen the writing on all of the windows down Main Street? You may know already that the names belong to famous Imagineers, artists, and craftsmen that helped to build the Walt Disney Company. But did you know that they are designed to be like the opening credits of the park?
Old movies used to play the credits in the beginning of the movies instead of the end. Walking into Main Street is like walking into the show with the windows being the first things you see.
15. I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag?
Walt Disney was a very patriotic man, so it’s no surprise to see all of the Americana banners and flags down Main Street. But are there really?
US Flag code requires all flags to be retired at dusk unless they are properly uplit. In addition to uplighting, flags must be able to be removed in climate weather or be brought to half-mast in times of mourning. That’s a lot of work for flags that are high on top of the buildings!
To remedy this, Disney only has ONE real American Flag. The flag on the pole in the center of Main Street is a real American flag that is presented every morning and retired at dusk. The other flags are just slightly off. They either have too many stars, too few stars, too many stripes, or too few stripes. They are so close to the real thing that unless you are looking for the mistakes, you won’t even notice. Genius!
16. An Ode to Childhood
Main Street USA was created to look like Marceline, Missouri. It’s common knowledge that this was Walt Disney’s hometown, however, he only lived there for 5 years in his youth. Walt’s father, Elias, never really found his footing in his career choices so the family moved a lot.
Those years in Marceline were considered to be Walt’s favorite of his childhood because it was a simple time in a simple town with nice simple folks. Main Street USA is designed to replicate that feeling of all American greatness during the turn of the century.
17. The “Weenie”
Walt designed the parks to always have a “weenie”. This was his term for a beacon to have people walk towards before they venture into the parks. In Magic Kingdom, the weenie is Cinderella Castle.
Why “weenie”? During initial meetings for Disneyland, he referred to dogs being led away with a weenie (hot dog), and the name just stuck!
18. Shopping and Eating
Most people in the United States walk on the right side of the street, so you’ll find food shops on the right as you enter the Magic Kingdom for those needing a breakfast treat, and retail shops on your right-hand side on the way out, perfect for that last minute souvenir!
19. Most Magical Haircut
The Harmony Barbershop is more than just an adorable storefront on Main Street USA, it is an actual, functional, barbershop! Anyone from babies getting their first haircut to adults needing a trim and cleanup can have a magical and memorable experience!
Fantasyland Disney Facts
20. Cinderella Castle
Cinderella Castle is huge! Just kidding. It’s really not! Cinderella Castle uses forced perspective to appear very tall, but is in fact, only 189 feet. That is because anything 200 ft or taller must have a flashing light according to the FAA, and a flashing light would ruin the story!
Fun Fact: That stone on the castle isn’t stone at all! Cinderella Castle is made entirely out of fiberglass.
21. Dark Past of the Cinderella Mural
That beautiful mosaic mural of the story of Cinderella inside the castle tunnel was created by artist Hanns-Joachim Scharff. This artist had a very different career before his turn to artistry. Hanns-Joachim Scharff was a famous Nazi interrogator. He was known for using humane and effective practices that kept him safe during the Nuremberg trials. In fact, the United States asked him to train them in interrogation, and the CIA still currently uses some of his methods today.
22. Tons of Water
What’s a castle without a moat? The moat around Cinderella Castle contains a whopping 3.4 million gallons of water!
23. Cinderella’s Fountain
Just off to the side behind Cinderella Castle is a fountain dedicated to the princess herself. This fountain is special because from a grown up’s perspective, we see Cinderella as she was before she married the prince, but from the height of a child, the crown that is in the painting behind the statue “sits” on her head perfectly.
All girls are princesses, after all.
24. 8 Inches to the Left
While Walt Disney was known for being a bit of a perfectionist, nothing can compare to the standards of Roy Disney for the opening of the Magic Kingdom. While conducting a walk-through just a week before opening day, Roy noticed that the carousel attraction was not fully centered behind Cinderella Castle.
Roy Disney demanded that Imagineers do everything possible to move the carousel to make it perfect. Just how much was the carousel off? Eight inches. Yup. That’s right. The carousel was moved 8 inches to the left to be made perfectly center to the castle.
Not only is the attraction itself huge, and so difficult to maneuver, but it was also bolted to the ground in many places!
25. Oldest Attraction in the Park
Speaking of the carousel, now known as Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel, did you know that it is the oldest attraction in Walt Disney World? While there were many attractions available on opening day October 1, 1971, the carousel was actually built in 1917.
After serving many years in the Northeast, the Disney Company purchased the oversized carousel and breathed new life into delighting children generation after generation.
26. Remnants of Mr. Toad
Rides and attractions come and go in the Disney Parks. Walt Disney is quoted saying that the work will never be done as long as there’s imagination, but sometimes attractions of yesterday like to leave bits of themselves behind.
What today is the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, was formerly Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Just as the ride begins you can see an image of Mr. Toad gifting the deed over to the friends of the 100 Acre Wood.
It doesn’t end there, however.
Walk by the Haunted Mansion and you will see a Pet Cemetary. At the top of the hill you will see the bronze statue of Mr. Toad. It is rumored to have a plaque that reads “Mr. Toad, sad but true, not nearly as marketable as Winnie the Pooh”.
Poor Mr. Toad!
27. Most Played Song in the World
While you may find the song annoying, “it’s a small world” is actually credited with being the most played song in the world! According to TIME Magazine, just based on the amount of times it is played during the day between the two American Disney Parks, it has been played more than 50 million times.
That’s not even counting the number of times it has played in your head rent free!
28. Haunting Dolls of “it’s a small world”
Just when you thought that the little child-like dolls in “it’s a small world” couldn’t get any creepier, we bring you this fact: The dolls need actual hair cuts every so many years.
It’s humid in Florida (duh), and the dolls’ hair is made from yarn, which stretches when warm. Every couple of years the dolls start to look a little straggly so a Cast Member is tasked with giving them a trim.
29. Wish Upon a Star in Pinocchio’s Village Haus
There’s no wrong way to make a wish in Disney World, but we like to submit ours directly to the Blue Fairy in Pinnochio’s Village Haus. On the first floor, the book is in the far right of the restaurant. Guests can fill out their names and a short wish.
Liberty Square Fun Facts
30. The Liberty Bell, Sort Of
Walking through Liberty Square you will find many tributes to American history, but did you know that the Liberty Bell presented is made from the mold of the actual Liberty Bell?
In the 1950s the Federal Government gifted each of the 50 states a replica made from the actual Liberty Bell. When Walt Disney was designing Walt Disney World, he requested the replica from Pennsylvania since they already had the original in Philadelphia.
The rest is history.
31. Liberty Tree
The giant tree in Liberty Square is an actual tree, not a fake one created by Imagineers. That is not to say that the tree is original to the area. The huge tree was found in the area that is now known as Animal Kingdom and actually moved to Liberty Square.
The tree weighed a whopping 38 tons and required special transportation to get to its home. It took experts, a team of horticulturists, steel rods, and a massive crane, but they got it done. Fifty years later and the tree is still standing strong.
32. More Than A Tree
Because the Disney Horticulture team not only moved the gigantic Liberty Tree, but also managed to keep it alive for the last 50 years, the image of the tree has remained the logo for the company’s Horticulture Team.
33. 13 Lanterns
Within the tree, there are 13 hanging lanterns. This number isn’t just what “looked right”. These 13 lanterns are hanging from the tree to represent the 13 original colonies.
34. Crooked Shutters
Do you honestly think Disney didn’t notice that some of the shutters weren’t exactly straight? Like everything else, they are that way for a reason. Back in the times of the Revolutionary War, the colonists would take all of the available medals to melt them down to make ammunition, this included the hinges to shutters. To replace the hinges, the colonists often used leather straps, which made it nearly impossible to hang the shutters straight.
35. Year 18-
Each building in Liberty Square has an address number on it. If you add “18” to the front of the address, that will tell you the year that building represents!
36. Presidential Seal
When you walk into the lobby of the Hall of Presidents you will notice a large Presidential Seal in the carpeting. This is one of only 2 carpets like this in the country. The other one is in the Oval Office in the White House. Walt Disney World had to receive permission from Congress just to have this carpet!
37. Real Museum
The Hall of Presidents is more than an animatronic attraction featuring fake presidents, it’s also a museum of stuff from real presidents! Just inside the lobby, there are display cases of items from various presidents throughout history. You can see Teddy Roosevelt’s hat, George Washington’s show buckles, or even Franklin D. Roosevelt’s radio.
Bonus: You don’t need to stay for the show to walk through the museum lobby.
38. No Bathrooms?
You may notice that in Walt Disney World you are never far from a bathroom… Unless you’re in Liberty Square. This detail is poking fun at the fact that in colonial times in America, there were no indoor bathrooms, which leads us to the next fact…
39. Brown River
Because there were no bathrooms indoors in colonial times, people would just dump their chamber pots out the window in the morning. Many towns were built around hills with the upper class living at the top of the hill and the lower class living at the bottom. Think about gravity, folks. Talk about being down in the dumps.
Imagineers bring this detail to life with the “brown river” pavement on the ground. While not exactly looking disgusting, guests who know what this is still try to avoid stepping in it.
40. Lucky 13
Have you ever been to the Magic Kingdom and noticed that the Haunted Mansion had a 13-minute wait time? This is a cheeky way that the Cast Members are saying that there is no wait. Thirteen is often considered to be unlucky, and since this is a haunted attraction, it makes sense.
41. Just How Many Ghosts are in the Haunted Mansion?
Many people wish they could go to Disney World and never leave. And many people actually try to make that happen…
It is said that at least once a day someone tries to spread ashes, as in human remains, somewhere on the ride. Please don’t do this. It is considered a health risk so the ride has to be shut down and the remains will get vacuumed up. It can also get you banned from the park!
42. Famous Hearse
The hearse in front of the Haunted Mansion was used in the John Wayne movie, “The Sons of Katie Elder”.
43. A Disney Park Must-Have
All 6 of the Disney Parks around the world have a Haunted Mansion attraction. What’s really fun is that no 2 are alike. The most similar are the ones in the United States. The inside attraction is very similar but the outsides are nothing alike.
The Haunted Mansion in Disney World is modeled after a 1880s mansion in Saratoga Springs, NY, whereas the one in Disneyland is modeled after a New Orleans mansion.
44. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Trains
Did you know that the train cars in Big Thunder Mountain have names? They are I.B. Hearty, I.M. Brave, I.M. Fearless, U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring and U.R. Courageous. Thanks for the little dose of encouragement, Disney!
45. Goofy Movie
Do you remember in A Goofy Movie when Goofy took his son Max to the Possum show that was so insanely bad? It was modeled after the Country Bear Jamboree…
46. Million Dollar Rabbit
You probably know by now that Disney has shut down Splash Mountain to create a new water ride themed after Princess and the Frog, but did you know a huge part of that refurb was because of the faulty animatronics?
Imagineers have struggled with the animatronics in Splash Mountain since it opened. There was one in particular that was often called the “million dollar rabbit” because it had to be repaired so often. In fact, we noticed that for the last 2 years, they just removed that hopping rabbit altogether!
47. For the Love of Mark Twain
Remember how we said Walt loved America? He also loved American literature. You will see many references to Mark Twain throughout the Disney parks, but in the Magic Kingdom, there is a tucked away little island known as Tom Sawyer Island. This is just a quiet place to take a boat to and adventure around in for a bit to get away from the park.
Adventureland Fun Facts
48. A Restaurant with Birds
Originally, the Enchanted Tiki Room was intended to be a restaurant filled with colorful tropical birds to allow people to feel like they were in South America. While Walt loved the idea, he was struck with the thought that you can’t have birds in a restaurant… They’ll poop!
See the next fact…
49. Disney’s First Animatronics
Still wanting to go ahead with a room of tropical birds, Imagineers created what we now know as animatronics. The birds in the tiki room are a bit of history. These feathered creatures are the robotics that started all of the animatronics in the parks, and look how far they’ve come!
50. Which Pirate Came First?
Pirates of the Caribbean is the Disney Company’s most successful live action film series to date, so oftentimes guests think that the attraction is there because of the films. False!
The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has been around since the early days of Disneyland and the movie was created because of the attraction to encourage people to love it again. Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!
51. (Not Quite an) Opening Day Attraction
Pirates of the Caribbean is not an opening day attraction in Walt Disney World. Disney thought that since the new park was going to be so close to the Caribbean and many other pirate-themed areas to visit that guests wouldn’t appreciate another pirate attraction in Orlando. Wrong. People loved the attraction that they saw on television and demanded Disney include one in Florida. Done.
52. Dirty Water?
It’s amazing how dark and dirty the water gets in the Jungle Cruise… Kidding. While the water is a dark brownish green, it’s not actually dirty at all. In fact, since the water of the Jungle Cruise area is man-made, it’s got a full filtration system built right in.
Then why the color?
Disney actually colors its waterways to make the water appear deeper. It would really kill the illusion if the guests on the Jungle Cruise knew that the water was only 1 foot deep, or if they could see the mechanical half of the hippos.
53. History of the Jungle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise attraction is famous for its bad jokes and puns, but it didn’t start off that way. Originally, the Jungle Cruise was a serious educational attraction.
One day as Walt Disney was walking through his park in California, he heard people laughing on the Jungle Cruise. Confused, he took a ride on the attraction to find that the skipper was combining bad humor and animal facts and the guests were eating it up.
Afterwards, he encouraged all Cast Members to include puns and humor into their scripts. To this day, Cast Members are encouraged to alter their scripts to include some of the best/worst dad jokes they can find.
54. Real Animals in Magic Kingdom
More about the Jungle Cruise: Originally Walt Disney wanted actual animals on the Jungle Cruise! He figured that if zoos can have animals, so could Disneyland. Roy forced him to see reason, since animals were not only really expensive, but they take up a lot of space.
Imagineers created mechanical animals for the ride and the plans of a real life educational animal tour were resurfaced to create the Kilimanjaro Safaris in Animal Kingdom.
55. Orange Bird
Orange Bird is the cute little Disney mascot that you will see around in Adventureland, and specifically Sunshine Tree Terrace. He came from the original marketing agreements between the Orange Grove growers of Florida and Disney World.
56. Tomorrowland of Yesterday
The problem of having a Tomorrowland is that tomorrow always comes and becomes yesterday. The Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom embraces this with a cheeky twist. While it is still called Tomorrowland and speaks about the future, it is actually based on the 1950s version of what people thought the future would be like.
57. Energy Storing Coconuts
Those metal palm trees aren’t just futuristic sculptures, they are the energy storage trees of the future! The back story is that the trees themselves are charging stations and the coconuts are the batteries. Trees that are missing coconuts show that the coconuts have been “harvested”
No, the trees are not real charging stations. It’s just a backstory detail.
58. EPCOT History in Tomorrowland
Before his death in 1966, Walt Disney dreamed of EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, but it didn’t come to fruition in his lifetime. If you ride on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, a transportation system seen in the original concept of EPCOT, you can actually ride through and see the original model of EPCOT approved by Walt Disney, himself!
59. First in Space
Space Mountain opened a mere 6 years after the American astronauts landed on the moon when space exploration was all the rage. What better way to dedicate the opening day of Space Mountain than with real NASA Astronauts?
60. Florida First
Many of the attractions in the Magic Kingdom were first built in Disneyland in California. That is not the case with Space Mountain! Space Mountain opened in the Magic Kingdom in 1975, and it opened 2 years later in Disneyland!
61. Largest Attraction
Now we’re not here to diss any Disney attraction, but it is funny that the literal largest attraction in the Magic Kingdom is, shall we say, it’s least exciting attraction. The Tomorrowland Speedway is a 2,000-foot track where guests go a whopping 7 miles per hour in a diesel-fueled car.
62. Scariest Attraction in WDW
Did you know that in the 90s there was an attraction in the Magic Kingdom devoted to an R rated movie? Alien Encounter was a terrifying alien attraction that scared the pants off of so many guests that it only lasted 8 years. It was replaced with a much cuter alien, Stitch.
- Over 1,000,000 – number of fireworks are used in nighttime spectaculars in the Magic Kingdom every year!
- 27,2580 – total number of acres for all of Walt Disney World
- $5 Million – total amount that the Walt Disney Company paid for the land
- 10,422 – total number of visitors on the opening day of the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971
- 26 – number of attractions the Magic Kingdom had on opening day
- 38 – number of attractions in the Magic Kingdom currently
- $400 Million – cost to build the Magic Kingdom
- 52 months – how long it took to complete the Magic Kingdom
- 8 million – tons of soil were moved to build the Magic Kingdom
- 18 months – the amount of time just to move dirt
- 450 acres – the amount of land in the “Disney bubble” around the Magic Kingdom
- $8 million – daily estimated revenue from Magic Kingdom
- $3.50 – Cost for a ticket on opening day
- 5,000 – Cast Members in 1971
- 77,000 – Cast members in 2023
- 57,000 – Daily visitors
- 21,170,000 – Annual visitors
- 300 – Number of costumes worn by Mickey Mouse in the parks
- 1.8 million – number of Disney costumes backstage
- 450,000 – the number of miles Disney’s horticulture team has to mow every year
- 100,000 – number of photos Disney PhotoPass photographers take everyday
- 250 million – number of people that have ridden “it’s a small world”
- 18 months – how long it took to build Cinderella Castle
- 600 tons – amount of steel it took to build Cinderella Castle
- 0 – Amount of stone used to build Cinderella Castle
- 500 – number of oak trees around WDW that have been grown from acorns from the Liberty Tree
- 5.2 million – boxes of popcorn sold each year
- 300,000 pounds – of popcorn sold in those boxes each year
- 600 – number of people who can fit on the ferry boat to get to the Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center
- 965,000 – gallons of water used to run Splash Mountain
- 2.382 billion – gallons of water to fill Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon
- 5,000 – number of performers each day
- 9 acres – amount of space in the utilidors under the Magic Kingdom
- 14 feet – distance utilidors are below ground
- 70,000 – bass that were stocked in Bay Lake
- 4 – Trains on the Disney World Railroad
- 360 – Guests that each train can hold
- 100,000 – max capacity of the Magic Kingdom
Let us know what your favorite Magic Kingdom fact is in the comment section below.
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.
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