Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is celebrating its 50-year anniversary over the next 18 months. The hoopla surrounding this significant milestone is leading many Disney aficionados to reflect on the uniqueness of the family of Disney theme parks. While the most casual fan may understand some of the ins and outs of these parks, only the die-hards know the little-known facts.
Here are a few of the most interesting tidbits about the global Disney theme parks.
Differences Between Iconic CastlesRead More »
Ironically, the shortest castle is the original structure, the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. This castle is only 77 feet tall. While some people are disappointed to see its size after visiting some other parks, Disney diehards defend the Sleeping Beauty Castle, believing it is the most charming of the group.
The Disneyland Paris castle is a larger replica of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in California with its pink exterior and blue turrets. However, the Parisian version is nearly twice the height, rising 167 feet.
While the spectacular Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom in Florida may be a magical sight, this castle is engineered to be a sturdy fortress. The shell of the castle is made with fiberglass, making it an incredibly strong structure. The castle can withstand winds of up to 125 mph, a must-have feature in hurricane-prone Florida.
Original Rides Still at Disneyland
Walt Disney first opened the original Disneyland Park in 1955. While many attractions and shows have come and gone, the original rides are all still in operation today. These include Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Autopia, Mark Twain Riverboat, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, King Arthur Carrousel, and Disneyland Railroad. Although they have been refurbished over the years, the general concept remains for all of these legendary favorites.
Between the years 1955 to 1982, guests at Disneyland were required to buy separate tickets for each attraction. This differs from today’s ticket structure across the parks where guests simply purchase a comprehensive pass that allows them to access every attraction. These individual tickets were separated into five tiers known as A, B, C, D, and E. The E-ticket rides were the major rides that were the most expensive to experience. To this day, park historians and company Imagineers still refer to the major rides at each park as E-ticket attractions.
The iconic flying Dumbo ride is distinguished as being the only attraction that is at all six theme park complexes. However, each of these rides is slightly different in size and scope. The Dumbo attraction at Disney World is the only one that includes two mirror-image carousels that operate side-by-side. The Disney World Dumbo attraction also features a special play area that kids can enjoy while waiting for their turn to board a flying elephant.
Magic Kingdom Secret Underground
Do you ever wonder how all of the magic happens at the Magic Kingdom in Florida? The park is actually built up on the second level. This allows for an underground system of utility corridors, also known as utilidors. The tunnels are used by Disney cast members to support park operations, including trash removal. The costumed characters that you see scattered throughout the park also use these utilidors to magically appear in designated places without breaking the illusion of the fantasy world created in this park.
Legend has it that Walt Disney was discouraged when he saw a costumed cowboy walking through Tomorrowland at Disneyland to reach Frontierland. He thought that the cowboy looked out of place in the futuristic setting of Tomorrowland. As such, he designed the future Magic Kingdom to be built up a level so that the corridors could be placed underneath the part of the park that guests visit.
While the tunnel system was originally built for the Magic Kingdom, a smaller system is also in place in the Future World section of Epcot.
Epcot’s Original Purpose
When Walt Disney designed Epcot, it was with the intention of it becoming a real community with residents enjoying a utopian existence. First known as the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, the area was going to be more than just a theme park. The plan encompassed a fully functioning futuristic society all housed inside a dome. Up to 20,000 people would be selected to live in this utopian society. However, Walt Disney passed away shortly into the planning process and the plans for the community were dropped.
Hong Kong Disneyland All About the Feng-Shui
It is no surprise to learn that the Imagineers of Hong Kong Disneyland consulted with experts in the technique of feng-shui when designing this Chinese park. This ancient practice strives to create spaces using the concept of achieving balance with the natural world. As such, Hong Kong Disneyland is dedicated to achieving a perfect sense of harmony throughout every corner of the park.
Now you can impress your Disney friends with this long list of some of the most secretive facts about this magical collection of theme parks.