Walt Disney World Little Known Facts

Walt Disney World: Fun Facts Ive collected over the years about WDW

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 3, 2009 at 10:37 AM
Since we have a Disneyland fun facts going, i thought I'd add a WDW version...feel free to add your own...

While Imagineers are famous for using forced perspective to make buildings appear larger than they really are (like on Main St, where the buildings' floors get smaller as you go up), the main building of The American Adventure uses reverse forced perspective, making the dimensions larger as you go up, to make the building appear smaller than it really is...The Animatronic show requires a large building, however colonial buildings in the era being reproduced were not as large

An homage to the old Mr. Toads Wild Ride is at the exit of the Haunted Mansion...there is a J. Thaddeus Toad grave in the pet cemetary

The Great Movie Ride was originally intended to be the centerpiece of a movie-themed pavilion at Epcot, but Michael Eisner decided the idea was good enough to make the ride the centerpiece of a brand new movie-themed theme park...thus began a race with rival Universal Studios to build the first movie park in Central Florida...Disney won, opening up MGM in 1989, while USF opened in 1990...more on the Great Movie Ride, the Alien scene was once more intense and the creature came further down, but it was toned down due to guest complaints that the scene was too scary for kids

Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom is based on Monument Valley, AZ, while the ride at Disneyland is based on Bryce Canyon, UT

The tunnel under Magic Kingdom isn't Disney World's only tunnel...Epcot also has a tunnel, located under the Land pavilion, altho its only for storage and facilities, not for Cast Members to get to work

The veggies and fish in Living with the Land are served as food in the Land

Space Mountain was the first ride to debut at Disney World before coming to Disneyland

Big Al, the show-stealing AA bear in Country Bear Jamboree, is a characature of Al Bernito, a rather heavy show writer in Walt Disney Imagineering at the time

John Hench, legendary Imagineer, is also characterized in the Magic Kingdom, as a knight in one of the murals in the corridors of Cinderella's Castle

The voice of Captain Rex in Star Tours is Paul Ruebens, aka Pee Wee Herman...the Star Speeder in the ride that simulates the motion is actually an armed forces flight simulator

The animation in Turtle Talk with Crush is voice-activated, which is why Crush's voice and lip movement match

The Mr. Potato Head Animatronic in Toy Story Mania is the most advanced Disney AA to date, and has the most programmed lines for an AA ever...Don Rickles, the original voice of Mr Potato Head, recorded the dialog and a CM sits backstage choosing the prerecorded lines from a switchboard..multiple computers interact with each other to let every car aware of where every other car is on the ride, and to trigger the effects and let the targets know they are being hit

Often times a ride idea is conceptualized, and then technology comes along to support the idea, but there are also instances where technology is developed and then a ride is built around that technology...such is the case with The Seas with Nemo Friends...Imagineers discovered they were able to use the Pepper's Ghost effect (angled mirrors to create a transparent image, used to create the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion) to make animated characters from "Finding Nemo" appear as if they were swimming with the real fish of The Seas pavilion...thus Imagineers created the Seas with Nemo and Friends ride around that idea....The aquarium in The Seas is the second largest in the US at 5.7 million gallons...it is big enough to fit Spaceship Earth with enough room to spare to drive a school bus around the sphere

Expedition Everest is the first Disney ride to go backwards, the track switches are thrown by pnuematic linear actuators, a first in coaster design...the Yeti AA is the largest Animatronic ever created at 20 feet, 20,000 pounds; its claw is larger than a human head..it is powered by a 3,000 psi hydraulic thruster, and the cylinder thrust produced is greater than that of a 747 jet engine...at 199 feet, it is the tallest mountain in Florida...it is the first time WDI created a mountain range, not just a single mountain; The Yeti resides in the Forbbiden Mountain, the initial climb is Mt. Everest..the footprint of Everest is 1 acre, and including the town of Serka Zong, the entire added area is 6.4 acres...The mountain is composed of 3 different structures: the mountain, the track, and the Yeti's support

Test Track is the fastest ride Disney has ever created, averaging a top speed of 65 mph

Mission Space requires more computers than a NASA space shuttle

Pirates of the Caribbean did not open until 1973, 2 years after MK opened..originally Imagineers thought Pirates would not be popular in Florida due to its proximity to the Caribbean, but Guests demanded it, and it quickly became the most popular ride at the park

Soarin uses a simple pulley mechanism to lift riders into the air...the idea was discovered by Imagineer Mark Sumner when he found a pulley toy in his attic and played around with it

Rockin Roller Coaster was the first inverted coaster in Disney history, and the first coaster ever to have synchronized sound

There have been three different versions of Journey into Imagination to date

The Cinderella Castle Suite used to be a Reservation Call Center

Other meanings for the acronynm Epcot: Experimental Polyester Costumes of Tomorrow, Every Person Comes out Tired, and Every Paycheck Comes on Thursday

From James Rao
Posted February 3, 2009 at 8:30 PM
Great stuff, Corey. And the changes to the ALIEN segment of GMR were for the worse. I hate that they treat the Alien part like a joke now. GMR is turning into the Jungle Cruise, and I do not mean that in a good way!

And, to be true to the thread I will add a little known fact that Corey himself told us in another discussion: when Everest's Yeti is operating in B Mode (as it does most, if not all, of the time now) the CM maintenance manual for the attraction actually refers to the B Mode Yeti as Dance Club Yeti. So when you see those strobe lights flash, feel free to get your grove on as much as possible. You too can dance with the Yeti!

From Tim W
Posted February 3, 2009 at 1:24 PM
yay return of dance club yeti. haha. going along with the factoid about mr. toad, his picture is in many adventures of winnie the pooh. this is another homage to the toad in his former house.

From Raul Araoz
Posted February 3, 2009 at 1:43 PM
Great stuff Corey.

However, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril(1993) and Space Mountain(1995) in Disneyland Paris were actually the first Disney coasters with inversions. RnR was the first WDW inverted coaster.

From Nick Markham
Posted February 3, 2009 at 6:54 PM
Yay! WDW, my favorite!

Expedition Everest is 199 ft. tall, because by Florida Law, anything 200 feet or higher needs a blinking red post for air planes. Tower of Terror is the same height.

EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) was originally going to really be a future city including recreational facilities and even apartments.

Because Florida is at sea level, HAunted Mansion stretching room actually stays in same place as walls stretch up, unlike the elevator HM at Disneyland Park.

Disney originally contacted U2 for Rockin' Roller Coaster, but after they declined went to Aerosmith.

Kilaminjaro Safaris is very amazing. You are actually not right up close to the animals, and are protected by "invisable" "natural" boundries.

The food and water for the animals are hidden with this same idea.

The lake for fantasmic is actually only about a foot deep!

Because of the famous Disney utilidors, the Magic Kingdom is on the second floor!

Disney holds a water pageant every night!

The Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom is actually covering an oil rig!

More to come!...

From Eric Malone
Posted February 3, 2009 at 7:06 PM
I remember one of the acronyms for EPCOT was Experimental Polyester Costumes of Torture. Also, Every Paycheck Comes Out Tiny. Amongst other things.

From steve lee
Posted February 3, 2009 at 8:38 PM
I knew something was wrong with that GMR Aliens sequence last time I rode it. They need to let the alien come all the way down - it's the only thing that distracts from the horrific Sigourney Weaver animatronic (not a dis to the actress - that's just a really hideous looking animatronic)

From Dan Babbitt
Posted February 3, 2009 at 9:24 PM
From Nick Markham
Posted February 3, 2009 at 6:54 PM
Yay! WDW, my favorite!
Expedition Everest is 199 ft. tall, because by Florida Law, anything 200 feet or higher needs a blinking red post for air planes. Tower of Terror is the same height.

Got to make a correction to this:
Expedition Everest is 199ft 6inches
Tower of Terror is 199ft

Its a little grudge we have with that fact with that ride at the Tower!

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 4, 2009 at 12:13 AM
haha thanks for the shout-out James...I wish they would fix the Yeti already, but I dont see it happening anytime soon...the angler fish animatronic on my ride, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, as been broken for many months now...he just sits there...and Imagineers told us it will be a while until they get the parts necessary to fix it, maybe because of the economy...so the same is probably true for Mr. Yeti...I think the Imagineers made him too big and powerful and he wasnt able to hold up to that constant wear and tear

And you are right about the inverted coasters Raoul...I was being a narrow-minded American and only thinking about the domestic parks lol

A couple more:

Kiliminjaro Safaris is the largest ride in land area at WDW...it is larger than the Magic Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is the largest park, at 500+ acres...Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios could all fit comfortably within the berms of Animal Kingdom

World Showcase Lagoon is 40 acres...The maximum depth is 25 feet in the center...to walk around the World Showcase, Mexico to Canada or vice versa is 1.2 miles

There are over 60,000 cast members at Disney World, making WDW the largest single site employer in the United States (and Im proud to be one of those!)

World Showcase opened with only 9 countries in 1982....Norway and Morocco were added in 1986...this is why during Illuminations, the only countries to not light up are Norway and Morocco...they are not connected to the park's original lighting infastructure...why they haven't fixed this, I have no clue....Israel and Russia are two countries that were designed and planned but never built...the original plans for Japan called for a Mt. Fiji roller coaster in the back of the pavilion

Im sure I'll think of more and continue to add

From Gill Barclay
Posted February 4, 2009 at 9:11 AM
What fantastic facts I have loved reading them please keep them coming.

The veggies and fish in Living with the Land are served as food in the Land - is this really true - gosh!!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 4, 2009 at 9:17 AM
Here are a few more:

France is the only country without a public restroom

Morocco does not light up during Illumniations because it is considered blastphemous for it to be illumninated due to its religious nature

Morocco is the only country (besides USA of course) that built their own Pavillion

There is actually a theme to Future World with one end being more physical sciences (space, energy, car) and the plant design is very angular vs the more natural sciences (marine, mind, plants) has more rounded planters and rounded plants

O Canada Attraction actually has a facade on it. If you look from the birds eye view, its behind the pavillion.

There is a tunnel system under Innoventions, but the rest of cast members get to their area through an exterior road around the park. They go by bus!

Same thing for DHS and AK

Expedition Everest is the tallest mountain in FL

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 4, 2009 at 10:45 AM
Yep, its true Gill!

And adding on to Anthony's post about Morocco, The Tower of Terror was pained the same color as the Morocco pavilion because when looking at Morocco from across the lagoon, you can see ToT in the background, and Imagineers wanted the miranet of Morocco and the Tower to match colors when looking at them

From Dan Babbitt
Posted February 4, 2009 at 11:59 AM
Actually Anthony there is no bus transportation at either DHS or DAK.

At DAK because of the animals there cant be any buses that will harm any of the Animals. Instead they created 2 cast entrances. The first one is to the left of the entrance of the park away from actually guest though and the other on the right hidden in the trees but in guest view. The one on the left has bikes for cast to use to go where ever there destination is.

At DHS every cast member has to walk to there work place! It sucks for me and another Sunset Blv. cast member where we have to walk almost a mile to get to our spot! But unlike another park and area in WDW, DHS is still considered a "Working Studio" so we can actually cross the park in our costumes on. So I can go anywhere in my Tower costume.

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 4, 2009 at 1:34 PM
Epcot and Magic Kingdom are the only parks with Cast buses...the MK bus takes CMs from the parking lot and Disney University area to the tunnel entrance, where cast members then take the tunnels to their work location...The Epcot bus travels around the outer edges of the park, stopping at every pavilion..however, the Epcot bus is slow to go around the park and can also be unreliable, so I always just walk through the park to my work location, from Test Track (Cast Services is behind Test Track) to The Seas...Management doesn't care that we walk through the park in costume...same with DHS, and DAK, where the CMs have to walk through the swarms of people walking from the buses/parking lot to the entrance, to get to the cast entrance....it is only MK that truly cares about costumed CMs being in the wrong area, which is why they are the only park with a true tunnel system

From Nick Markham
Posted February 4, 2009 at 4:07 PM
From Dan Babbit:

Got to make a correction to this:
Expedition Everest is 199ft 6inches
Tower of Terror is 199ft

Its a little grudge we have with that fact with that ride at the Tower!


I am sorry I offended you by being off six inches!


Anthony Murphy

"Expedition Everest is the tallest mountain in FL"

Actually I have heard of a "mountain" (hill) that is over 300' tall. But technically, Expedition Everest is the tallest mountain in Florida! ;)

From Gareth H
Posted February 4, 2009 at 4:09 PM
Sorry, but I just have to add this to the last comment - "I am sorry I offended you by being off six inches!"



From Corey Romberg
Posted February 4, 2009 at 6:10 PM
Hahaha nice one Gareth!!

From Anthony Murphy
Posted February 4, 2009 at 6:22 PM
Another one that I heard that might be a mistake on here is that Space Mountain is the first attraction at MK before DL. I thought Country Bear Jamboree was the first?

Speaking of Country Bear Jamboree, it was the last attraction worked on by Disney himself.

And I will add another one....

Rockin Roller Coaster Track is an already made track by a roller coaster company. In other words, Disney did not have them make a custom designed track. Of course, the addition of the music and the theming is all Disney, but the actual track can also be found on a roller coaster in Europe (I think Denmark)

From Dan Babbitt
Posted February 4, 2009 at 9:10 PM
Dont worry Nick you didnt offend me any bit but its one of those things where guests always ask about! We cheered up when they took that stupid hand and wond (spelling?) off Spaceship Earth. We went from 3rd to 2nd after that!

Another known, or unknown, fact is that Fantasmic! entrance is actually before the Tower of Terror and not after! Believe me guest really dont know where it is! Its one of the most asked questions I get at the Tower! "Is this the way to Fantasmic?" "Wheres Fantasmic?"

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 4, 2009 at 10:03 PM
I'm sure you get a lot of people referring to it as "The Fantasia show" or "Fantastic" and a whole lot of other things lol...Ive heard so many different variations of that...as well as too many other things..like Guests saying Future Land or Tomorrow World....those always crack me up

From Joshua Counsil
Posted February 4, 2009 at 11:32 PM
Or talking about "Disney World" (referring to the Magic Kingdom) when in Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Disney's Hollywood Studios.

From Corey Romberg
Posted February 5, 2009 at 12:26 AM
Yeah! haha...whenever I get that question, which I do time to time, I tell them, "Youre in Disney World! Congratulations! You made it!"

It seems a little cruel, but its all in good fun..they deserve it..I seriously believe the finger scanners at the turnstiles of the parks suck the IQs of Guests

From Raul Araoz
Posted February 5, 2009 at 11:23 AM
It is interesting how many "well known facts" seem to be mysteries to a lot of WDW guests such as the fact that the Fastpass system is free. Perhaps you should start a thread about common WDW mistakes, Corey.

From Nick Markham
Posted February 5, 2009 at 4:24 PM
I kust remembered when watching the new It's A Small World video. In WDW, the it's a small world there features a hidden clown in a hot air balloon with a sign saying HELP! Just what you think after the first million verses of the song!

From Jason Jackson
Posted February 5, 2009 at 5:38 PM
Can I just say, I have really enjoyed this thread. I love stuff like this...and wish I had something to add, but I love going to the parks and looking for the Hidden Mickey's and now have some other things to look for!

From Gareth H
Posted February 5, 2009 at 7:10 PM
If you hear a cast member calling for a "Protein Spill" on his radio, it means someones thrown up and it needs cleaning.

All of the "Human Waste" at the parks is recycled.
Number 1's gets filtered and is used to water the plants , Number 2's are used as fertilizer at WDW's tree farms!

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