There are many reasons why the Disney Parks stand apart from other theme parks around the world, but one of the biggest has to be Disney’s incredible attention to detail. You can see the extra mile in the form of details just about everywhere on Disney property, from attractions to parade costumes to resorts to transportation to even the bathrooms! Personally, I love the details. They are not only appealing to the eye and fun to find, but almost always meaningful to the history of an attraction or to the story the Imagineers are trying to tell. My favorite place to look for details has to be Walt Disney World’s original park; and so for today, I’m going to zero in on just a few details that most guests miss when visiting the park. Take a look at the hidden details of the Magic Kingdom!
Please welcome Savannah Sanders to the TouringPlans blog team. Savannah’s first trip to Walt Disney World was as an infant. When she’s not traveling to the parks, Savannah teaches high school history, which explains her particular expertise in the details (historic and not) of the theme parks.
There are actually two windows on Main Street, U.S.A., that bear Walt Disney’s name. The first can be found on the train station facing the entrance. You can see it when passing through the turnstiles. The other can be found above The Plaza Restaurant, facing Cinderella Castle. This detail is special as the window tributes begins and ends with Walt!
Did you know that New Fantasyland’s Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction now occupies the space that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a former Magic Kingdom attraction that closed in 1994, once called home? Imagineers liked to leave little tributes to former attractions, and in this case, they put a weather vane of the squid from the classic film and attraction atop the building just across from Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Those who have seen Disney’s Tangled know that Maximus the horse had a fetish for red, juicy apples. Evidence of this can be found at the new Tangled themed bathrooms in Fantasyland by a sack of spilled apples just around the corner from the men’s restrooms! If you’re looking for more Maximus, just look down to see his horseshoes imprinted on the pavement.
This book can be found inside of Tortuga Tavern in Adventureland, along with a few other references to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This one is my favorite because it lists many of my favorite characters from the films, including Jack the Monkey, Cotton, and Cotton’s Parrot! It also looks like Captain Jack Sparrow did a little editing of his own too…
Sir Mickey’s is a store tucked behind Cinderella Castle and is themed after the classic Disney toon, “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” as evidenced by the giant beanstalk growing around the outside of the building! My favorite detail in Sir Mickey’s is what you find inside: the giant from the story peeking in under the roof! I guess that’s one way to get inside a crowded store, isn’t it?
Some Beauty and the Beast fans may recognize that this book was the same Belle was reading in the film’s opening number, but have you noticed the corner has been torn away? That’s because in the same number, when Belle is sitting on the fountain, a sheep from a passing flock tears off the corner and turns it into a snack! Remember?
This sculpted coat of arms is actually that of the Disney Family. You can find this special detail on both the front and back of Cinderella Castle which I think is the perfect place for it, don’t you?
Each room of the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe is meant to represent three different colonial homes as it has three different storefronts. One of the homes is meant to be that of a woodcarver, and one of the details that confirms this is the store counter with stacks of wood piled underneath it. I had walked past this counter for years and only recently discovered it. Who knew that Disney put so much thought into check-out counter? It makes me wonder what else I’ve been missing in the other stores.
Now I love the windows at the Magic Kingdom, and this one is one of my favorites! This window belongs to Castle Couture, a shop located right behind Cinderella Castle, and this book is a clever nod to the magical debate between the fairies in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty over whether Princess Aurora’s dress should be pink or blue!
Did you know that the background music played in Liberty Square was composed of only period instruments in order to be historically accurate. It’s something that few guests may notice, but it is a little detail that makes all the difference.
The Jungle Cruise is always at the top of my to-do list when I visit the Magic Kingdom, but I only recently realized that the Jungle Cruise sign appears to be made from an old rudder, as well as a paddle that has seen better days!
Imagineers almost always use the very ground under your feet to help serve the area’s story. For example, the pavement around the Magic Carpets of Aladdin in Adventureland contains bits of broken pottery and jewels, the floor of Storybook Circus’ Big Top Treats resembles the stitched canvas cover of a circus tent, and a dirty, pebbled strip of pavement in Liberty Square is meant to represent how people in colonial times handled their sewage! One of my personal favorite examples of this attention to detail can be found near the timeless Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction where peanuts have been planted into the cement!
So these are a just a few of the many details to be discovered at the Magic Kingdom. Which of these have you found? Do you have a favorite?