Fun Facts for Your Next Disney World Vacation

by on April 26, 2015 13 Comments

Filed under: Attractions, Disney Tours, In the Parks, Magic Kingdom, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL)

Castle Concept Art

Castle Concept Art

Do you crave Disney knowledge? Do you spend way too much time online scanning sites for Disney facts and secrets? Is your bookshelf crammed with Disney Imagineering books and guidebooks? If so, then we’re probably kindred spirits because I’m guilty of all the above! I absolutely love discovering new facts about my favorite place on earth that I can use or see for myself when planning my next Disney World trip. So indulge me, if you will, as I share with you some of my favorite fun facts for your next Disney World Vacation.

Did you know that…

12. Splash Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean are Neighbors? Even though the Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean is in Adventureland and Splash Mountain is in Frontierland, things looks a little different backstage than they do when you’re in the park. When backstage, which means behind the scenes, these two water attractions are located next to each other! The layout of the park from inside is a little deceptive; but since both attractions require high volumes of water, it only makes sense to have them located next door. Pretty cool, right?

Look at the Golions!

Look at the Golions!

11. There’s More Than One Beast at the Beast’s Castle? The Disney Animators used different animals to create the Beast we know from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast film. In fact, the Beast is a mixture of buffalo, lion, wolf, bear, and more! But outside of the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland, there is another beast that’s also a combo of different animals. It’s a Golion! Guarding either side of the castle doors are two stone beasts that Disney invented just for this area; and as they are a combination of both goats and lions, Imagineers decided to name them Golions! Source: Fun Facts: New Fantasyland

10. The Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion is Historically Accurate? Have you ever paid much attention to the Eiffel Tower at Epcot’s France Pavilion? If so, you may have noticed that the tower looks a little different than those photos you see of the one in France and for a really cool reason. You see, the real Eiffel Tower has changed color since it was first constructed in 1887 due to aging and weathering; but since Epcot’s France Pavilion is meant to represent France as it was in the past, the Eiffel Tower we see is beige, just like how it would’ve been in its early years. Talk about attention to detail! Still not impressed? To be even more historically accurate, Imagineers used the blueprints of the original Eiffel Tower when constructing their own.  Source: AllEars.net

Humphrey the Bear

Humphrey the Bear

9. The Bear at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is a Real Disney Character: When visiting Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort, you’re sure to see a lot of bears; but one particular bear may look a little familiar if you’re a Disney cartoon aficionado. In the totem pole outside of the Wilderness Lodge Mercantile in the lobby, you will see not only Mickey and Donald but a bear. This particular bear is named Humphrey and has appeared in several Disney cartoons over the years. Source: WildernessLodgeSite.com

8. There’s a Coded Warning at the Entrance to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon: When entering Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, look for the nautical flags overhead. They actually tell a message! Although, if more swimmers could interpret the flags, I doubt they would be so eager to run to the Surf Pool. Why? The message reads “Piranha in Pool!” Thinking about visiting Typhoon Lagoon during your next Disney World Vacation? Learn all about this topsy-turvy, tropical park in a Typhoon Lagoon Overview.

Decorate a Christmas Tree at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

Decorate a Christmas Tree at Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe

7. You Can Decorate a Christmas Tree at Liberty Square: Inside Liberty Square’s Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom, which just happens to be one of my favorite places to do a little shopping, you can usually find a small, decorated Christmas Tree with a sign bearing a family’s name. If you happen to be one of the first guests to visit Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, you just might be invited to decorate the tree for the day! If you don’t see the tree, or if it isn’t decorated when you visit, you can ask a Cast Member; however, do understand that this special opportunity may not always be offered and it’s not something that guests are entitled to.

6. Two Haunted Mansions Were Being Built at the Same Time – The Haunted Mansion at both Disneyland and Disney World were actually constructed at the same time, although they opened a few years apart; but if you’ve been to both parks, you know that they don’t look anything alike! This has to do with location. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion can be found in New Orleans Square and appropriately displays architecture from the Deep South; however, Disney World’s Haunted Mansion calls Liberty Square home, and so it has a New England, Dutch Gothic style that’s more fitting.

Survey Mickey Sticker

Survey Mickey Sticker

5. There are Different Mickey Stickers: If you have ever been to Disney World, then surely you have seen Cast Members handing out Mickey stickers to kids and even the occasional adult; but did you know that there is more than one kind? When I was at the Magic Kingdom recently, I was stopped by a Cast Member and agreed to participate in a survey. I was then ushered to the Chamber of Commerce where I answered questions about my stay and experience via computer. When I was finished, the Cast Member awarded me with a special Mickey sticker. I had never seen this particular sticker before, and so she explained that there are different Mickey stickers to collect around the park. Has anyone ever found them all?

4. Your FastPass+ Return Time Has a Grace Period: I tested this secret during my last Disney World Vacation. You see, I had a FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom, but the bus from my resort to the park was running behind and then there was heavy traffic on the way to the park. By the time I went through security, entered the park, and made it to Africa, I was almost ten minutes late. Still, I decided to enter the FastPass+ line anyway to see what would happen; and much to my surprise, the Mickey post lit up and I was accepted in! When I asked a nearby Cast Member about this, I was told that there is a grace period for guests who are also running late for their FastPass+ return times.

Charton Heston or Charlton Heston?

Charton Heston or Charlton Heston?

3. Charlton Heston Misspelled His Name: In front of the Great Movie Ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are names and handprints of celebrities, such as Alan Alda, Jim Henson, George Lucas, and even R2-D2! Another celebrity who left his mark outside of Hollywood Studios’ original centerpiece was Charlton Heston, the lead actor in The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, and Planet of the Apes. But if you look closely, you may notice that something doesn’t look right. That’s because Charlton Heston spelled his name wrong! Oops!

2. Disney World’s Splash Mountain Looks Different than Disneyland’s Splash Mountain: If you haven’t been to both parks, you probably have never noticed this; but I challenge you took look up pictures of each Splash Mountain. If you do, you will notice a slight difference regarding color. Disneyland’s Splash Mountain has more natural colors, with green grass and brown dirt; but Disney World’s Splash Mountain looks a little more orange. Why? At Disney World, Splash Mountain sits next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which has an orange, sandy color. Imagineers wanted both mountains to blend and look as if they belonged next to each other instead of contrasting.

Ode to the Tin Toy

Ode to the Tin Toy

1. Toy Story’s Original Inspiration is Inside of Toy Story Midway Mania: I don’t know about you, but I adore the Pixar Shorts. My personal favorite is La Luna! But did you know that there is a little tribute to a Pixar Short inside of Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Midway Mania? In Andy’s Room, where you’re either boarding or exiting the attraction, look for a life-size Little Golden Book nearby. The cover shows Tin Toy! Tin Toy is an adorable short about a tin toy having to contend with a baby who plays a little rough. What makes this homage even more interesting is that Tin Toy was one of the first shorts Pixar ever made and actually inspired the premise for Pixar’s Toy Story film! I love how Imagineers put this little detail in Toy Story Midway Mania, don’t you? Source: StudiosCentral.com

What do you think about these Disney World facts? Do you have any to share?

Posted on April 26, 2015

13 Responses to “Fun Facts for Your Next Disney World Vacation”

  • The grace period for FP+ is 5 minutes early and up to 15 minutes late. There was just a discussion about this by CMs on a Facebook group yesterday. 🙂 Anything later than 15 minutes, and you probably will not be let into the FP+ line.

    Tin Toy is one of our kids’ favorite Pixar cartoons, so they were very happy to have their picture taken in front of it at TSMM.

    • The grace period for the FP can depend on why you are late. We were literally stuck on Test Track for two hours when it broke down. We literally couldn’t go anywhere but forward. When we entered the ride the wait time was 12 minutes. This made us extremely late for our Soarin FP. But since they knew about the incredible delay, we were fine.

      • Oh my goodness. Yeah, I would think that in extreme circumstances they would make an exception. 😉 I can’t imagine being stuck on a ride for that long – especially with kids!

  • One of my fav’s is why the Tower Of Terror at DHS is the color you see. If you stand in just the right spot while inside Epcot, towards Morocco, the tower can be seen sticking up behind it. With both the pavilion and tower the same color, they blend into one building since they share the same shade of tan/brown.

    • Bob, thanks for sharing! I’ve heard that fact too and saw it firsthand on my last trip. Isn’t it amazing how much thought goes into these details? Thanks again!

  • I’m a little confused by the Haunted Mansion factoid. At DL, the mansion structure was built in the mid-60s, and sat for a few years before the attraction opened. During this time, WDW was still all swampland. How could the WDW mansion have been built in the mid-60s? Am I misunderstanding something?

    • by Sam Winston on April 26, 2015, at 6:54 pm EDT

      The HM DL was Somethings happened at the time to delay the HM Disney. There was the Worlds Fair that distracted the team…and Walt’s Death in ’66. It opened in 69.
      The HM WDW opened in 71. Walt had announced the “Florida Project” on the Wonderful World of Color. Construction of WDW started on 67. So their could have been overlap…But it seems a bit of stretch.. with the foundation poured on one and the paint drying on the other.

      • I believe the DL HM exterior was completed in ’64 or ’65. As a kid, it seemed like it sat there for several generations before the attraction opened, even though it was only about five years.
        Having said that, I don’t know when the actual show building was constructed – that may have been more like 67 or 68, during which WDW construction may have begun.
        Still like to know more details about where this bit of info comes from.

        • Thanks for your comments! I always enjoy hearing from others who love Disney history too and I’m happy to clarify the information for you. Just as you said, the exterior of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was completed in the early 1960s but sat empty for a number of years. When Walt passed away, the Imagineers were left to create the story themselves and were doing so around the same time Disney World was being planned and built. According to Imagineer Tony Baxter, as Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion’s interior and effects were being constructed, so was Disney World’s, with the exception of a few differences. He has also said that as a result of working on two attractions at the same time, Disney World’s Haunted Mansion was among the earliest attractions completed. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Savannah – totally picky here but WDW Haunted Mansion is not New England Dutch Gothic. It is NY Hudson River Valley Gothic. I loved finding Humphrey at WL when we had lunch at WCC over Spring Break! What a fun find and a fun article!

  • La Luna is also my favorite short! You haven’t seen any La Luna merchandise in the parks by chance? I know that Pixar sells some in their store on the studio property, but since it’s a closed studio that doesn’t help the rest of us!

    • by Savannah Sanders on May 1, 2015, at 2:23 pm EDT

      Donny, unfortunately I haven’t seen any La Luna merch at the parks. But who knows? Maybe there will be some in the future?