With all the fun stuff to do at Walt Disney World, you may not have chance to stop and appreciate the hidden details in the Parks and Resorts. Many things go unnoticed by Disney Park Guests but, once found, bring a whole new aspect to your experience at The Happiest Place on Earth.
Here’s our list of the top 8 hidden secrets at the Walt Disney World Resort.
1. The Key Under the Mat, Muppet Vision 3-D, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
When entering Muppet Vision 3-D at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, many guests rush through into the pre-show area to watch their favorite friends from Jim Henson’s imagination. However, if you were to step out of the way and wait until it is less crowded, you will see theming resembling a front office of sorts. On the counter to your right, you will find a sign that reads, “Back in 5 Minutes… key is under mat!”
And indeed, if you look below the sign, you will find a mat. Underneath that mat is a hidden key. If you have some trouble finding it, be sure to ask the Cast Member stationed at the entrance to the attraction.
2. The Well Outside Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
Another point of Disney’s Hollywood Studios that most guests miss is the theming around the outside of Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
If you are facing the entrance to the theater, before you enter the line, take a few steps to your left. You will see a fenced off area with a rope hanging deep into a hole in the ground. There is a sign near by that reads, “WARNING! DO
NOT PULL ROPE!” Notice how the “not” part has a line through it? Go ahead a give it a pull! You’ll hear a voice from down below.
3. A Gigantic Oil Rig
When attempting to build the largest artificial tree in Walt Disney World, Disney’s Imagineers needed something stronger than the usual structures of their mountains or castles. Much stronger.
In fact, Walt Disney Imagineering decided to build the epic icon of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Tree of Life, around a gigantic refitted oil rig. At a whopping 145 feet in height and a base of 50 feet around, there are about 8,000 branches and over 102,000 artificial 1-foot long leaves on the tree. There are also 325 different animals, both existing and extinct, on the Tree of Life.
Since the Florida weather can be quite troublesome for the maintenance of Disney’s structures, Walt Disney Imagineering decided to allow every single leaf to move in the wind in case of strong gusts.
4. A Lost Wedding Ring
Doom and gloom surround the backstory of the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. Depending on which version of the Haunted Mansion you ride, you may hear a different story. In Disneyland Resort Paris, formerly known as EuroDisney, you will encounter the story of a wedding in the fictional town of Thunder Mesa. The bride, daughter of the founder of Thunder Mesa and heiress to the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, is Melanie Ravenswood. But before she can marry her Fiancé, a ghostly figure lures him into the attic where he proceeds to hang himself. No one knows what happened to Melanie after that night, but they do know that they’ve heard the faint singing of a woman’s voice echoing around the town of Thunder Mesa at night.
However, if you were to believe the Eddie Murphy movie storyline… Well… Let’s not go there.
In Walt Disney World’s version of the Haunted Mansion attraction, the Bride is simply a ghost who tricks men into marriage, before killing them and taking their fortunes.
Just outside of the attraction, in the courtyard, you will find a wedding ring in the cement. The story behind it isn’t quite as fascinating. There was once a metal post in the ground to support the rope of the lines to get into the Mansion. When Disney decided to reconstruct the line, they removed this one post by sawing through it, leaving a ring in the cement. A couple of guests noticed and started the legend that the Bride threw it out of a window of the Mansion just after killing her latest victim and over time it sunk into the ground.
When Disney conducted maintenance on the attraction shortly after, they decided to remove it from the ground. However, after hearing complaints from guests trying to find the ring, they placed a new, more extravagant, ring in the ground where the old one once was.
Be sure to ask a Cast Member to point it out to you the next time you go to pay your respects.
5. Mr. Toad in the Pet Cemetery
Another neat addition to the Haunted Mansion is the Pet Cemetery section of the courtyard. Here you can find gravestones marking the burial sites of the many animals that have found themselves at the Mansion.
If you look up towards your left as you exit into the courtyard after riding, you will find the gravestone of Mr. Toad.
This is an homage to the now extinct attraction, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, that was once in operation in Fantasyland. When the Imagineers decided to replace the attraction with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, they decided to place a monument to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in the Haunted Mansion as a nod to his fans.
6. Movie Crates
Going back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there are many crates hidden around the parks. They are quite fun to come across on your travels around the old movie lot. Many of them have tributes to classic movies along with an address.
On one of them you will find the recipient being Scarlett O’Hara with an address of Tara Plantation. Another is being shipped to Rick’s American Café in Casablanca.
7. Hidden Mickey’s
Hidden Mickey’s are everywhere throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. From those in plain sight to those that you will struggle to find, you’re sure to have a lot of fun finding them. Chances are, if you’re even the slightest bit obsessed with Disney, you will have already heard of these hidden gems.
As the old legend goes: When building Epcot, the Imagineers were specifically told by upper management to keep all “Disney characters” out of the park so that the target guest, adults, would not get caught up in the “Disney” aspects of the Community of Tomorrow. Not being too keen on this idea, the Imagineers decided to place hidden references to the classic Disney characters that their guests had grown to love. Hence giving birth to the idea of, you guessed it, Hidden Mickeys!
8. Elvis Tribute
This lesser-known hidden secret of Walt Disney World can be found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. More specifically, inside the loading area of Rock ‘n’ Roller Caster Starring Aerosmith.
This hidden secrets pays its respects to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Elvis Presley!
As you approach the loading platform for the attraction, be sure to look up. You will find signs that are shaped like electric guitars. The signs tell you some safety information about the ride and at the bottom you will notice a unique “thank you vera much” message.