It’s hard to imagine there are many secrets left at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
The park has been among the most visited places in the world for more than 50 years. Is there any place that has been more poured over than Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
However, it seems there’s always something there to surprise me. It helps that the nature of theme parks is change. For example, each year something is remodeled or something new is added.
I’m sure there are surprises on Tron that haven’t been located yet. And when Tiana’s Bayou Adventure opens in place of the old Splash Mountain, there will likely be more secrets to be found.
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What are the secrets of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom?
I’ve compiled some of my favorites. Are they all secrets? It certainly depends on your point of view and how avid a Disney fan you are. After all, one man’s secret is another man’s factoid.
So, with that said, here are 30 secrets, facts or pieces of trivia about the Magic Kingdom.
30. Cinderella Castle’s height
The castle was built to be precisely 189 feet tall because Walt Disney didn’t want to have to put a flashing red beacon to warn aircraft of its presence.
Still, Walt wanted his castle to at least seem taller, so Imagineers designed it using forced perspective, an optical illusion by making the castle’s scale gradually taller as it ascends. This results in the illusion of more height.
29. Pirates of the Caribbean chess
In addition to the real human bones used in the attraction, another pirate secret involves the chess set located between a pair of pirate skeletons.
The idea was that the two were locked in a stalemate and passed away at their posts, neither having bested the other.
28. Official American flag in the Magic Kingdom
The only real American flag is the one on the flagpole at the top of Main Street USA.
The rest of the “American flags” don’t have the correct number of stars or stripes, so they don’t have to be lit at night or follow other flag protocols.
27. Haunted Mansion hidden gems
There are a lot of hidden gems and Easter eggs in the Haunted Mansion attraction. But my favorite?
Look for an homage to Mr. Toad – and his long-lost Wild Ride attraction – in the graveyard near the exit.
26. The hidden Mickeys
Imagineers have a little game with everything they build. The most frequent? It’s surely the hidden Mickeys. For example, it might be a large circle with two smaller circle ears – built into the architecture. Hidden Mickeys could be in the floral designs and really anywhere you might look.
For some guests, the hunt for hidden Mickeys is as much a part of the fun as the attractions. There are also hidden Donalds and Tinker Bells and other characters, but they are much less frequently found.
25. The Magic Kingdom’s second floor
As you enter the Magic Kingdom, you go up an incline. Is that because Walt Disney built his fantasy world on top of a hill? Nope. It’s because the Magic Kingdom is on the second floor.
When Walt had the Kingdom built, he first oversaw the construction of a first level of offices and tunnels that allowed cast members to get around the park out of sight of the guests.
For instance, trash is taken out of the park through this system so guests don’t have to see a lot of garbage being pushed around the park. It’s also useful for stocking various souvenirs and food stands.
24. Names on Main Street USA windows
Names on windows are like a Disney Hall of Fame – they have an actual one of these called Disney Legends in California.
In the Magic Kingdom, windows along Main Street USA celebrate people who were integral to Disney history or to the Magic Kingdom itself.
23. There’s only one Mickey Mouse at a time
Mickey is all over the Magic Kingdom but never in the same place as once. Disney doesn’t want to spoil the magic by having the chief Mouse spotted in two places at once. So if Mickey is in a show or parade, he won’t be available at his meet and greet downtown.
22. Mr. Toad in Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
The Winnie-the-Pooh ride now resides in the spot formerly occupied by Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It’s a no-brainer for Disney as Pooh is one of the most recognizable characters in the world and Mr. Toad isn’t. I do miss the ride, however.
Now, there’s an homage to Mr. Toad in the scene at Owl’s House. On the wall is a picture of Mr. Toad presenting Owl with the deed to the site.
21. Haircut Harmony Barber Shop
You might assume, of course, that the barber shop on Main Street is just a design feature to give it a real hometown feel. But you’d be wrong. There is a fully functioning barber shop in there and you can get your haircut in the Magic Kingdom.
It’s a popular site for parents to bring their kids for their first haircut. With this in mind, reservations are best, as it stays quite busy.
20. The Liberty Bell in Liberty Square
The bell was reportedly made using the same mold as the actual Liberty Bell. Having a patriotic tribute to colonial times was important to Walt Disney, and in subsequent decades they lived up to that idea.
The bell was cast in Annecy-le Vieux, France by Paccard Fonderie and made it to Liberty Square in time for the Fourth of July 1989.
19. Pawprints at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
It’s not much of a secret that Tony’s is based on the restaurant from “Lady & The Tramp” where the two canine heroes share a spaghetti meal.
But did you know at the front of the restaurant you can find a pair of paw prints from the famous couple placed inside of a heart?
18. Club 33
Did you know that Club 33 is an exclusive – members-only – dining club? It opened in 1967 and offers “tailored experiences” to members. In fact, the only way to get in is to be a member or the guest of a member.
In the Magic Kingdom, Club 33 is in the Captain’s Quarter building at the entrance to Adventureland. To express interest in Club 33 Membership at the Walt Disney World Resort, you can reach out via email at Club33@WaltDisneyWorld.com.
17. Secret bathrooms
Are there secret bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom? No. Are there frequently overlooked bathrooms? Yes.
For example, Tomorrowland Terrace bathrooms are somewhat underutilized as many park guests don’t realize they’re there.
Also, the bathrooms in Storybook Circus behind Casey Jr. in the brick building are also frequently overlooked.
16. Dad jokes at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Disney Imagineers are not above a good pun. In fact, the train names for the ride vehicles on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad include names like U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring, U.R. Courageous, I.M. Brave, I.B. Hearty and I.M. Fearless.
Also, watch the signs in the queue for more groaners like the proprietor of the Big Thunder Mountain Company Store. His name is Costas A. Lott.
15. Carousel of Progress music
The opening song that plays at the Carousel of Progress was written by Disney royalty, The Sherman Brothers.
Richard and Robert Sherman were songwriting brothers following in their father’s footsteps when they caught Walt Disney’s ear.
The brothers were among Walt’s favorite employees and also wrote many of the Disney classic songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “I Wanna Be Like You,” “Feed the Birds” and “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” the song for this ride that debuted at the 1964-65 World’s Fair.
14. Prince Charming’s Carousel
Fantasyland’s centerpiece, Prince Charming’s Carousel has a variety of pretty horses for guests to ride.
But one, in particular, is a tribute to the princess who rules over the land, Cinderella. Do you want to ride in regal style? Look for the horse with the golden ribbon tied to its tail.
13. The secret of the queue
This one isn’t infallible, but those standby queues wait times? They’re frequently slightly inflated.
It’s better in Disney’s minds for guests to be pleasantly surprised by a shorter-than-expected wait time than frustrated with a longer-than-expected wait time.
12. A tiny hidden Mickey charm
The Adventureland Charm – located between the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Agrabah Bazaar – is one of the park’s true hidden gems.
There’s a pole supporting the bazaar with a purple ball on the base. Out on the sidewalk, embedded in the concrete, is a tiny metal charm with a hidden Mickey on it.
It gets bonus points because people walking by will think you’re nuts or have lost your contact or something.
11. The Cinderella fountain
Located just to the left as you exit Cinderella’s Castle, you’ll see the only statue dedicated to Cinderella in the kingdom. How is this statue – located in plain view in a very popular section of the park – a secret?
Well, many people overlook it because their attention is drawn to Fantasyland, but really – if you stand in the right spot – there’s a crown in the background that will look like it’s sitting on her head, foretelling her royal future.
10. Hidden Steamboat Willie
As you’re exiting Journey of the Little Mermaid, there’s a tribute to Steamboat Willie – the precursor to Mickey – at the wheel of his steamship.
If I’m being honest, I can’t pick it up in real life, but when people color it in on the web, I can kind of see it. This one is a little like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of Oz thing. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or a happy accident, but it’s sort of there if you want to see it.
9. Liberty Square washrooms
There are no public bathrooms in Liberty Square. Apparently, public restrooms were not a thing in colonial times.
If you have to go, you’ll have to go to the boundaries of the land where several restrooms await or dine in one of the restaurants there.
8. Rapunzel’s disrespect
While there are many tributes to Disney princesses all over the Magic Kingdom – only one princess has the dubious honor of her tribute in a restroom.
Rapunzel’s tower – located between Small World and Haunted Mansion – is an excellently themed public restroom and that’s all.
There’s no attraction. No shop, show or restaurant. Just water closets.
7. Liberty Square’s live oak tree
At 175 years old, the tree at the heart of Liberty Square is nearly old enough to remember Colonial Times.
But it didn’t start its life there. Imagineers wanted the impressive tree – which in the early days of the Magic Kingdom was over 60 feet tall and weighed 35ish tons – as their centerpiece or tribute to the original Liberty Tree, an elm in Boston.
But it was growing on Disney property nearly seven miles away from where it stands today.
A Disney Imagineer named Bill Evans developed a technique to move a massive tree while keeping it alive that horrified the Florida horticulturalists. But ultimately, it proved successful.
6. The Small World wishing well
As you board the Small World ride vehicle, you’ll notice that guests have turned the ride into a wishing well of sorts.
At any rate, the coins are collected periodically and donated to children’s charities in Central Florida.
5. A familiar voice
The narrator for the Carousel of Progress may sound familiar. It’s Jean Shepherd who narrated the classic “Christmas Story” which now plays for 24 hours every Christmas on TBS.
He also wrote “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash” based on his life growing up in Northern Indiana.
4. Party line all the time
When I was a kid in the 1980s, my cousins still had a party line on their telephone. That meant it was a shared line and if you picked up the receiver you might hear your neighbors talking.
It also meant you had to keep an ear out for a subtle click indicating a busy-body neighbor was eavesdropping on the line.
Well, in Disney you can also be a busybody! Go to the antique phone in the Main Street Chapeau Hat Shop. Then, pick it up and you can listen in as the inhabitants of Main Street chatter away.
3. Stay like a royal
Inside Cinderella’s castle is a royal suite with a bathroom fit for a king. It’s not available to rent. If you want to stay there, you’ll have to win a contest.
2. Wide open spaces
One of the appeals of the Central Florida location for Walt was the space he couldn’t acquire in California.
In fact, you could just about fit Disneyland inside the Magic Kingdom parking lot and still have room to park a few hundred cars.
1. Secrets of the S.E.A.
In the Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen restaurant, there’s a secret dining room that once served as host for the gatherings of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers – aka S.E.A.
Specifically, head down the hallway lined with bookcases, and behind them is the secret passageway to the dining room.
Do you also have Magic Kingdom secrets to share? If so, let us know in the comments!