21 CRAZY FACTS ABOUT WALT DISNEY WORLD
There's a lot more to the Happiest Place on Earth than meets the eye!
A visit to Orlando's Walt Disney World is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the memories will last forever. But for all the incredible things you'll see at the world's most visited holiday resort, there's plenty you'll miss. Some of it is even designed specifically so you'll miss it. Clever, huh? Check out these incredible facts about The Most Magical Place on Earth and if you can make it to the end without formulating a plan to go there right now, you're stronger than us.
It'd take 81 years to stay in every single room at the Walt Disney World resorts
There are plenty of Walt Disney World super fans who return year after year to experience the magic of Walt Disney World, but it's unlikely anyone will tick off every room in Disney's various resorts and hotels. There are 36,000 in total, which means you'd have to spend 81 years at Disney, staying in a different room every night to pull off the feat.
Let's be honest, few of us would mind moving in and spending our life in the carefree world of Disney, but it'd be a tough place to exist without a job...
Walt Disney World was originally intended to include a city with 20,000 inhabitants
Yep, that's right. Living at Disney World might not have been a pipe dream, after all. EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow and was dreamt up by Walt Disney as a showcase for a new way of living. He intended to open the city as a liveable vision of the future, and invite families to come and live there. Unfortunately when Walt passed away, the idea was deemed to be too ambitious, but Imagineers paid homage to his vision by incorporating the futuristic architecture and technology into what is now the EPCOT section of the park.
There's a whole world beneath your feet
When Mickey, Donald or any other cast members need a break, they can't just stroll through the park for a sandwich and a cup of coffee. That's why there's a huge network of underground tunnels that allow them to move around 'behind the scenes.'
The tunnels are colour coded so cast members know where they are, and there's a fleet of golf buggies to help them navigate the huge park. These tunnels are known as Utilidors and they're also big enough for an Ambulance to drive through in case of an emergency.
There are other tunnels, too - a hugely impressive system called an Automated Vacuum Collection (AVAC) collects all of the rubbish from the park and whooshes it along at 60mph to a processing plant, where it is crushed and sent to landfill or a recycling centre.
You're never more than 30ft from a rubbish bin
Ever noticed all that rubbish overflowing around the park? No! Of course you haven't, and that's because there are bins every 30 feet throughout Disney World. Additionally, certain products such as chewing gum aren't sold anywhere on Disney property - just one of the ways they keep the whole resort looking perfect despite the millions of visitors it attracts every year.
Every American flag you see at Walt Disney World is a FAKE
Considering how much the Americans worship their flag, it's incredible to learn that every flag you see at Disney World has been purposefully designed with a mistake.
That's right, they're all missing a stripe, or a star, and technically aren't flags at all - they're pennants.
And the reason for this is because of America's strict flag etiquette. There are national flag codes that are strictly adhered to throughout the 52 states, such as flying at half mast during a time of national mourning. But Walt Disney World is a magical place where outside issues are left at the door, and the last thing guests want is to be reminded of a national tragedy, and as these aren't American flags, they're allowed to be flown at full mast every day of the year, no matter what's happening in the real world.
Disney has a colour called Go Away Green - and it's specifically designed to make things disappear
Wherever you go in Walt Disney World, there's plenty to see, from incredible set designs to rides, characters, shops and restaurants. But there's plenty they don't want you to see, too, like doors for cast members, utility boxes and construction projects. Y'know, all that boring stuff that doesn't happen in the most Magical Place on Earth. So, they paint it Go Away Green, which is a colour that tricks your eyes into thinking it's not there.
In fact, Disney makes a habit of tricking your eyes
Go Away Green isn't the only technique Disney employ to trick your eyes - they've plenty more visual magic on show all over the resort. One of the most impressive illusions is called Forced Perspective. Take Main Street USA, for example, where the buildings are nowhere near as tall as you might think. The windows on the upper floors are progressively smaller than the windows on the lower floors, which tricks the eye into thinking they're further away than they are. The same technique is used on Cinderella's Castle, where windows, bricks and shingle get smaller towards the top of the building. And the reverse is also true - there are buildings such as the American Adventure in EPCOT, which needs to be tall enough to house the theatre inside. But buildings from that era were never higher than two stories, so the windows on the top floors are bigger than those on the lower floor, making it look smaller to the naked eye.
Disney created a world that caters for ALL of your senses
Disney knew that in order to truly transport us into another world, he'd have to bombard every one of our senses. That's why he introduced 'Smellitzers', which are spread throughout the park and emit aromas to trick your brain with their smell. They're not just air-fresheners, though - that would be much too simple. The Imagineers were concerned that pumping out smells would lead to them getting lost in the air, or mixing with other aromas and becoming contaminated.
Smellitzers propel the scent towards guests and then, just when they've had a whiff, suck the air back in using a powerful exhaust.
Disney tested over 3,000 scents before choosing the ones that are used throughout the park and they're often used when you least expect it, just to create a nostalgic feeling. Is that popcorn you can smell, or is Disney playing tricks on you?
The technology behind Smellitzers is a Disney secret, but he was a true pioneer. Back when Walt Disney World opened, smell technology was a new thing, but nowadays it's widespread - in fact, when you walk around a shopping centre, many of those smells such as fresh leather in a shoe shop, or baked bread in a sandwich shop, are being pumped through the air vents.
Mickey Mouse has around 136 outfits - which is more than Minnie Mouse
When you're expected to look your best every day, it's important to have a large wardrobe. But for Mickey Mouse it's not just about having a change of clothes in case of a spillage - he needs a different outfit for every zone he enters.
It's no secret that Disney pays close attention to the little details, and it simply wouldn't do to have scuba diving Mickey strolling through Frontierland. That's why he has so many outfits, and if you read on you'll find out the lengths Disney go to, just to make sure you're never jolted from the magic by seeing the 'wrong Mickey.'
Disney World includes 4,000 acres of 'empty' land
Rumour has it that Walt Disney was riding a rollercoaster at Disney Land in California and as he reached the top of a big dipper, he spotted the lights of a 7Eleven on the distant horizon. This was an abomination for a man who had built a park where the outside world could be forgotten. So, when plans were being drawn up for Disney World, an extra 4,000 acres were bought and now serve as eco habitats for wildlife. The result is that it there is no point in the park where it's possible to see outside of Disney World.
You won't find a structure higher than 199 feet tall inside the park
Why not? Well, it's all linked to the USA's aviation rules, which state tat buildings 200 feet or taller must have flashing lights atop them to warn planes of their presence. Walt Disney felt that flashing lights would be a distraction from the magical world he was creating, so he ordered that no structure be made higher than 199 feet.
Cinderella's Castle is more like a fortress
It might look quaint and delicate with all its intricate towers, but don't let that deceive you. Walt Disney World's incredible centre-piece is built to withstand 125mph winds - handy when you consider that Florida's weather can be a bit temperamental.
That's not the only clever trick designed to beat the local climate - there are lightning rods hidden all over the park to keep guests safe in a storm. One of these is as soon as you enter the Hollywood Studios section of the park, where you're met with a huge 'statue' of Mickey Mouse called 'Crossroads of the World'. Well, Mickey's right ear is made out of copper, so he'll heroically take the full brunt of a lightning strike. What a hero!
The Tower of Terror is 'Morocco Red' for a reason
Ever notice that the Tower of Terror, which sits in Hollywood Studios, is a similar colour to the Morocco pavilion in EPCOT? It's just another example of Disney's incredible attention to detail.
The tower is exactly that - a large tower - and that meant it was visible when you look across the Moroccan area. It would look out of place if a large, concrete slab was visible behind the low rise buildings of ancient Morocco, so the Imagineers painted the tower red, and it fits perfectly with the skyline visible from EPCOT.
Walt Disney World has more employees than every other Disney resort combined
More than 75,000 people are required to make Disney World such a magical place - that's 5,000 more than the total number of employees at Disneyland Resort in California, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghain Disney Resort.
For comparison, that's roughly the same as the population of Inverness.
It would take you 52 years to do one day of Disney World's laundry
It's no surprise that 75,000 people produce a lot of laundry, but when you consider that many cast members have various costumes and all need to be in perfect condition, that's a lot of washing.
Every single day, around 285,000lbs of clothing is sent to the Disney World Laundry. If you were to try and tackle that using a regular, household washing machine, it'd take around 52 years to get through it all.
The park attracts over 58 million visitors a year
That's a lot of people. In fact, Walt Disney World's annual visitor count is roughly the same as the population of Italy, and Magic Kingdom accounted for around 12 million of those visitors in 2021. That makes it the most popular holiday resort on the planet and Magic Kingdom the most visited amusement park by some distance.
On average, 210 pairs of sunglasses are lost every day in the park
Keep hold of your belongings, folks! Walt Disney World could open a shop to rival Sunglasses Hut with all the lost items handed in every day. At a rate of 210 pairs a day, they could have collected up to 1.7 million pairs of sunglasses since they opened in 1971, and that's not the only thing being handed in to lost property. Thousands of cameras, phones and hats are also dropped by visitors. Just think of all those once-in-a-lifetime photographs that'll never find their way back to their owners.
Walt Disney World is officially a city
You might be forgiven for thinking that Walt Disney World was in the city of Orlando, but it's actually a fully incorporated city of its own. It's part of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a special taxing district which has its own authority that has the powers and responsibility of a county government.
There are two cities within the district - Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista - all of which is owned by Disney. As such, you'll see fire, police, traffic cops and the like all with badges featuring Mickey Mouse. They're not just costumes - they're genuine departments who work for the local authority, Disney! The district does have a few full-time residents, all of whom are Disney employees.
Perhaps it's not surprising when you consider that the resort spans 27,000 acres, which is the same as TWO Manhattan islands.
The Beatles officially split up at Disney World
It's remarkable that such a happy place could be the site of an event that sent shockwaves around the world, but it's true - John Lennon was enjoying a stay at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort when he signed the documents that would seal the dissolution of the world's most famous band.
Former Presidents of the USA donate their outfits to Disney World
The Hall of Presidents features animatronics of every former leader of the USA, and meticulous attention has been paid to the little details in their costumes. Older Presidents wear suits that have been made using only materials and sewing techniques that were available at the time of their stint in power. But since Walt Disney World opened in the 70s, Presidents have donated their own suits for their models to wear, so you're looking at the real deal.
Walt Disney never got to visit his greatest creation
Despite being heavily involved in the creation of Walt Disney World, Walt Disney never got to see his vision come to life. Sadly, he died five years before it opened its doors and his brother, Roy O. Disney, oversaw the completion of the project. It was Roy who decided to call the park Walt Disney World as a tribute to his brother.
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