Magic Kingdom Secrets
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the most popular theme park in the world. It’s packed with enough adventure, excitement, and magic to satisfy the whole family. But most guests don’t realize how many hidden experiences and quirky facts lie beneath Magic Kingdom’s surface. These Magic Kingdom secrets can bring a new perspective to Disney World vacations.
Each of Magic Kingdom’s six lands – Main Street USA, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland – is themed around a specific time and place. Disney Imagineers have designed these lands with pain-staking detail, and incorporated a host of secret, extra-magical elements into each land. To help you unlock some of these hidden facts and secret places, we have created this list of Magic Kingdom secrets.
Keys to the Kingdom Tour – Magic Kingdom Secrets
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour is a fantastic way to learn about the creation and growth of Magic Kingdom. During this 5-hour walking tour, visitors gain access to secret locations and discover little-known insights into the park. Due to the $99 per person cost and lengthy time commitment, Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour may not be practical for every guest, especially if you only have a day or two at Magic Kingdom. However, we highly recommended this tour to anyone who wants a behind-the-scenes and in-depth look at all of the hidden Magic Kingdom secrets.
The Hidden Magic Kingdom Secrets
- Magic Kingdom guests may not realize the park has a secret underground level. Beneath the bustling pavements of Magic Kingdom lies the Utilidor, a utility corridor where cast members move undetected around the park. Utilidors have costume changing rooms, break areas for Cast Members, and long hallways connecting each land inside Magic Kingdom. The Keys to the Kingdom Tour is the only way for guests to gain access this secret area.
- Considering Magic Kingdom typically sees over 50,000 visitors per day, the park remains remarkably spotless. The secret reason behind this is largely due to the efficient trash collecting system. For one, guests are never more than 30 steps away from the nearest trash can. Walt Disney determined that it would take the average person roughly 30 steps before they dropped garbage on the ground. Thus, the park’s design called for each trash can to be separated by 30 steps. Furthermore, once garbage is placed inside a trash can, small pipes shoot the trash – at 60 mph – through the Utilidors. It is then discretely collected under the Magic Kingdom.
- Walt Disney himself devised many of the Magic Kingdom secrets. He designed the Magic Kingdom so that each land was completely disguised and undistracted from the next. For example, visitors standing in Liberty Square may find it difficult to see and hear nearby Fantasyland because strategically-placed obstacles – like buildings and trees – keep it hidden. Despite the short distance between Magic Kingdom’s lands, each land feels entirely its own.
Main Street USA Secrets
- There appears to be a dozen or so American flags flying above Main Street USA, but a sharp eye will notice something peculiar about these flags. Namely, they all are missing a star or stripe! This may seem like an oversight on Disney’s part, but this is not the case. Real American flags are required to be illuminated at nighttime and taken down during inclement weather. These “fake” American flags can remain flying over Main Street USA at all times and without This allows them to serve the function they were designed for – to act as lightning rods!
- You’ll notice the windows along Main Street have names of townsfolk or advertise a business. Hidden in these names are tributes to Magic Kingdom and Disney World creators, including Walt Disney’s window above the ice cream parlor, Roy Disney’s window above Main Street Confectionery, the “Elias Disney, Contractor” window in honor of Walt’s house-building father, and former Disney President Frank Wells’ window towering above the rest (as a tribute to his love of mountain climbing).
- Keep your ears open for a telegraph message in the Main Street Railroad Station What you are listening to is the Morse code version of Walt Disney’s July 17, 1955 opening day speech at Disneyland.
- There is an antique telephone mounted on a wall inside The Main Street Chapeau. Pick up the phone to listen in on an old-fashioned mother/daughter conversation.
- If you find yourself outside of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, check out the Lady and the Tramp paw prints in the pavement. This heart-shaped imprint pays homage to the canine lovers from the classic Disney movie. Nearby, sit down on the bench next to Goofy. Don’t be startled if he starts talking to you!
- Head down Center Street and stand under the “Singing Lessons” and “School of Dance” windows. (As you walk down Main Street towards the castle, this will be a small side street on your right.) You may just hear someone practicing their vocal range or piano skills.
- Beware of the large camel statue behind the Magic Carpets of Aladdin sign. He has a habit of spitting on guests walking by!
- Each scene of the Jungle Cruise was inspired by the True-Life Adventure Film Series, a series of 14 documentaries shot between 1948 to 1960 by Walt Disney himself. The 1951 movie African Queen – starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn – also provided inspiration. Disneyland was the first Disney park to open the Jungle Cruise. Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland all have slight variations of this original Disneyland attraction.
- That muddy water in the Jungle Cruise and the Rivers of America isn’t quite as dirty as it looks. Disney uses a biodegradable dye to give the water that murky appearance.
- In the queue for the Jungle Cruise, you may hear the PA system playing “The Jungle News” on “Congo’s KBGO.” One of the song on rotation is “You’re the Top” by Cole Porter. Listen closely to the lyrics and you will hear a Mickey Mouse reference: ” You’re a melody from a symphony by Strauss / You’re a Bendel bonnet / A Shakespeare’s sonnet / You’re Mickey Mouse.”
- One of the chanting tribesman along the banks of the Jungle Cruise says, “I love disco!”
- The thatched-roof huts along the Jungle Cruise may look authentic, but Disney used metal – not straw – to construct those roofs.
- After passing the Cambodian temple on the Jungle Cruise, look for an aging wall on the left-hand side. There is a hidden Minnie Mouse profile in one of the wall’s worn-away areas.
- Two skeletons are playing chess next to the queue for Pirates of the Caribbean. They have died because the game is at a stalemate and neither one can ever win.
- It’s no coincidence that one of the pirates looks like Sid Caesar. Near the beginning of the ride, there is a scene with a few pirates locked behind bars. One of the ride’s original designers was a huge Sid Caesar fan, and decided to honor the comedian by given one of these pirates his likeness.
- One of the highlights of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction is a thrilling drop before the final stage of the ride. Many guests don’t realize that this drop was added to the ride because of a design issue. Since Pirates of the Caribbean was constructed after Magic Kingdom was already open – and the Walt Disney World Railroad was already in full operation – the new construction had to work around this pre-existing obstacle. For the Pirates of the Caribbean to pass beneath the railroad tracks, Disney had to create this drop.
- In the Frontierland Railroad Station, see if you can spot a wooden leg labeled “Smith.” This is a Mary Poppins reference: “I knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith. What’s the name of his other leg?”
- When you exit Big Thunder Mountain and face Tom Sawyer Island, look for a hidden Tinkerbell in the nearby rocks.
- Look closely at the wooden flooring in The Country Bear Jamboree. It is scuffed up with claw marks!
- In 1946, Disney produced the film Song of the South based on the Uncle Remus stories. And in 1992, Magic Kingdom opened Splash Mountain – an attraction based on the characters, stories, and songs from the film. Over the years, Disney has distanced itself from the Uncle Remus association because of its racially insensitive content. In fact, Disney has never released Song of the South on home video due to these concerns. Splash Mountain remains one of the only reminders that Disney produced this film.
- Right before Splash Mountain’s final drop, listen closely as a gopher emerges from the ceiling – upside-down – and shouts “Go FSU!” Rumor has it that a Splash Mountain Imagineer was a graduate of Florida State University (FSU).
- Be careful walking over the Frontierland bridge near Splash Mountain’s big drop. A water cannon sprays the bridge every time 3 log boats hit the bottom of the drop.
Liberty Square Secrets
- The Liberty Tree is a 135+ year old live oak tree, and was transplanted to its current location from the Eastern part of Disney property about 8 Miles away. 13 lanterns hang from its limbs, representing the 13 original colonies of America. This tree commemorates the meeting spot of the Sons of Liberty (of which Disney’s film Johnny Tremain is based).
- Disney Imagineers created Liberty Square to be as authentic as possible. Since there was no indoor plumbing in colonial times, Liberty Square was designed without bathrooms. Even the table service restaurant in Liberty Square, Liberty Tree Tavern keeps with this theme – the small bathroom is in the back and upstairs, and therefore is technically located in Fantasyland! But no need to panic! Other lands – with bathrooms – are located just a short distance away.
- In keeping with the historical details of colonial times, Imagineers incorporated a brown “stream” flowing down the middle of the streets of Liberty Square. Before indoor plumbing existed, colonists would dump their household waste into the streets, so the “stream” represents the river of waste often seen during early American times. Watch your step!
- You may notice Liberty Square’s buildings have sagging shutters. During Revolutionary War times, England ceased shipping metal to America because they were afraid the colonists would use it for ammunition. As a way around this, colonists began removing their metal shutter hinges to melt down into bullets. They replaced their metal hinges with leather ones, which caused shutters to sag. Interestingly, Disney uses metal hinges to hang their saggy shutters.
- Ask the Captain of the Liberty Square Riverboat if you can pilot the boat. With their permission, you are allowed access to the wheelhouse and granted control of the steering wheel. As a token of appreciation, these lucky guests are presented with an official Riverboat Co-Pilot License souvenir. No need to fret over your steering skills, though. The Liberty Square Riverboat is guided along by an underwater track, and the speed is controlled by an engineer stationed in the lower deck.
- Check out the chess pieces that adorn the roof of the Haunted Mansion. The architect of this attraction was famous for incorporating chess pieces into his designs. The only chess piece he left out is the knight – because it’s always (k)night inside the Haunted Mansion.
- Disney World gardeners do a masterful job of maintaining the park’s grounds. However, the landscape surrounding the Haunted Mansion appears dead and neglected. This is deliberate, because real haunted houses don’t have manicured grounds and blooming flowers.
- Listen to the music inside the Haunted Mansion. It may sound like different songs are playing in each room, but that’s not the case. “Grim Grinning Ghosts” is the only song playing – just set to different tempos, vocal arrangements, and instruments.
- The Haunted Mansion has 999 Happy Haunts and loads of hidden secrets. Look for the Hidden Mickeys in the library, on the dining room table, and outside at the iron gate (facing Liberty Square). There is also a Hidden Tinker Bell in a broken pane of glass over the coffin.
- During the ballroom scene at Haunted Mansion, the old woman sitting in the rocking chair may look familiar. That’s because she is an animatronic duplicate made from the Carousel of Progress grandmother.
- In the attic scene, there are 5 wedding portraits of one bride with 5 different grooms. Each successive portrait shows her wearing an additional string of pearls, chronicling the order of her marriages (and murders).
- Stop by the pet cemetery just before the exit gate of Haunted Mansion. One of the tombstones pays tribute to the late Mr. Toad of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride fame. The attraction – which opened in 1955 – was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1998. RIP Mr. Toad!
- The bronze Partners statue depicts Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse holding hands. Notice the Claddagh ring on Walt’s finger. Lillian Disney (Walt’s wife) purchased this ring for him during a trip to Ireland.
- There was a lot of controversy when The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh replaced Toad’s Wild Ride in 1998. To commemorate the changing of hands, Imagineers hung a framed picture of Mr. Toad handing a deed to Owl in the entrance way of Owl’s house, at the beginning of the ride.
- With 90 horses, The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is the largest carrousel in North America. But there is only one horse with a gold ribbon on its tail; that’s Cinderella’s favorite horse, the royal stallion. The royal stallion was given to Cinderella by her father as a young girl. See if you can spot it. Or better yet, ride it!
- During the finale sequence of It’s a Small World, glance over at the 3 large screens. The attraction now displays the names of riders – and personalized goodbye messages – as guests pass by. How does Disney know who is on each boat? Data from rider’s MagicBands is uploaded to the attraction’s computer system.
- When you are in Sir Mickey’s gift shop, look up towards the ceiling. See if you can spot the hidden Willie the Giant (from Disney’s Mickey and the Beanstalk) peering down at you.
- Cinderella Castle is 189 feet tall and has a total of 27 different towers. During construction, Imagineers used a “forced perspective” technique to create the illusion that the structure is taller than it really is. If you look closely, the “bricks” on Cinderella Castle get smaller the higher up they are.
- Tucked away inside Cinderella Castle is a secret “royal” suite. This suite was originally constructed as an oasis for Walt Disney and his family. These days, the royal suite is only available to a select group of special guests and lucky contest winners. It’s even off-limits to the Keys to the Kingdom Tour.
- Look for the mosaic farthest from the entrance of the Cinderella Castle walk-through. The mosaic shows two stepsisters – Anastasia and Drizella. One sister’s face is red (with rage) while the other’s is green (with envy).
- There are a few Magic Kingdom secrets behind Cinderella Castle. The first is the magical Sword in the Stone. Give the sword a pull and see if you become the next King of England! Many fail, but sometimes the most unlikely person succeeds. Nearby, look for La Fontaine de Cendrillon. Bend over the fountain and look up at the statue of Cinderella. The crown featured on the back wall sits perfectly atop Cinderella’s head!
Tomorrowland – Magic Kingdom Secrets
- There is more than meets the eye to the metal palm trees near Space Mountain. When it gets dark, the tree’s branches fold up. When the sun comes out, the branches open and the palms collect solar energy!
- The domed exterior facade of Space Mountain is quite large, so much so that Imagineers were worried its size may overshadow the magnificence of Cinderella Castle. To keep guests focused on the castle instead of the dome, Space Mountain was constructed 15 feet below the rest of Tomorrowland.
- Near the queue for Space Mountain, check out the large sign advertising “Starport 75.” This is an homage to Space Mountain’s opening year of 1975.
- The final scene of Carousel of Progress features the family celebrating Christmas. See if you can spot the Hidden Mickeys throughout the scene, including as a nutcracker on the mantle and in a painting on the dining room wall. Mickey peeking out from the presents under the tree is one of the most visible.
- The mysterious Kugel fountain – a giant black granite ball in Tomorrowland – is a perfect sphere. The ball rests in a base which has the exact same curvature as the ball. Due to the laws of physics, a thin layer of water (separating the ball from the base) allows this 6-ton ball to be easily spun by anyone, including children. It’s may seem like magic, but it’s just physics!
- Next to the Tomorrowland Speedway, there is a streetlamp with three large round lights. Twice a day – when the sun hits the right spot – the streetlamp casts a wonderful Hidden Mickey shadow.
We hope that you found some interesting Magic Kingdom secrets to explore on your Disney World vacation. For more articles like “Magic Kingdom Secrets,” feel free to browse through other Magic Guides pages for more hidden secrets, including our Best Magic Kingdom Restaurants, Disney Tips and Tricks, and Disney Travel Agents pages.
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