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20 Secrets Disney World Employees Are Dying to Tell You

Not-So-Fresh Air

When walking around Disney World, have you ever thought about how good the food smells? It’s hard to resist the freshly baked bread or the decadent sweets. Well, it turns out it’s all an illusion. Those smells that waft around aren’t from the food.  

Disney World pumps scented air out of the hallow rocks on food adjacent roads to encourage people to come in and eat the food. It’s sad that it isn’t the baking that smells so good, but at least you know where it’s coming from now!

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Fake Screams

No doubt the Tower of Terror is scary, but screaming all the time scary? It turns out that those noises aren’t coming from people on the ride. The screams heard on the ground are a recording that’s played through speakers. 

If you listen long enough, you’ll realize the screams sound similar. Plus, at night, everyone magically stops screaming (the recording stops), so they don’t disturb the shows that are put on. We’re not saying people don’t yell, but it’s certainly not that loud. 

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Second Floor

When you walk into Disney World, you have to walk up. Have you ever thought that this was a little odd? As it turns out, the part that we visit is the second floor. The first floor is where the “underground tunnels” are. These secret tunnels transport workers all throughout the park.

It’s also how Disney transports trash around the park without hauling it near guests. Disney couldn’t actually build tunnels (due to it being situated on swampland), so they just lifted the park and put walkways underneath.  

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Getting Fired

Because Disney is obsessed with keeping the “magic,” you have to abide by strict rules when you manage to get a job there. One Redditor said they had a friend who was fired because they ate a piece of popcorn that fell on their shirt. Another was a princess who was fired because they broke their ankle.

It’s so bad that one cast member (from Reddit) claimed, “a scuba instructor I had once told me that before accepting a job as ‘water Goofy’ on a Disney cruise (Goofy that hangs out in the pool). He had to agree that, in the event that he starts drowning, he is to be carried away before lifeguards remove his costume (so as not to upset the children, of course). CPR wouldn’t be performed on scene.”

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Fixing Things Up

While walking around the park, it’s obvious that everything is meticulously maintained. There’s no graffiti, chipped paint, or any scratches. It’s almost as if the park is untouchable! The real secret is a little less magical, albeit it shows plenty of dedication. 

Workers walk around the park every single night and touch up anything that looks damaged. It’s tedious work, but Disney is very serious about not breaking the illusion. Considering how big the park is, walking it must take hours.

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Sensory Tickles

Walt Disney was very thoughtful when it came to the park. There are several little touches that are easy to miss if you’re not paying close attention. This one you notice, but it’s incredibly smart. When you pass between each world, look at the surface you’re walking on.

At the edge of the worlds, the pavement abruptly changes. Walt Disney referred to these changes as “sensory tickles.” They were put there to slightly startle guests and encourage them to look around the world to realize that their surroundings have changed.  

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Child’s Perspective

Disney World is a place for adults and children, but that experience is very different depending on your age. Cinderella’s Fountain is a perfect example of this. As an adult, you see Cinderella looking down at her animals, almost sad. She’s dressed in rags, and her face is almost hidden.

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Children see it differently. Looking up at her, she’s actually smiling, and there’s a crown sitting on her head. An adult can get the same perspective if they squat down. Walt Disney wanted all ages to enjoy the park, but he designed several areas of the park with young children in mind. 

Lightning Rods

What happens to Disney World in a storm? Turns out, everything is okay, but only due to a lot of forethought. Disney World has a scary amount of lightning rods throughout the park. All those tall buildings (some up to 199 feet, according to Disney Parks Blog) attract a lot of lightning. 

While there are obvious little lightning rods scattered throughout the park, there are some secret ones. All of the flags on Main Street double as lightning rods. Another lightning rod hidden in plain sight is the Mickey Mouse on top of Crossroads of the World at Hollywood Studios. One ear is even copper!

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Castle Sizes

The castles at Disney World are pretty tall, right? Well, not quite as tall as we think. Disney’s engineers used a trick to make the park castles look bigger than they really were. The bricks get smaller as the building gets higher, making Cinderella’s Castle and Beast’s Castle appear to be taller. 

Cinderella’s castle is only 189 feet, according to Disney Fanatic. While big, it’s only about the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Part of this is because regulations state buildings above 200 feet require red flashing lights (for planes and whatnot), but Disney thought that would break the illusion. So, everything is just under 200 feet. The Tower of Terror is the tallest building at 199 feet!

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Early Birds

We all want to get to Disney World early, but there’s more incentives than we realized. If you’re one of the first visitors at Disneyland, you can wake up Tink. Head to Tinkerbell’s Treasures and ask a cast member to “wake up Tink.” The cast members will do a little show, complete with lights and sound effects. 

Another treat for early birds is that the Disney Railroad has a secret train car called Lilly Belle, dedicated to Walt Disney’s wife. Because of its importance, only a few guests are allowed to ride it per day (those who get there first thing in the morning). Inside, you’ll find that the train car looks like a Victorian parlor with artifacts from Disney history scattered throughout.  

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Abandoned Island

If you look closely from River Country or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you may see an island in the distance. This forgotten island was known as Discovery Island. Back in the ’70s, Disney built this area to be a rainforest, complete with nearly 600 native and tropical birds. 

Unfortunately, news broke that the animals were being abused, so Discovery Island was shut down in 1999 following an investigation. According to Grunge, Disney was charged 16 state and federal accounts of bird abuse. Today, that island is completely abandoned. Any Disney employee that sets foot on Discovery Island is immediately terminated. 

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Spreading Ashes

We’ve all heard the stories about people spreading ashes of their loved ones around Disney World. According to a Redditor, who was a former cast member, it does happen from time to time. They even have a secret code to notify other staff members that someone is spreading ashes. 

If you hear “white powder alert,” then you know someone is spreading ashes around. The person doing so gets a lifetime ban from the parks, and the ashes are swept up and thrown away. If it’s on a ride, the entire ride has to be shut down and decontaminated.  

Floating Boats

Disney World has a ton of boat rides, but you may be surprised to learn that they’re not really boats. Well, at least not in the floating sense. The boats at Disney World are propelled on a track just like every other ride at the park. 

This is why some boats don’t have a captain, like the Liberty Belle. It never leaves the track, which is hidden just underneath the water. The water is dyed green and brown, so guests can’t see the track. The boats only need around 18 inches of water to operate, according to Grunge

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Cast Members Only

We’ve all heard that being a cast member sucks since you’re in 100-degree weather wearing what’s essentially a sauna suit. It isn’t all bad, however. Cast members can visit an area called Mickey’s Retreat. There, they can do all sorts of things like play basketball, baseball, and other recreational activities. 

Mickey’s Retreat also has water sports equipment and paddle boats. This recreational area and some various hidden stores (hidden throughout the park) are only for cast members and their immediate family, however. 

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Club 33

There are secret areas non-cast members can visit. One of those is the exclusive Club 33. This is a five-star restaurant hidden at the top of the stairs in New Orleans Square. It serves all sorts of stuff, and it’s very expensive. There’s a long waitlist, but if you can get an invite, it’s the only place in the park that sells alcohol. 

Club 33, however, is pretty easy to miss. It’s painted with a special shade of green called “go away green” or “no see ’em green.” This is a drab color used to hide certain areas of the park. It’s hard to see dull stuff when there are colors everywhere!

(Image via Wikipedia)

Security Everywhere

Anyone that’s visited Disney World can attest to the fact that there are security guards that wander around. Still, how do they keep everything in order when there are thousands of guests in the park at any given time?

Turns out, there’s security everywhere – and we mean everywhere. Many of the security guards wear everyday clothing to avoid being spotted. If they see someone stealing something, they don’t apprehend them immediately. They try to do it secretly as to not break the magic of the park. 

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Trash Cans

Pay attention to how many trash cans are throughout the park. There are hundreds. There are a few rumors as to how they determined how far away to put these bins. One said employees followed people around and placed bins wherever someone tossed trash. The other is much more interesting. 

A Redditor claimed, “the story goes that to figure out the best place to put these trash cans one day they opened the park up with no trash cans and gave everyone free candy. By the end of the day, they noticed where piles of trash had begun to accumulate…about 20-30 feet apart.” So, they put trash cans there and voila!  

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Surprise Shows

Sometimes, when you’re wandering around the park, there will be an unscheduled show that starts up on the street. While many people believe it’s because the park wants to provide a top-notch experience, it’s about something else (although Disney is serious about giving guests a great experience). 

The surprise shows often pop up when something is going on that Disney wants to hide or when the park is extremely crowded, the latter being the most common. These performances keep people away from the busy rides just long enough to calm everything down. There are other reasons, but this is the most common. 

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Disney Point

If you ask a cast member where something is, they may point, but they will never do so with a single finger. To steer a guest in the proper direction, they will point with two fingers. Walt Disney thought that pointing with a single finger could be misconstrued as being rude.

Pointing is rude in some countries, and Disney is a worldwide attraction. They had to figure out a way around this. Walt Disney made a rule that every cast member should point with two fingers. This has become so iconic that the point has been dubbed the “Disney Point.” 

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Real Skeletons

One of the gnarliest rumors we’ve heard is that there are real skeletons built into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. This one is partially true. Back when the ride was built in 1967, the Imagineers wanted a real experience, complete with real some real skulls and bones. 

They convinced the UCLA medical school to give them real skeletons to scatter throughout the ride. Health codes were updated, and Disney replaced those skeletons with high-quality fakes. At least, that’s what the reports say. Some believe that there are a few real bones that remain on the ride.  

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