The magic of Disney has been available for people to experience in real life since 1995, when the first Disneyland Park opened in Anaheim, California. Since then, Disney Parks have opened all over the world — most recently in Shanghai just last year — and each one is as magical as the next.
When visiting the original Disneyland in California, you may find yourself crossing paths with a feline friend. No need to call animal control, however — the cats are very much intentionally enjoying the park along with you. The story goes that when Walt Disney finally decided that there should be a visitor attraction inside Sleeping Beauty Castle, he and the Disney Imagineers found the place overrun by feral cats. At first, they decided to adopt them all out to Disney Cast Members… until they realized the park itself was overrun by rodents. Realizing there were still some feral cats roaming about taking advantage of the free buffet, Disney decided to have the cats rounded up, spayed or neutered, and then released back into the park for rodent control purposes. Cast Members keep the cats up to date on their vaccinations, ensure that they receive any medical attention when needed, and feed them in addition to the prey that they manage to catch. Just don’t tell Mickey!
Much like in Singapore, you won’t be able to find a pack of gum in a Disney park, as it is a banned substance. Imagine how unmagical it would be to find gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe or on the side of your “It’s a Small World” boat! Instead, there are plenty of nice and healthy items for you to snack on while you’re there!
To get that charming clip-clop sound totally amplified, the horses that go down Main Street in Disney parks have a special polyurethane coating on their horseshoes. This is supposed to make the sound louder and quite cinematic, and it’s the perfect background noise to your Disney Christmas vacation.
The different color walkways in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom aren’t exactly meant to just differ depending on which part of the park you’re in. They actually subconsciously guide you in certain directions, and even keep you from stumbling as you follow them at night.
Just to make sure there’s magic on your mind at even the subconscious levels, Disney parks have silhouettes of Mickey Mouse’s profile all over the place. This usually takes the form of three circles that are supposed to resemble Mickey’s head and ears, known as the “Classic Mickey.” This will sometimes be painted or made up of objects, and sometimes there are even characters wearing the Mickey Mouse ears in a painting or mural. These hidden Mickeys can range from extremely obvious to impressively subtle… so keep your eyes peeled!
It’s not just your ears that the Disney Imagineers made sure to captivate. Machines giving off specific aromas in certain areas of the parks or on certain attractions — known as “smellitizers” — make sure your nose feels like it’s living inside a Disney movie too! Walk down Main Street in any of the Disney parks around the world, and chances are you’ll smell vanilla and the scent of baking cookies. If you’re standing in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the smell of the salty sea will pervade the air, while there’s a honey scent on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and burning lumber on “Spaceship Earth” where you see a depiction of the fall of Rome.
Walt Disney wanted to know just how long a park patron would go with trash in their hand before just letting it drop to the ground. So he sat on a bench and watched the visitors of his park, counting the steps of those looking for a place to throw out their garbage. He counted 30 steps on average, and that is still the distance between each trash can in Disney, further ensuring a clean experience. There are many rules at Disney, but no littering is one of the easiest ones to follow!
Of course, even with trash cans every 30 feet, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom still has a lot of people, which means a lot of trash. As a result, the park has a specially patented Automated Vacuum Assisted Collection system with access points all over the park. These access points collect trash, which is then sucked into tubes at 60 mph through “utilidors” and to a central dumping point behind Splash Mountain. It is then processed and much of it recycled.
The same utilidors, or utility corridors, have many other uses in addition to waste disposal, particularly at Disney World. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the biggest of the Disney Parks, and its utilidor system in particular is used by Cast Members to get from one of Magic Kingdom’s six lands to another without being seen, particularly when they are not in costume. You can even get an up-close look at them in Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, as long as you don’t harass any of the characters that you see. But be warned: Seeing Goofy without his head just might ruin the magic for you.
One of the most familiar sounds at any amusement park is the overhead screaming often heard when walking past a thrilling ride. This is no different at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, when you’re walking by or waiting in line for the one of Disney’s bucket list attractions, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. However, the screaming you hear supposedly coming from Tower of Terror might not actually be the screams of those on the rides. If you listen closely, you’ll find that the screams sound a little too identical each go around. That’s because what you’re actually hearing is a recording from speakers strategically placed on the walkways near the ride.
Disney actually did a study in conjunction with Kodak that found that concrete which was colored the same as its surroundings led to more vibrant photos. This is because of how the light reflects off the concrete. So this small detail isn’t just so that everything in one area looks the same color; it’s so that your photos are that much more Instagrammable for your friends back home!