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Disney Theme Park Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Definitely Didn’t Know About

Disney Theme Park Behind-The-Scenes Secrets You Definitely Didn’t Know About January 8, 2018

Disney parks and resorts have been keeping families around the world entertained for more than 60 years. And you may think you know everything there is to know about Disneyland. But think again. Because 60 years is plenty of time for the popular parks to accrue more secrets than the Evil Queen or Maleficent combined. So here are some Disney theme park secrets that will undoubtedly make your jaw hit the ground.

Disney Can Be Creepy

Twitter / BackDoorDisney

Workers must freak out after the park closes, because the music keeps on playing. That's right, the background music you hear around the parks keeps going after every guest has left. If that wasn't creepy enough, guests who misbehave get taken into the underground tunnels, told what they did wrong, and kicked out.

It's Full Of Cats

Flickr / Steven Miller / CC 2.0

When Disneyland in Anaheim, CA opened, they had issues with rodents. So, after the theme parks close, employees released 200 feral cats to keep the mice population under control. But Mickey and Minnie get to stay.

You Can Eat the Plants In Tomorrowland

secrets of Disney theme parks
Flickr / HarshLight / CC 2.0

If you're one of those folks who love eating plants instead of fast food, you can always eat the plants in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. That's right! They're totally edible, but people will probably look at you funny. Most of the plants grown on property are served at the resort's restaurants.

Code Pooh

Twitter / BackDoorDisney

Disney employees have code names for all sorts of incidents, like Code Baloo, which means there is blood from someone injured. But when a toddler took a huge dump in a play area, one worker came up with "Code Pooh." Clever. So, so clever.

A Fairy Visit At Cinderella's Castle

secrets of Disney theme parks
Flickr / Michael Gray Wantagh / CC 2.0

Sit on the outer edge of the Plaza restaurant and you'll notice a wire going down from the castle to the restaurant's rooftop. So, request a seat under it, cause that's where Tinker Bell will come flying down during parade time.

Tunnels Keep The Illusion Alive


One of the secrets of Disney theme parks is that they have a network of tunnels that allow costumed performers to move inconspicuously underground. That way, no one runs into two identical characters at the same time.

The Red Carpet Treatment

Flickr / Loren Javier / CC 2.0

Walt wanted all of his guests to feel special, so he created the red walkway to serve as a red carpet. It also keeps costumed performers away so that when they're walking on the red walkway, they're at a safe distance from onlookers.

The Danger Of Crocodile Bridge

Flickr / randy stewart / CC 2.0

Crocodiles are often fed from the bridge, so employees are told that if anyone is dumb enough to fall into the water, keep driving so no one else will notice what happened. But if you lean too close, you could end up eaten.

Disney Has No Electric Bill

Wikimedia Commons / Asher Heimermann / CC 4.0

It turns out that Disney theme parks have their own power plant on site called Reedy Creek Energy Services. RCES also handles natural gas, water, and sewage. So why would they bill themselves for services they own?

Performers Get A Real Kick

Twitter / BackDoorDisney

Some costumed performers wind up with bruises. Others get kicked in the groin, like one female performer who was kicked so hard in the crotch that she ended up in the hospital. For some reason, guests like kicking performers and it's just one of the perks that comes with the job.

Don't Say Okay

Twitter / BackDoorDisney

In The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, performers have to deliver their lines perfectly. They only get three days to learn their lines, and if they say "Okay" instead of "All Right," they have to start all over again.

Plush Mountain Isn't Plushy

Flickr / javier poclava / CC 2.0

A teen ran and dove head first into Plush Mountain before a Disney cast member could greet them. And he learned head first that Plush Mountain isn't all plushy. It's just one layer of soft toys on a pillar. Fortunately, he wasn't too badly hurt.

The Secret Behind The Spitting Camel

Flickr / JeffChristiansen / CC 2.0

Ever wonder how Aladdin's spitting camel always gets its target? Blame the human aiming behind the scenes. When they think they have a shot at hitting a guest, the man will command the camel to spit water. Brilliant.

A "Poppins" Ode

Flickr / Chrissy F

When you're in Frontierland, go to the railroad station and look at the lost and found box. You'll see the name "Smith" carved on a wooden leg, which is a reference to the "Mary Poppins" line, "I knew a man with a wooden leg named Smith".

Cinderella's Castle Has A Secret Suite

Twitter / BackDoorDisney

This may be one of the most well-kept secrets of Disney theme parks. Cinderella's castle has a 650-square-foot apartment which sadly, you can't book. Only rare giveaway winners can spend a night here, but you can visit the room with some tour packages.

The Tree Of Life Can Never Die

Wikimedia Commons / Jedi94 / CC 4.0

If you're at Animal Kingdom and a hurricane hits, hide in this 145-foot artificial tree. It's made from components from an oil rig, so it can withstand just about anything. It'll be there long after we're gone too.

Liberty Square Is So Realistic

Flickr / Michael Gray / CC 2.0

Watch your step! That brown winding path you're walking on in Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square represents raw sewage. That's because indoor plumbing didn't exist in Colonial times, so you won't find toilets in this area of the park either.

You'll Never See A Bin Getting Emptied

Flickr / Theme Park Tourist / CC 2.0

This is one of those secrets of Disney theme parks that really suck... literally. Small pipes vacuum trash through a network of tunnels at 60 mph. It takes 20 minutes, so you'll never someone picking trash from the bins.

The Haunted Mansion

Flickr / Brian Rechenmacher / CC 2.0

If you look at the red velvet chairs in the hall, you'll sometimes see Donald Duck pop up in the back of the chairs. There's also a hidden Mickey on the table in the dining room made out of plates if you can spot it!

Find The Hidden Gems

Flickr / Cory Doctorow / CC 2.0

As you exit Big Thunder Mountain, look left behind the fence. There's a Tinkerbell cut on the red rocks. Then check out the daughter's room at the Carousel of Progress. There's a photo of Walt on the upper left corner of the wall.

Costumes Take A Toll On Performer's Bodies

Flickr / JeffChristiansen / CC 2.0

Fur character costumes weigh up to 47 lbs., so some performers end up with broken finger bones, bruises, and knee and shoulder injuries. In fact, 49 of 773 theme park injuries were because of these costumes.

Disney Has Secret Menu Items

Flickr / Peter Lee / CC 2.0

At Disneyland's Main Street refreshment corner, you can have Mickey-shaped Chili Mac 'n Cheese. You can also enjoy "The Grey Stuff," a chocolate mousse referenced in the "Be Our Guest" song, at the Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Animal Kingdom's Enhanced Safari

Flickr / Steven Miller / CC 2.0

Ever wondered why lions at the Animal Kingdom sit and pose for the perfect picture? It's because on the ledge of Pride Rock there's piped chilled air which encourages the lions to go there, giving you the ideal pose.

Walt's Private Suite

Wikimedia Commons / Ken Lund / CC 2.0

Disneyland in Anaheim, California has a private apartment above the fire station on Main Street. It was originally intended for Walt and his family. Ironically, the Victorian style suite hasn't changed much over the last 6 decades.

Walt Almost Lost It All

Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

At a cost of $17 million, it took a year for Disneyland to be constructed. Ironically, when Walt was still a cartoonist, he filed for bankruptcy in 1923 because of debt incurred by his film studio Laugh-O-Gram.

You Must Fit the Bill To Wear Certain Outfits

Flickr / Loren Javier / CC 2.0

Changing your hair and eye color is easy when you're a Disney character, but actors playing roles like Jasmine have to be slender and toned. Especially when their costumes bare their midriff all day long!

You Can't See The Other Lands

Wikimedia Commons / Anna / CC 4.0

Walt designed his theme parks so that if you're in Liberty Square, you wouldn't be able to see another land thanks to distractions like trees and buildings. Noises also help maintain the illusion, so you don't notice other lands' music either.

Disney Has Smelly Themes

YouTube / LiveFastDiePoor

Theme parks use devices called Smellitizers to release certain scents like salty sea air at the Pirates of the Caribbean area. They also feature the scent of freshly baked items on Main Street, and it's all part of creating the Disney illusion.

Epcot Is So Organic

Flickr / zannaland / CC 2.0

One of the things that makes Epcot cool is the fact that they have a fully self-sustaining eco-system designed to grow edible plants. Disney himself dreamed of a future where humanity would be self-sustaining.

Pack An Extra Pair Of Shoes

Flickr / Joe Penniston / CC 2.0

After one or two days of walking around Disney, you'll hate your shoes. So bring an extra pair of walking shoes, or some flip-flops, cause they're so much more comfortable and your feet will thank you.

Check Disney Menus Online

Flickr / danuv / CC 2.0

If you have a special dietary requirement or you're simply a picky eater, you can check the menus of every restaurant online before making a reservation. You can even make that reservation online as well!

Use Memberships For Discounts

Wikimedia Commons / CrispyCream27 / CC 4.0

If you're a AAA member, check with them to see how much of a discount you can actually get on your tickets. You can also get discounts if you join a tour group of 10 or more people.

Hack For Finding Characters

Flickr / JeffChristiansen / CC 2.0

Some kids might only go to Disney to see their favorite character, as in singular. So if you're looking for a specific character, ask an attendant to tell you when that character will show up and where.

Cool Off In The Afternoon

Wikimedia Commons / Miosotis Jade / CC 4.0

Florida can overwhelm you with heat and humidity in the summer, so in the afternoon, consider eating at a restaurant or doing some shopping indoors until the sun or temperature goes down a bit instead of opting to watch a parade in the hot sun.

Check All Booking Options

Flickr / CL Photographs / CC 2.0

TripAdvisor has some pretty good deals, but you should still do your homework because you could end up saving as much as a grand as well as time when you make your tickets and hotel reservations.

Buy Ponchos

Flickr / Mingo Hagen / CC 2.0

If the forecast is predicting rough weather, plan ahead. Florida weather can be unpredictable, so it's better to plan ahead. You can buy a poncho at Walmart for a buck versus $15 at the park. Ponchos also keep you dry on water rides like Splash Mountain.

Use Your Disney VISA

Disney / Unsplash

As a Disney Visa cardholder, you can buy select merchandise or enjoy select dining and get a 10 percent discount in the process, so you can buy one or two more collectibles during your next vacation.

Use The Disney App

YouTube / Chris Viso

You can avoid some seriously long lines by downloading the Disney app on your phone. It will update you on waits times for fireworks, events, characters and rides. You can also make reservation changes and save yourself the fees that come with being a no show to your dinner plans.

Go For The Second Showing

Flickr / Loren Javier / CC 2.0

If you're dying to see a special event like a parade or multiple shows, make sure you go for the second showing, because in true Disney fashion, the first one is usually the more crowded.

Get The Military Discount

Flickr / marada / CC 2.0

If you're in the military, you and your family can enjoy three, four, or five-day military promo tickets regardless of whether you're active or retired.

Split And Save

Instagram / mymagicalhabits

Most Disney plates are way too big and serve too much food for one stomach to handle, so ask the server to bring an extra plate and split a meal. It's free of charge.

Don't Buy Water

Instagram / pure_magic_lisag

Thirsty? Don't spend your money on over-priced bottled water. Just march on over to a counter-service restaurant instead and ask for some water. It's free in all theme parks.

Let Someone Else Plan

Instagram / entreorejasyvaritas

Did you know that an authorized Disney vacation planner will be more than happy to do all the deal hunting for you? Best of all, it's free because Disney pays them commission to do this.

Disney Through Costco

disney park hacks
Pinterest / The Krazy Coupon Lady

Costco can offer you some sweet deals on discounted tickets and travel packages that can save you up to 25 percent, particularly on Disney hotel resorts.

Plan A Character Meal

Instagram / melodydazzo

Disney park hacks are always more awesome when they save you money, and this one will. Plan a character meal at breakfast. Not only will you beat the rush because most people are already in the parks or sleeping in, but it's also cheaper than planning a character dinner, which would cost much more.

Get A Freebie

Instagram / sewminniestyle

There are all sorts of things you can get free of charge at Disney. Among them are free buttons when it's your first visit to a theme park, or if it's your birthday or anniversary. If you're caught wearing one of these buttons by a cast member, you just might get another freebie, like an ice cream cone or souvenir!

Go When Kids Are In School

Instagram / huntergirlmusic

Hotel prices and crowds will skyrocket when the kids are on vacation. So when you visit Disney, make sure to go in January or September. You can write your kid a note for his teacher later. They'll have a blast with the park all to themselves!

Call A Water Taxi

Flickr / Greg Goebel / CC 2.0

Don't rely on a bus, monorail or conventional taxi to get you to your Disney theme park on time. Try a water taxi instead, which will boat you from your hotel to the theme park of your choice and back again.

Kids Ride For Free

Flickr / Kelly Verdeck / CC 2.0

If you have kids that are under 3, you're in for a treat because you don't have to spend anything to get them into the park. That doesn't mean that you won't have to spend a pretty penny on their souvenirs, though.

Buy Disney Gift Cards

Flickr / Steven Miller / CC 2.0

You know you're going to spend when you go to Disney. But you can save 5 percent off if you buy Disney gift cards at Target and use them in combination with your Redcard.

Eat Before Or After

Flickr / Moto "Club4AG" Miwa / CC 2.0

Grab a bite to eat before noon or after 2 p.m., and if it's dinner time, eat after 7 p.m. This allows you to eat while everyone is in line, and ride while everyone else eats.

Go Early

Flickr / Theme Park Tourist / CC 2.0

Of all the Disney park hacks, this one is the most useful because if you can get to the parks early using Extra Magic Hours, you'll be shocked to find that it's not very crowded at all.

This Spaceship's An Umbrella

Flickr / Scott Ellis / CC 2.0

If Mother Nature pees on your trip at Epcot and it starts raining, head on over to Spaceship Earth and take refuge from the elements. The huge golf-shaped ball was designed with a drainage system to keep guests safe from rain.

Sit In The Middle Of The Monorail

Flickr / Chad Sparkes / CC 2.0

Sit in the middle of the monorail as this will prevent you from being trapped behind a crowd of people during each stop. It will also ensure that you can run to the popular rides before anyone else.

Spin At Your Own Pace

Flickr / Hubert Yu / CC 2.0

If you hate spinning then avoid the orange, purple, or diamond cups at the Mad Tea Party and sit on the ones with the hearts, because they're the slowest cups on the ride.

Start At The Back

Flickr / Tom Arthur / CC 2.0

Start at the back of the theme park instead of the front. This way you can avoid the huge crowds, who'll work their way away from the entrance, while you're already having a thrill of a good time on Splash Mountain.

Use Genie+


With the fazing out of Disney's free FastPass service came the introduction of Genie+, the new way to get to the front of the lines on all of your favorite Disney rides. Just pay a small fee and you'll be able to plan your trip ahead of time, complete with the ability to skip the lines on popular rides like Space Mountain.

The Hang-Glider Simulator Hack

Flickr / joiseyshowaa / CC 2.0

Avoid everyone else's dangling shoes from getting in the way when you're enjoying the ultimate Hang-glider simulator by sitting in the front row. Your eyes and nose will thank you for it.

Bring A Sharpie

Flickr / yo & / CC 2.0

That's right, if you meet your favorite character and want an autograph, make sure to have a pen or marker handy for them. Mickey and Minnie won't be carrying these things with them, so make sure to have one handy in your backpack!