Sophie from Most Magical Guides
50 Surprising Facts About Disney World To Celebrate The 50th Anniversary!
Today marks the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World! What an amazing 50 years it has been! Since opening its doors on 1st October 1971 Disney World has delighted millions of people and made memories for so many that last a lifetime.
To celebrate this incredible milestone here are 50 surprising facts about Disney World!
1.On the opening day, 50 years ago today on October 1st 1971, a park ticket cost $3.50!
2. Mickey Mouse is the most fashionable of all Disney World characters with over 300 costumes!
3. It would take you more than 82 years to stay in every hotel room at Disney World! With over 30,000 rooms in the Disney World Resorts you could stay in a different room every day of your life (if you could afford it!).
4. Magic Kingdom is the most visited theme park in the world! In 2019 almost 21 million people visited Magic Kingdom!
5. Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom was named after a now long gone attraction. The original Discovery Island was in the middle of Bay Lake, near Magic Kingdom. Here you could see and interact with lots of different animals. Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom was named in honour of this!
6. If you take a ride on Living With The Land in EPCOT you will get to sail through the Disney greenhouses. Here real produce is grown and you may even eat these Disney grown foods in Sunshine Seasons, Garden Grill and some of the festival booths!
7. Tower of Terror and Expedition Everest stand at 199 feet tall. Why the odd number? Any building over 200 foot tall would need a flashing red light to alert low flying aircraft. At 199 feet these buildings are below this legal limit and therefore don't need a red light that would detract away from the incredible theming!
8. There is so much to see and experience when walking down Main Street U.S.A that you might easily miss some cool details. On the windows of the buildings you will see many names. These are in tribute to iconic Disney Imagineers! To have your name on one of the Main Street windows is one of the highest honours a Disney employee can receive.
9. Disney World has around 400 buses to shuttle guests between the Disney Parks, Disney Resorts and Disney Springs. The Disney fleet has more buses than the Los Angeles Department of Transportation!
10. There are 13 attractions at Magic Kingdom that have been open since October 1st 1971! They are Country Bear Jamboree, Dumbo The Flying Elephant, The Hall of Presidents, The Haunted Mansion, it's a small world, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan's Flight, Prince Charming Regal Caroussel, Swiss Family Treehouse, Tomorrowland Speedway, Walt Disney Railroad and Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.
11. Disney started out as an animation studio and the link to movie making continues throughout all aspects of the Disney Company through its terminology. Disney employees are known as cast members, being in a public-facing area, such as working on a shop floor, is called being on-stage, being in areas where the public are not allowed is called backstage and their uniforms are known as a costume!
12. There are no bathrooms in Liberty Square. This was to be in keeping with the time period to keep historical accuracy. But never fear, the restaurants in Liberty Square do have bathrooms and the neighbouring lands with bathrooms are close by!
13. Pointing with one finger is considered a rude gesture in some cultures so cast members will always point you in the right direction with two fingers, known as the 'Disney Point'.
14. The cherubs painted onto the ceiling of the ballroom in Be Our Guest Restaurant are painted in the likeness of the Imagineers who worked on the project as babies or their children!
15. Although Magic Kingdom has the most amount of attraction it is in fact the smallest of the four parks! Magic Kingdom is around 100 acres in size, Hollywood Studios is 150 acres, EPCOT is 300 acres and Animal Kingdom is the largest park at 500 acres, making it five times larger than Magic Kingdom!
16. Hollywood Studios was in fact originally a working studio where shows such as The New Mickey Mouse Club were filmed!
17. You never see cast members or characters walking through the parks to get to their stations because of the secret tunnels under Magic Kingdom! The famous utilidors are things of myth and legend but you can experience them yourself during the Keys To The Kingdom tour!
18. You can see the Tower of Terror from EPCOT but you may not recognise it. The back of this iconic attraction can be seen from the Morocco Pavillion and because of this that side of the building is decorated with a Moroccan design to be in keeping!
19. The doors to enter the bathrooms in Animal Kingdom open outwards, instead of the usual inwards, and this is just in case an animal escapes. By having the doors open the opposite way this will prevent the animals from getting into the bathrooms and can provide a safe space for guests to shelter in.
20. One of the fun things to do when visiting Disney World or any of the Disney Resorts is to look for hidden Mickey's! Decorations, artwork, fences and many more items may either be arranged in the shape of a Mickey head or have the Mickey design in them.
21. You are never more than 30 steps away from a trash can! Walt Disney wanted the parks to be as clean and tidy so had trash cans located within eyesight and a short distance so guests always had somewhere to throw away their trash.
22. The Beatles broke up at Disney! John Lennon was on a family vacation at the Polynesian Village Resort in 1974 when he signed the paperwork that split up the band!
23. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh replaced Mr Toad's Wild Ride but there is a hidden detail in this attraction that pays homage to its predecessor. In the scene with Owl look out for Mr Toad handing over the deeds to him!
24. The American flags at Disney World aren't real American flags! Each flag is missing one star and one stripe so that they are allowed to be flown all the time, something that would be not possible with a genuine American flag.
25. Cinderella Castle may look to be made of bricks but in fact it is made of steel, concrete and fiberglass! This is to help it stay strong during hurricanes or heavy storms. This weatherproof castle even lightning rods in the spires!
26. The opening day crowd was made up of 10,000 people. Magic Kingdom can now hold around 100,000 people when at full capacity.
27. The Rock n Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith could have been a U2 ride as they were the first band approached about this thrill ride!
28. The trains on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad all have names! They are I.B. Hearty, I.M. Brave, I.M. Fearless, U.B. Bold, U.R. Daring and U.R. Courageous.
29. Walt Disney World Resort is MASSIVE! At over 30,000 acres it is around the same size as San Fransisco!
30. The Liberty Oak, a magnificent tree you can see in Magic Kingdom, is over 140 years old and was originally growing at Walt Disney's home before being carefully moved to Magic Kingdom.
31. The giant Andy footprint you see in Toy Story Land is about 25 foot long, which would be a size 240 shoe!
32. The design of Main Street was based on Walt Disney's hometown Marceline in Missouri.
33. The Harmony Barber shop in Magic Kingdom is a functioning hairdressers! Anyone is able to get their hair cut here and they even have special packages for a child's first haircut! You can also visit to have some pixie dust sprinkled into your hair, AKA glitter!
34. Dino-Sue, who can be found in DinoLand U.S.A in Animal Kingdom, is an exact replica of the largest tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.
35. Although the Disney World Parks close to guests in the evening overnight Disney World doesn't sleep! Thousands of cast members work through the night doing ride maintenance, garden care, costume repair, cleaning and much more to make sure the guest experience is excellent!
36. Disney use pioneering technology to turn food waste into energy. If you are ever worried about not being able to finish the generous portions don't worry! Your scraps will help to create electricity to run the parks!
37. The fastest ride at Disney World may not be the first one you think of! Test Track takes the crown by reaching top speeds of 65 miles an hour! Rock N Roller Coaster comes in second place at 57 miles an hour and Expedition Everest comes in third place at 50 miles an hour.
38. Visiting the Disney World Parks is a totally immersive experience and it is created with more than just sights and sounds. Smellitizer machines pump out different scents to fully transport you!
39. Tower of Terror is one of the most thrilling rides at Disney World but the screams you hear aren't all from guests! To build the excitement and tension whilst waiting in the queue recorded screams are played from the building to up the ante!
40. Most of the benches in Animal Kingdom are made from recycled milk jugs! Sustainability is at the core of this park so this environmentally friendly design is just one of the many resourceful ways Animal Kingdom works towards being earth-friendly.
41. Walt Disney was a big train enthusiast and the steam trains that run on the Walt Disney World Railroad are authentic vintage trains that are over 100 years old!
42. Carousel of Progress is actually the longest-running stage show in American theatre!
43. Disneyland is much smaller than Disney World. In fact the whole of Disneyland Park (not including California Adventure) can fit into Magic Kingdom's parking lot!
44. Walt Disney wanted every part of the parks to be immersive and for this illusion to never be broken. To maintain this foliage, buildings and signs help to keep the lands divided. This is why you never see Tomorrowland from Fantasyland even though they are right next to each other!
45. The drop you feel in the Tower of Terror isn't actually a drop at all. Cables pull you to Earth which is what gives you the feeling of floating out of your seat!
46. If you visit Pandora in Animal Kingdom you will see some beautiful waterfalls but some of them are just an illusion! Instead of water a rotating wheel of mesh that resembles liquid is what is used!
47. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel is the oldest Disney World attraction as it was built in 1917!
48. The sidewalks on Main Street are red in colour and that is to represent a red carpet welcome into Magic Kingdom! The shade of red was picked out by Kodak to compliment the blue sky so you can get fantastic photos!
49. Disney World has a solar panel farm in the shape of Mickey! These solar panels use the glorious Florida sun to create energy. In 2019 it was stated that up to 25% of Disney World is run on solar energy.
50. There is a stunning hotel room in Cinderella Castle! This room was meant to be for Walt Disney and his family to stay in but unfortunately Walt Disney passed away before Disney World opened. A lucky few people have stayed in this spectacular and unique room but the only way to do this is to win a competition!