The Tree of Life is an oil rig, plus other fun facts about Disney parks


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Disney World is known to house many secrets to keep the park alive and magical. Here are 36 of my favorite things about the park.

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1. Cats Clean The Grounds

When Disney first opened, feral cats would sneak onto the grounds and catch the mice that inhabited the parks. Instead of fighting the problem, Disney embraced it.  During the day, up to 200 cats are lounge around on their own special feeding stations.  At nights, the cats are let out to keep the grounds free of mice.


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And the cats are well cared for, too. Males and females are spayed and neutered, and any kittens that join the family are put up for adoption.

Image Credit: aureliefrance / istockphoto.

2. The Manhole Covers In ToonTown Play Music

Jump on one and see what music it plays! Hint: the sounds correspond with the instruments on the fountain these covers surround.

Image Credit: Matt Walker / Flickr.

3. You Won’t See A Character Point Their Finger

At least not with a single finger, as it’s considered rude in some cultures. Most often, they gesture with two fingers or a sweeping hand.

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4. There Are Thousands Of Mickey Mouse Heads Hidden In The Park

Next time you’re there, see how many you can find!

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5. There Is An Entire Network Of Underground Tunnels Beneath The Park

This not only helps keep characters from being in the wrong “land” (i.e. a Cowboy in Tomorrowland) but prevents guests from seeing two of the same characters (i.e. two Cinderellas) at once during a shift change.

Image Credit: Manakin / istockphoto.

6. The Hitching Posts On Main Street Are Painted Every Night

Another small piece of evidence the attention to detail in the parks. Each night, the highly touched hitching posts are stripped and repainted so they look fresh the next morning for the next round of guests.

In fact, the starting time these posts are painted is based on the humidity and temperature to ensure they’re dry in the morning and no one gets sticky fingers.

Image Credit: George / Flickr.

7. The Teacups Spin At Different Speeds

Designed to give a fun experience for all, pick an orange teacup with diamonds if you want to spin fast and pink one with hearts if you want to go slower.

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8. The Animal Kingdom Has Scientists

They study the animals and their behaviors. One one trip to Africa, they discovered a special call elephants make in relation to alerting each other about bees.

Image Credit: awl11 / Flickr.

9. The Castles Aren’t As Big As They Look

The stones near the bottom of the castles are larger than the stones at the top. This optical illusion gives observers the appearance that the castle is actually taller. This effect is also used on the Haunted Mansion and buildings on Main Street.

Image Credit: EnchantedFairy / iStock.

10. The Haunted Mansion Has A Pet Cemetery

If you’re lucky and ask the right person, you may just get a private tour.

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11. Over 800 Species Of Plants Are Used To Create Authenticity

For example, at the Polynesian Hotel, Polynesian plants are used to create a true and authentic feel of being on the Polynesian Islands. At the Wilderness Lodge, moose tracks and large, native vegetation are used to create a cooler environment, like you’re out west.

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12. All The Costumes Are Hand Made

Hand stitching and fabrics relevant to a specific period in time is used to create authenticity. To add, gold thread is used on relevant costumes to create a special sparkle. This not only gives each character extra pride in what they’re wearing, but rings true that attention to detail is everything.

Image Credit: smckenzie / istockphoto.

13. You Can Drive The Mark Twain

If you’re polite and ask nicely, you may be able to drive the Mark Twain Steamboat. While it’s technically on rails, it’d still be fun to spin the wheel and ring the bell!

Image Credit: Scott Barlow / Flickr.

14. The Plants In Tomorrowland Are Edible

Walt believed the future would be self-sustaining, so each plant is edible.

Image Credit: Public Domain.

15. Cast Members Are Encouraged To Help

Whether a guest is lost, needs a family photo or a child drops an ice cream cone, cast members are encouraged to help whenever and however possible to each guest has a wonderful and magical time at the park.

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16. There Is Always A Trash Can Within 30 Steps

It’s been said that Disney was disgusted over how dirty theme parks and festivals were. He made a point to watch how far people carried trash before dropping it. The magical number? 30 steps.

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17. The Ground Is Painted To Enhance Photos

Kodak did a study with Disney and painted the ground to make each photo appear more vivid.

Image Credit: Matthew Cooper / Flickr.

18. Walt Disney Created Fictitious Companies To Purchase Disney World

Why? To help disguise the intent of his grandiose plans. Today, you can find the names of these fictitious companies, like Tomahawk Properties, Compass East Corporation and Bay Lake Properties, throughout the park – cleverly disguised as store and shop names.

Image Credit: adameq2 / DepositPhotos.

19. There’s A Secret Police

Dressed in common civilian clothes, these sneaky officers monitor the safety and well-being of park-goers without disturbing the magic.

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20. The Tree Of Life Is Actually An Oil Rig

Designers and engineers determined an oil rig was one of the strongest structures and thus used it for this attraction.

Image Credit: James Palmer / Flickr.

21. Staff Can Play Basketball In The Matterhorn

Yes, there’s a secret basketball court on the third level- how cool is that?

Image Credit: Aneese / iStock.

22. People Have Tried To Spread Deceased Family Members’ Ashes In The Park

For the record, this has and never will be allowed at Disney. Yet it still hasn’t stopped people from trying.

Image Credit: Russell102 / iStock.

23. In The “Hall Of Presidents” Bill Clinton Is Wearing His Favorite Iron Man Watch

If you look closely, the time is correct too.

Image Credit: Joe Penniston / Flickr.

24. Fourteen Of The Original Attractions Are Still In Use Today

  1. It’s a Small World
  2. Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  3. Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade
  4. The Hall of Presidents
  5. Mad Tea Party
  6. Peter Pan’s Flight
  7. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  8. Swiss Family Treehouse
  9. Jungle Cruise
  10. Country Bear Jamboree
  11. Walt Disney World Railroad
  12. The Haunted Mansion
  13. Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room
  14. Tomorrowland Speedway

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25. Cinderella’s Castle Has A Secret Suite, And It Cannot Be Booked

Originally intended to be an apartment for Walt Disney, it’s now only used for special promotions and giveaways, so don’t expect to be able to book it for a night while staying at the resort.

Image Credit: Chris Dikos / Flickr.

26. None Of The Disney Shops Sell Gum

This is another way to help keep the park clean and free of gum being stuck to its masterful pieces, streets, and rides.

Image Credit: Mark Walter/ Flickr.

27. Smellitizers Are Scattered Throughout The Resort

Next time you’re at the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, you’ll notice a faint, yet obvious smell of salty air. On Main Street, you may smell baking cookies or vanilla.

Image Credit: RK*Pictures / Flickr.

28. The Brown Concrete Path Reflects Sewage During That Time Period

Hmmm tasty, right? Thankfully, I don’t believe they use smellitizers here…

Image Credit: Mickey Views / Flickr.

29. Main Street Has Over 100,000 Light Bulbs

Talk about a huge electric bill – for one street alone!

Image Credit: Eat My Disney Dust / Flickr.

30. The Cast Cannot Grow Facial Hair

Unless a mustache or beard is fully grown before being hired or grown while away on vacation, men cannot have stubble or facial hair.

Image Credit: Jodi Renshaw / Flickr.

31. There’s A Secret Speakeasy

There’s only two places an adult can get a cocktail: one is the Little Mermaid-themed restaurant, and the other is a super secret speakeasy, Club 33. But don’t expect to bop in there for a quick drink – there’s a ten year waiting list. Open since 1967, the club costs $10,000 a year and has a $25,000 initiation fee per person.

Image Credit: Justin Barton / Flickr.

32. The Characters’ Moods Change Throughout The Day

They’re more perky and peppy in the morning and more mellow in the evening to match the moods of their guests.

Image Credit: Disney Dan / Flickr.

33. Steve Martin Worked At DisneyLand

As a child, he sold guidebooks then later advanced to working at the Magic Shop.

Image Credit: MichaelGordon1 / iStock.

34. Real Skeletons Were Used In The Pirates Of The Caribbean Attraction

When first opened to the public, fake skeletons look well, rather fake. Replacements were ordered, all issues from a medical institute that had been used for study. According to Buzzfeed, there’s still a real skull there today.

Image Credit: David Bjorgen / Wikimedia Commons.

35. Disney Has A Huge Staff

There are approximately 28,000 cast members that work at Disneyland.

Image Credit: Ron Thorp / Flickr.

36. There’s A Disney Podcast

Fans can stay up to date with the current news, events, and activities via By The Numb3rs.


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Image Credit: Courtesy Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.