We all think of Disney World as the happiest place on earth. Most people have Disney World on their vacation bucket list, many even have the other Disney Parks on that list too. But did you know there are some secrets about the Disney Parks that cast members and employees don't want you to know about?
Maintaining the illusion of magic is the biggest priority of everyone working for Disney, and, to do so, there are strange and even eerie things that must be done. From Discovery Island to the truth about why the park smells so good, we've got some juicy secrets to share with you.
Despite being dubbed the happiest place on earth, Disney Parks has been home to several deaths. Perhaps one of the traumatic deaths occurred recently when an alligator killed a toddler at a Disney resort. That's not to mention how many deaths have happened in the parks themselves.
To be fair, many of the deaths in the park have been due to guests intentionally ignoring the ride rules. Those rules are there for a reason, people! Just this year, a man died fro falling off the roof of the Epcot France Pavillion. That's just scratching the surface of the long list of incidents and accidents that have occurred at Disney Parks.
It is common knowledge that Disney has had issues with ashes being spread around their parks. Some people want to be laid to rest in the happiest place on earth, but many people don't understand how often this happens.
People used to believe the skeletons in the Haunted Mansion were real but didn't realize their real fear should come from walking around in a breeze and suddenly getting a mouth full of someone's grandma. It happens so often that the park staff has a code name for it. If you're caught—and you will be—you get banned from Disney for life.
To maintain the magic of Disney Parks, costumed and face characters must always be in character. All park employees have to maintain the Disney aura, no matter the circumstances. That includes even the more dire situations where you could be ill, or worse, dying.
Occasionally, ex-Disney members take to Reddit to do AMAs about their experiences working with the mouse. One user claims he accepted a job as "water Goofy" on a Disney cruise and had to agree that even if he were to start drowning, he has to be carried away before removing the costume so as not to upset the children.
Most Disney fans know about Discovery Island. It was a separate theme park on a private island that focused on rare birds and fauna. The park was closed down in 1999 with eventual plans to remodel and then reopen the park. However, those plans were abandoned due to some sticky legal grey areas post-9/11.
Even to this day, Discovery Island remains a ghostly empty island. A couple of years ago, a YouTuber named Matt Sonswa snuck on to take some photos and videos of the wreckage. It's pretty creepy stuff; nature has taken the reign of the area. As they say, life finds a way.
One of the first things couples do when they have a child is to bring them to Disney World. The question is, why? That kid isn't going to remember the experience, and odds are you'll spend most of your vacation dealing with a shrieking baby that doesn't enjoy much of what's going on around them. Yet parents insist on this rite of passage.
In particular, they love to ask costumed characters to hold their baby for a photo op. The problem is, while in costume, they can't see anything. It's kind of like flirting with danger, and it puts them in an awkward place. Plus, many characters have been spit upon, and that's no fun for anyone. No one wants to see Belle walking around with barf in her hair.
Despite how happy Disney cast members may appear to be on their jobs, it's all part of creating the illusion of happiness at Disney. In reality, being a cast member can be draining. Costumed characters have it particularly rough given the amount of time they have to spend in a hot, furry outfit.
Even in only twenty-minute increments they still emerge looking like a drowned rat. Then there's dealing with guests. There have been countless incidents of guests hitting, groping, and debasing characters at the park while angry or simply because they believe they're entitled.
Okay, this isn't actually as exciting as it sounds, but it's still something a little weird to consider. Disney works diligently at ensuring all of their parks maintain the bubble of magic. Seeing trash cans overflowing or a character out of place, such as Lion King characters in Frontierland, would be jarring and throw off the illusion.
So, they have implemented an intricate web of tunnels that allows park cast members to travel from place to place without having to wander through the park. The tunnels are also used as a way to cart your trash away before you can see the clean-up crews in action.
Disney Parks have many boat rides, both indoor and outdoor. However, despite how realistic they may seem, none of those boats are really floating, not even the outdoor ones! Instead, they sit on underwater tracks. But, again, Disney is all about maintaining the illusion of realism, so they dye the water a heavy green or brown to ensure guests won't be able to see the tracks hidden beneath the water.
If you look closely, you'll still be able to see them in some places, there's no surefire way to keep them hidden. Even the water isn't all that deep in most of the pools where the rides are hosted. According to the LA Times, maintenance crews dump about 12 pounds of dye in the water every week.
You know when you're standing in a long line and the only thing that keeps you there is the wait time that supposedly says it will only be about 45 minutes? Well, unfortunately, those wait times are rarely accurate.
They're a rough estimate at best, and, at the end of the day, they're out there for the exact reason you got in the line. It entices people to ride the ride, and, if you're halfway in by the time you realize it was wrong, odds are you won't leave because you would have wasted time already.
Disney Imagineers created and patented a machine known as the "Smellitzer." It is a scent-producing machine placed in various locations all over the Disney Parks that produces specific scents befitting the area. You've experienced them while on rides like Soarin', which makes sense since you want to smell the flowers of the world.
They're more commonly used in the most mundane of places such as a walk down Main Street. You'll suddenly be overwhelmed with the mouth-watering scene of fresh baked cookies and popcorn. Hm, suddenly your wallet feels heavy in your pocket. Time to buy some treats! It's all part of their plan to make you spend more money.