At Walt Disney World in Orlando, the Imagineers have gone above and beyond the call of duty to create practically an entire city dedicated to the imagination and magic of Disney. Believe us when we tell you that they overlook no small detail. They are deeply and thoroughly dedicated to bringing the magic to life.
Once you pass through the gates into one of the four parks, you are in their world for the duration of your visit. Just how far have the Disney artists gone to create this magical place where dreams come true? Only the true Disney faithful will notice these amazing little touches.
10 Truly Hidden Mickeys
There are 1000 Hidden Mickeys in every Disney Park and the Walt Disney World Resort is no exception. If we're being totally honest here, though, not all Mickeys are easy to find. While it is true that many of them hide in topiary, dinner plates, and soap bubbles, some of them hide in paint splatters, water stains, and patterns on hotel carpets.
One infamous Mickey can only be seen when light shines through a certain skylight for a brief period of time. True Disney fans are able to spot those ears a mile away, and they aren't always out in the open.
9 Birds of a Feather
This one might be picked up by some Disney fans, or simply those smart enough to pay attention to whomever they're sitting under. José, Michael, Pierre, and Fritz are the four hosts of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, and they're mostly identified by two factors. Either you recognize them by their over-the-top accents, or their coloration.
Each bird has colors that match their nationality, though all are macaw parrots. José is meant to represent Mexico with his red and green, Michael is green and white (Ireland), Pierre is red, white, and blue (France), and Fritz red, black, and gold (Germany).
8 Walking in Their Footsteps
At any of the parks, one can find footprints in the concrete or roads of various areas. Some are pretty basic, like the hoof prints from horses on Main Street USA and Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom, some are more creative like the claw marks on the floor of the Country Bear Jamboree, but then some get... creative.
Sometimes you might find footprints of famous characters like Donald or Goofy, other times it might be wild animals like a lion or even a dinosaur, and if you venture to a galaxy far, far, away, you might find a droid or two.
7 Timon and Pumbaa Safety Signs
The company has always been wild about safety at their parks to ensure the comfort and happiness of their guests. During the peak of TheLion King's popularity, Timon and Pumbaa were prominently featured on a number of shows, park areas, and commercials, but they can also frequently be seen on park safety warnings.
As Disney's most iconic best friend duo, they're a great way to show the safe way (or silly way) to spend the day at the parks. They can most frequently be seen on the Disney Bus safety signs, and are always good for a laugh as well as providing safety instructions.
6 Look Before You Ride
You're going to have to wait if you want to ride anything at Disney World, even with a FastPass+. Don't fret, though, because many of Disney's queue environments have interactive sections, as well as some clever Easter eggs for the keen-eyed Disney buffs.
Our favorites are definitely the Haunted Mansion, Journey Into Imagination, and Space Mountain when it comes to interesting queues. The Easter eggs featured can be anything from a name to an actual movie prop or setpiece. You never know what you might see before you board your ride vehicle.
5 Meet and Greet Details
Similarly to the attraction queues, the spaces where guests can meet their favorite Disney faces often reflect the characters they're about to encounter. Some are simple but effective, like the Epcot Character Spot, but others can be quite immersive.
Disney offers lots of different character spaces. You can step into Mickey's dressing room at the Main Street Theatre, visit the Storybook Circus for Pete's Silly Sideshow, a spaceport for your favorite users of the Force, or an entire royal hall dedicated to the Disney Princesses. If there's one thing Disney knows how to do, it's immerse fans in the experience.
4 Let There Be Music From Regions Beyond
Here's a little detail that is so popular amongst hardcore Disney fans that there's even an online community dedicated to it. When one goes to the Disney Parks, it can be expected that famous Disney songs will be heard several times throughout the day. We're looking at you, Small World.
Those are all well and good, but we're talking about the sweeping orchestrations and compositions that take us to the Magic Kingdom and back. There's just something about these selective pieces of music that pull us back to our happy place. We need Disney World to drop an ambiance album.
3 Remnants of the Beastly Kingdom
Beastly Kingdom was the park portion that was planned but never made. Instead, we got Dinoland USA.. What would have been an epic battle between good and evil told through theme park rides ended up as a dinosaur-themed carnival. At least we can meet some Ducktales Characters, though.
Animal Kingdom was meant to have been home to animals of the present, the past, and the imagination. Thanks to some budget issues and missteps, we never got to see the third part of that equation, but remnants of the lost kingdom may still be found scattered throughout the park. Here there be dragons.
2 Dig a Little Deeper
The Haunted Mansion is one of the most Easter-egg-heavy attractions in all of the Disney Parks, but if you want to find the gold mine, best to do a little bit of grave digging. There are tons of winks and nods to the audience in the graveyard queue alone to satisfy the hungriest fan.
There are designs referencing rejected ride concepts, tombstones in memory of Imagineers and Haunted Mansion contributors, and even a statue dedicated to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It's definitely got more than a few tricks and treats in store if you know where to look.
1 An Easy Transition
The parks of the Walt Disney World Resort are all made up of different worlds and environments that house these varying themes, movies, motifs, and even whole lands. To keep the immersion going, Disney designers and artists have to make this as seamless as possible, and they succeed.
For something like Liberty Square and Frontierland, it's not that big of a jump, but when you think of something like the streets of 1940s Hollywood to a galaxy far, far away, that's where the talent comes in. It will definitely pass over the heads of the casual visitor, but to those of us who truly appreciate the parks, it's 100% magical.