Impeccable landscaping, trash cans every 30 feet, and sounds and smells to make you truly believe you’re in another world: Walt Disney World is super detail-oriented, which is why the parks are so immersive.
At Walt Disney World, attention to detail goes far beyond the color of the flowers planted in the parks. There are so many little details you might not normally notice that make an impact on the guest experience. Some are nods to an idea, Disney history, Imagineers that worked on the projects, or just cool things that don’t need to be there (but we’re glad they are).
Here are all the little things that you might miss at Disney World if you aren’t paying attention!
Look Up on Main Street U.S.A.
When you enter Disney’s Magic Kingdom, your eye is immediately drawn to Cinderella Castle at the end of the street. But take your time to look up! The second story of the buildings on Main Street, U.S.A., is home to many different made-up businesses.
Each one is a nod to Disney history in some fashion. You’ll spot some windows with businesses honoring Walt himself, like the “Walter E. Disney Graduate School of Design and Master Planning” and others paying tribute to the Imagineers that helped create Walt Disney World.
Listen Closely on Main Street U.S.A.
When you’re walking down Main Street, U.S.A., you’ll notice that there is a short street off to the right as you head to Cinderella Castle. Known as Center Street, this is a great area to take a break from the crowds and sip on your Starbucks in a quiet area. If you listen closely while you’re relaxing, you might hear something unique!
Up on the second floor, you’ll see a window with a music lesson business. And when you listen, you’ll hear some of the lessons in progress!
If you’ve seen Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, you’ll recall that during “Bella Notte,” the two add their paw prints to a heart drawn in the wet cement.
If you look down in front of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, you’ll see the heart with their paw prints! Pretty fitting since Tony’s is the place that the two got all tangled up with the spaghetti.
Two Lands, One Restaurant
Have you ever stopped to look at Crystal Palace — the restaurant serving up meals in the Hundred Acre Woods?
You might want to the next time that you’re in Magic Kingdom! The restaurant is located where one land transitions to the next, and the exterior is made to do just that — transition! One side is designed to blend into Main Street U.S.A. with ornate railings and a veranda that reflects the turn of the century style. The other side has green awnings to protect you from the jungle as you head into Adventureland.
Look For Nods to Colonial Times
Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom is packed with little details that you’re sure to miss if you aren’t looking closely. On one of the buildings, you’ll notice that there is a plaque with four arms clasped at the wrist. This is a pretty significant historic detail!
This is a fire marker from the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss of Fire which served as a kind of fire department in the early times. The plaque that would have been affixed to the exterior of the houses of Benjamin Franklin and other policyholders at the time kind of like the home security system stickers that we have nowadays!
Look For A Rifle in the Window
We’re not done exploring Liberty Square just yet! In one of the windows on the second story, you’ll notice there is a rifle sitting on the window sill.
This would have been the home of a Minuteman during the Revolutionary times! The rifle in the window would let others in the town know that the man was home from the war and was ready to answer the call to arms if needed.
Lanterns Mean More Than You Think
There’s even more in Liberty Square! Paul Revere coined the saying “one if by land, two if by sea” as a way to tell others how the British were arriving. And Disney added in that detail!
In Liberty Square, you’ll spot a window with two lanterns. Take a look and see how the British will be coming!
Have to use the bathroom while you’re in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom? Well, you’re out of luck. Disney designed the land with no bathrooms because those wouldn’t have existed in colonial times!
But if you look down, you’ll notice that there is a brown-colored pavement in the middle of the sidewalk. It is meant to represent the sewage in colonial times. People would toss their waste outside, and the sewage would collect it. You’ll never walk through Liberty Square the same after knowing that!
Dumbo Was Here
When you’re visiting Dumbo the Flying Elephant, look down at the ground!
You’re at the circus so you’ll spot elephant footprints and peanuts!
Can You Solve This Riddle?
By this point, you should know not to walk by anything too fast! Over at the Haunted Mansion, happy haunts are materializing all over the place — even in the queue. As you make your way through the line, you’ll spot five busts.
Each one has a cause of death written on their stone, and, if you take the time to read them, you’ll discover it’s a riddle! Solve it to figure out who killed whom.
Grandma, is That You?
Disney isn’t known for taking shortcuts, but every once in a while, when they’re pretty sure we won’t notice, they’ll repurpose an animatronic. The next time you’re riding Haunted Mansion, you just might notice something familiar.
The ghost in Haunted Mansion is the same as the grandmother in Carousel of Progress!
Evidence of a Horse
Remember to always look at the ground! Over in the Tangled bathroom area, you’ll notice that Maximus has been there, too.
His footprints are all over the ground!
Can You Find Pascal?
While you may not be inclined to stay near the bathrooms for a while, do it! Hidden all over the Tangled bathroom area is Rapunzel’s buddy Pascal.
He can change colors so he blends in pretty well, but it makes for a fun scavenger hunt.
Plans for the Music Box
Ever been to Be Our Guest Restaurant? When you dine in the Rose Gallery, you’ll notice an oversized Beauty and the Beast music box in the center of the room.
Pay close attention when you go to Enchanted Tales with Belle — Maurice left the plans for the music box on his desk in his workshop!
Passing of the Deed
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh used to be the home of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Like many other Disney rides that get transformed into something new, there is a nod to the former attraction.
If you look behind you when you enter Owl’s house, there is a picture frame with Mr. Toad passing the deed to Owl.
Can You Spot the Nautilus?
There’s another nod to a former ride in the queue for Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid.
The location used to be home to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, so you’ll spot a nautilus in the rock work!
Spot Captain Hook and Mr. Smee Outside of Neverland
When you’re riding on Pirates of the Caribbean, your attention is easily drawn to the mischief of Captain Jack Sparrow. But there are some other recognizable pirates on your sail!
Take a look at the pirate drowning Mayor Carlos and his buddy in one of the first scenes. One has a hook for one hand and the other has a striped shirt! Looks a lot like Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, well, because it’s supposed to!
Wild, Wild West
Whether you’re dining at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe or making your way over to Splash Mountain, you might notice that the wooden platforms in Frontierland are raised. It’s intentional!
Back in the Western days, ladies didn’t want their skirts to drag through the mud, so towns raised the sidewalks. No need to worry about your dress here! You’ll also spot some pillars with a hook to tie your horse up while you stop in for a bite to eat.
It’s Always Twilight
It’s always kind of relaxing to visit the Mexico Pavilion in EPCOT — no matter what time of day it is, it’s twilight in the pavilion.
Disney did this intentionally because, in Mexican culture, twilight is the time of day for gathering and socializing.
Even The Grass On The Roof Is Real
Next door in the Norway Pavilion, you’ll notice that the roofs are covered in grass — and it’s real!
This would be what you’d see in Scandinavia so of course, the Imagineers added it to the pavilion. The grass is well maintained by the horticulture team so even the roof is impeccable!
Check Out The Norwegian Fortress
Don’t leave Norway just yet; take a look inside Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
The interior was designed to look exactly like a real Norwegian fortress! You’ll even spot gun turrets and all!
Look for the Cuckoo Clock
Over in the Germany Pavilion, every hour on the hour, the pavilion comes to life!
There’s a giant cuckoo clock at the back of the pavilion that chimes on the house, and two wooden children come out for the occasion. You’ll need to be there at just the right time to spot this one!
A Nod to King Triton
Even the Italy Pavilion has some cool details. The large fountain in the pavilion is meant to represent the God of the Sea, Neptune.
Sounds pretty close to King Triton from Disney’s The Little Mermaid if you ask us! Take a closer look at him — he’s even got a conch shell!
Disney Made Their Own Roman Numeral
Roman numerals can be complicated enough, but Disney defied the rules and made one of their own. In American Adventure, the clock at the top of the building has colonial numbers.
Take a closer look and you’ll see that the number four isn’t quite correct. It is represented as IIII not IV to make it easier to read from a distance.
The Hollywood Hotel is in Morocco
When you’re looking at the Morocco Pavilion across the World Showcase Lagoon, you might not see anything abnormal at first. But keep looking!
In the background, you can see The Hollywood Tower Hotel at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Imagineers knew that you would be able to see Tower of Terror from the Morocco Pavilion so they designed the exterior to blend right in!
Listen For More Conversations
Spend some time in the Morocco Pavilion, and you might hear more people than you see.
If you listen closely in the pavilion, you’ll hear conversations between merchants and their customers in the market.
Don’t Forget To Look Up
Have you figured out that you should be looking literally everywhere when you’re walking around Disney World? Disney wanted the UK Pavilion to feel accurate so they added some extra details in the form of soot.
When you look up at the top of the buildings, you’ll notice that the chimneys in the pavilion were painted with soot to look more realistic.
Property of Mr. Banks
If you head into The Toy Soldier, you’ll spot an umbrella rack near the entrance.
Look closely — it is addressed to Mr. Banks, 17 Cherry Tree Ln., London!
There Are Even Four Seasons In Florida
There may not be any real change between winter, spring, summer, and fall in Florida, but Disney still brings the seasons over at EPCOT.
In the Canada Pavilion, Disney changes the landscaping throughout the year to represent the nature and climate of Canada throughout all four seasons.
Gas Stations Are More Than They Seem
When you first enter Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you might quickly walk past the retro gas station to your right. But it’s worth stopping to take a look at the details!
One of the gas pumps has a series of numbers that signify May 1st, 1989 — the opening date of the park!
Original Star Caricatures
When you visit Hollywood Brown Derby for lunch or dinner, take a moment to look around at the artwork on the wall. At the actual Hollywood Brown Derby in California, caricature artists would draw famous people who came to dine.
Disney brought the same caricature-studded walls to the restaurant when they recreated it in Disney World. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that some of the drawings are in a gold picture frame — those are the real deal and came from the original restaurant when they closed! The others in black frames are copies.
Billboard for The Hollywood Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard
Just as you’re turning to go down Sunset Boulevard, look up to your right. You’ll spot a billboard for a new local hotel — The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Anyone planning to ~drop~ in?
Props from Twilight Zone
If you were a fan of the Twilight Zone back in the day, then you’ll recognize a lot of props from the show as you make your way through the Tower of Terror. One of the most notable (or creepy) is the dummy that watches you as you get off the ride.
He’s from the episode “Caesar and Me,” where he manipulates his owner. Even though we know he’s there, our heart always jumps a little when we spot him.
Mickey, is that you?
Speaking of Tower of Terror, did you know there’s a Hidden Mickey on the ride?
You’ll have to know where to look to spot this one! During the pre-show, as the family rides the elevator and lightning strikes, the little girl is actually holding an original Mickey plush!
Toy Story Land has HUGE footprints from Andy!
When you visit Toy Story Land at Hollywood Studios, everything is oversized. Why? Well, you’re just another toy in Andy’s box when you’re here!
And if you look down, you’ll see just how small you are. Andy’s GIANT kid footprints are on the ground!
The Pixar team loves the sequence A113 and hide it in every movie as an ode to the classroom number at Cal Arts where many of them learned to animate. To remember the good ol’ days, they hide it within Pixar movies, and it’s even hidden in Toy Story Land.
Over by Woody’s Lunch Box, you’ll find a small patch of grass with blocks and dominos. The block has the letter “A” and the dominos each have dots for 1, 1, and 3!
Remember “The Great Movie Ride”
It wasn’t too long ago that Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway was known as “The Great Movie Ride.” And like other rides that have undergone a makeover, Disney added in a nod to the former ride in the new!
When you’re boarding the ride, look at the posters on the wall. One says “The Great Moving Ride.” That’s pretty close if you ask us!
Eight Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway in Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Look Down For Droids
Are you still walking through Disney and not looking down? We’re telling you, glance at the ground! In Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, you’ll find droid tracks on the ground.
If you’re really a Star Wars fan, you might notice that one track looks familiar. It is the footprints from the original R2-D2!
Trash From a Galaxy Far, Far Away
Don’t just throw away trash without a glance in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Look closely!
Each trash can has a serial number that is identical to the one seen in the trash compactor scene with Han Solo, Chewbacca, Luke, and Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope.
View an Iconic Battle Scene Up-Close
There are even MORE hidden details in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios! When you’re visiting the Market, stop into Toydarian Toymakers and look up.
You’ll spot quite a few toy fighters soaring above the shop. Look even closer and you’ll notice that the toys are actually positioned mid-fight during the iconic battle scene with the Millennium Falcon, TIE Fighters, and the Star Destroyer!
A Land That Never Came To Be
When Disney was creating Animal Kingdom, the original plan was to have another land in the park called the Beastly Kingdom. Think mythical creatures!
Though it never came to be, there is still a nod to the original idea at the ticketing booth in front of the entrance to Animal Kingdom. Look for the dragon!
There’s a Dragon in Pandora
And that’s not the only Beastly Kingdom detail. On your way into Pandora — The World of Avatar, you can spot a fountain with stones that looks like a dragon.
It’s another nod to the land that Disney ended up scrapping!
Route 498 in DinoLand
If you’re someone who notices little details, you might wonder why there are so many things that say 498 in DinoLand USA.
Animal Kingdom opened in April of 1998 on Earth Day so you’re looking at another way that Disney hides their milestones in the parks!
Dinos and Their Condiments
Now, this detail is SUPER random. When you’re boarding Dinosaur and preparing to travel to pre-historic times and pick up a big dino, glance up at the pipes.
They are labeled with the chemical makeup of ketchup, mustard, and mayo and are even colored to match. Pretty random, huh? Well, the ride was originally sponsored by McDonald’s so condiments running through pipes was a must!
Human Handprints in Pandora — The World of Avatar
As you’re exiting Flight of Passage in Pandora — The World of Avatar, you might notice a few human handprints in red on the wall. The handprints have the initials JC, JR, and JL underneath.
These are the handprints from James Cameron (Avatar director), Jon Landau (Avatar producer), and Joe Rohde (Imagineering Lead). They got to leave their mark on the attraction!
There’s a FAKE Waterfall
This detail is pretty mindblowing when you realize — Disney has been fooling us! In the Flight of Passage queue you see this large waterfall, but further up in the rock is a smaller one — and it’s fake!
Yup, 100% not water. Disney actually used some pretty convincing fabric on a rotating wheel to make it look like a real waterfall. But they didn’t do this just for fun, it’s actually a forced perspective trick — the waterfall moves slower than normal so that it appears further than it actually is.
Michael Jackson on Kali River Rapids
Did you know that Michael Jackson LOVED the Kali River Rapids ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? It’s true!
And because he loved it so much, Disney commemorated it with a painting! In the last room at the end of the queue, you can spot a small painting with Michael Jackson riding in a raft!
Shrine to the Yeti
Just in case the Yeti is real, the locals in Asia at Animal Kingdom created a shrine to the Yeti. You can find the shrine on your walk to Expedition Everest.
The shrine is sized to mimic the structure of the Forbidden Mountain, and locals left food and trinkets in honor of the monster in the mountain!
Now Showing: Festival of the Lion King
If you’re looking for a sugary midday pick-me-up, head on over to Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Animal Kingdom! But take some time to look around the walls outside of the shop!
There are a lot of posters, including some for a hit new show in the Harambe Theatre — Festival of the Lion King! There’s also a bike and inspirational quote on the wall to lift your spirits.
Russel and Dug statues outside of the theater for Up! A Great Bird Adventure
49 details later and if you’ve learned anything, it’s to never walk too fast without looking around for some Disney details! And even the Up! A Great Bird Adventure show has something to look for.
Russell and Dug are outside of the theater to congratulate you on your great work as a Wilderness Explorer!
There you have it, 50 details at Walt Disney World that you might notice if you’re going too fast. Now you can spend your next trip going on the ultimate Disney nerd scavenger hunt around the parks!
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Have you spotted any of these details in the Disney Parks? Let us know in the comments!