Whether you’re a Disney World expert or you’re getting ready to plan your first trip, there are places all around Disney World that lots of guests (including, potentially, you) might totally skip or not even notice are there.
There’s one spot in particular that SO many people may have never visited, even if they’ve been to Magic Kingdom hundreds of times. We’ll give you a hint — it’s right at the front of the park, kind-of hidden in plain sight, and a treasure trove for those who love Walt Disney and learning all kinds of amazing park details. No idea what we’re talking about?
Allow us to introduce you to the one spot in all of Disney World you’ve likely NEVER been and might not even know exists.
Picture it: you’re walking into Magic Kingdom. You scan your ticket, you take a picture in front of the Main Street, U.S.A., train station with that beautiful Mickey made out of flowers and more in front, and then you head under the left or ride side, underneath the train’s elevated rails, and into Town Square.
You pick up a map on your way through, and RUN to see the Castle! Then, it’s off to grab a Starbucks coffee, ride some attractions in Tomorrowland, hop on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train — who knows!? Your magical day in the parks has just begun and you’re FULL of excitement of what’s to come.
But, unknowingly, you’ve just TOTALLY walked past one of the coolest places in the park! To find it, you’ll need to back-track a little and head to the Main Street, U.S.A., train station. You can enter our secret spot from a few different places, but one of the easiest is just straight through the area in the photo below!
If you walk underneath that upper train station platform you’ll find yourself in a place you may have NEVER explored before!
This lower level of the train station is full of so many amazing details — it’s truly like a little mini-museum. Not only is it full of information, it’s also packed with amazing little things that are meant to make you feel like you’re in a true train station. Anyone up to get their shoes shined?
Throughout the space, you’ll see four main framed items talking about the four trains that run on the Walt Disney World Railroad. If you weren’t aware, each of the trains is named after someone very specific and with great significance to the Disney company.
First, there’s the Roger E. Broggie. In this area, you’ll find a photo of Mr. Broggie, a description of the train, and a description of the man it was named after. Broggie actually helped Walt Disney create the 1/8 scale stream train that would travel around Walt’s backyard, called the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. That later served as the model for the Disneyland Railroad and the inspiration for the Walt Disney World Railroad. Also: did you know Broggie was actually Walt’s FIRST Imagineer?!
Broggie helped develop the technology used for Audio-Animatronics and Disney theme park conveyance systems, like the OmniMover system which is used on many attractions, including The Haunted Mansion. He was later recognized as a Disney Legend.
Near the framed details about Roger Broggie, you’ll find a photo of Roy O. Disney and details about the train that is named after him. Did you know that the Roy O. Disney train is both the oldest and newest steam train in the park? It was built in 1916(!!!) but was the only steam engine that didn’t debut at Magic Kingdom’s opening in 1971.
Instead, this engine debuted in December of that year. The train actually worked on the United Railways of the Yucatan, and Roger Broggie (hey, we know that name!) found it in the company’s boneyard in 1969.
If you’re wondering who the train is named after, well, Roy O. Disney was Walt Disney’s brother and lifelong business partner. You may have already known that, but did you know that Roy actually worked as a candy butcher on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway starting in 1915?! So his history with trains goes way back. After Walt’s death, it was Roy who took over the company’s leadership and really got Walt Disney World finalized and built.
Don’t forget that aside from seeing the details about the train named after him, you can also stop by the statue of Roy and Minnie just to give a bit of thanks to one of the people who made all of the magic possible.
Throughout that space on the bottom floor of the train station, you’ll also find railroad maps. The one below says it is an official railroad map of Dakota issued by the railroad commissioners, November 1st, 1886.
There’s also a map of the Geneva & Hornellsville Railway.
And one back wall is full of even MORE train maps! Up above on the shelf you’ll also find what appear to be pieces of luggage or other boxes potentially belonging to train passengers who have passed through.
Throughout this space, you’ll want to make sure you look UP! You’ll find more of those little luggage details and what not, but also toward the center of the back area, you’ll find this fantastic clock hanging from the ceiling. Don’t want to be late for your train!
On the left-hand side of that main, large space under the train platform, you’ll also find a photo of Lillian Disney and the engine named after her. The Lilly Belle was built in 1928 and operated on the United Railways of Yucatan. It was another one found by Roger Broggie in a boneyard in Mexico. It was later shipped to Florida, where it was converted to the standards needed for the trains here.
The name Lillian Disney is one you might also recognize. She was, of course, the wife of Walt Disney for 41 years.
Lillian met Walt when she applied for a job inking and painting animation cels for the Disney brothers cartoon studio. Did you know that when Walt was building his miniature rail line, some of his plans would have the train run through Lillian’s newly planted flower beds? Thankfully, they were able to reach some compromises, and the Carolwood Pacific Railroad was born.
Below the framed items talking about the Lilly Belle, you’ll also find some luggage and other pieces that may have belonged to train passengers. Just be sure to remember to carry all of your luggage with you and not leave anything behind during your adventures!
In terms of the Disney World train photos and descriptions, the last one you’ll find in this space is for a train named after the man who started it all — Walter E. Disney. The Walter E. Disney was built in 1925 and again worked on the United Railways of Yucatan.
The man it’s named after is one you likely know very well, and you’ve probably heard of Walt’s fascination with trains. But do you know how far back Walt’s connection with trains goes? As the plaque explains, Walt actually traveled the rails of the Missouri Pacific Railroad selling newspapers and candy as a boy. Walt dreamed of becoming a railroad engineer, but his life ultimately ended up going down a different path.
Still, Walt kept his love of trains and later focused on building the Carolwood Pacific — his own 1/8 scale, live steam railway in his backyard. In a back area of this first floor of the train station, closer to the stroller rentals area, you’ll even find photos of Walt riding his little model train.
Just past the plaque detailing the details about the Walt E. Disney engine, you’ll find a framed box with all kinds of train-related items including some locks and keys, pamphlets, and more.
If you look closely, you’ll find all kinds of different things including an Adult Round Trip ticket for the Lahaina Kaanapali & Pacific Rail Road — The Sugar Cane Train.
As you head to the back areas of the space, again closer to the stroller rental area, you’ll find even more train-related details. There are more photos of trains, a “Baggage Claim” door, and even a rack for hats — seems one of the passengers has left their hat behind!
Looking for your luggage? Well, it might be over here by the Bulletin board!
Speaking of the Bulletin Board, that board alone is full of amazing details. On the south bound side, it looks like the Carolwood Pacific is on time and due to arrive at 8:15. Of course, the Carolwood Pacific is a reference to the miniature train Walt created in his backyard which we’ve mentioned throughout this post.
It looks like the Grizzly Flats Express is also on time and set to arrive at 8:45. Grizzly Flats Railroad is actually the name of Disney animator Ward Kimball’s own backyard railroad. There’s also a reference to the Wilderness Line, which likely refers to the Fort Wilderness Railroad line that did not last for very long.
The bulletin also has many more references like a mention of a North Bound train that’s been delayed which is under the name of D. Crockett, named, presumably, after the legendary Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. The north bound side also references Roger Broggie and the Lilly Belle, which we’ve already discussed. There’s also a reference to Ward Kimball, again who worked closely with Disney as an animator. And there are references to some trains at Disney parks around the world.
There’s also a reference to “Eastern Star” at the bottom. Eastern Star Railways is the name of the fictional railways that forms part of the history of the Harambe and Rafiki’s Planet Watch areas, and the Wildlife Express Train, in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
And that’s just the beginning! You could sit and spot many more references on this bulletin board and throughout this entire area.
Next time you’re passing through Magic Kingdom, you might want to take a second, come back to this spot, and admire all of the amazing train-related and historical details that are scattered throughout. It’s a spot not many seem to notice or really focus on, but it’s one that you might truly enjoy.
We’ll keep an eye out for more great Disney details, hidden facts, and more, and bring you all the latest!
Enjoy more Disney history at the links below!
- The Biggest Ticket Price Increases We’ve Seen in Walt Disney World History
- How ‘Roger Rabbit’ Almost Took Over the Disney Parks
- The Weird Parts of Disney History You Probably Forgot About
- Hidden Rooms and Toilet Paper? The History of Cinderella Castle
- 22 Details You Missed on Disney World’s Most Popular Rides
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Have you ever visited this are in Magic Kingdom? Tell us in the comments!