From secrets about the way some classic food is prepared to places around Disney World that many guests do NOT have access to, today we’re breaking down all of those secrets with you.
You know what they say — secrets, secrets are no fun, unless you share with everyone!!
Now, we’ve tried to be VERY careful in crafting this list as we don’t want to “ruin the magic” for anyone or share too many details. But we do have to give a general warning — if you don’t like to know ANYTHING — like ANYTHING AT ALL — about the behind-the-scenes stuff at Disney World, you might want to avert your eyes. But if you’re all about being in-the-know, let’s dive in!
1. Character Hotline
Did you know there is a character hotline that Cast Members can call to see when specific characters will be out and about in the parks? Now, due to COVID-19 restrictions on character meet-and-greets, this hotline may no longer be in effect, so keep that in mind. But, at least pre-COVID, this character hotline did exist.
So if you were at EPCOT and specifically trying to see Goofy, you could ask a Cast Member to call the hotline for you and see when Goofy would be greeting guests.
Cast Members may not want you to know about this as it would ruin a bit of the surprise of just finding or searching for your favorite character. It can also ruin the “magic” of characters sort-of “living” in Disney World and just popping in to say hi. Doesn’t sound quite as magical when they say, “yeah, Goofy’s got his shift from 2-2:30PM.” BUT if you had a specific character in mind that you HAD to meet, it could be a handy tool. Again, just keep in mind it may not be available now due to COVID-19.
2. Food Secrets
There are SO many snacks to enjoy all throughout Disney World, and some have truly become classics like the churros, pretzels, and more. But there are secrets behind some of the food at Disney World that Cast Members might not want you to know! Not all of Disney’s classic snacks are made fresh each day by Cast Members in the kitchens in the back. Instead, some snacks in Disney World are just frozen in a box and are then heated appropriately in the parks.
Does that make them less delicious? No way! But Cast Members might not want you to know that they aren’t being hand-crafted every day.
Another secret Cast Members might not want you to know about is one thing that many guests try to do — which is spread the ashes of their family members or friends in Disney World. Every year, ashes get scattered in multiple attractions or spots in Disney World, but one of the most popular places is the Haunted Mansion. Back in 2018, according to a Wall Street Journal article, Disney custodians said they would pick up ashes about once a month!
The ashes generally (when located and found) will be cleaned up with a special vacuum or other tools as needed. And it should be noted that spreading the ashes of your loved ones in Disney World is strictly prohibited and unlawful. Guests who try to do this will be escorted off property, according to one Disney official.
But based on the stories, there may be quite a few more spirits in the Haunted Mansion than those original 999 Happy Haunts!
4. Secret Tunnels
Truly, there is a whole WORLD underneath Magic Kingdom with the Utilidors! As you enter Magic Kingdom, you’re actually stepping onto the second floor of the park. The first floor is beneath you, and it covers nearly the entire park with a series of tunnels. Only Cast Members are allowed in this special area, and they utilize it to get around the park without being seen by guests.
There is also a lot of technology, equipment, supplies, and more that are stored in the Utilidors. And there are even special things down there like areas for the Cast Members to eat, get haircuts, and more! It’s its own tiny city.
If you see a “Cast Members only” sign in Disney World, that might be a door that leads down to the tunnels! If you (as a guest) want to visit them, you can sign up for a Disney Tour that includes a peek at the Utilidors, like the Keys to the Kingdom tour.
But Magic Kingdom isn’t the only park with secret tunnels! There is also a similar tunnel system in EPCOT, too, but it is much smaller than Magic Kingdom’s set of tunnels and is basically limited just to part of Future World.
5. Your Nose Knows
Ever walk down Main Street, U.S.A., and suddenly get hit with the sweet smell of treats from the Main Street Confectionery? Then, before you know it, your feet have brought you right into the store, and you’ve bought two cookies, one Mickey Rice Krispy Treat, and a cupcake?! Well, your nose may have led you there thanks to one Disney secret.
Disney actually uses what many call “Smellitzers” to pump certain scents at specific points in Disney World, including spots like the Main Street Confectionery or on certain rides to give you an experience that really impacts ALL of your senses.
These powerful scents can make you feel nostalgic, help immerse you into the story of the ride, and sometimes even tempt you to buy a sweet treat or two! Sneaky, sneaky, Disney World!
6. An Abandoned Island
When you think of Disney World, you probably think of things being kept up really nice, maintained well, cleaned constantly, sometimes repainted, and just generally kept in good working order. But not everything at Disney World has been kept in tip-top shape. There’s actually an entire former Disney experience just sitting, in the middle of a body of water at Disney World, TOTALLY ABANDONED. It is called Discovery Island.
The island used to be home to a special Disney experience that allowed guests to view tropical birds and all kinds of wildlife including deer, alligators, and more. There was a walk-through aviary, bird shows, and other activities for the guests to enjoy.
But, with the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, coupled with poor guest attendance at Discovery Island, the island eventually was closed and many of the animals were actually relocated to Animal Kingdom.
But the various structures on the Island were not dismantled and removed. Instead, almost like a scene out of a horror film, the structures on the Island have simply been left there, abandoned, allowed to deteriorate and be overtaken by wildlife. It’s VERY eerie.
The Island is guarded, and guests are NOT allowed to visit, but if you want to float past it, you can rent a boat from one of the nearby Disney resorts and take some photos from afar!
7. Secrets That Would Ruin the Magic
Okay, so there are a LOT of secrets about just how Disney rides operate and some of the special effects used in them. We’ve talked about some of them before like the Pepper’s Ghost effect which is used on the Haunted Mansion and all of the incredible technology used on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
There are also all kinds of secrets behind things like how guests are picked to be the Rebel Spy on Star Tours or other really unique effects that make the magic feel real.
While some of you out there might absolutely LOVE knowing all the intricate details behind these incredible effects, these are things that Cast Members might not necessarily want you to know about. Many Cast Members don’t want guests to know about the things that could potentially “ruin the magic.”
Instead, a lot of Cast Members genuinely want the magic of the parks to speak for itself, and they want guests to simply sit back, soak it all in, and (for just a little bit) believe that the magic is real.
Now, we can’t blame you for wanting to know HOW everything works on Avatar: Flight of Passage, or just how those dwarfs on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train look SO realistic (it’s something we love to learn about too), but it isn’t necessarily something all of the Cast Members want you to know!
8. Secret Codes and Abbreviations
Thinking of heading to 7DMT as soon as you enter MK and then walking over to PotC? If you can read that sentence, then you may be VERY familiar with the MANY abbreviations and acronyms Cast Members and others use for the rides, parks, hotels, and more in Disney World.
If you have no idea what we’re talking about, you can see our list here of some common abbreviations and acronyms Cast Members use!
But those aren’t the only secret words you might hear spoken in Disney World. Cast Members use a bunch of other codes to indicate different things. For example, there are special codes or signals associated with things like a lost child, different emergencies, and other occurrences in the parks.
Listen carefully the next time you’re in the park — you might just hear a Cast Member mention a “Code V” (let’s just say that’s for when someone has had one too many Dole Whips and may not be feeling too good) or other secret codes.
9. A Color Literally Designed to Make Things GO AWAY
There are some things that Disney just doesn’t want you to see like utility boxes or doors to backstage areas. Sometimes Disney will actually paint those things a specific color called “Go-Away-Green.” This particular shade of green is so unnoticeable, it tends to make those things just blend into the background.
We’ve even seen it used for special construction projects. Keep your eyes open and look carefully for the things Disney is hiding from you in plain sight!
10. Things Aren’t Always Magical
Disney World is the Most Magical Place on Earth, but things don’t always go perfectly. Kids can get fussy and upset, adults can get frustrated and angry (or hangry — that’s a problem, too). And even Cast Members can have a bad day — they are human after all.
Cast Members may experience a particularly bad day if they have to deal with a number of rude guests. So one or more of the Cast Members you might interact with may not be having the most magical experience ever.
BUT they definitely don’t want you to know that. Their job quite literally is to keep things magical for you and make sure you have a fantastic experience, regardless of what else may be going on.
But this is something you should try to remember the next time you visit Disney World — Cast Members face their own unique set of challenges and can have some pretty negative experiences with rude guests. Try, if you can, to be extra kind and see if an extra smile or kindness can turn their day around. You may be surprised how a small gesture can make a BIG difference.
11. That Cast Member Might Not Really Chris from Orlando
Again, Cast Members are human and sometimes, just like you, they forget things they need for work — like their nametags. Nametags are such a BIG part of the Disney brand and look, though. It’s not as though they could go their entire day without wearing a nametag at all. Disney typically has a number of extra name tags with gender neutral names available in the back for them to use temporarily.
In other words, the Chris from Orlando you’re speaking to might not really be Chris from Orlando. They could be John from Salt Lake City or Tina from California. It’s a MYSTERY!
12. Hidden Spots
Aside from the utilidors, there are quite a few other hidden spots all around Disney World. There are some very special Club 33 lounges hidden throughout Disney World, hidden VIP Lounges, and other unique spots that only select individuals can get access to or that can only be accessed for special events.
Some of these are not in use as much anymore or their use has changed over the years, but you’ll want to keep your eyes PEELED for those secret spots!
13. SPOILERS: Stormtrooper Intel
And finally we reach one thing that is VERY spoilery!! If you really don’t like to know how things work at Disney World then you may want to skip this one…
…okay, if you’ve stuck around then get ready!! You know how you see those Stormtroopers talking and making comments in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge? Well, did you know that their sayings are automated?
How do the Cast Members select what automated saying plays? Well, it actually has to do with the movement of their arms/hands. Specific movements trigger different automated recordings.
By making a particular movement, they can try to get a saying that is more negative or positive, but the sayings themselves are pre-recorded. And now you know!!
That’s our list of the 13 things Cast Members don’t necessarily want you to know! Maybe you’ll encounter a few of these, spot a secret door, or even meet a Chris from Orlando who isn’t really Chris from Orlando during your next trip! We’ll keep looking for more Disney secrets, tips, and tricks and we’ll be sure to share them all with you.
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What is one secret you know that you think Cast Members don’t want others to know? Tell us in the comments.