JEAN WELLS TRAVEL
10 Things you might not know about Walt Disney World
1. When dining at the Be Our Guest restaurant, you can remember one of Lumiere's lines and order "the gray stuff" for dessert – it really is delicious!
2. Opening times listed for the parks aren't always exactly accurate – guests are often let through the gates as early as 15 minutes beforehand. All the more reason to get there early!
3. There are no lost children at Disney – instead, you'll hear about lost parents. Calling a scared kid "lost" just makes them more afraid they'll be in trouble, so Cast Members shift the "blame" to the parents.
4. Cinderella Castle is an impressive 180 feet tall – Walt wanted it big so any guests who got lost could easily find their way back to a central location. Thanks to a clever trick called "forced perspective," it looks like it's a whopping 300 feet!
5. The reverse is true in Epcot – the large building in the U.S. pavilion, the American Adventure, is actually five stories tall, but reverse forced perspective makes it look only three. If it were as short as it looks, you'd never be able to see it from across the lagoon. Want to check? Send the tallest member of your group to stand next to the doors – they'll still be dwarfed in comparison.
6. Also in Epcot, when you're standing in front of the Mexican pavilion, take a look at Morocco across the lagoon. There's one building behind the others that appears to blend in seamlessly, but is actually the top of the Tower of Terror – in a completely different park! During its construction, Imagineers realized the Tower would be visible from Epcot, so they intentionally camouflaged it.
7. Walt originally intended for Epcot to be a functioning community, where new city planning concepts could be tried out. After his death, it became a park instead, but the plan lives on in its name, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow.
8. Speaking of Walt, if you've seen Saving Mr. Banks, you know he wanted everyone working for him to go by their first names – that's why all Cast Member name tags have just a first name on them – not even a last initial.
9. Walt Disney World is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the United States – only the U.S. military comes in ahead of them.
10. OK, you probably know about the tunnel network under Magic Kingdom, called the Utilidor system. What you might not know is that because you can't dig underground in sea-level Florida, the tunnels are actually at ground level and the park itself is on the "second floor!"
Keep those travelin' shoes ready!