No matter how many times you’ve walked down Main Street, those first moments of being in Magic Kingdom and seeing Cinderella Castle are totally overwhelming — but not in a bad way. It’s wild to think about how carefully constructed and calculated every last detail in the park is by the Imagineers and other Cast Members who brought it to life, from the attractions themselves to the pavement under your feet.
So much work and thought has gone into making Magic Kingdom a place that people keep wanting to come back to year after year, and of course, there’s far more to this park than meets the eye.
Whether you’ve been to Disney World before or you’re planning your first visit, there are still plenty of cool things you might not know about the resort’s castle park. Keep reading for the most fascinating secrets behind Magic Kingdom.
1. The park is built on top of an underground network of tunnels.
You may have heard rumors that there’s an underground world beneath the Magic Kingdom, and that rumor is, at least partially, true. Called the Utilidors, this area is home to the Cast Members’ Mousketeria, the park’s trash compactors, and other essential functions for the park. One of the primary purposes of the tunnels is to keep the magic alive, as Cast Members can walk beneath the park to get from place to place — that’s why you’ll never see someone dressed as a creepy Haunted Mansion made right in the middle of Fantasyland!
The Utilidors are typically reserved for Cast Member use only, but if you want to check them out for yourself, there is a way to do it. Guests who are 16 and older can take the Keys to the Kingdom tour, an in-depth, five hour walking tour of the Magic Kingdom and some backstage areas of the park, including the tunnels.
2. There’s a suite inside of Cinderella Castle.
Yes, the legendary suite inside of Cinderella Castle is real, and unfortunately, not just anyone can stay there for the night. Typically, the suite is used for contest winners (and occasionally celebrities) and cannot be booked without an invitation, which is obviously a huge bummer for the many Disney fans who have spending the night here on their bucket lists.
The interior looks exactly how you’d imagine a suite inside a fairytale castle would, with all the magical Disney touches you’d expect that brings Cinderella’s guest room to life. The lucky few who get to stay here will take a private elevator up to the suite, which sleeps six and features bedchambers, a salon, and a seriously impressive bathroom. You can check out a tour here, but expect to experience FOMO like never before!
3. The trash system is incredibly complex.
You probably already know that the trash cans at Disney World are a bit more magical than trash cans anywhere else — they all fit the theming of each land in all of the parks, and are strategically placed every 30 feet to make sure that guests are never tempted to drop their trash on the ground when they can’t find a receptacle.
It’s also rare to find a trash can overflowing at the Magic Kingdom, in part thanks to a system that uses a vacuum to suck the trash down a series of underground tubes. The trash is vacuumed down about every 15 minutes at 60 miles per hour at 16 different collection points around Magic Kingdom, at which point it is compacted and removed. And meanwhile, everyone’s enjoying their day at the park without knowing any of this is going on down below!
4. The windows on Main Street are like the opening credits of the park.
Next time you walk down Main Street, U.S.A., look up — you’ll notice that there are names on the shop windows along the street. These are the names of real people who had a special part in bringing Disney World to life, from Walt Disney’s family members to Imagineers and beyond, like:
- Mary Blair:
- “Center Street – Painting & Sculpture – Collin Campbell, Herbert Ryman, Blaine Gibson, Mary Blair, Dorothea Redmond” (Center Street)
- Tony Baxter:
- “The Camelot Core—Road Show Installations—Tony Baxter, Dave Burkhart, Ed Johnson, Gary Younger” (Magic Kingdom)
- Marc Davis:
- “Big Top Theatrical – Claude Coats, Marc Davis, John DeCuir, Bill Justice” (Above the Main Street Athletic Club)
- Walt Disney:
- Walter E. Disney – Graduate School of Design & Master Planning – Instructors, Howard Brummitt, Marvin Davis, Fred Hope – Headmaster, Richard Irvine – Dean of Design, John Hench – Instructors, Vic Greene, Bill Martin, Chuck Myall (Above the Plaza Restaurant)
- “Walt Disney World Railroad Office – Keeping Dreams on Track – Walter E. Disney, Chief Engineer” (Above the Railroad Station)
- Chuck Fowler:
- “The Back Lot – Props & Scenic Backdrop – Frank Millington, Chuck Fowler, Hank Dains, Marshall Smelser” (Center Street-Above Crystal Arts)
- Bob Gurr:
- “The Big Wheel Co. – Horseless Carriages – Bob Gurr” (Above Main Street Fashion and Apparel)
- Don and Ub Iwerks:
- “Iwerks-Iwerks Stereoscopic Cameras – Ub Iwerks, Don Iwerks – Repairs, Modifications” (Above the Main Street Bakery)
- Joe Potter:
- “General Joe’s Building Permits Licensed in Florida Gen. Joe Potter, Raconteur” (Above Confectionery)
- Card Walker:
- “Dr. Card Walker – Licensed Practitioner of Psychiatry – And Justice of the Peace – ‘We Never Close’ (Except for Golf)” (Above the Emporium)
- Frank Wells:
- “Seven Summits Expeditions – Frank G. Wells, President – ‘For Those Who Want To Do It All'” (Above Crystal Arts)
5. The oak tree in Liberty Square has a special meaning.
The main focal point of Liberty Square (you know, besides the Hall of Presidents) is a giant oak tree, and while some of the trees at Disney World aren’t real — like the Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom — this one totally is, and it comes with a cool story.
The Liberty Tree is over 100 years old, and was originally found elsewhere on Disney property. It made an eight-mile move over to Magic Kingdom, where it still stands today. The thirteen lanterns that hang from its branches represent the thirteen original colonies of the US.
6. There’s a hidden Mickey on one of the rides that only appears once a year.
If you love hunting for Hidden Mickey and want to see the rarest one at Disney World, you’ll need to visit Magic Kingdom on November 18 — Mickey Mouse’s birthday. Thanks to where the sun is shining around noon on that day, you can see the light create a hidden Mickey close to the ground just as you enter the indoor portion of the queue for Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid. It only lasts for a few minutes, making it even more special.
7. The wedding ring in the pavement outside of Haunted Mansion comes with a cool story.
Different people (and different movies) have their own theories about the backstory of the Haunted Mansion, and most of those stories have to do with Constance Hatchaway, the knife-wielding bride who you see in the attic on the ride. One of the most common stories is that she threw her wedding ring out the window of the attic, where it landed on the ground near the queue — and sure enough, outside of the mansion, you can see the ring embedded in the pavement.
The real story about that ring on the ground goes a little differently, though. Even though everything at Disney seems intentional, this detail wasn’t. The “ring” is actually a piece of metal that refused to come out of the concrete when Cast Members removed a pole from the area, and when someone tried to pry it out with a screwdriver, the tip got stuck, too, which is what looks like a diamond on the ring. Pretty cool coincidence!
But given how many people love spotting the ring when visiting the mansion, when Disney finally removed the piece of metal to change around the queue area, they ended up replacing it with an actual custom designed ring, allowing this legend to live on. Want to see it for yourself? Check near Captain Culpepper Clyne’s tomb.
8. There are nods to the Imagineers who worked on the park everywhere.
The windows on Main Street aren’t the only area that pays tribute to Disney’s Imagineers and their hard work. Many of them have all left their own little signatures on the projects they’ve worked on, which can be just as fun to look for as a hidden Mickey (which we can also thank Imagineers for).
For example: Those cherubs painted on the ceiling in the ballroom inside of Be Our Guest? Their faces were actually created from baby photos of the Imagineers who worked on the restaurant, along with some of their own children.
9. Not all of the flags in the Magic Kingdom are real.
If you live in the United States, there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with all of the rules about the proper way to handle American flags. There’s just one problem: It would be hard, if not impossible, for Disney to follow these rules, considering how many flags are on Main Street alone. To avoid that logistical nightmare, the flags you see flying on top of the buildings actually have fewer stars and stripes than an official American flag, making them props who are not subject to the U.S. Flag Code.
There is one actual American flag on Main Street, though: the one you see in Town Square as soon as you enter the park. Every day, you can watch the Flag Retreat ceremony at 5 p.m., which can be pretty emotional! Veterans of the United States military can even volunteer to participate by stopping by City Hall as soon as the park opens.
10. There’s a reason there are no bathrooms in Liberty Square.
Disney is all about the details, and this one is particularly historically accurate. Since indoor plumbing wasn’t a thing in colonial America, there aren’t any restrooms in Liberty Square, either. If you need to go, you’ll need to head to Fantasyland to the Tangled restrooms.
11. That smell on Main Street is more than just freshly baked cookies.
Yes, many of the treats served in the Magic Kingdom do smell delicious, but that overwhelming sugary scent wafting through the air outside of the Main Street Confectionery isn’t just from the baked goods. These scents are created with the help of Smellitizers to entice you to come in and grab a snack — the same technology that allows us to smell Rome burning in Spaceship Earth or the ocean over Fiji in Soarin’ Around the World.
This is just scratching the surface of all of the cool details and secrets there are to discover in the Magic Kingdom — and another reason to plan your next trip!
Curious about what secrets the other parks hold? Check out our other posts!
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