When you look up “Disney facts” on Google, you can guarantee you’ll get the same mix of facts from most sites. Magic Kingdom is actually on the second story, Epcot was originally planned to be a real city, the list goes on and on.
We love Disney history and facts, and we wanted to share ten unique facts that we bet you didn’t know! Read more below, and let us know in the comments if you knew these facts!
1. The Haunted Mansion ghosts aren’t projections, they’re created by an illusion called Pepper’s Ghost
The ghosts in the ballroom scene on the Haunted Mansion aren’t projections or holographs. They’re actually created through an illusion called “Pepper’s Ghost”, where real animatronics are reflected on a large piece of glass which creates a hologram effect.
This picture shows the animatronics that are backstage. If you are on the ride, all you’ll see is the reflection of them. Want to see these in person? Go on the Marceline to Magic tour and you can go backstage Haunted Mansion!
2. Hollywood Studios was originally a concept for a pavilion at Epcot
The original concept for Hollywood Studios wasn’t a park, it was an “entertainment pavilion” in Future World at Epcot.
Imagineers realized the potential this idea had, so they turned it into a concept for a third park! Read more here.
3. Animal Kingdom was planned to have a land called Beastly Kingdom, created in “Phase II” of the park creation
Animal Kingdom was planned to be built in two phases. Phase 1 included Dinoland, Africa, Discovery Island, and the Oasis. Phrase 2 was going to include a land called “Beastly Kingdom” which would have been full of magical and mystical creatures (unicorns, dragons, and more!).
This land was scrapped due to budgetary reasons, and the area was turned into Camp Minnie Mickey. It now holds Pandora! The imagineers who dreamed up the Beastly Kingdom brought their ideas to Universal Studios. Read more here.
4. There’s a land called the Enchanted Forest at Magic Kingdom
The “New Fantasyland” area in Magic Kingdom actually has a name: the Enchanted Forest! The castle walls you see before entering are to show that the area is still in Fantasyland, but outside of the physical castle walls that you would see in a medieval kingdom.
5. The Castle Suite Used to be Offices
Have you heard of the Cinderella Suite in the Castle? This was originally intended to be an apartment for Walt and his family. When Walt passed away, the plans were set aside and the castle was actually used as communications offices for many years. In 2006, the dream suite was built!
6. There’s no kitchen in a WDW restaurant
Speaking of the castle, have you ever dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table? There’s no kitchen in this restaurant! The food is prepared in the Utilidors and a dumbwaiter carries it up to a small prep room in the back of the restaurant!
7. Expedition Everest is actually not the mountain Everest
Did you know that Expedition Everest is not actually meant to resemble the mountain Everest? The name of the mountain is actually the “Forbidden Mountain”. This mountain’s fictional story is that Norbu and Bob, two entrepreneurs, restored a rail line to take expeditioners to Everest!
8. Fastpasses meant completely new queues
The paper Fastpass system was not introduced into the parks until 1999! Some rides had two queues to alleviate crowds (think Space Mountain), but the introduction of the Fastpass system lead to an overhaul of many of the rides queues to accommodate the other line.
9. The Top of Spaceship Earth used to be completely different
Ever wondered what is at the top of Spaceship Earth? It always seemed unusual to us that at the very peak all you saw was darkness as you completed the 360 degree turn. Well, that’s because the renovation of Spaceship Earth removed the props from the top! Originally, there was a model of Epcot (the city), the International Space Station, astronauts, and a projection of the night sky! Read more here.
10. There’s a Parking Lot Next to Magic Kingdom
Right behind Main Street there is a massive backstage area and parking lot! You would never know when you are immersed in the park environment, but a quick look at Google Earth, or on a backstage tour, and you’ll see how different Magic Kingdom looks from above! For more backstage looks, check out this article.