Walt Disney World Best Kept Secrets
|The following list was gathered from the "Your BEST WDW theme park secret!" thread at DISboards.com.
A special thanks to Deb (AKA Dcanoli) for compiling and providing this list.
- Stop and look down at the walkway under your feet. Did you know, for example, that the leaf prints and mud cracks were made by a mold? The Imagineers actually took a large patch of mud, made a cast of it, and then reproduced it for the walkways of "Africa." They even distressed and widened the naturally occurring cracks by squirting them with a hard stream of water from a hose.
- If you’re at the Animal Kingdom and there's a long line to get in, try going through the Rainforest Cafe. There's a park entrance at the rear of the gift shop.
- Each morning, 15 minutes before the schedule opening time, you can go through the turnstiles and head to the Tree of Life area. Soon, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy arrive to welcome you to the park! Soon Mickey appears and gets on the truck and you can follow them into Harambe as the Adventure Begins in the Animal Kingdom!
- There is a game that the children can play as you walk around the park. There are four or five stations throughout. First one you go to, you get a book, and as you finish each one, you get a stamp. We found this on the way to Conservation Station. On the right as you walk along the walkway from the train to Conservation Building, there is a small garden with a couple of CMs there. They have different cards and give them to the children and the children have to find the bugs in the garden. Of course, the bugs are not real. Actually, we all got involved and it way loads of fun.
- You have to slow down and look! Most of the good stuff are things to do, and they are not jumping out in front of you, like big attractions do.
- The Oasis Gardens in Disney's Animal Kingdom was originally going to be called "Genesis Gardens," before it was decided that the religious connotation of "genesis" might prove to be too controversial in the future.
- There are about 27,000,000 gallons of water in Animal Kingdom's "Discovery River." That will fill about 1,800 average-sized backyard swimming pools
- The highway sign in Dinoland is route 498 (park opened in April 1998).
- If you look at the signs for Animal Kingdom, there is a dragon among the animals on the bottom. This was supposed to represent "Beastly Kingdom," a land of the park with mythical creatures that was planned but never developed. (Maybe we got Dinoland USA instead.)
Animal Kingdom Lodge
- If you go for an evening meal to AKL (Jiko or Boma), go early to view the animals, around 5pm, because that's when the feeding troughs are filled, and it tempts the animals nearer the viewing areas.
- The mythical land of Anandapur in Asia--note the authentic prayer trees draped with both faded and new scarves that commemorate dead loved ones.
- If you go to Conservation Station, there is so much for you and the children to see and touch. If you get there early enough in the morning, you might be able to see an operation on one of the animals. During the day inside conservation station, they put on little hands on shows with animals that are great for children of all ages. Also, there are tables set up with items about the animals and always someone there to tell you about the articles on the tables. Outside is the petting area. They do not let you feed the animals, but have grooming brushes that you can brush the animals. It is great because the animals do not start eating your clothes or knocking the little ones down to get to food. Next to that there is a small stage. Also, during the day, they put on cute little shows. They are trying to train animals to do certain things. The best part of this is that they are not the usual animals. You get to talk with the trainers, and it is a great little show. Also, on the walk from the train to conservation station there is a garden on the right hand side for kids. They are given cards and have to find the bugs in the garden. Needless to say the bugs are not real. Our kids have done it at least three times and enjoy it each and very time.
- Finding one of the 27 hidden Mickeys in the mural in the Animal Kingdom Conservation Station.
- Across from the Dawa Bar is what appears to be an old fort. Don't assume, as I did, that the area's off limits--there are actually tables and chairs in there!
- In Animal Kingdom, in Dino-Land, as you go under the gigantic dinosaur and head toward Tarzan Rocks, look under the dinosaur to see if it's male or female. Nothing gross, just the way the lights are presented tells you what it is.
- Kids certainly won't want to overlook the Dinoland Boneyard--the play area is specially made for them to blow off some steam. If they look off to the right, behind the jeep, they'll see a row of fossils set into the wall. Just hit one and find out what happens--it's musical! If you can't find the so-called "xylobone," a Cast Member will point it out to you.
- The highway sign in Dinoland is route 498 (park opened in April 1998).
- Has anyone mentioned the red, yellow, and white pipes above the load area at “Dinosaur” are for Ketchup, Mustard, and Mayonnaise, and the letters on each pipe are their chemical formulas?!?!?!?
- During Dinosaur, cars bounce over a big bump in the track. The big bump is a tail of a long neck Saltosaurus, who then turns around to look at you, and if you sit on the back two rows, it throws you around a little more then the front two rows.
- 1,800 tons of steel were used in the mountain structure. That is about six times the amount of steel used in a traditional office building of this size.
- In Harambe, you might spy a genuine Coke bottle perched atop a utility pole as an insulator for a power line.
It’s Tough to be a Bug
- This one is for the inside of the theatre of It's Tough To Be A Bug. The announcer says something to the effect of "Will all honorary bugs please remain seated so the beetles, maggots and cockroaches may exit safely." If you look up at the ceiling, you will see "swarms" of lights. They all fly toward the doors. Look to your left at the exit signs and you will see little firefly type creatures lighting up the exit sign as they exit the theatre.
- The Classic Mickey above the Handicap door sign in the loading area for “It’s Tough to be a Bug.”
Kali River Rapids
- Kali River Rapids queue-don't miss Mr. Panika's office--the owner of the "business" may be "out to temple" as the signs indicate, but the two resident geckos who reside in his gecko cabinet are in all the time. Children will enjoy spotting the little critters, which are very much alive!
- Some of the greatest of Disney art work are in these lines. The queue line for the Kali Rapids is one. There is such a story about this line. Ask one of the CMs to tell. Look at the artifacts and details they are great. There is a live Geco in one of the cases on the walls in this line.
- On the way up to the top, right after leaving the dock, there are statues along each side. The crocodile on the right has his nose broken off. It was broken during an evacuation practice. It should look like the crocodile statue on the left. Actually, it seems to fit in just fine, but she said it was her group that broke it, so she should know. Also, she pointed out that the waterfall at the top, right after seeing the crocodile, is in the shape of a lions head. Sure enough, once it was pointed out to us, it was as clear as could be. It's better viewed just after you pass it, looking back.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Don't just ride once. Different animals can be seen at different times of the day. Riding first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon are two different experiences.
- The pond that all the flamingos are in is shaped like Mickey!
- The rocks in the water on the way to safari ride in AK as you go over the bridge look like animals. Saw one shaped like an elephant and one like an alligator.
- If you walk up the path to the left, toward Harambe, you'll pass by the counter service restaurant, Pizzafari, one of the most brilliantly decorated buildings in the Animal Kingdom. The bright colors are eye-catching of course, but stop in *before* the lunch crowds gather so that you can study the different rooms with their ornate murals, walls, and ceilings. Can you identify which room is which? The Home Room, Nocturnal Room, Upside-Down Room, Camouflage Room, Four Seasons Room, and Bug Room.
- Hidden Mickeys in the asteroids.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- There are Mickeys hiding ALL OVER the colorful mural at the entrance to the main building at Rafiki's Planet Watch. Look for them in the eyes of the animals and the wings of butterflies.
Tree of Life
- There are approx 320 animals carved into the Tree of Life.
- Michael Eisner invited Jane Goodall to come see construction of DAK, in particular the Tree of Life. He asked her what she thought about all the animals being carved in the tree and asked, "Where is the chimpanzee going?" After conferring with Zsolt Hormay (chief sculptor), it was discovered much to ME's embarrassment that one was not included in the over 300 animals. ME told Miss Goodall to pick a place on the tree and one would be sculpted. She chose the entrance outside of ITTBAB so everyone would be able to see David Greybeard; the first chimp she ever observed. You will notice he is more detailed than the other animals--multicolored (grey beard), and there is a plaque next to his image describing him.
- Did you know that when you walk down the path to the Tree of Life there are places where you walk through “tunnels.” If you look up at those “ceilings,” you can see a lot of “critters” up there. I saw a pterodactyl and I can’t even remember what else. Just look up when you go through those “arches.”
- At the Tusker House Restaurant in AK, you can hear kitchen noises if you sit in the outside dining area. It sounds like dishes clanging together, sweeping up broken glass, etc. This is a recording, but it's funny to see how people react when they first hear the sounds.
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- Pricing structure changed for Valet Parking at Downtown Disney - Pricing is based on length of stay - time starts when you reach the valet podium and stops when you return to the podium to pick up your car.
- Blog - Top 5 Must Do's at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
- Pangani Research Center closes for refurb - Pangani Research Center- Aviary and Hippo viewing area will be closed 9/2 - 11/14/2014.
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- Blog - Dole Whips are back at the Polynesian Village Resort at the new and disappointing Pineapple Lanai
- Shortened monorail operating hours now in place - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of "Toy Story of TERROR!" on Blu-ray
- American Idol Experience is now closed at Disney's Hollywood Studios - This attraction closed August 30, 2014. No definitive plans have been announced for this space.
- VIDEO: Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed - Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse Show at Villains Unleashed brings Vegas to Walt Disney World. Villains Unleashed took over Disney's Hollywood Studios on August 23, 2014 and part of the hard ticket event was Oogie Boogie's Freak Funhouse Show. Oogie Boogie hosts the show that features a sword-swallowing act, daredevil archery and a finale full of fire!
- Refurb closures planned for Walt Disney World water parks - Typhoon Lagoon will be closed 10/26/14-1/3/15 and Blizzard Beach will be closed 1/4/15-3/14/15.
- Top 5 Signature Dining Experiences at the Walt Disney World Resorts - 1,600 listeners and viewers of our DIS Unplugged web-cast voted on their favorite signature restaurants at the Walt Disney World resort hotels.
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- Starbucks will open at Hollywood Studios in February 2015 - The Trolley Car Cafe will be located along Hollywood Boulevard and be themed like a trolley car station. Disney baked goods and Starbucks La Boulange pastry items will be available. An exact location hasn't been announced.
- VIDEO - Frozen Fireworks Multi-Angle Full Show - “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”
- VIDEO: Star-Lord & Gamora from 'Guardians of the Galaxy' at Villains Unleashed - Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, and Gamora made their first appearance ever at the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 Dance Party during the Villains Unleashed event at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
- Mikala Canoe Club Marina at Polynesian to be closed for refurb - The marina will be closed 9/15 - 9/19/2014. Sail boat/motorized boats and fishing excursions will not be available.
- Entrance 4 to Downtown Disney's parking lot now closed - Entrance 4 (between Cirque du Soleil and DisneyQuest) is now closed permanently. The only entrances are Entrance 2 (across from the Hess Station) and Entrance 5 (across from Typhoon Lagoon).
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Opening Ceremony - Villains Unleashed kicked off at Disney's Hollywood Studios with an opening ceremony hosted by Hades, Pain, Panic and Megara from Hercules. Once the stars of the night took the stage they introduced some of the 50 Disney Villains guests could meet at the special hard ticket event.
- VIDEO: Villains Unleashed Event Overview - Over 50 Disney villains took over Disney's Hollywood Studios for the Villains Unleashed Event.
- Times updated for events at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - The Party is a specially ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that begins September 1.
- Villains' Sinister Soiree add-on available for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party - This special add-on will give guests preferred viewing for Mickey's Boo to You Halloween Parade (8:15pm) and the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show. Lady Tremaine will host a dessert soiree at Cinderella's Royal Table Restaurant for you and some of her friends.
- 5 Elements from the Disney Parks that You'll Find on a Disney Cruise Ship - You have been to the Disney Parks, and you love them. You keep going back for that pixie-dust rush. You can’t imagine a vacation apart from Disney Parks, yet somehow the “old and familiar” is getting a bit old and familiar. This is where the Disney Cruise Line enters. It’s a Disney vacation of a different variety. The dissimilarities are a bit obvious. You’re on a ship in the ocean, visiting foreign places. This is nothing like being landlocked in a park, surrounded by coasters and kiosks. So what can you expect from the Disney Parks to carry over to your cruise?
- Blog - "Villains Unleashed" needs leashing up - Disney's overcrowded hard ticket event leaves guests in long lines most of the night
- Mickey's PhilharMagic refurb extended - The end date has been moved from September 19 to the 28th. The attraction will go down September 8.
- Enchanted Tiki Room going down for refurb in late September - The Magic Kingdom attraction will be closed from 9/27 - 10/3/2014.
- Two Epcot New Year's Eve dining events released - More New Year's Eve events are yet to be released.
- Blog - Beyond Aulani
- Updated operating schedule for monorails - The monorail will have a different operating schedule than normal as an automation upgrade takes place.
- Charging stations for electric vehicles added to Epcot parking lot - Disney has added four Level 2 ChargePoint charging stations to the Journey parking lot at Epcot. Electric vehicles will be charged $.35 per kw/h, with a minimum charge of $1.50.
- Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party tickets sold out on 10/31/14 - Tickets are still available for all other dates.
- New Move it! Shake it! Dance and Play it! Street Party to debut at Magic Kingdom this fall - Stitch and Phineas & Ferb will join the party and Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will ride on top of giant gift boxes. The soundtrack will feature remixed classic party songs and guests will vote for one of three current hits to be played.
- VIDEO: What's New at Aulani - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa has many new offerings. Quick service at Ulu Cafe, kids splash zone at Keiki Cove, two new pools, and much more.
- MagicBands can now be purchased without ticket media - The bands are now available for purchase across property.
- Changes to boat schedules at Downtown Disney - Schedules have been changing recently due to construction.
- Blog - The Good and Bad of the "Muppets Most Wanted" Blu-ray
- Ultimate Day VIP Tour available at Epcot Food & Wine Festival - This daylong tour begins at the Festival Center's VIP Lounge and includes champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, and reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular.
- Blog - New Golden Oak Outpost Menu is Waffle Fry Heaven
- Sunrise Safari at Animal Kingdom ending 12/28/14 - This tour is exclusive to Animal Kingdom Lodge Kilimanjaro Club Level guests.
- American Idol Experience to close August 30 - No plans have been announced for the space.
- Florida residents save $40 on Cirque du Soleil tickets - Through September and October, Florida residents will save $40 on adult Cirque du Soleil tickets purchased at the box office.
- VIDEO: The Refurbished Capt. Cook's at Polynesian Resort - After a long refurbishment, Capt. Cook's has reopened at the Polynesian Village Resort. Major changes include artwork in the seating area, a new menu, no more ordering off of touch screens and the tragic loss of the Dole Whip self-serve machine.
- American Film Institute at the end of Backlot Tour to close - As of August 17, the American Film Institute Showcase exhibit at the end of the ride will be closed. This exhibit features props and costumes from various films. The gift shop will also close.
- D23 Expo 2015 tickets are now on sale - Tickets for next year's D23 Expo are now on sale. The D23 Expo will be held August 14-16, 2015 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
- Blog - Polynesian Resort's Capt. Cook's quick service restaurant reopens after refurbishment
- Golden Oak Outpost now serving specialty waffle fries - This walk-up stand is located on the backside of Frontierland on the walkway to Adventureland.
- Tower of Terror On-ride videos available with Memory Maker - After riding The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, a video of the guest's ride will be added to their My Disney Experience account. This video is only available to guests who have purchased Memory Maker.
- Win a 2 Night / 3 Day stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin! - Answer 3 questions about the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin on our contest page for a chance to WIN!
- Great Irish Hooley Festival to be held at Downtown Disney - "Hooley" is Irish slang for party or celebration. Celebrate with food, drink and dancing.
- Update coming to My Disney Experience - make dining reservations 20 minutes in advance - A new update will allow guests to make same day dining reservations only 20 minutes in advance.
- Performance times updated for Night of Joy - Disney’s Night of Joy is a hard-ticket event at the Magic Kingdom that features contemporary Christian performers.
- VIDEO: Disney Park Bench - Polynesian Resort Lobby - Lobby Waterfall - Take 5 Minutes to Relax at the Polynesian Resort.
- Blog - Haunted Mansion Merchandise Continues to Materialize
- Refurb scheduled this winter for the Haunted Mansion - The attraction will be closed from 12/1 - 12/19/14.
- It's Tough to be a Bug refurb extended until 9/27 - This attraction was originally scheduled to reopen August 11, but will instead stay closed through September 27.
- Yankee Trader shop refurb extended through December - The shop is becoming a Haunted Mansion gift shop.
See AllDISNEY NEWS STORIES
- Disney and unions argue about extra shift distribution policy
- Polynesian Resort opens new Dole Whip location
- Popular EPCOT acts to depart this Fall
- Wet 'n Wild employee trapped in pool; now in critical condition
- Star Wars mobile game app released by Disney
- Disney contract approved by part-time employees
- Citation banning whale trainers from water will not be appealed by SeaWorld
- Disney cancels 2014 Festival of the Masters art show
- Radio Disney to shut down stations and lay off employees
- Disney proposes new contract for part-time employees
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