Prior to Soarin', Disney had wanted to do a flight simulator attraction for a while but were unable to come up with a way to efficiently load guests into a vehicle. Then, Imagineer Mark Sumner uncovered an old erector set while visiting family for Thanksgiving and came up with the basic premise used for the ride system today.
An 86-foot long, hand-painted mural greets guests in the loading area of Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. The mural depicts Ariel at dusk.
According to the Disney Archives, World of Motion, which celebrated transportation milestones and the possibility of where vehicles could take us in the future was one of the final opening-day attractions to be named. It was first referred to as the “Transportation Pavilion,” then tentatively named “Transcenter” and “Transcenter 2000” before finally becoming “World of Motion.”
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster has more than 900 speakers throughout the attraction and each train has 120 onboard speakers.
As late as March 1988 (two months before opening), Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion was named “SeaVenture” – even on attraction signage. The name “Maelstrom,” a Nordic name for a very powerful whirlpool, was the final choice.
Voice actor Pete Renaday performed the narration on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority from 1994 - 2009. Renaday also performed as the voice of Splinter from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
When Disney constructed Mickey Mouse Review and Hall of Presidents they were constructing two large scale animatronic stage shows that required a significant amount of computing power. The buildings are connected so that they can share this infrastructure and during testing some of the dialog from each show played at the other venue.
Guests at Sci-Fi Dine-In originally received popcorn in the first few years of operation, but it ultimately proved to be too messy to continue.
The individual mine cars in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train are designed to reflect similar vehicles that appear in the film: handmade of wood by the Dwarfs, shaped with an ax, and used to haul rocks and jewels. Hand-hammered metal bands and nails are used to bind the wood. In the film, the mine cars sit in a cradle that allows them to be tipped to unload their contents. Here, the cradle design allows the cars to swing back and forth as they carry riders along the winding track.
The area at the back of the Sci-Fi Dine-In that would typically be the snack stand at a real drive in theater is actually the entrance to the kitchen.
In order to appear more life like, the pre-show video for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was shot at 60 frames per second with an IMAX camera.
After the 2009 refurbishment to Space Mountain, the ship during the launch section was re-named the X-1. The ship used in Mission: SPACE is the X-2.
In Epcot's Norway Pavilion, the Stave Church’s sharply slanted roof is an architectural trick designed to keep snow accumulation from crushing the structure.
There are more than 120,000 possible combinations for constructing a lightsaber using the pieces inside Savi's Workshop - Handbuilt Lightsabers in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
The Book of the Dead featured in The Haunted Mansion's seance room has an incantation that features text from the 1968 movie Blackbeard's Ghost.
There is a sign in the alley between Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe and Liberty Tree Tavern that reads, "Kepple est. 1779." This is the name of Walt and Roy's grandfather, Kepple Disney. He was born on November 2, 1832 in Kilkenny, Ireland.
In The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction, the shadows of the Dwarfs marching homeward along the track on the lift inside of the mine were rotoscoped from the scene in the original film where the Dwarfs march across a log bridge, singing “…home from work we go.” (Rotoscoping is a technique where the movements of a figure in original live or animated footage are copied, or traced, frame-by-frame).
The now extinct Horizons attraction was originally developed as a retrospective on how Thomas Edison harnessed electricity. When the direction of the attraction changed to focus on inventions that could impact our lives in the future, it was renamed “Century 3” and later “Futureprobe.” “Horizons” was the final pick.
The name "Topolino Terrace" at Disney's Riviera Resort is inspired by Italian editor Mario Nerbini who began printing Mickey Mouse cartoons. Nerbini did not secure the likeness rights so he called the character Topo Lino, which translates to "little mouse" in Italian, for legal reasons.
One slide from Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Typhoon Lagoon) can fill a standard home-size pool in about one minute and fill up Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon wave pool (2.7 million gallons) in about 3 hours.
Joey Hagerty is a tumble monkey in Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Hagerty won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing in the all-around gymnastics category.
When choosing an expression for Walt’s face, sculptor Blaine Gibson tried to reflect Walt’s goal of making people happy. The statue’s expression is Blaine’s interpretation of Walt watching happy people enjoy the park.
After a visit to Journey Into YOUR Imagination on October 26, 1999, then CEO Michael Eisner hated it, and approved an additional $5 million of changes to the attraction.
The Sci-Fi Dine-In and ABC Commissary share a kitchen and a bathroom.
All of the Nile Crocodiles that appear on Kilimanjaro Safaris are male. Without a female present, the males are typically less aggressive than the females.
If you were to connect the average fire hose to a single Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Typhoon Lagoon) jet nozzle, it could shoot water over The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The street that contains The House of Good Fortune is called Xing Fu Jie in Chinese and is translated to "The Street of Good Fortune.
There are more than 7000 unique props that were created for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
During the production of the Rock n' Roller Coaster pre-show, the filmmakers increased the amount of light during the shoot in order to keep everything in focus in the foreground and background. This made the set incredible hot. As a result of the heat, the actor playing the sound board operator, Ken Marino had to wear safety contact lenses.
The 1991 feature film The Rocketeer featured a scene in front of Grauman's Chinese theater. This was filmed at the then MGM Studios in front of the reproduced Chinese theater facade at The Great Movie Ride.
The Living Seas attraction was known simply as “The Seas” during part of the attraction's development.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge contains more than 200,000 square feet of themed rockwork, 260,000 square feet of themed plaster and the tallest spire is more than 130 feet tall.
Next to Doc’s workstation in the mine scene of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the carved wooden clock is a replica of the one seen in the film. It features figures of two miners striking an anvil. As in the film, that motion signals the start of the beloved song, “Heigh-Ho.”
The original voice of Figment was actor Billy Barty. When the attraction was remade into Journey Into Imagination with Figment in 2002, Figment was voiced by actor David Goelz. Goelz is also known as voicing Gonzo from The Muppets.
A t-shirt available in the Serka Zong Bazaar specifies some Expedition Everest ride details, although they are not all accurate: 199.5 feet, 60.8 meters, Drop: 80 feet, Track Length 1.7 miles/8976 feet, First Ascent: April 7, 2006 Norbu and Bob Proprietors Himalayan Escapes Tours & Expeditions
At the beginning of each day, Disney used to hide 6 paint brushes on Tom Sawyer Island. If a guest found one of these paint brushes and brought it to a cast member they would receive a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or Splash Mountain. This ended when Big Thunder Mountain Railroad went down for refurbishment in 2012.
The animatronics of Donald Duck, Jose and Panchito in the final scene of Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros originally appeared in the Mickey Mouse Revue at the Magic Kingdom and then at the same show in Tokyo Disneyland.
The Hollywood Tower Hotel (The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror) features 27,000 roof tiles.
The language underneath the Tatooine Traders sign is in Aurebesh. The existence of this language on the sign would imply that the shop is under Imperial control, however the expectation is that Tattoine Traders exists in the time frame of Episode I: The Phantom Menace when it would not be under Imperial control.
The first two animals that arrived to Disney's Animal Kingdom were two young Reticulated Giraffes: Miles and Zari. They arrived in the summer of 1996 and were dubbed the park's "ambassadors."
The menu at the Oasis Canteen (Disney's Hollywood Studios) is attached to a crate that is partially visible. At the top, it reads, "Top Secret Intel 9906753". This is the same inscription on the crate in Raiders of the Lost Ark that held the Ark of the Covenant. Below the menu, the crate reads, "Field Tent 61281". That represents the date that Raiders of the Ark debuted in theaters, June 12th, 1981.
When the vehicles for Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover travel through Mickey's Star Traders, they can hear Mickey Mouse state the line: That's right, it's out of this world! This is the first appearance in a Disney park of Bret Iwan as the voice of Mickey Mouse.
The Fountain of Nations holds 149,000 gallons of water with 30,000 gallons cascading over its tiered sides every minute. Today, 200 pneumatic shooters help create dancing water to various Disney musical selections for guests to enjoy.
Walt Disney Imagineers viewed 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for research and inspiration when creating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
The Mickey Mouse figure that stands atop the Crossroads of the World shop in Disney's Hollywood Studios has one copper ear that serves as a lightning rod.
13 Zulu tribesman from Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, were brought over to create the thatched roofs throughout Africa including the Harambe Market. The thatch is made of thick bundles of Berg grass that was harvested by the wives, sisters & mothers of these men. They're stitched in twine using an 18-inch-long, half-inch-thick needle called a "tulu." The thatch weighs 70 pounds per square yard, it's 4-6 inches thick & the weight of the thatch roof on the Savannah Overlook is 2.5 tons.
In the Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction, a special skin technology had to be incorporated into the Audio-Animatronics figures for Ariel, King Triton and Ursula since they have so much skin exposed.
A total of 1105 Fireworks shells were launched during each showing of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. They were launched from 750 mortar tubes located in 34 positions around World Showcase Lagoon.
The four floats used in Festival of the Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom were all from The Lion King Celebration Parade from Disneyland.
On the Partners Statue in the Cinderella Castle Hub, the initials on Walt Disney’s tie are “STR.” This stands for “Smoke Tree Ranch,” an area in Palm Springs where Walt once owned a vacation home.
When considering having Mickey hold Walt’s hand for the Partners Statue, sculptor Blaine Gibson consulted footage from the film “Fantasia” for sizing. In the film Mickey shakes the hand of orchestra conductor Leopold Stokowski.
"The Norseman", a 50-foot replica Viking ship that formerly resided at Epcot's Norway Pavilion actually sailed through the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to New York on its journey to Epcot.
The dragon-headed ride vehicles of Maelstrom and Frozen Ever After were designed after the real ships of Viking Explorer Eric the Red.
Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge spans more than 14 acres, making the Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios lands the largest single-themed lands in Disney Parks history.
When the Festival of the Lion King theater was first constructed in it's original Camp Minnie Mickey location, two of the walls were open to the elements as a cost saving measure. It wasn't until 2003 that the theater was fully enclosed and air conditioning was added.
The Ursula figure in Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid is the largest Audio-Animatronic figure in the show at 7-feet tall and 12-feet wide. She also has a squash-and-stretch function in her torso and flexible materials so she can bounce along with the music.
One early sketch of the Partners Statue featured Mickey holding an ice cream cone in one hand.
It's Tough to be a Bug was the first time Disney/Imagineering created an attraction before the movie it was based on (A Bug's Life) debuted to the public.
The 83-foot-tall pagoda in the Japan Pavilion is modeled after a similar pagoda in the Horyuji Temple in Nara, Japan. The pagoda is five stories tall, and each story represents one of the five elements: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, and Sky.
Famed voice actor Paul Frees is the voice of the Ghost Host in The Haunted Mansion, the original Auctioneer in Pirates of the Caribbean (prior to the 2018 refurbishment), and Captain Nemo in the extinct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Frees' other credits include Ludwig Von Drake, Boris Badenov (The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show), Toucan Sam, and much more.
On one of the computers in the Alien scene of The Great Movie Ride there was a list of names that includes notable Imagineer Eric Jacobson.
The Ye Olde Christmas Shop Used to be 3 separate shops and they were called Olde World Antiques, The Silversmith and Mademoiselle Lafayette's Parfumerie.
The distance between the entrance of Hollywood Studios and the Grauman's Chinese theater facade (The Great Movie Ride/Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway) is the exact same as the distance between the Train Station in Disneyland and Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Typhoon Lagoon) is the only water roller coaster in North America that has three unique and separate rides off of one tower.
The “Fifth Dimension” scene in The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was inspired in part by the “Little Girl Lost” episode of “The Twilight Zone.”
The Partners Statue was sculpted by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson. A former Disney animator and Imagineer, Blaine took one year to create the sculpture and based his depiction of Walt on a bust he originally created in the 1960s.
The original storyline of Kilimanjaro Safaris featured a dead Elephant carcass at the end of the ride indicating that "Big Red" had been shot. The story was removed before the official park opening after guest complaints during the preview period. The Elephant was placed backstage where it was spotted by a plane flying overhead. The (fake) dead elephant was reported as a sign of Disney abusing animals so Disney then opted to sell the elephant on eBay for over $3000.
Each Crush ‘n’ Gusher (Typhoon Lagoon) water jet nozzle puts out 1350 gallons per minute.
The film that was featured in the Post Show for Maelstrom is called "Norway - The Film" and it used the same camera that filmed "Lawrence of Arabia."
Mike Brassell is the narrator of both the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover and the Greenhouse scenes in Living with the Land
Country Bear Jamboree was the first attraction that originated at Disney World to be cloned in Disneyland.
Muppet*Vision 3-D originally opened as Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3-D but Jim Henson's name was removed in 2006.
In 2001, Hollywood wanted to do a refurbishment of the real Grauman's Chinese theater, but they lost the original blueprints to the building. Hollywood went to Disney who provided them with the blueprints they had on file for The Great Movie Ride, the MGM Studios counterpart.
In the Library/pre-show room for The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, there is a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in the sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
Imagineer Darryl Picket not only became the voice of the Walt Disney World Railroad in 2012, but he also designed the decorations in the Jungle Cruise that read "Kittens Free to a Good Home" and the menu where every item tastes like chicken.
There are nearly 280,000 possible combinations for constructing a robotic droid using the available pieces at Droid Depot in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
The polar bear animatronics that were in the Maelstrom attraction measured more than 10 feet tall.
In 2010, a new audio track was added to Space Mountain. The audio plays on 60 off ride speakers and is an original score written by Mike Brassell. The musical track is known as StarryOPhonic Sound.
At the third interactive station in The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue, “Vault” is carved into the wooden crosspiece, or lintel, above the doorway. This is a reference to the scene in the film where Dopey opens the vault and throws in a bag of gems, then locks the door with a key. For safekeeping, Dopey hangs the key to the vault on a peg next to the door. The key hangs on a peg next to the entrance to the vault in the queue as well.
Each Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover train weighs 4,100 lbs. empty. There are 850 speakers along the .86-mile track, and the maximum speed of the PeopleMover is 6.84 mph.
The Millennium Falcon docked in the Black Spire Outpost measures more than 100 feet long.
The attraction and pavilion that introduced guests to Dreamfinder and Figment was originally planned to be a part of the “Images & Imagination” Pavilion.
A scene in the former Maelstrom attraction featured ancient wall carvings known as “petroglyphs.”
The guitar outside Rock 'n' Roller Coaster measures 40 feet high.
The mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort was designed by Imagineer Mary Blair. Mary also designed much of the artistic style for "it's a small world". In the mural, Mary deliberately placed a 5-legged goat on one of the cliffs. Allegedly, it was an intentional way of honoring the Native American tribes that resided around the Grand Canyon that believed nothing in life, including artwork, could be “perfect.”
Akershus (The Table Service restaurant in Epcot's Norway Pavilion), was named after a 14th-century fortress, which was built to protect the capital city of Oslo.
The official hat size for the Sorcerer's Hat that appeared on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios was 605 7/8. The hat was removed in 2015.
The ship on the roof of the Cool Ship snack stand in Tomorrowland is a refurbished prop from the movie Flight of the Navigator.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was constructed with 1,500 tons of steel, 145,800 cubic feet of concrete, and 27,000 roof tiles, and it stands 199 feet tall.
Voice actor Dallas McKennon is the voice of both Ben Franklin in The American Adventure and the safety announcer on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
The actual ride time for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is 1:22; the cycle time for each Limotrain is 3:12 (the exact running time of one of Aerosmith's "Greatest Hits," "Sweet Emotion")
On the backside of the sign for The Barnstormer Featuring the Great Goofini guests will see that Disney re-used the old signage from the original attraction. The pieces can be rearranged to spell out Wiseacre Farm.
In the bushes surrounding Mad Tea Party there is a tribute to former Disney employee Randy Pausch. Randy is best known as the author of "The Last Lecture", a book describing his life and his battle with pancreatic cancer. The tribute comes in the form of a quote on an Alice in Wonderland themed leaf. The quote reads, "Be good at something: It makes you valuable... Have something to bring to the table because that will make you more welcome." - Randy Pausch
The figures of Grumpy, Doc, Bashful, Sleepy, and Happy, seen in the cottage near the end of The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, originally appeared in Snow White’s Scary Adventures, a Magic Kingdom attraction now the site of Princess Fairytale Hall. The two vultures perched on the jib crane near the mine entrance are styled after the vultures in the film and also originally appeared in the Snow White’s Scary Adventure attraction.
The queue for The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train features the song, "Music In Your Soup," a song that was cut from the film but re-recorded for the attraction.
The Little Mermaid animatronic in the Under the Sea scene of the Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction cost $7 million to develop for the Disney California Adventure version of the attraction. This was in part because of the animatronic hair that was replaced shortly after opening and was carried over to the Florida version.
The Dwarfs cottage on The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a meticulously detailed representation of the cozy home seen in the classic film, down to the wisteria vine and birdhouse at the front door.
The control system used behind the scenes on Monster's Inc Laugh Floor is a Playstation 2 controller.
Splash Mountain is 87 feet tall and features a 40 MPH drop.
The main A-frame tower of Disney's Contemporary Resort will undergo a refurbishment from April - September. The refurbishment appears to be for maintenance and...
The Disney Parks Blog confirmed that characters from the Pixar movie The Incredibles will be a part of the room decor at Disney's Contemporary Resort. The resort is currently undergoing a refurbishment, and the...READ MORE...
Several pre-shows have returned to Walt Disney World. Following the parks re-opening after the COVID-19 closure, guests walked through most pre-shows without experiencing them. Test Track returned on June 21st Rock 'n' Roller Coaster...READ MORE...
The Disney Parks Blog shared details on several new offerings coming to Walt Disney World as part of "The World's Most Magical Celebration" which celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Walt Disney World and the...READ MORE...
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (June 22, 2021) – On Oct. 1, 1971, Walt Disney World Resort officially opened to guests for the first time, the culmination of years spent imagining, planning and developing Walt Disney’s...READ MORE...
Salt & Straw Ice Cream is coming to Disney Springs in 2022. It is expected that the location will be near Splitsville in the area that was previously announced to be for Ample Hills...READ MORE...
The Disney Parks Blog announced the birth of a new male Masai giraffe calf born at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The 183 pounds calf was born on June 10 and was nearly 6 feet tall...READ MORE...
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (June 21, 2021) – In honor of the longest day of the year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park announced the recent birth of a strapping, long-necked male giraffe. The healthy calf...READ MORE...
The Single Rider Line has re-opened at Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. The attraction is the first single rider line to re-open since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While nothing has been officially announced, it is assumed...READ MORE...