Fair warning: you might not want to read this post.
Seriously, if you love to believe that Disney World is nothing but happy and magical 100% of the time or that it’s pure magic that creates some of the amazing effects you see in the parks, this might not be the right place for you. Because this is where we’re going to take a deeper look at some behind-the-scenes secrets about Disney World, and some of these are kind of mind blowing! So if you choose to continue reading, we’re just saying now that we warned you!
Oh, you’re going to keep reading? OK then! Be prepared for some shocking reveals as we explore 5 things you probably DON’T want to know about The Most Magical Place on Earth. From alligator lakes to secret security guards and beyond, there’s a lot happening in the Disney World parks that most people never even think about.
There’s a LOT of Wildlife (Some More Friendly Than Others)
Turns out, you’re not the only one enjoying Disney World! And we’re not talking about the other human guests. There is TONS of wildlife at Disney Worldincluding creatures like snakes, gators, spiders, and other critters.
Disney World is actually built on swampland, and if you know anything about swamps, you probably know that they’re home to plenty of animals and pests. And not all of those animals are as friendly as the Bayou friends from The Princess and the Frog.
Disney actually spends quite a lot of time and money keeping those pests away from you during your vacation. But they aren’t always 100% successful. Alligators are very common in Florida water, and they’ll find their way into all kinds of water sources. Disney does try to keep them off property, but it’s just not possible to know where they are all the time.
To keep yourself safe, the #1 rule is to leave the ponds and lakes alone. Stay away from the water in unpopulated areas of Disney World (which can be difficult to get to anyways), and obey the signs that warn guests to keep out of the water in more accessible areas. Any water that’s in a populated area but isn’t meant for swimming will likely have fences and signs to keep guests away, but when in doubt, check with a Cast Member before wading in.
Basically, your hotel pool should be safe and the water parks are too, but don’t go swimming anywhere else.
Other pests you might run into include spiders (some venomous ones are native to Florida), cockroaches (largely harmless but definitely creepy), and love bugs (which are EVERYWHERE in Disney World during their mating season that lasts for a few weeks around May and September).
Snakes will sometimes slither onto Disney World property, and there are a few venomous species in Florida. It’s unlikely that you’ll meet a snake during your vacation, but if you do, don’t try to befriend it. Tell your kids to stay away from it as well, and let a Cast Member know if it becomes a problem.
We’ve also seen bees…LOTS of bees at Disney World during certain times, so watch out for those!
Some wildlife that you’ve probably already noticed at Disney World are the birds. There are adorable ducks in the parks (our reporters often get distracted by these cuties), as well as cranes, egrets, and more.
As tempting as it is (and as aggressive as the birds can be) please do NOT feed or touch the birds. They’re still wild animals, and they might not want your attention. Human food can be very bad for their stomachs, and if people are always feeding them, they won’t learn to forage for appropriate food in the wild.
Plus, what happens to the ones who relied on the humans if, hypothetically, the parks close for four months due to a global pandemic? Sound familiar? We know it’s so tempting to drop some food for the cute little baby ducks. But for their safety (and yours), please don’t.
Click here to learn about more wildlife at Disney World.
Disney Is Watching…Aaaaaalways Watching
(Please read that heading in Roz’s voice from Monsters, Inc. That is an absolute requirement to continue. 😂) It might not be a secret anymore that Disney basically tracks you wherever you go in the parks.
There is some real intense security in the parks, including surveillance cameras in the gift shops, on the rides, and in queues for rides.
The cameras inside the attractions are for guest safety since it can be very dangerous for yourself and others if you stand up on a moving ride.
And if you’re caught doing some other things that aren’t publicly appropriate when you think no one’s watching in those dark rides…you will likely be escorted out of the park once you disembark the ride.
The only place we know there AREN’T cameras in Disney World is in the restrooms since that’s generally illegal. Other than that, anywhere in the parks is pretty much fair game.
Besides the video surveillance, there are also a lot of plainclothes security guards throughout the park. Next time you head into a park, look around at all of the guests — some of them are probably undercover security!
These people can keep an eye on everything that’s going on, and they’re often closer to the problems that arise than a Cast Member with a name tag.
That might feel kind of weird to know, but it also can help you feel safer when you’re in a big crowd in Magic Kingdom.
See 13 of the creepiest things in the Disney parks.
Why Do the Bathrooms Have Doors with Locks in Animal Kingdom?
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the only park with doors with locks on them leading to the bathrooms. Ever wonder WHY?
The answer is a lot more intense than you’re probably expecting. Bathrooms have doors with locks on them in this park in case an animal breaks out of their enclosure and guests need to take shelter. In this situation, you would be able to run to the nearest bathroom and lock and bolt the door.
As much as we love to watch the beautiful tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, we would rather not experience an unscheduled “up close and personal experience.”
So essentially it’s protection in the case of a real-life animal stampede. Funny, we didn’t hear them mention that on our latest ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris… . 😉 You’ll see this done at many zoos as well. It’s just a general safety feature to protect you when large animals are around.
Click here to see our ultimate guide to Animal Kingdom for 2022.
There’s a lot going on “Backstage” that you never see
Did you know that Walt imagined the Disney parks as big “shows?” Guests see everything happening “onstage,” but — like with normal stage shows — there’s a LOT going on backstage to keep the magic going strong.
Guests generally can’t go backstage, and there’s a reason for it. Those areas aren’t quite as magical as Adventureland and the Cinderella Castle hub. For instance, there’s a TON of trash that is collected and transferred through the parks. Magic Kingdom has underground tubes that transport this garbage to sorting facilities at speeds up to 35 MPH.
These tubes are located in the same areas where Cast Members are hanging out and getting ready to come on stage. A few that we’ve spoken to have said that parts of these areas can smell truly disgusting because of the speeding garbage.
Also located “backstage” are props, attraction vehicles, and animatronics that aren’t quite looking their best. When you ride an attraction, you’re seeing everything in (mostly) operating shape, often with a fresh coat of paint and gears that all work (although this isn’t necessarily always the case). But what happens when some elements are truly broken or don’t look good? They’re generally taken backstage for some TLC before being brought back to their home.
A less disturbing image than disassembled animatronics and fast-moving garbage (but still one that can “break” the magic) is that of Cast Members being regular human beings. That’s something that also happens backstage because these hard-working people need some break time too!
Cast Members adhere to a high standard of decorum while they’re in the parks and interacting with guests. But once they’re off stage, they can relax a little and let loose. They can also grab a Subway sandwich for lunch, which is why you’ll see a Subway shop on Google Earth inside Magic Kingdom. No, it’s not located inside the Cinderella Castle. It’s backstage!
Click here to learn how you’re being fooled by Disney World.
Roller Coasters Can Be a Lot Scarier with the Lights ON!
Most indoor rides keep the main lights off and instead use spotlights and other effects to get you to look at what Disney wants you to see. This includes both “dark rides” (like Peter Pan’s Flight) and roller coasters (like Space Mountain).
But sometimes those lights are also off to prevent you from seeing some more practical things that might terrify you. If you’ve ever seen what Space Mountain looks like with the lights on…you might agree.
Now, don’t get us wrong — Disney World’s roller coasters are very safe! They’re tested daily to make sure everything is in working order. But when you see exactly how close some things appear to be to each other (even if they aren’t actually that close), it can make you a little scared! And on top of that, some elements of the ride simply don’t look as advanced or exciting with the lights on, which could ruin the magic for some.
Sometimes it’s best not to know how the sausage is made, you know?
Click here to see what DINOSAUR looks like with the lights on.
And that’s a little peek behind the curtain at the things that you might not think about and that you might not want to know! Check out the video below to see more things you might not want to know about the Most Magical Place on Earth.
And keep following DFB for more tips as you plan your upcoming vacation to Disney World!
Does it really matter when you visit Disney World? Click here to see our thoughts!
Did you already know any of these things about Disney World? Let us know in the comments.