The most magical place on earth is full of magic indeed! It’s all in the details for Walt Disney – and the details are quite fascinating. There is absolutely nothing like a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Full of surprise, magic, it is a right of passage for any kid to experience!
As you would imagine – the most popular theme park in the world has lots of hidden secrets and tidbits. Here we look at fun facts to impress your friends and family – with fun tips on how to make the most out of your magical family visit!
A New Perspective of the Magic Kingdom
While most guests gaze at Cinderella’s castle and take in the beauty – most don’t see that there are hidden tricks within the bricks. The bricks become smaller the higher the castle climbs. Disney theme park Imagineers call it the forced perspective technique. The brilliant technique makes the castle looks taller then it would if all the bricks were the same size.
The Magic of the Main Street Design
Not only is the castle designed with forced perspective. All of Main Street USA is designed to look much longer when walking toward the castle than actually is. When you’re walking towards the exit at the end of the day (when you may be tired and have less energy) the distance appears shorter. Since most people walk on the right side of the street, all the food shops are on the right as you enter for those needing a breakfast treat, while most of the shops are on your right on the way out – for an easy gift or souvenir trip.
Fun Flag Facts
Main Street USA is a beautiful display of Americana. Above this idyllic town setting you’ll find many American flags upon the buildings. Yet none of these flags have 50 stars! The reason is that flags with less then 50 stars aren’t considered real flags. Thus, they do not have to be taken down in poor weather or illuminated at night (removing hundreds of flags each day would be quite a task). Magic Kingdom does have a “real” flag proudly displayed in Town Square. Each day they celebrate American pride with a beautiful flag ceremony at 5:00pm where they honor service men and women. A special guest veteran is handed the flag, followed by a short procession down Main Street U.S.A. while musicians play a medley of U.S. military songs.
A Special Occasion Visit
If you’re in the Park celebrating a special occasion, see a Cast Member for a complimentary celebration button! A cast member with buttons is typically stationed on Main Street USA right when the park opens – or simply ask any Cast Member to help you locate a button and they will point you in the right direction. Wear it proudly throughout the day – and a few freebies and surprises may come your way! The buttons include Wedding, Birthday and First Visit designs – as well as a “I’m Celebrating…” button with a blank space to write your own custom design. Cast members will write your name on them if you wish. A great (and free!) souvenir to go along with the famous mouse ears!
Harmony Barber Shop. Photo courtesy of Disney.
A Stop at Harmony Barber Shop
Main Street USA has a real working barber shop – a perfect place for baby’s first haircut, or to take a little off the top for those Mickey photo opps. You may even be treated to the musical talents of the Dapper Dans, Disney’s very own barbershop quartet! The special ‘My First Haircut package’ includes commemorative Mickey Ears and a certificate. A fun fact – they also offer free Mickey “dustings” where they sprinkle magical dust over clients who pop in. See more on the Harmony Barber Shop HERE
The colored concrete walkways in the Magic Kingdom correspond to each section because of a study that Kodak and Disney did that found that light reflecting off colored concrete creates more vivid photographs. Beyond the color findings the ground is also themed to fit with the area surroundings. The above was taken from outside of the Dumbo attraction (yes those are peanuts and hay indentations)!
Do you Smell Something?
To help create a more sensory experience – devices called “Smellitizers” are hidden throughout the park to entice visitors. Fresh, salty air can be smelled at the Pirates of the Carribean, delicious baked goods at Main Street USA, and even musky scents at Haunted Mansion (ewww!). All the smells add to the overall magic of Walt Disney world.
Magical Photo Surprises
When stopping by the photographers stationed throughout the park – ask them if they could add a little magic to your shots. Not all photographers have this option – but some will stage your pose for a magical friend or special effects to be added later!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Photo courtesy of Disney.
Did you know that you could become a prince or princess inside Cinderella’s Castle? Boys and girls age 3 to 12 years old, can receive a royal head-to-toe transformation by a Fairy Godmother-in-Training at the amazing Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique located within the walkway under Cinderella’s Castle. Elegant accessories, hair styles, and shimmering makeup awaits princesses, while heroic boys will be given a sensational sword, shield and sleek hairstyling to become a knight. There are a number of packages offered at the Boutique to customize your experience.. Note that this magical makeover experience is EXTREMELY popular – be sure to reserve your experience well in advance.
The Sword in the Stone
In front of the Prince Charming Regal Carousel, just behind Cinderella’s Castle, sits the Sword in the Stone. Many don’t notice it – but those that do try to give it a pull – and try to remove the sword (making for a great photo!). Inspired by the myths of King Arthur, the Sword in the Stone invites guests to try and pull Excalibur—the legendary enchanted sword—from a solid bronze anvil embedded in a great gray boulder. As the legend goes, only someone with honor and inner strength can remove the sword and become the recognized ruler of England! A little secret: While usually nothing happens, once in a while a few cast members from the castle gather around and ask children to give the sword another round. Sometimes there’s a magical moment – and the sword is lifted out, and a new ruler is crowned from the crowd!
Collecting autographs from the many characters in the park is a favorite past time experience. Don’t forget about the four legged friends too! Head over to Tony’s Restaurant and ask the hostess for an autograph from its famous residents. They will happily go to the back of the restaurant and grab an autograph from Lady and the Tramp!
While visiting the parks you will notice that they have no debris and are remarkably clean. Well there is magic in the trash cans in Disney too! Small pipes shoot the trash through the utilidors under the Magic Kingdom at 60 mph (wow!). Another fun fact: In Walt Disney World no trash can will ever be more than 30 steps away from you. Walt Disney himself visited other parks when he was designing Magical Kingdom, and counted how long a person would hold onto trash before dropping it on the ground. His number was 30 steps.
The grounds of the Haunted Mansion. Photo courtesy of Disney.
Haunted Wait Time
If the wait time sign for Haunted mansion states 13 minutes – there is actually no wait! It’s just a little ghostly joke from the mansion’s famous residents.
Spitting Good Time
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride features a camel that spits water at unsuspecting park-goers. Many think this electronic machine has great aim, but think again! There is actually someone sitting nearby the camel that operates it.
Inside the Hall of Presidents attraction. Photo courtesy of Disney.
Seal of Approval
It took an act of Congress to install the Presidential Seal in the “Hall of Presidents” attraction. There are only three seals in the world: one in the White House Oval Office, one in Liberty Bell Hall, and one in the “Hall of Presidents” at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World!
Happy Hour at the Happiest Place on Earth
Fun thirsty fact: Walt Disney World used to also be the driest place on earth, as it didn’t serve any alcohol on the grounds of the park. This changed with the opening of Be our Guest Restaurant in 2012. An upscale French restaurant – beer and wine selections were added to accompany the menu’s food options. Fast forward to December 2016 when the Magic Kingdom added libations to a few other restaurant menus as well. The complete list of eateries with libations (beer and wine only) include: Tony’s Town Square Restaurant, the Liberty Tree Tavern, Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Note that alcohol is only sold in these restaurants – and not to be carried around the park (unlike Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios where this is allowed). Reservations are STRONGLY recommended for all. Read about all Magic Kingdom restaurant options HERE
Wishes Firework Display at Magic Kingdom. Photo courtesy of Disney.
A Spectacular Display
The nightly Wishes firework display at Magic Kingdom is a spectacular sight – and an absolute must see (totally worth missing young ones bedtimes!). Fun Fact: The Walt Disney Company is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world (!) and the second largest consumer of explosive devices, behind the U.S. Department of Defense. Read more about the firework display HERE
Thank you Disney for sponsoring our magical theme park experience. As always, all reviews and opinions are our own.