50 Facts About Walt Disney World To Celebrate The 50th Anniversary

Magic Kingdom Castle

Photo by: John Cordero

Walt Disney World has been a constant source of joy and happiness for all of its guests since the moment it opened on October 1, 1971. The Most Magical Place on Earth has truly earned its name. On October 1, 2021, Walt Disney World will be celebrating 50 years of magic. Let’s take a look at 50 facts about Walt Disney World that you probably didn’t know.

1.Disney’s Magic Kingdom is actually on the second floor! You’d never know it, but there’s a huge Disney secret right below your feet. Magic Kingdom is built above a hub connecting the seven themed lands by 15-foot-tall tunnels called “utilidors”. Cast Members and maintenance workers use the utilidors to get around the park with ease, change costumes, remove trash and perform park support operations. Do you ever wonder why you never see a Cast Member from Frontierland wandering around Tomorrowland? It is because they travel around the parks using the utilidors to keep you emersed in the Disney magic.

2. Guests in Walt Disney World are never more than 30 steps away from a trash can. Walt Disney did his research and figured out that roughly every 30 steps, guests would drop their trash on the ground. He wanted to have trash cans readily available to keep the park neat and tidy.

Main Street USA with Fall Decor
Photo by: Chris Gustafson

3. In Liberty Square, you will not find a restroom. This is another way to keep guests completely immersed in that time period as there were no “bathrooms”.

4. Walt Disney originally purchased the 48 square miles that make up Walt Disney World for just $5 million. Walt Disney Productions attorney Paul Helliwell used fake company names to buy the land at a fair price. Most of the transactions were done in cash to eliminate a paper trail. 

5. When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, the price of admission was $3.50. Today, the price to get into the Magic Kingdom alone is $105! A bottle of water costs $3.50.

6. Walt Disney World is roughly the same size as San Francisco! It is literally big enough to be its own city!

7. When Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971, there were about 10,000 guests in attendance. Today, almost 58,000 guests visit Magic Kingdom every day. 

8. The fastest ride in all of Walt Disney World is Test Track at Epcot. It reaches a top speed of 65 miles per hour!

9. The Living Seas in Epcot is the second largest aquarium in the United States. It holds 5.7 million gallons of water. Spaceship Earth can fit completely inside of The Living Seas.

10. Things you will never be able to buy in a Disney Park: Cheerios, chewing gum, and Pepsi products.

11. Since 1971, the Walt Disney World monorails have traveled enough miles to make 30 round trips to the moon!

12. The Carousel of Progress and It’s a Small World were both introduced at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and are still running today.

13. No ride or attraction in Walt Disney World is over 200 feet tall. This is because they would have to add a red, blinking aircraft beacon on top for the safety of passing airplanes. Imagineers did not want to take away from the “Disney magic”, so they thoughtfully designed everything to be under 200 feet.

14. Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World is actually 112 feet taller than Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. 

15.The tallest structure in Walt Disney World is Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom with a height of 199.5 feet.  The second tallest structure is the Hollywood Tower of Terror at 199 feet tall.

16. The moat that surrounds Cinderella Castle contains about 3.37 million gallons of water!

17. Tinkerbell has been flying from Cinderella Castle since 1985. She took her first flight on July 4, 1985 and has been flying almost every night since then. 

18. There are still quite a few attractions from Magic Kingdom’s opening day that are still in operation: Walt Disney World railroad, Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room, Country Bear Jamboree, The Hall of Presidents, The Haunted Mansion, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, It’s a Small World, Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan’s Flight, Prince Charming Regal Carousel and Tomorrowland Speedway.

19. Walt Disney World employs more people than all of the other Disney parks combined.

20. Do you know how many bricks make up Cinderella Castle? Trick question- the answer is none! The gorgeous castle is actually made of concrete, steel, cement, plaster and plastic shingles. 

21. Cast Members are instructed to point with two fingers instead of one. This is called the “Disney point”. It is considered rude to point with one finger in some cultures so Disney wanted to make sure that everyone felt comfortable. 

22. Although you may see a lot of American flags while walking down Main Street, there is only one true American flag with 50 stars and 13 stripes. The flags lining Main Street USA are all either missing a star or a stripe. The U.S has strict laws about flags being flown in public and by Disney making some adjustments to the flags, they don’t have to worry about the requirements.

23.The true American flag in the beginning of Main Street USA is raised and lowered every day and even has its own ceremony. 

24. Back when MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) first opened back in 1989, it was actually a working movie studio. The New Mickey Mouse Club, Passenger 57, Mulan and Lilo and Stitch were produced there.

25. In Epcot, the Living with the Land ride provides food for many of the restaurants around Disney World-especially The Garden Grill.

26. In the nearly 50 years that Walt Disney World has been open, it has only fully closed a few times: in 1999 due to Hurricane Floyd, on September 11, 2001, a few hurricanes in 2004, a hurricane closure in 2016 and 2017 and most recently- the COVID-19 pandemic.

27.In Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom, you will notice that there are 13 lanterns hanging from the Liberty Tree. This is to represent America’s original 13 colonies.

28.Did you know that you could get your haircut at Magic Kingdom? Harmony Barbershop on Main Street USA offers haircuts for guests of all ages.

29. The Beatles officially broke up at Disney World. John Lennon was staying at the Polynesian Village Resort when he signed the documents that officially disbanded the Beatles.

30. If you look on the ceiling at Be Our Guest restaurant, there are paintings of little cherubs. Disney Imagineers painted the faces of their actual babies on the cherubs as a sweet and unique touch. 

31.The Carousel of Progress is the longest running stage show in the history of American Theater. 

32. Spaceship Earth is designed to collect rainwater into a unique gutter system that funnels into World Showcase Lagoon.

33. The oldest ride in all of Walt Disney World is Prince Charming Regal Carousel. It was built in 1917 an originally called Detroit, Michigan home. 

34. Did you ever wonder why Magic Kingdom has red sidewalks? This is to symbolize the “red carpet” being laid out for guests and it is also for safety- it helps keep guests alert to prevent them from tripping. Also, Kodak picked the red color because it will make your pictures look great.

35. Walt Disney World occupies about 30,000 acres of land. Only a little more than 7,000 acres of that have been developed so far. Wonder what Disney will do with the rest of that land!

36.It would take you a lifetime to stay in each and every hotel room at Disney World. There are over 36,000 hotel rooms on property.

37. Magic Kingdom has the most visitors of any theme park in the entire world. More than 20,000,000 guests visit the park each year. 

38. The Tower of Terror is visible from Morocco at Epcot’s World Showcase. Imagineers painted the Tower of Terror a similar color as the buildings in Morocco to make it blend in.

39. In Animal Kingdom, there is a replica of the largest and most complete T-Rex fossil that was ever found. They named her Dino-Sue. The real Dino-Sue is on display in Chicago. 

40. Disney guests eat enough popcorn each year to fill the Tower of Terror!

41. If you’ve ever taken a close look at the sign for Animal Kingdom, you may have noticed that there is a dragon in the center of it. This is because there was originally supposed to be a land in Animal Kingdom named “Beastly Kingdom” and it was supposed to have lots of dragons, unicorns and mythical creatures. 

42. Disney has said that about 210 pairs of sunglasses are turned into the Lost and Found each day at Magic Kingdom!

43. There are no balloons or plastic straws allowed at Animal Kingdom in order to protect the animals.

44. The most expensive roller coaster ever built in the entire world is Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. It cost a whopping $100 million!

45. Did you know that there’s a hidden Mickey at Magic Kingdom that appears once a year? On Mickey Mouse’s birthday, November 18, you can see a special hidden Mickey appear in the queue for Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid. It only appears at noon on that day, so be sure to have your camera ready!

46. All of the coins that are tossed into fountains, wells, rides, etc. at Walt Disney World are collected and donated to charities in Central Florida. Disney has donated upwards of $20,000 in coins each year!

47.The largest hidden Mickey can only be seen from the air. If you are looking down onto Hollywood Studios from the air, you can see that the central hub’s buildings make up Mickey’s head, the Chinese Theater is Mickey’s mouth, Echo Lake is his right ear, The Brown Derby is his left ear and plants and trees make up his eyes and nose.

48. Galaxy’s Edge covers more than 14 acres. It is the largest single-themed expansion in all of the Disney Parks.

Galaxy's edge: The Millennium Falcon  at night

49. It is estimated that the total cost of the construction for Walt Disney World in 1971 was around $400 million.

50. In the first two years that Walt Disney World was open, it is estimated that nearly 20 million visitors came!

Posted by The Orlando Real on


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