11 Disney Park Secrets That'll Completely Change Your Next Visit
Think you know everything there is to know about Disney parks? Think again.
Every trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, or Disneyland in Anaheim, California, is filled with enough magic and fun to last you a lifetime, but no matter how many times you've frequented one of Disney's enchanting parks, there's some super secret stuff you probably still don't know.
Check out our entertaining list of the 11 Disney park secrets that'll completely change your next visit, and then be sure to book your next trip to the happiest place on Earth ASAP!
1. Disney World Has Its Own Barbershop
If you find yourself in desperate need of a trim during a visit to Disney World, we know exactly where you should go. Believe it or not, there's a fully functioning barbershop on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom called Harmony. Though it's tricky to spot amongst one of the most congested areas of the theme park, Harmony Barbershop is easily identifiable once you find the red and white barber's pole out front. According to its website, the location is staffed with professional hairstylists, and is suitable for guests of all ages.
2. There's a VIP Club For Disney Elites
Sure, being the first person to take a spin in the Mad Tea Party ride is impressive, but that's nothing compared to the VIP treatment you receive at Club 33—Disneyland's super secret hideout for dedicated park-goers. The club boasts its own restaurant and jazz club, and members are given early access to the park. Currently, there are outposts in Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland. Unfortunately, there's a waiting list and hefty price tag that comes with being a Club 33 member.
3. There's a Suite Inside Cinderella's Magic Castle
Cinderella's impressive Magic Castle isn't just for show; there's actually a suite inside that's literally fit for a princess. Dubbed the Cinderella Castle Suite, the lavish accommodations feature a portrait of Cinderella above a regal fireplace that magically transforms into a flatscreen HDTV, a bathtub with ambient lighting, beautiful stained glass windows and other impressive details. As if that wasn't luxurious enough, those lucky enough to stay in the suite receive a glass slipper to commemorate their experience. Unfortunately the suite cannot be booked, and is only open to contest winners or those who have been personally invited.
4. There Are Tunnels Running Underneath the Parks
If you've been to any of the Disney parks, the streets are likely familiar to you, but did you know there are secret tunnels that run underneath the parks as well? The hidden passageways—aka utilidors—are meant for cast members to use so they can move easily around the park. While the utilidor system at Disney World is quite extensive, the one underneath Disneyland is considerably smaller.
5. There's a First Family of Disney World, and It Changes Daily
The Magic Kingdom opens each day with a musical opening ceremony known as the "rope drop," and every morning one lucky family gets to take part in the festivities. In addition to playing a starring role in the daily ritual, that family is then treated to a tour of Main Street before it officially opens.
Though there isn't a science to being picked as the first family, those who have done it before recommend families arrive very early to the Magic Kingdom, wear matching Disney outfits and show enthusiasm if they wish to be selected. Easy enough, right?
6. The Hat Shop Has a Secret of Its Own
The Chapeau, a "gentleman's and ladies' hats" store located at the end of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom has a fun secret of its own. Visitors have discovered that if you pick up the retro telephone inside the store, you can eavesdrop on a conversation between a mother and daughter arguing over the price of groceries.
7. There's a Special Ritual That Takes Place After Disney World Closes
Though we don't advocate staying at Disney World after the gates shut, if you can manage to linger in the Magic Kingdom about 15 minutes after the park officially closes, you can witness something dubbed the "kiss goodnight" by Disney insiders.
This end-of-day ritual occurs when the park is nearly empty and Cinderella's Castle lights up for the last time of the evening. "When You Wish Upon a Star" plays in the background, and guests are given one last urging to head home for the night. According to The Insider, the parting message says, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, on behalf of everyone here at the Magic Kingdom, we thank you for joining us today for a magic gathering of family, friends, fun, and fantasy. We hope your magical journey with us has created wonderful memories that will last a lifetime." How sweet!
8. Disney World Is Home to an Abandoned Water Park…
Though it may seem like Disney World is packed to the brim with eager fun seekers, there's at least one portion of the popular attraction that's completely abandoned. That section of the happiest place on Earth was once home to River Country—Disney World's first water park that operated from 1976-2001, until it closed for unknown reasons. Though no longer operational, the park was never torn down and is still somewhat intact. After years of abandonment, however, it is now decaying and overrun with vines.
9. And an Airport
Believe it or not, Disney World once had its very own airport. Though it hasn't been in use for more than 40 years, the airport was built shortly before Disney World officially opened and was used for a year or two by Shawnee Airlines until it was shut down.
However, the area is still in use and today functions as backstage parking. You can find it if you make a right turn under the monorail just before entering Magic Kingdom.
10. You Can Dine With an Imagineer
Ever wonder what goes into making one of the park's wildly successful rides? Turns out, you can book lunch with an Imagineer at Disney's Hollywood Brown Derby or Citrico's at the Grand Floridian hotel and learn all about the creative process. Count us in!
11. There Are Hidden Characters to See
Everyone knows Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and the rest of the gang, but Disney parks are also home to some lesser-known, even hidden characters. Take Divine, for example. She's a little-known street performer camouflaged with green face paint in the leaves and vines of the Animal Kingdom. She's hard to spot, but it can be done!
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