After being founded almost 50 years ago, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have been making children, teens, and families everywhere excited with glee. These parks aren't just places to go ride a couple of rides, eat a lot of overpriced food, and throw up in the nearest trashcan. These parks are an actual experience. With over 130,000 employees, six resorts, and a whole bunch of smiling faces, Disney Parks and Resorts are the most recognized in the world.
However, like Disney's movies, these parks come with a ton of undercover features (and even more secrets). You might have paid $100 to roam for the entire day, but there's more thought that goes into these parks than it took you to find a college. From smell machines that make guests hungry, to unleashing cats to eat park mice, to one of the parks being larger than an actual U.S. state — these are 15 facts that you'll be surprised to learn about these Disney parks.
When I first heard that Disney had 'smellitizers,' I was a little confused. First of all, what the heck is a smellitizer? Well it's much more than just a vent that blows out yummy aromas to get park guests in the mood to eat. It's way more scientific than that.
On Main Street USA, most guests have noticed small speaker-looking objects on the bottom of most buildings. While most assumed they play music or important announcements, they're actually hand crafted smellitizers that blow out scents up to 20 feet away! These smellitizers are kind of a way for Disney is mind-trick you. And it's not just a way for you to think that you're hungry and to spend cash on food. It's actually one of the strongest senses that connects you to memory — which means, every trip in Disney will hopefully leave you with lasting memories.
14 The Colors Are Scientifically Chosen
After seeing some of the pictures people post when they're at a Disney park, it makes me instantly want to put on a set of Mickey Mouse ears and book a trip to the closest park. The characters, the rides, the foods — it all looks beyond perfection. But it's not just all those amazing things that make this park look inviting. It's the colors as well. Like, the actual paint colors.
13 The Great Seal Of The United States
Inside Liberty Square of Magic Kingdom in Disney World (Florida), guests can find The Hall of Presidents. I remember coming here when I was a kid and was clearly way more into cartoons than into U.S. history, so I didn't see the significance of this attraction. However, The Hall of Presidents showcases short films, figures, and presentations of former U.S. presidents and more notable things about them. Think of this as a place a kid wants to learn.
Inside the center of the room, is the United States Seal. And though it's blocked off and doesn't seem like a "big deal," getting this seal in this building was actually a tremendous deal. After Disney needed permission to have the seal located in their attraction, Congress had to take a vote to see if it was a good idea or not. Luckily for the park, the vote passed, and the seal was added, making it one of three in the entire country.
12 There Have Been A Lot Of Deaths At Disneyland Paris
One would think that Disneyland Paris could be one of the most—if not most—romantic place in the entire world. I mean, c'mon, it's Paris and Disney combined! It's filled with magic, wonder, fun, and PARIS, whats not to like?! However, this park has a dark past.
Disneyland Paris has a long list of very public and newsworthy injuries and deaths. Personally, I feel like I never hear about deaths inside Disney parks, but it's not the same for Paris. In 2011, apparently a 12-year-old boy became paralyzed after riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride. In 2013, a young boy drowned after falling off a boat. There was even a report that two workers committed suicide in 2010 after working conditions became intolerable. Now, when guests think of Disney, they don't think such sad and depressing things. So the fact that these terrible things have happened on such happy soil, is beyond devastating.
11 Cats Rule The Park At Sundown
When I first heard that some Disney parks let out feral cats to roam the resorts at night to take care of pesky rodents, my heart just about stopped. For some reason, a resort like Disney doesn't seem like the place that would just let cats chill and roam around. Wouldn't they worry about breeding? Cat urine? I don't know — cat's scratching sh*t? But, apparently this little rumor is true. Disney really does let these kitties do their own thing and eat the loose mice running around. Considering how lifelike most Disney parks are, rodents started to become a problem. As much as we love Mickey and Minnie Mouse, no one really wants to see a real life mouse or rat running around your feet. So the cats were brought in and the rodent issue has been tame ever since. There's actually pictures all over the Internet of people snapping pictures of cats snoozing in the shade or hanging around in the plants.
10 The Winding Path Isn't Just A Path
In case you haven't noticed, Disney Parks and Resorts are extremely calculated. You know how you can see other Disney characters inside other Disney movies? Like seeing Goofy in The Little Mermaid or Scar in Hercules? Disney pretty much does the same thing when it comes to the design of their parks...in a sense. While walking down Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom, one might notice the difference in color on the streets. Since Liberty Square is supposed to take guests back in time to colonial America, that's exactly what they did... The brown winding path that can be seen in the walking area is actually supposed to symbolize sewage, considering colonial America didn't have plumbing in those days.
So while you thought you were just causally cruising alone Magic Kingdom, you're actually walking along simulated fecal matter...
9 Have You Ever Found A Paint Brush?
I don't know about you, but these little hidden facts about Disney parks makes me want to go even more. Sure, I love the characters and the theatrics of any amusement park, but this is Disney for crying out loud! It's not just a park, it's like its own private country. And after hearing about this little fun fact, you're gonna want to head over to Tom Sawyer Island right after you read this list.
Apparently, before the park opening each day, crew members go around Tom Sawyer's Island and hides a bunch of paint brushes of all different colors. While some guests just walk by them, thinking they're garbage, they're actually your shot at getting a FastPass to Splash Mountain all. Damn. Day.
8 The Lawn At Haunted Mansion Is The Only One Not Tended To
Can you imagine taking care of the all the maintenance these parks need, day in and day out? I can't imagine the amount of people that are hired just to clean the garbage, empty trashcans, and trim the bushes. It's ludicrous to think about. But thanks to the spooky essence of Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion, this is one lawn maintenance does not need to groom. Since this attraction is supposed to be haunted, dark, and spooky, the park decided to keep the greenery on the lot as is. That means no trimming, pruning, or cutting allowed. There are even a few patches of dead lawn on the property and that's exactly how the park prefers it. (See, I told you these parks think of everything.)
7 All The Plants At Tomorrowland Are Edible
While there are a bunch of forums online questioning the authenticity of this statement, I took to the actual Tomorrowland website from Walt Disney to see what the truth is, and to my happy eyes, it's true: all the plants at Tomorrowland are meant to be edible. And now, this isn't an "Edible Arrangement" situation. The plants are made out of strawberry and there are no flowers made out of oranges. However, there are plants that are safe to consume and that's what this particular area is filled with.
Since Tomorrowland is supposed to be this futuristic space age, there's a lot of modern day and technological advances with the architecture. And surrounding the architecture are the plants and herbs that you can feel free trying. Are they going to taste better than a turkey leg or an ice cream cone? Hell no. But it's a fun fact, nonetheless.
6 Disney World Is WAY Bigger Than Manhattan
There are a lot of people in North America who get Disney World and Disneyland confused. Since these are the only two Disney themed parks in North America, it's an easy thing to forget. Disney World is in Orlando, Florida, while Disneyland is in Southern California. Yes, the two are Disney themed (obviously), but the one main difference between the two is size. Disney World covers 43-square miles of land...that's almost the size of San Francisco (46.3 square miles) and almost double the size of Manhattan (22.7 square miles). While it's crazy imagining how big this resort really is, can you imagine how many things turn up in their 'lost and found' every day or how many children stray away from their families? If it can happen in a city, it's bound to happen at a theme park. #JustSaying
5 It's Also The Largest Single Site Employer In The U.S.
In case you just thought these Disney workers were another employee, you're dead wrong. Not only do they work at one of the happiest and most colorful places in the world, but all members of the work force are called 'cast members.' And since Disney World is over 40 square miles, that takes over 70,000 cast members to run effectively. Making Disney World one of the largest single-site employer in the United States. Just think about it, can you imagine showing up to a company in a buzzing city with over 70,000 people working in one building? It's unheard of in the U.S. Let's just hope the cast mates of Disney World enjoy their job, like working with families, and aren't as upset as the park in Paris. That would not be a good look for anyone involved.
4 'The Grey Stuff'
If you're reading this post it's because you love Disney World Parks and Resorts. You live and breathe Disney movies, you're one with the culture, and you know all the theatric tunes that are played. Without even knowing it, we have become Disney obsessed people. And I'm not even mad about it. It's because of our Disney fandom, that seeing a menu item like "The Grey Stuff" sounds strange — but also, rather familiar. How the hell can The Grey Stuff sound so familiar to us? AH HA — it's from Beauty and the Beast! When Lumiere sings "Be Our Guest" to Belle, he says the line "Try the grey stuff — it's delicious." And it's because of that lyric that baked shops offer a cookie called "The Grey Stuff" that is whipped into a grey, creamy dessert. (It's also served on a particular plate that legit says 'The Grey Stuff.'
3 There's A 'No Sad Kids' Rule
While most people think it's impossible for a child to be sad at one of the Disney Parks and Resorts, it does happen. Of course, I doubt it's because they're not having fun, it's most likely because they're having too much fun. The lines are crowded, Florida and California temperatures are hot, and kids get cranky if the wind blows in a different direction. So sad kids are bound to happen. However, if a mascot (or should I say cast member or character) sees a sad child, it's their job to jump in there and make sure the child is no longer upset. Let's say a kid dropped their ice cream or is just having a temper tantrum, the cast member is allowed to come over and replace their ice cream of give them a tiny souvenir to make their day just a little bit brighter.
2 The Two Finger Point
The amazing thing about Disney Parks is how many people from all over the world visit. Sure, there just under 10 resorts around the globe where people can get their Disney fill for a few years, but some people make it a goal to visit every park in the world (that's North America, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, and Shanghai). Since there are millions of people who go through these parks year in and year out, it's important to make it friendly for all cultures. That being said, working in a park as large as Disney's, requires a lot of communicating with guests and showing them in the right direction. It's because of this that cast members cannot point using one finger — they must use two. This is because pointing with one finger is considered offensive in some cultures. Pointing with two fingers will just make the entire experience that much more respectful and kind.
1 Justin Bieber Is Banned From Disneyland
Apparently Justin Bieber decided to ruin yet another amazing family friendly moment: he was reportedly banned from Disneyland. Now, I know what you're thinking. How could someone as popular and as well known as Justin Bieber be banned from one of the most magical places in the world? Umm.. this is tough for me to say—and I hate to break it to you—but this monster of a human allegedly kicked Mickey Mouse in the crotch. Now, the only reason why my red flag is up is because these days, if Justin Bieber is anywhere public for longer than two milliseconds, he is being photographed. So wouldn't you think if Biebs kicked Mickey in the nuts, there would be photographic evidence? That's my train of thought anyway, but regardless, the rumors are all over the Internet. Let's hope for his sake this isn't true because Disneyland is a magical experience that should be appreciated, respected, and enjoyed at all times.