Before you stroll down Main Street, U.S.A., read these 20 fascinating Magic Kingdom facts, and learn some unusual trivia about your favorite park in Walt Disney World!
No matter what age you are, walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom makes you feel like a kid. The shop windows filled with toys and the sidewalks lined with smiling Disney characters evokes a sense of adolescent wonder. As Walt intended, it is the place where dreams come true.
You’re sure to have a magical time visiting this park in Walt Disney World, regardless of how familiar you are with its history or operations. But, many secrets are hidden within this beloved vacation destination that are worth learning.
Here are 20 of the most interesting Magic Kingdom facts and trivia tidbits you should know.
1. THE SMALLEST PARK
Although it’s the most popular park in Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom is actually the smallest of the four regions in Florida.
The biggest is Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which spans over 500 acres (you need plenty of space for all those animals!). EPCOT is a bit smaller, covering 300 acres thanks to the sizable World Showcase Lagoon at the center.
Even tinier is the Magic Kingdom, at just over 100 acres. It really is a small world after all!
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2. THE BIGGEST CROWDS
The Magic Kingdom is the iconic Disney setting that everyone associates with the Florida attraction, so it’s no wonder that it draws the biggest crowds of all the parks.
In a typical year, annual attendance at the Magic Kingdom is around 17 million people. The only other park coming close to rivaling that amount is EPCOT, which draws 11 million visitors.
Even if the Magic Kingdom is smaller than its fellow parks but has the most visitors, that doesn’t mean it’s always going to be crowded. There’s still plenty of room for everyone!
In fact, the park only fills up to half of its usual capacity on most days, far less than its 100,000-person limit.
3. A SMALL PRICE FOR A SMILE
When the Magic Kingdom opened its gates to the public for the first time on October 1, 1971, admission for a single adult into the park was a mere $3.50—and even less than that for a child. Today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a souvenir or a snack for that amount of money.
Inflation is a pain, amirite?
4. SENSORY SORCERY
What makes the Magic Kingdom feel magical isn’t just what you see, hear, touch, or taste– it’s also what you smell.
Imagineers recognize that scents are good at triggering feelings and memories in people, so the park uses aroma diffuser technology known as Smellitzer machines to pump specific smells into the air through vents near the ground.
Different areas emit different aromas.
For instance, you’ll notice sweet smells wafting from the shops on Main Street, U.S.A., while other smells are specific to the locale of the attractions—like gunpowder and musky ocean waters filling the air around The Pirates of the Caribbean.
5. OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND
When Walt was designing his park in Anaheim, he was strongly committed to maintaining guests’ feeling of immersion — and Imagineers continue following that philosophy to this day!
One way this has been implemented is in the subtle division between lands within the Magic Kingdom.
That’s because foliage, buildings, and signs are geographically arranged to block your view of adjacent areas.
6. COVERT CONNECTIONS
Ever see costumed Cast Members hiking up their dresses and dashing though an area they’re not supposed to be in? No?
That’s because underneath your feet is a network of tunnels known as the utilidor system that connect all the different areas of the Magic Kingdom.
These underground channels allow Cast Members to navigate through the park without breaking the illusion or being hounded by ecstatic children at inopportune times.
The subterranean construct also has plenty of restrooms, cafeterias for breaks, changing and rehearsal areas, and other functional services.
The hallways are color-coded to identify which land Cast Members are currently under and where the stairs up will take them.
Want to see these tunnels for yourself? You’ll have to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour to earn that level of exclusive access!
7. CLEAN AS A WHISTLE
The facilities management team keeps the Magic Kingdom incredibly clean, and one major way they minimize messes is in the trash collection system.
Trash is gathered and sent through a network of underground pipes called the Automated Vacuum Assisted Collection System (AVACS).
This waste is launched at 60 mph to a central location for processing. These routes are connected to the utilidor system, taking advantage of the existing infrastructure.
Also, the park always has trash cans located within 30 steps of anywhere you may be standing, so you never have an excuse to throw your garbage on the ground.
8. NO ORDINARY TREE
The Tree of Life at the Animal Kingdom gets all the fame, but you shouldn’t overlook the Liberty Oak in the Magic Kingdom.
This ancient tree is over 140 years old and was originally growing on Walt’s family’s property eight miles away. Being deemed a worthwhile addition to the park, the tree was carefully transported to where it now rests: in the center of Liberty Square.
At the time of its relocation, the Quercus virginiana weighed 38 tons and required a special transportation method: Holes were drilled through its trunk so steel rods could be inserted and attached to a massive crane that lifted it out of the ground.
By now, the Liberty Oak has healed and has been immortalized as the symbol on the company’s horticultural logo.
9. THE CRAPPIEST PLACE IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM
Have you ever noticed that paved, brown path winding through Liberty Square, cutting through the red pavement? It’s very crooked and certainly not a path meant to be followed.
That’s because the brown stone path represents the trail of sewage that would’ve flowed through the streets of colonial America during that time.
Yes, this seemingly benign stretch of beige brick is meant to remind you of what a glorious invention indoor plumbing was.
Liberty Square’s preoccupation with historically accurate waste goes beyond the poop trail. To reflect the accuracy of the time period, this region of Magic Kingdom was built without any restrooms.
If you really need to use the loo, you can find WCs in the Columbia Harbour House and the Liberty Tree Tavern, since they’re dining establishments with facilities for patron use.
10. THE STARS AND STRIPES ARE FAKE
As dedicated as the park is to accuracy, there is one aspect that is purposefully wrong: the American flags.
None of the flags flown within the Magic Kingdom –or any park in Walt Disney World– are correct in their design. They all have the wrong number of stripes or stars than they should.
That’s not for any conspiratorial reason; accurate American flags are held to strict display and upkeep standards through the national flag code.
These purposeful defects qualify these imitations as pennants and allow the park to forgo having to abide by laws to lower them to half-mast, for instance.
11. SHE’S STRONGER THAN SHE LOOKS
With its soaring spires and glistening windows, Cinderella’s Castle appears to be a beautiful yet delicate construct reaching toward the sky.
You can rest assured that this royal palace isn’t going to topple over anytime soon.
That’s because Cinderella’s Castle is made of something far more resilient than stone blocks and cement adhesive: The grey walls are actually made of fiberglass.
Such construction bolsters the building so it can withstand Florida’s roughest weather, from robust hurricane winds to torrential downpours. It even has lightning rods strategically positioned on its spires!
12. BE OUR GUEST
Another secret that Cinderella’s Castle holds is an opulent suite inside. Housed within its walls are sleeping quarters filled with 17th century furniture and a Cinderella mosaic floor made with 24-karat gold.
The overnight accommodations were originally designed for the Disney family, but eventually they underwent some modifications to make them suitable for public guests.
But that doesn’t mean you can book a stay in this special room simply by making reservations. You have to win the opportunity by being chosen in a sweepstakes drawing.
13. KEEP ON CHUGGIN’
With how pristine its condition is and smooth its movement is, you’d assume that the steam-powered trains running on the Walt Disney World Railroad are recent constructions that have to be replaced every decade or so.
In actuality, each of these trains is around 100 years old! They were all real, functional steam-powered trains originally built between 1916-1928 by Baldwin Locomotive Works for use on a railroad system in Mexico.
These vintage machines have been preserved over the past century with dedicated care and meticulous restoration that now keeps them in picture-perfect condition day after day.
It’s no surprise that these trains receive extra TLC, as Walt was a known train enthusiast.
14. AROUND SINCE THE BEGINNING
Although the trains are definitely old, there’s another attraction in the park that’s even older, predating the Magic Kingdom itself by over 50 years. Want to take a guess at what that ride is?
If you answered that it’s the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, you’re right!
This piece of history was built back in 1917 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Although it’s received some restoration work and minor upgrades over the years, 90 of its hard-carved wooden horses are originals.
15. FIRST APPEARANCES
Not every attraction inside the Magic Kingdom got its start within the park. A handful of rides actually debuted elsewhere before arriving in Florida.
Most notable are the Carousel of Progress and it’s a small world, which both made their first public appearance at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.
The Carousel of Progress was actually in California’s Disneyland for a while before being moved across the country to Florida.
Speaking of Disneyland, its attraction Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln also debuted at that same New York World’s Fair. Although it moved to California, it was the inspiration for The Hall of Presidents.
16. WHATEVER HAPPENED TO RIVER COUNTRY?
Not everything that’s been in the Magic Kingdom has stuck around. For instance, the site used to have a hopping waterpark called River Country that first opened in 1976.
This water-themed land was a popular place to hang out, especially amid the sweltering summer heat of central Florida.
But, in 2001, River Country was permanently closed without an official explanation for its cessation. Many of its components still reside in the middle of Bay Lake, slowly deteriorating and overgrown by foliage.
17. PERMANENTLY GROUNDED
River Country isn’t the only part of the Magic Kingdom that has been retired. An abandoned runway now sits crumbling close to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom near the Monorail station.
This concrete strip is what remains of Disney World’s short-lived on-property airport that was built in 1970 and closed less than two years later.
Rumor is that if you drive down the runway in a car travelling at a precise speed, you’d hear the notes of “When You Wish Upon a Star” rumble under the tires due to special grooves in the surface.
18. SOME FRIENDLY EAVESDROPPING
Want to hear a secret? Then pick up the telephone in the hat shop located on Main Street, U.S.A.
The vintage-style telephone hanging on the wall isn’t mere decoration; it plays a secret recorded message! If you pick up the receiver and listen carefully, you’ll hear a conversation going on between two people.
Who’s talking, and what are they discussing? You’ll have to find the phone to find out!
19. ROYALTY FOR A DAY
Only die-hard Disney fans arrive at the Magic Kingdom before it opens, but there’s a good reason to stand outside the gates before the daily rope drop.
Every morning, one lucky family waiting to enter the park gets selected to be the “family of the day.”
This honor involves getting a stroll through Main Street, U.S.A. before it opens to the public and being joined by Cast Members to participate in the day’s opening ceremony. That’s definitely worth waking up early for!
20. A GOODNIGHT MESSAGE
If you’re not a morning person, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s a good reason to stay inside the Magic Kingdom late into the night until it closes.
If you linger around Cinderella’s Castle as the park is getting ready to bid guests goodnight, the building will light up one final time and play the classic tune, “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
Then, a recorded message is projected through the nearby speakers for guests to hear.
I won’t tell you what the message says. You’ll have to go and hear it for yourself!
Magic Kingdom Facts
A beloved vacation destination for decades, the Magic Kingdom continues to draw families to Florida generation after generation.
Whether it’s your first time or fifteenth time to this magical land, hopefully you’ve learned something new with this Magic Kingdom trivia!
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