Tuesday, April 5, 2011

30 things you didn't know about WDW

This list was generated in response to a co-worker who sent me "30 things you didn’t know about Disneyland".
Do you dare toy with me?!?!  :)  I actually know most of those, maybe not the specific numbers, in generalities.  This is one thing that I admire about Disney...it's the attention to detail and the amazing capability for such a large organization to pull off such an endeavor day after day...just amazing when you think about the amount of people and things that need to be coordinated just right for everything to work. 

I love the attention to detail.  One of the examples I like to use are the appearance of the window shutters of a certain building (can't remember the name right now) in Liberty Square (one of the "lands" that represents colonial America) in the Magic Kingdom.  They are slightly tilted away from the window, almost as if the hinges are broken.  Why are they like that?  There's no explanation in the parks anywhere as to why, but there is a back story.  During the American Revolutionary war, iron was used to make weapons and such for the military and in short supply to the general public.  So, during this particular period of time, the hinges were replaced with leather straps which stretched over time causing the shutters to tilt away from the window.  The building needed to look authentic.  You don't notice it, but you would notice if it wasn't right.  Cool, huh?  That's just one of thousands of overlooked details. 

Here are some things you didn't know about Disney World that I threw together...

1.  Walt Disney World opened Oct. 1, 1971.  Walt Disney died 5 year before.  Roy Disney (brother) carried out Walt's plan for a park in Florida.  Roy died just two months after the opening. 

2.  WDW resort covers more than 25,000 acres or 40 square miles.  Currently, less then 1/4 of this is developed, with another quarter designated as a wilderness preserve.

3.  WDW includes more the 850 acres of lakes.

4.  The maximum height allowed for any feature (building or attraction or icon) at WDW resort is 200'.

5.  WDW cast members launder an average of 240,000 lbs of laundry each day, with an additional 30,000 to 32,000 garments dry cleaned daily.

6.  WDW resort monorail beamway extends a total of 14 miles.

7.  WDW resort is home to 99 holes of golf.

8.  There are 300 places to dine at WDW resort, not counting portable food carts.

9.  There are more than 31,000 guest rooms at the WDW resort.  The resorts go by acronyms among those "in the know":  CR, PR, GF, FW, WL, CS, CR, POR, POFQ, SoG, POP, ASMu, ASsp, ASMo, AKL, BC, BW, YC, SSR, OKW, and BLT. 

10.  Magic Kingdom in the WDW resort is the only park which does not sell alcohol.  Also, no park sells gum. 

11.  There are 13 lanterns hanging from the Liberty Tree in Liberty Square which represent the 13 original colonies.  If you look in the window above one of the shops you will see two lighted lanterns, which reference "one if by land, two if by sea".

13.  The only hotels operating when the park opened in 1971 were the Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Resort.  The Contemporary Resort was built using a modular design technique.  Each room was built at a worksite several miles away, trucked in, and assembled into the A-frame hotel we see today. 

14.  ECPOT spends $35,000 a night on pyrotechnics for its Illuminations show.  Magic Kingdom spends about $15,000 a night for its Wishes fireworks display.  Hollywood Studios Fantasmic show runs about $10,000 for pyrotechnics (this show runs about 2 -3 times a week).  That's $19.8M a year, not including special fireworks shows for holidays. 

15.  Underneath the Magic Kingdom is a series of underground tunnels (call Utilidors).  These are used as the "backstage" area for all operations.  Cast Members move from one part of the park to the other using the utilidors.  Costuming is located under the park.  Cast Members take their breaks and eat at a cafeteria under the park.  Food and merchandising is transported through the utilidors. 

16.  In the WDW Railroad station at the Magic Kingdom, in the background you can hear the tapping sounds of Morse code (like from a telegraph office).  These aren't random sounds.  The Morse code is replaying Walt Disney's opening speech from Disneyland.

17.  WDW resort is the largest single-site employer in the US with over 40,000 cast members.

18.  Mickey Mouse has 175 different outfits.  Minnie Mouse has approximately 200 outfits.

19.  More than 50 million Cokes are consumed each year at Walt Disney World Resort. Guests also consume 10 million hamburgers, 7 million hot dogs, 9 million pounds of French fries and more than 300,000 pounds of popcorn.

20.  Disney's Animal Kingdom is the largest park in the WDW complex, at around 500 acres.

21.  The names of 2 of the approach procedures that all aircraft follow into their arrival at Orlando International Airport are named GOOFY TWO and MINEE TWO.

22.  The monorail was the fastest ride in the WDW park until Test Track was built in EPCOT.

23.  Cinderella's castle is not made of stone... it is entirely made of fiberglass.

24.  The narrator of Spaceship Earth from 1986 to 1994 was Walter Cronkite.

25.  There are about 1100 Audio-Animatronic figures in the Magic Kingdom alone! These are all controlled using a system called DACS (Digital Animation Control System) from a central remote location, along with the more than 700 soundtracks for attractions, parades, stores and restaurants! In the four theme parks, there are close to 2000 Audio-Animatronics figures in all.

26.  Fear of traffic jams and overcrowding fueled by media hype kept crowds away from the park on October 1, 1971. In fact, extra Florida State Troopers were brought in to control traffic jams, but were found to be unnecessary. While some early guests drove in circles around the entrance hoping to be the first to enter the park, less than 10,000 guests visited the Magic Kingdom that day. By November, however, Florida experienced the worst traffic jam in its history, as nearby Interstate 4 was backed up for miles with Disney visitors.

27.  Since the early 90's, you are not allowed to swim in the lake water at the WDW resorts due to an amoeba found in Florida waters that can make people with compromised immune systems very sick.  I guess we were testing fate back in the 70's and 80's.  I loved swimming in the lake!

28.  Standing under Spaceship Earth in ECPOT (that's the large silver ball) during a rainstorm, you will not get wet.  That is because there is a specially designed gutter system which captures the water and sends it to World Showcase Lagoon (about 2 city blocks away).

29.  In the Haunted Mansion ride in Magic Kingdom, the air conditioning system is so effective that cast members have to add dust (fuller's earth) to keep the place looking dusty. 

30.  In WDW, no trash can is ever being more than 30 steps away from you.  It seems that Walt went to other parks when he was designing the park and counted how long a person would hold onto a piece of trash before dropping it on the ground.  He came up with 30 steps.

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