Hidden Gems: Discover the Secrets of Disney World

Walt Disney World Orlando definitely ranks as one of the most magical places on earth. With life-size characters, zooming roller coasters, tons of amazing rides, impeccable grounds and much, much more, this wonderland has so much to offer that sometimes a few bits of its magic can be accidentally overlooked. Here are just a few of the Disney World secrets that we’ve discovered that deserve a mention and perhaps even an addition to your Walt Disney World Orlando agenda.

Lucky 13
While this little fact may not be considered a physical “hidden gem,” it certainly ranks that way from an insider information standpoint. Did you know that when you see a 13-minute wait at some of the attractions, that really means there’s no wait at all? That’s right…at least as far as The Haunted Mansion (located in Magic Kingdom) and the Tower of Terror (located in Hollywood Studios) are concerned. Woo-hoo, looks like 13 is making a comeback!

Strong on Luck
Ever wanted to release the sword from the Sword in the Stone? Don’t give up hope! Just behind Cinderella’s Castle and next to the Golden Carousel in the Magic Kingdom is where you’ll find the Sword in the Stone. If you are brave and strong enough to give it a tug, you may actually be lucky enough to “remove it.” (Well, at least as far as Walt Disney World standards are concerned, anyway.)

While my family has never been lucky enough to loosen the stone’s grip, release the sword, or become the newest “Ruler of England,” we’ve never given up hope! It’s always something fun to try and imagine how fabulous you or kid will feel if they are lucky enough to set it free!

Make it Rain
While The Great Movie Ride, located in Hollywood Studios, is a fun jaunt through classics of the Silver Screen, like Singin’ In The Rain, did you know that’s not the only place where fake rain can fall? Yep, that’s right, you can actually make it rain and create the same scene yourself. Just head on over to the Streets of America section and there you will find an umbrella hanging from a lamp post. Directly under the umbrella you’ll find a rubber black pad on the ground. Step on it, spout a tune and you too will be like Gene Kelly… singin’ in the rain!

Keepin’ It Cool at Epcot
I’m sure you know there’s a lot more to Epcot than that big, silver ball. One of the things my family and I discovered while trying to escape the summer Florida heat is the “Sum of All Thrills.” This personally-programmable simulator ride, located in the Innovations West Building, is loads of fun. You get to use cool futuristic technology and design your own thrill ride…but wait, there’s more. You also get to experience your thrill ride on a simulator robo arm that legitimately looks like it popped out of the Transformers movie. Super fun!

Another “cool” thing to discover are the water fountains in Future World. While most guests usually opt for bottled beverages, I bet they didn’t realize that some of these fantastic water fountains actually talk! Yep, you’d better open your mouth and your ears…these fountains are double cool!

More than Animals
We didn’t want to leave without mentioning Animal Kingdom. While we all know it’s famous for the spectacular, hand-crafted Tree of Life and its up-close-with-the-animals Kilimanjaro Safari Ride, there are actually a few little hidden surprises you’ll find too. First, I’ll tell you about one of my favorite girls, DiVine. This beauty is the most elegant (and green) human-plant creature you’ve ever laid eyes on! Get in touch with your nature-side and you’ll often see her walking in and around the vegetation between Africa and Asia.

Disney World secrets - DiVine
In Animal Kingdom, keep your eyes open for DiVine, one of our favorite Disney World secrets.

Another sneaky Disney World secret can be found on Epcot’s Dinosaur ride. Just take a close look before you board your time-rover. There you’ll see red, yellow and white tubes with chemical names and formulas on them. Well, we thought those chemicals and formulas were just nonsense but when we asked, they said, “No way!” Actually, they are the chemical names for the ingredients used to make ketchup, mustard and mayo. A recipe for dinosaur sandwich sauce, maybe? Crazy place for condiments!

There’s Always More
We hope these hidden gems help to make your Walt Disney World days a little more magical. I’m also sure that there are thousands of other Disney World secrets we’ve never noticed or had the opportunity to inquire about. If you’re aware of any other magical mysteries, let us know! We love to see the secret side of Walt Disney World.

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Know Before You Go

  • If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort, be sure to pack adequate walking shoes. The resort is close in size to San Francisco!
  • At Universal Orlando™, the general parking is $25.
  • International Drive is known as the tourist center of the city – you’ll be close to trendy restaurants, bars, and sightseeing activities.

DiVine photo by HarshLight / CC BY 2.0

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Mary Ellen M. Are you interested in traveling to Orlando? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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