Stories Behind the Scenes


From: Eric 24 MAR 06

Many years back, a friend of mine and I took small sticker camera photos in the park, and placed them in well-hidden places throughout the park. One place I remember is the line for splash mountain...where there is a big black pot in a fireplace. We placed one inside the fireplace completely hidden and in the dark. The next day or visit to the ride, it wouldn't be there. Another place would be behind those plastic plants you can find anywhere in Fantasyland. This applied to many other places in the park..and we remembered each location. Time and time again, we would never find our stickers. Someone is really good at their job.

From: Donald 17 MAY 99

While we were at Walt Disney World a few days ago, there was a character sighting with a lot of characters. We came into the courtyard in front of Main Street and saw Captain Hook having a fight with the fox from Pinnochio. While behind Captain Hook's back, my brother started saying "Tick-Tock Tick-Tock". Pinnochio, who was right next to Hook, tapped Hook on the shoulder and motioned to look behind him. Captain Hook chased him all over the courtyard. After that, we decided to interact with other characters around the park. We went over to the Queen of Hearts and asked if she ever lost at croquet. She made an "Off with his head!" gesture, which led to a chase over the courtyard. We then saw Mr. Smee joyfully skip over to Captain Hook, trying to tell him something. Hook ended up pointing off in the distance as if to say, "Hey, look!" and while Smee was trying to find what he was looking for. So, just for fun, if you are ever at a character greeting thing with several characters, not only will the characters interact with each other, they will interact with you! Only at Disney would the characters act their parts!

From: anon 20 OCT 00

When I was attending college, I worked as a "pilot" on the various boats that carry guests between the TTC, the Magic Kingdom, and the various hotels. These boats and ships (contrary to popular belief) do NOT run on tracks. On occasion, (generally due to pilot error), a boat has run aground on the soft sand bottoms of the lakes. This does no real damage to the boats, but may bruise the ego of the pilot. At the time I worked there (late 70's to mid 80's), if a pilot did run aground, their co-workers unofficially named that area as a reef to "honor" the pilot unlucky enough to run aground there. As "cast members" generally have their first names on their name tags, and are referred to as such by common strangers (guests), it is customary (or was) to call each other by our last names, or nicknames as a gesture of friendship between co-workers. First names were reserved for co-workers we didn't like, or trust, but had to work with! As a result, the "reefs" have names like "Johnson's Reef" or "Smith's Reef".

From: anon 20 OCT 00

A "Motorcruiser" type boat (20 tons/73[?] ft long/twin screw) was rumored to have experienced a human tragedy during it's construction. It is said that someone went into compartment containing the rudder mechanisms, and was to fire up his welding equipment. Unfortunately, a workman had been previously working in the same area with highly flammable solvents, and when the welder started his torch, the compartment exploded, killing this welder instantly. Since then, his 'ghost' has been seen occasionally on this boat. At any rate, some 15 years or so later, I was on this boat, the 'Bon Voyage' just before midnite, nearing the end of the day. We were traveling from the campgrounds to the Contemporary. The moon was full, the lake was quiet and still, and except for our boat, there were no other vessels on the lake, and there was a fairly heavy fog on the water. My deckhand and I noted how spooky this all looked, that no one else was aboard, and observed in jest that we were on the 'Bonny'.... "ooooh....Ghost of the Bonny....ooooooh!". Those words were just out of my mouth when the WINDSHIELD WIPERS CAME ON BY THEMSELVES! Neither my deckhand nor my self were anywhere near the dashboard where the wiper switch was located. By the way, I'm told that you can still see a very slight bulge in the decking of the boat where this accident took place, although I hear the 'Bon Voyage' may have since been repainted as the 'Castaways'.

Disney Monorails

D. Williams 25 JUN 96

This is not a Hidden Mickey story, but rather, concerning the Monorail. While on a tour of the Yacht and Beach Club, a guy named Rix told he used to work on the Monorail when the park was first opened. He said it took him about four minutes to get from the Magic Kingdom to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) which included picking up and dropping off people. However, he said the speed needed to be restricted because of Disney's Contemporary Resort. The vibration of the Monorail going through the resort caused bottles to fall of the counter at the bar.


From: TXTinkerbell 20 MAY 02

I remember when I was getting Tigger's autograph he messed up and tore the page out of my book. Then he bounced all the way over to the trash can, and slam dunked the paper. I thought that was very cool of Tigger.

From: Harold Valdes 21 OCT 01

One day when i was exiting Magic Kingdom I was on my way to the monorail. Well as luck would have it we got to sit in the front seat of the monorail where the driver is. He gave us a cool card or pin i cant remember that said we were official monorail drivers (of course it wasnt for real but it was still kewl). and on are way to the Contemperary Resort they started the 2000 Mellenium works and the driver stoped and said that this is one of the best views for the fireworks in the park. We watched the fireworks and it was one of the coolest things ive seen in disney. Well if your ever there and the fireworks are gonna happen ask to sit in the front and ask the driver if he could stop to watch the fireworks. I gurantee it will be the coolest things u will ever see

From: Mark Thompson 10 JUL 01

The Magic Kingdom is best enjoyed with the full, complete recognition that everything is 100% genuine. No animatronics, no one-way mirrors, no fiberglass, holograms or rear projection anything. When you ride Space Mountain, you are actually taking off and flying through real stars; there is no roller coaster. When you're on Big Thunder Mtn. Railroad, you really are in a western mine town on a real runaway mine train; hold on for your life!! When you're on Peter Pan's Flight, you really are on a real pirate ship, and that really is the true city of London beneath you. Main Street is real. Cinderella Castle is real; she lives there, and so does the prince. You're literally walking in Tom Sawyer's very footsteps on his island, and yes that's his real honest-to-goodness log raft with one of his real friends driving it. Absolutely nothing fake or manufactured about it. Oh, and those pirates? Watch out! Those cannonballs really might sink your boat! This is the true way to enjoy WDW, from one side to the other; every park and every resort. When I was a young boy standing in line for the Haunted Mansion for the first time, the lady in front of me warned her child "Don't worry Johnny, they're all fake dummies and mirrors. It's not real". My father then leaned down and told me "Don't worry son, when we walk thru that door, the man might not get you. But watch out!"

From: Eric West 13 JUN 01

Back in 1993-94, I was doing demolition work in Tommorrowland. My brother was sub-contracting to cut and remove all the concrete surface of that land. Most of the work was done in the middle of the night, between 12 to 5:00 in the A.M. One mourning, my brother had to do an errand, so I left the job site and went on a journey around the park. I walked through all the rides with my hardhat on, so that I looked like I belonged. I didn't see anybody, except a couple janiters. They were doing their thing, and didn't pay me much mind. All the rides, of course, had the lights on inside. I went on Peter Pan's ride and walked on the small city with the clock tower and the chime of it's bell. Snow White wasn't much. I walked through the Haunted Mansion, from the exit to the entrance. That was Cool! Pirates of the Carribe was awesome, and it was still dark inside. The wind in the Pirates was still blowing and I could hear the automated voices. Some areas had secret personel doors because not every area in the ride was eccessible.

About 10 years ago in line at the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland a man was walking up with his little boy on his shoulders. The cast member said "Look that man has something growing out of his shoulders, that's okay it's nothing the ceiling fans won't take care of. I thought that was funny. Then a few years before that when I was about 16 years I had Tigger following me around the park for a few minutes. This year we were in Tomorrowland on what I still call the People Mover (Tomorrowland Transit Authority) and a girl came on the intercom (not to us) and said ok people this is a G-rated park lets keep it that way. Some one apparently thought they were going to have some fun and got interupted :) Yes they have cameras everywhere.

From: Paul Barton 12 AUG 01

While visiting Pirates of the Carribbean at the Magic Kingdom in late June 1996 I could not believe my eyes. We were waiting to unload off the boat, everyone had left the boat apart from one person, an old lady. As she was stepping out of the boat the CM moved the boat before she was clear, sending her backwards over the rear of the boat into the water! You should have seen the look on the CM's face!

From: Katie Grokulsky 05 MAR 00

When I was 11, my brother and I got lost in the Adventure Land area. We where brought to one of the men who is incharge of Adventure Land. As he took us to where the lost childern go he told us that they would be re-doing the Pirates of the Carabbean exacley like the Disney Land ride, with two falls, and the resterant. But they have not done that in the 6 years since my mom found me.

From: Amy Duggan (disneymaniac) 07 NOV 99

When i went to WDW on the 22 June 1998 i took the Keys to the Kingdom tour which turned out to be a pretty eventful day , first of all when we were in adventure land our tour guide (Skip) climbed on a bench to show us the roof of the tiki birds , he fell through a gap in the bench , almost hurting himself ! the to demonstrate the forced perspective i got to go up on a second story in adventure land which was so cool as eveyone said i looked like a giant! Then for the rest of the day we got preferential treatment from cast members because they saw mine and my dads green Mickey tag so they all told us where all the hidden mickeys were then to top it all off when we went on POTC a cast member was following me in the queue (we were the only ones there) and i got scared , the he decided to come on our boat , so there was only my dad , this cast member and me on a boat , and he was telling us all the secrets and hidden mickeys on POTC , so in short , i will never forget that day !!

Small World

From: Mark Scott 20 DEC 98

In 1989, I was in the Magic Kingdom with my brother (Rob), his then wife (Michelle), and her sister (Dawn). As we worked our way through the park we decided to ride It's a Small World. Shortly after we were off of the ride, and walking up the exit ramps, Dawn was holding her arm and saying that she thought it was broken. None of us saw what happened. Apparently, when the ride was ending, the conveyer belt, that had just started to take the boat to the unloading location, stopped so the people on the boat ahead of us could get off. Dawn reached out and grabbed one of the handrail poles that are close to the boat at that time. When the conveyer belt jerked the boat to the unloading location, it somehow broke her arm. The rest of us did not think that it could have possibly been broken, and the first aid department at Disney gave her an ice bag and a splint for her arm. The next day we went to the hospital and had her arm x-rayed. The arm was broken. So, the next time you hear one of those messages that says to "keep your arms and legs inside of the boat at all times", you may want to listen. They are warning you because they know the rides can be dangerous in ways that you can't even imagine.

Splash Mountain

From:Matt Steninger 01 JUL 98

While riding Splash Mountain last year, my log was behind another carrying a group of 15-16 year olds(i'm 20). They decided it would be fun to dip into the water and slpash each other (right after Brer-Frog's ascension in the beginning). The logs stopped and a friendly cast-member voice announced "Please remain seated an keep your hands and arms inside the cars at all times." They sheepishly settled down and looked straight forward barely even moving. I turned around to see a camera hidden in the rocks directly behind us!

From:Jennifer Bell 04 OCT 97

Some people are just really weird. My parents took my husband and I to WDW for our one year anniversary. It was in September (rain season). We waited in line for about 45 mins. as we watched storm clouds approach. Being Florida babies, we figured it would dump then clear up. Well the cast members kept walking around checking the line, etc. Right after we got into our car, they decided to close the ride. We were informed that we were to be the last car. Thunder and lightning started to flash as we went through the ride. We didn't realize how bad the storm was until we got to the Flume part. We started uphill, and as we looked over the edge the whole car full of people went "" then we went falling in the pouring rain. As we went to turn the corner at the bottom of the hill going towards the loading zone the lady in our car decided she didn't want to get wet, so she opened her umbrella. (we were in a 'fake' mountain, in a lightning storm...did she not know this?) All of a sudden a "voice" out of nowhere said "we can not continue the ride until you close your umbrella miss." The ride stopped and we were getting poured on. She finally realized the were talking to her and she closed the umbrella and the ride kept going. We laughed hysterically at the sign outside the ride that read: "caution: you may get wet on this ride" Hours later we were still wringing out our clothes.

Candlelight Procession

From:Katherine Hochdorfer 27 JUL 97

The Candlelight Procession is a parade done just before Christmas. The choir you see walk down Main street to the front of the train station is made up of High School choirs. They have to submit there entries by mail months before and get excepted to go. They must also practice before the performance with a Guest Director and Guest Speaker who will tell the story of Christ Birth. This is done in the Production studio where the Electric Parade is normally at. Even with all the practice you don't just here the choirs when they're processing that music and some voices are pumped through speakers. When they are at the train station its just the choirs. The candles you see them holding are actually battery operated. I had the honor of doing this all 4yrs I was at Jupiter High School. What an experience.

From: Loren Jones 31 MAR 98

If I remember correctly they also do a Candlelight Procession at Epcot, unless I'm thinking of the same program, but I've had the previlage this year of singing under the direction of one of the people in charge of that show, in fact we did a modified version of it here at my school. Just to bring that into a little bit different of scope. They performed that show 92 times over 30 days, and had to even pre-record some of the celebrity readers because they couldn't get down to Florida. It was neat to hear about all of that from a director's stand-point.

From: Tania D 17 DEC 98

The Christmas Candlelight procession at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT are one and the same. It was moved from Main Street to the American Pavillion about 3 or 4 years ago. WDW now sells special package theme park tickets to this function that includes dinner at your favorite restaurant within Epcot and prefered seating to this performance for 39.95 per person. (Admission to the park not included in that price) WDW is also offering the CD version of this concert. (recorded with Louis Gossett Jr. as the narrator during Christmas 1997)

Responsible Parenting?

From:Solomon Davidoff 02 APR 97

I am an ex amusement park employee (Ohio's Kings Island), who still enjoys going to parks. I was especially glad to finally visit Disney World, but had my visit marred by another guest. I was sitting in the audience at the Indiana Jones show, when they asked for audience participants. Of course, I rasied my hand. I wasn't chosen, but I know that's much more likely to happen. What bothered me, was that the woman next to me who was chosen jumped up and went to be in the show, leaving her kids behind. With no one else there. I hadn't been talking to her, but noticed that the three of them were alone. So she's up on stage running around, and her two small children are alone, frightened and at their wits end. Three times I had to deal with little upsets, and one other guest started to reprimand me about how my children were behaving. Just a quick note. If you're going to go to a theme park with your kids, an activity I fully endorse, please remember that you might have to miss out on a few things you might have enjoyed doing for their sakes. Today? I probably would have taken her kids to security. I mean, they were only three and four! I know that's not always the right answer, but what would be?

Disney Security

Main Street USA

From: anon 30 MAY 99

Here is a funny story. Security guards at the Magic Kingdom witnessed a guest kicking Cinderella's Castle. They made a note of it. Two weeks later Disney has a law suit in which the plaintif stated that she was struck on the foot by a brick which fell of the castle. Here's the funny part. There isn't one brick on that castle

From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

A very frightening event happened while I was walking around the World, one fine evening in June of 1996. The park, as it typically gets in the summer due to the late hours and parades, JAMS quite badly and quickly fills to capacity, or NEAR capacity. NEAR meaning...get out, go home, people are standing on my feet. The park throbbed in the early evening, so much so, Main Street was in danger of people literally being trampled to death. Main Street connects to Tomorrowland right at The Plaza Restaurant, on the right side of the block. As you turn the corner and pass the restaurant, you'll find the yellow dining al fresco chairs, (on the dock of the waterway), a bank of bathrooms, and the Tomorrowland Plaza Pavillion (through which you enter Tomorrowland itself). To the right of the bathrooms is a wall of pay-phones and a mystery entrance for the cast members to enter and exit. P.S., as the crowd became EXTREMELY jammed, and I might say, life-threateningly so, they let us file out through this mystery door. It takes you to an open area, directly behind Main Street. The area is humongous, and you realize that you're "in-back" of everything. What's to see there? There's a massive parking lot, maintenance vehicles, storage bins, cast members moving portable concession stands, and very little else. It's mostly stark, metallic shades against the backs of the buildings but little, "revealing" items. It just amazes you to see how big it is back there, and it's really cool to see behind Main Street. You exit through a large entrance in the corner of Main Street by Tony's Restaurant, and you're back to the beginning again. But that day, they were hoping people would leave...rather than stay and get squashed.

From:Cheryl Althouse 01 MAR 97

In the summer of 1987, my husband and I visited Walt Disney World for the first time without our children. We had just watched the afternoon parade and decided to do some shopping at the Emporium on Main Street. While purchasing some things, I got into a conversation with the cashier and asked her if her middle name was Ann. The reason being that a lot of people I meet with the first name of Cheryl have that middle name. She looked at me a bit strangely and said yes. When the purchase was over, she whispered to me that in my bag was something that no one can buy as a memento of being there. She had taken off her name tag and slipped it into the bag. I don't know how many people have one, but I have an official Disney World name tag with my name on it.

L. Borne 25 JAN 96

I worked on the 4th of July when the crowds were so large, that we actually allowed guests to exit by going around backstage down main street. In the middle cross road section of main street, large doors could be opened. Another set of doors are located at the horse stable near the exit. Guests were funneled out though the cross road gate and entered back by the stable. We erected large curtains so that no one could see the garages where the main street autos were parked.

From:James Robert Hearn 29 OCT 95

I was in the Magic Kingdom yesterday, and happened across a carved pumpkin judging contest that anyone could participate in. It was in the small courtyard by the Ice Cream Shop at the end of Main Street. Anyway, one of the pumpkins evidently fell off of the table, and was crushed. Around the carcass was a barricade, with a sign saying: "Please excuse our mess, this pumpkin is being refurbished for your future enjoyment." Does Disney miss anything??? I wish I had a camera....

L. Borne 25 JAN 96

Working at Disney I met some unusual people. My favorite 3 stories:

  1. One pregnant woman, going into labor, insisted she have the baby on the main stage in front of Cinderella's Castle.
  2. I had to ask a nice group of French women to put their shirts back on. It was a very hot day, and they were walking around topless.
  3. Two guys stole a ladies purse in the Magic Kingdom - very rare. Their exit - yes, via the monorail. The monorail got about 100 yards, when it stopped, and reversed back to the station. Security personnel were waiting.

anon 25 JAN 96

All of the offices on the upstairs of main street are real. The real offices only have windows looking out toward backstage. The walls of the actual offices are 3-4 feet away from the fake office windows. Once, when I was up talking with the Main Street Cast Member director, I noticed a clever conversation piece on his desk. It was a mouse trap baited with a dime, and a plastic Mickey was caught in it with his hand on the money. This was his way of protesting Eisner's policies.

Steve B 24 SEP 96

I can confirm that guests are sometimes allowed to cut behind the east side of Main Street. I was there in October '96. Although the parks were generally not too crowded due to low season throughout most of the week, Saturday still attracted a huge crowd. Saturday night was the only night of the week (at least in October) when the Magic Kingdom hosted fireworks and the SpectroMagic parade. Even in low season, the place was so crowded that I overheard somebody saying that new admissions had been cut off earlier in the day. I watched the fireworks from the north end of Main Street. I was at the area where you can turn east from the Street itself and sit at tables overlooking the water around the castle plaza and Tomorrowland was off to my right. After the fireworks, a Cast Member opened a door in that section of Main Street facing the castle. Guests were able to go through that door, along the service areas, then re-enter Main Street at Town Square. There was no attempt to disguise or dress up this service area. There were no giant curtains covering anything. I could see various parked cars and the very unthemed backs of buildings. Given the number of people crammed into the park, relatively few seemed to take this shortcut. Perhaps the loss of illusion is not worth escaping from several minutes of shoulder-to-shoulder crowds thronging toward the exit.

Cinderella's Castle

Gene Jackson 31 JAN 96

Several years ago, I had written Guest Relations concerning the "never occupied" apartment in Cinderella's Castle, which I wanted to see very much. Guest relations, gracious as always, explained that the apartment was now used for storage and security and could not be viewed. I have always wondered if that is true. In any event, Guest Relations did take me on a backstage tour, including the infamous tunnel level at the Magic Kingdom and all because I had the courage to "ask".

Haunted Mansion

REPORTED: Karen Chong 31 DEC 98

I have been to WDW almost every year for the last 26 years. (I'm 26 yrs. old) When I was younger, I was very scared of the Haunted Mansion. It took me a while to work up the courage to actually get on the ride. When I was about 8 yrs old, I finally had made the decision to do it. We were there during October...a very slow time for WDW. My parents took me to the Haunted Mansion first. (I'm sure they didn't want me to chicken out) We were the first(and only ones)in line, and I was boasting to them that I wasn't scared at all. I must have been louder than I thought because the cast members inside started HEAVILY rattling the doors. I'm sure the entire park heard my screams! In the end, my whole family was laughing so hard, we all enjoyed the ride.

From: Gary Barnes 21 JUL 96

Back around in 1991, I went through the Haunted Mansion in WDW. Just when you get into the moving vehicle, you go through a hallway with pictures and self-knocking door knockers before you get into the mansion. Right when you clear the hallway, the moving car swivels and you face a corner of the hallway. Now in all my years going to the parks, this was the first time it has ever happened. There was actually a knight in shining armor there just standing with a battle axe. You would think that is was a dummy, but it actually moved and ran out to grab you. Now if you're not expecting this, is scares the willies out of you. That only happened to me once.

From: anon 21 APR 06

To confirm Gary Barnes's story of the knight on the Haunted Mansion: I am 13 years old. The Haunted Mansion TERRIFIES me, so to try to help me out a bit, my father bought a book for me called The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies. I have read it so many times, I actually wore out the spine and had to get another copy. ANYWAY: A few years ago, the fine folks at Disney decided that The Haunted Mansion needed a change. Something new, something random. So they said, "What if we put Cast Members all dressed up in there, make them pop out every now and again?" They did. They had a Phantom of the Opera-esque character in the queue to greet guests and a knight in the ride that would sometimes pop out at you. This entire gig was cancelled because it was too scary. The knight sometimes scared people so badly that they would strike out at him. Unfortunately, his armor was not as protective as his predecessors, and the Cast Member would end up with a pretty bruise. The knight that Gary saw was hiding in a very good spot, all that is in that corner (at least in the WDW version anyway) is the organist's shadow-thing. The knight may also have hidden in the graveyard, or with the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

Rivers of America

From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

I was in Disney circa '85, and they drained the entire Tom Sawyer lagoon. The boat is on tracks, which most people know, but what you don't know is that the lagoon itself is simply IMMENSE. Vans and trucks were in the lagoon, and looked like Matchbox cars out of their depth...literally. The boat was placed in the back, towards where the Seven Seas Lagoon, mobile light show floats are stored. You could see the boat as you went by on the train, across the bridge.

I'm in a high school band, and we went to Disney in FL to participate in the Magic Music Days. We have a Jazz band that i'm also in, and we got to perform at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe and yes there is a stage that rises for live performances. We went backstage Disney (which looks NOTHING like the Disney everyone else see's) and we went down in the tunnels. In the tunnels I saw Tigger walking around w/o his head on and we saw the 7 Dwarfs costumes being hung to dry from the cast member's sweat from wearing it. when we got on the stage we had to be very quiet so the people above couldn't hear. While underneath the control guy talked to us, but he wasn't in there, it was like a God thing. There was a lil foot peddle that controls the up and down and one of our players got to raise and lower the stage. We were playing as we rose and playing as we lowered. It was a once in a lifetime event and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

From: PsYcHoBaBbLe22 30 NOV 00

I'm in a high school band, and we went to Disney in FL to participate in the Magic Music Days. We have a Jazz band that i'm also in, and we got to perform at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe and yes there is a stage that rises for live performances. We went backstage Disney (which looks NOTHING like the Disney everyone else see's) and we went down in the tunnels. In the tunnels I saw Tigger walking around w/o his head on and we saw the 7 Dwarfs costumes being hung to dry from the cast member's sweat from wearing it. when we got on the stage we had to be very quiet so the people above couldn't hear. While underneath the control guy talked to us, but he wasn't in there, it was like a God thing. There was a lil foot peddle that controls the up and down and one of our players got to raise and lower the stage. We were playing as we rose and playing as we lowered. It was a once in a lifetime event and I don't think I'll ever forget it.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority

From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow...someone's walking around the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority...ON FOOT!!! Yes ladies and gentlemen, I was riding on the classic WedWay People Mover (there's a sign of age...okay! I'm 23 but I've gone to Florida 25 times in my lifetime...sometimes twice a year, SO WHAT! Oooh, stress-breaker. Sorry.), known to you young folk as the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority, and we were on the straightaway to the Space Mountain Entrance. Somehow or the other, a tourist, (noting from his Bermuda shirt and shorts, and his obvious confusion to his surroundings), previously escaped from his moving car, and was walking inbetween the tracks. As you exit Space Mountain there is a cement island, between the northbound and southbound tracks, right before your car turns to pass in front of Space Mountain directly, and this fella was just hangin' around there, and jumping onto the track, back and forth...WALKING...looking for his hat, or whatever the heck else he was doing. Immediate thought that came to mind, (as unlikely as it seems) TERRORIST. HELLO?!!! Upon getting back to the station, my family and I informed the ride operators, who turned a whiter shade of pale. They ran to their monitors to double-check the man's location, and questioned us vigorously as to what exactly he was doing. We replied... "Ah he was just taking a stroll around the park."

From: Mark Matthews 09 JUL 95

Disney Security uses infa-red surveillance cameras in the dark areas of rides to ensure guest safety, and to make sure no one tries to get of the rides. One of the most requested security jobs is to watch the monitors of the WEDway People Mover because young couples, unknowingly, frequently provide Adult entertainment for the security personnel!

Update: David Moorhead 15 FEB 96

There are no "security personnel" watching the monitors at the WEDway. The only monitors are the ones you can see as you get on the ride, over on the right. The only person who can see these monitors is the load operator, who for the most part doesn't care what sort of trouble you get yourself into, so long as you are done by the time the ride is over. I only know one person, "Mike," who is even remotely interested in keeping tabs on those monitors. There are intrusion mats around the ride that set off an alarm if somebody gets out. That's all we care about.

Update: Safari Steve: Jungle Skipper

The Infrared cameras used in several Disney attractions are not monitored by security. They are monitored by attractions Cast Members in each ride's "tower" or control room. Tower is a regular rotation position at Pirates, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain RR among others.

From: Craig Waggett 07 APR 02

Space Mountain About six years ago when my family visited the Magic Kingdom at Easter we decided to ride Space Mountain. After queuing for ages we finally got to get on the ride. However, as my mother was getting in the car after my sister she accidentally slammed the safety bar down on my sister's leg, making her cry (she was about 8 then) and this was apparently noticed by a cast member. When we got to the unloading station we were approached by a cast member who asked my sister if she was ok and actually asked if we would like another ride because "you [my sister] might not have enjoyed it as much"!! We were then whisked through a "Cast Members Only" door, through some corridors, and arrived back at the loading station - right at the head of the queue - the people at the front of the queue had some funny looks on their faces indeed! I think that this shows how much Disney notices the little details and tries to please every guest!

Pirates of the Caribbean

From: Ellen 29 MAR 00

My sister, nephew, niece, and I travel to WDW as much as possible. We were riding the Pirates of the Caribbean for the 3rd time one day. We got to the end where the dog is holding the key and the prisoners are trying to coax the dog to give them the key to the cell door. All of the sudden, we got backed up. We sat there in the boat for about 15 minutes before anyone came to tell us what was going on. The first boat got stuck in the departure area. While we were sitting there waiting for someone to come "rescue" us, the employees turned the music and sound off and the lights on, so that the pirates were all standing there drinking, "singing", and moving. It made the ride seem very cheesy. Then, one of the employees came out in very high wading boots and told us that there was no supervisor around and they didn't know what to do with us. Finally, they pulled the boat back to an unloading area and made us all climb out of the boat, one person at a time. Needless to say, this was rather uncomfortable and of course, we were in the second row of the boat, so we had to climb one at a time back to the back of the boat with the help of Disney employees. After trapsing through the scenery of the ride, we ended up in the back of the Pirates ride. We ended up walking, for what seemed like forever, until we finally came to a gate that led us back out into the park. I guess it kind of ruined one of my favorite rides to see it all lit up with the sound turned off. The darkness of the ride definately adds to the atmosphere!

From: Fish 18 APR 99

My band performed at Walt Disney World just last week and got to go back behind the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. It's really strange how they have spare props and plants lying around the backlot in a spot where if you just peer in through the open door you could see it! There were piles of crates, barrels and bird cages by the Pirates, along with a rather large collection of exotic plants, including a couple palm trees. On the Jungle Cruise side, they have a tiny little shack they use to store paint in. There is a small paint bench outside where you are supposed to test the paints. Among the shapes made by the cast members (Maybe Imagineers?) were a peace sign, a skull and crossbones, and a tri-circle Mickey Mouse (Would that be a Hidden Mickey?). We came out just before Spectromagic, so we got to have a little conversation with a couple Cast Members, one who was from our area! After the whole thing was done, I came back, taking my time, soaking everything in and trying to perhaps catch a peek at some of the behind-the-scenes Jungle Cruise stuff. Well, from the Jungle Cruise I heard a series of rather loud "CRACK!" noises, then a lady screaming. That was very unusual! I decided to go on the Jungle Cruise immediately after, and we got on a boat with a skipper who looked a bit shaken up. Well, she explained that she had just crashed her boat!

From: robert mack 28 FEB 99

i went with my mom and dad to disney in 97and we went on pirates it broke down 5 times while we were on it so when my mom saw an emergency exit signt she bailed so did I not by choice though so we got to go backstage with pipes and trucks people on break all kind of cool stuf they couldnt apoligise enough the workers were very nice but they made us run througgh backstage not to see all the stuf i guess this is one of my most memrorable experiences

From:Michelle Habas 18 SEP 97

Back in 1976 my family went to WDW for the first time. While there we rode the Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite the warning, "No flash photography please," a man in the boat in front of ours would not stop taking flash pictures. The boats were stopped and two cast members came out with an extra pair of rubber boots. They made him get out of the boat and escorted him out of the attraction.

From: anon 12 JUL 95

Whilst working in Disneyland Paris (formerly EuroDisney), I heard many stories about guest 'activities' in the Magic Kingdom. One such story entailed a rather detailed description - which I will leave out for decency's sake, sorry folks this is a Disney page - concerning a couple who requested a boat to themselves in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. This request was granted yet Cast Members became alarmed at noticing that the woman disappeared half way through the ride. Panic set in at thoughts of a guest wandering around in back stage areas, yet the hard workers were relieved and extremely amused to eventually locate the woman on her knees before the lucky chap. When the boat returned the Cast Members managed to keep a straight face at the request that the couple could do the attraction again, and on the TV monitors watched as the man disappeared and the woman had a great Disney experience!

From: anon 12 OCT 95

We were on Pirates and two guests in the boat ahead of us kept stopping the boat. Disney security using infrared cameras obviously saw them, so, when it came to part of the burning city, two "Cast Members" dressed as pirates came down on each side and lifted the two guests off the boat. They were led to an "exit" off set. The woman behind me said, "Wow, that was very real looking!"

From: Robert Niles 24 JAN 96

There is a camera in Pirates mounted opposite the skull and crossbones that allows you to see boats as they go down the waterfall. Every once in a while you'd see some wiseguy standing up, facing the rest of the boat, trying to take a picture -- never noticing the gaping chasm behind him that his boat was about to plunge into. And the people in the boat would be screaming at him to sit down, to no avail.

Of course, there are two points at the top of the waterfall where the tower operator can activate plates that extend into the flume, stopping a boat's progress. So we kept anyone from falling down the waterfall. But someone sitting in tower could clearly see the embarrassment (and fear) on those guests' faces once they figured out what could have happened.

From:anon 23 JAN 96

Two times in one week I caught couples in the Pirates monitors who had boats all to themselves and thought (incorrectly) that no one was watching. You can guess what happened next... (You name it and Cast Members have seen people in monitors doing it.) The most surprising thing about the first incident I witnessed was that by the time the couple appeared in the chase scene monitor (which offers an excellent view from the front of the boat by the way), three Cast Members from the Jungle Cruise had heard what was happening and run over to watch. Remember, this is no more than six minutes into the ride! Then, by the time I made it out of tower and down to the parade route for my crosswalk duty less than ten minutes later, several Haunted Mansion hosts were asking me about the incident. And after the parade, as I rode the cast bus back to my car in the Center parking lot, I overheard two Space Mountain hosts talking about what they'd heard had happened at Pirates that afternoon. Forget TV. Forget the Internet. The fastest medium of communication in the world is telling a prurient story to a Disney Cast Member.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

From: Robert & DeLores Stone 24 NOV 96

Here is a true story of sorts. I worked at Magic Kingdom attractions west in maintenance. A fellow in our shop was attempting to retrieve some sunglasses that a guest had dropped on Big Thunder. This is a no-no while the ride is in operation. A car hit him in the chest knocking him about 14 feet down to the next set of tracks. A car was coming straight for him. Quick action by another maintenance person saved his life. The other Cast Member jumped down to the lower level and pulled him away before the eyes of some very surprised guests. The rescuer received accolades and I believe an all expense paid cruise. Working maintenance around a lot of rapidly moving objects can be very dangerous.

From: Tracy Tartaglia 03 SEP 96

We waited in line for over 45 mins on Big Thunder Mountain, we got to the top of the ramp right before you board the trains and we were told that we had to exit the ride that it was being closed for the day. It seemed to be runnning fine except for the fact that an alligator had climbed on the tracks and animal control had to come and remove it!!! What a bummer. The good news is that the next time we rode Thunder Mountain we waited in line for 30 mins but they stopped letting people in line after us because of a parade. By the time we got off the parade was coming and they were not letting anyone cross over the entrance (this was before splash mountain was designed) We ended up riding it 5 more times without waiting in line. The only other people were the people who rode with us on the orginal ride.

From: Robert Niles 24 JAN 96

One time I was in the Big Thunder Mountain tower when we had to shut the ride down because we saw a kid in a monitor jumping out of his train as it rumbled up "A" lift. We evacuated, and when a host asked the kid why he jumped out, the kid said, "I changed my mind about riding." - Don't waste too much time working on that Nobel Prize acceptance speech, kid.


From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

Gene Kelley might have been "Singin' in the Rain," but one little girl certainly wasn't. Circa 1990, a friend of the family brought his wife and little girl to the Magic Kingdom one night. The weather had it in for them, and the sky opened up. It they decided to hole up in the El Pirata y el Perico Restaurante in Adventureland. It neared time for the park to close, but the two parents refused to get their little one soaked in the rain. So they waited...In short order, Disney "Suits" approached them, beseeching them to vacate their seats immediately. The man refused to leave, until it stopped raining. The Suits pressed...but the man and his wife would not leave. Finally they reached a compromise, and the man insisted he be given transport to the main gate...and Disney reluctantly obliged, accomodating his demands. They were ushered out through several "back entrances" winding up at Main Street where they could depart the park. And the rain poured on...

Utilidors & Keys to the Kingdom and Backstage Magic

From: S Dahlem 17 DEC 95

I always hated when they would bring a group of guests into the tunnels because they would always bring them by the Dressing rooms and the "ZOO." And there, for all to see, is Cinderella in her bloomers smoking a cigerette on her break and about 30 Mickey heads on a rack. Parts of heads and bodies all over the place. It really spoils the magic.

From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

I took the "Underground" tour of the Magic Kingdom, disappearing into the store to the right of

The Legend of the Lion King. (It used to be the Mad Hatter's Hat Shoppe, when I was there). So we walk down this small flight of stairs and emerge in a tunnel...beneath the park. To the right of us, the tunnel goes DOWN...WAY DOWN. looks like a matte painting, it goes on forever, no exaggeration. Who knows how big it truly is down there! We walked along, and I saw some of the characters/people half out of costume. Golf-cart maintenance vehicles dashing to and fro...maps of the underground, etc. Contrary to what one Disney clerk told me, long ago, the underground is NOT, greasy and smelly and looks like something out of the 60's sci-fi television series the Prisoner, (look to the last episode, Fall Out.) Wubba-wubba indeed. It's an eerie kind of way.     The tunnel files out to the back of Fantasyland, where buses are moving around. We pass a group of "Suits" who resemble the Men in Black. And they're lounging about, talking, etc. As the tour passes, they stop everything they're doing, and watch us...smiling. I turn around...and they're still there. So I figure they find us as some sort of amusement, "Oooh, another stupid group of TOURISTS." I look back and they're still smiling...I looked back, once more...and they're still there, shades and all, looking ever-daunting, and now, not smiling as much. Note to Tour Groups, keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and don't...DON'T TICK OFF the men in the black shades.

From: Joseph St. Angelo 13 FEB 99

Circa 1994, I broke down and took the Disney "Underground Tour" where they show you the hidden world beneath Main Street...only after HOURS of viewing the above-ground attractions, on a blisteringly hot five-hour walking tour. One question one of my group asked, "Is this park run on nuclear power?" And the tour guide denied it flatly. Dismissing the man, (unwisely) as a lost, country bumpkin, she was attacked by the question yet again by several more people along the way. She got very flustered, but stuck to her story and insisted that the park is run on hydro-electric power...running water. Seems odd to me...wouldn't you need something greater than Niagra Falls to generate that kind of power? Didn't their own Universe of Energy state, once upon a lifetime ago, that hydro-electric power is not a viable enough resource...yet, because it could not generate sufficient enough power for large areas? In the flatlands, swamp, and marshy areas of Florida, though, I found it a little unusual to have a massive RUNNING WATER outlet as what she described. Unless they have some hidden ocean that I was not aware of.

Magic Music Days

Disney Magic Music Days

From: Andy Hoernecke 21 JUN 00

Our high school marching band has marching the afternoon parade every other year for about 10 years. This way each band member has the chance to go twice. First, let me say that marching in Disney is the most incredible experience in the world, however, some people just don't seem to understand the amount of work that goes into a marching band. When we marched the expected attendence for the parade was between 10,000 and 15,000 people. 90% of them clapped and supported us, but the other 10% didn't really seem to care either way. If I wasn't in our marching band, I too may not realize the amount of work that goes into a performance like that. We had around 20 3 hour practices with about 4 of them in winter clothing. (Meaning a tee shirt, a sweatshirt,a winter coat, two pairs of pants, a winter hat, and a pair of gloves) We were at home(Illinois), not Florida, but it was still hot in the 80's. Anyways, I feel that any group that puts that much effort into a performance definetly deserve applause. Our work has always paid off though. We are always told that we are one of the very best bands that marches there. The other thing I thought I'd mention is that for the Magical Music Days Workshop we drive in our buses behind the scenes. Well, I am a big Disney fan, and I had been following the story of the deconstruction of Horizons (a ride in Epcot) One of the main things I wanted to do for this trip was get some pictures of the back of the Horizons building.(They are taking it apart for the back forward so that they can keep the front looking reasonable for the guest) Anyways I brought my digital camera and was focusing and getting ready to take the picture when the batteries in my camera died. I was sooo disappointed, especially because behind the scenes pictures like that are very rare because of Disney's "take the film and kick them out" policies. One more quick note. We also marched at Universal Studios and they were not nearly as polite and friendly as the people at Disney were. I read one story about the picture thing at Disney, but at Universal you were even more limited in what you could/could not do.

From: Amanda 30 JUN 99

My band was invited to play at Disney every Christmas. The way we got in was the brown round door found next to Pirates of the Carribean. The door isn't locked. There are paths and one leads backstage to dressing rooms and the floats. You can also see the back of Splash Mountain. When we were dressing for the parade we were with all the of people dressing for the floats.

From: Karen Koy 16 APR 99

In the spring of 96 my high school music program went to the complex for Magic Music Days. Our jazz band played in the Starlight Cafe in Future World. We were taken down through the tunnels (even the custodians smiled at us!), tuned up in a small room, and were escorted to the stage. The stage was below the restaraunt's main level. It was a small, dark cylidrical room. We had no idea what was going to happen. The floor jerked and we started to go up! We played an intro vamp all the way up. (The room paused for a minute, and later we found out that there had been a small fire in the control room.) Needless to say, both we and our audience were quite thrilled by the whole thing. A couple visiting the park even framed a picture they took of us and sent it to the school!

From: Bridget Vaughan 08 JAN 96

I was a member of a Marching Band and we were always invited to Disney Magic Music Days...While behind the scenes we were told that if we took pictures they would take our film and kick us was like a mini-mob operation...I didn't fully understand at the time why we were basically threatened with our lives. Needless to say a friend of mine snuck away with a couple snapshots...they are kinda crooked and sideways...but no juicy stuff..bummer eh?

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