utilidor utilidor map

Under the Magic Kingdom

Orig Art
Original Art
  1. Do you ever wonder how the characters at the parks seem to appear as if by, well, magic? There is a story behind that. One day while strolling through the park, Walt Disney saw a Frontierland cowboy walking through Tomorrowland. He then decided that for Disney World that some needs would have to be hidden. Trash, costume characters, etc. had to be out of sight. To do this, each area, section, or ride was first planned out in story boards. Then, the Imagineers constructed models, and viewed them in every angle. To hide the utilities, underground tunnels put in for Walt Disney World. Disney built a nine acre network of tunnels so Cast Members would be able to move around out of the public view!
    REPORTED: Mickey 23 OCT 96
    CONFIRMED: Randy 15 JUN 97
  2. The park was built over a huge underground complex. Disney did not dig tunnels under the Magic Kingdom. The corridors were built at ground level. The tunnel complex consists of 15 foot high walkways, meeting rooms, computer rooms, etc. with all having exposed utilities (it somewhat resembled a parking garage). The tunnel complex originates from the castle and spreads out like spokes from a wheel to the other lands. In fact, the bottom two floors of the castle consists of the tunnel complex.

    The soil from the excavation of the Seven Seas Lagoon, around 5 million square feet, was heaped over this complex. Additionally, sand from the Seven Seas Lagoon excavation was used to line the Lagoon, Bay Lake and many other bodies of water.

    The Seven Seas Lagoon is Walt Disney World's man-made lake. Although Bay Lake is a natural lake, soil from its bottom was also used to cover the complex. Thus, the pseudo-tunnel system was born. Another name for the system of tunnels under the Magic Kingdom is Utilidors, even though the internal Walt Disney World phone book does use the term "tunnels." Utilidor stands for utility corridor.

    No guests under 16 is allowed in the tunnel system because it would bother children, seeing two Goofys passing each other, Mickey without a head, seeing Minnie eating with Snow White, and ruin the magic.

    Walt Disney World guests do not realize the existence of this underground complex because they enter from the monorail. But, the tunnel system is considered by Cast Members as the 1st floor, and not really a tunnel system. The entire Magic Kingdom is technically on the second and third floors. While most areas are on the 2nd floor, Fantasyland is on the 3rd floor. If you notice while in the park you will see how Fantasyland and the castle are higher.

    You have never seen a delivery truck at Disney - have you? Magic Kingdom's first floor has all the access roads for the Cast Members (employees) and service vehicles, the "tunnels" or Utilidors, the AVAC, service rooms, wardrobe and costuming, male and female locker rooms, offices, storage, kitchens, break rooms, two employee cafeterias, including the Fantasyland Dining Room, Kingdom Kutters, a Fire Prevention Center, Studio "D" and many of the support departments for the Magic Kingdom. The Fantasyland Dining Room and restrooms are to the left.

    Cast Members use the utilidors to get from place to place. Walt Disney was very concerned with themeing and "the show." He did not want a Cast Member in a Tomorrowland costume walking through Main Street or an Adventureland Cast Member in Fantasyland. The utilidors allow each Cast Member to show up where he/she belongs without walking through the other lands.

    The walls are color coded for the land in which they are under to allow easy navigation. Since some people are color blind, the names of the different lands and pictures relating to each land also appear on the walls. This is to allow Cast Members to quickly know where they are and to avoid the mixing of lands. If you walk around Magic Kingdom, you will notice that Disney tried very hard to position things so that lands do not interfere with one another.

    The Cast Member parking lot is a restricted lot. The road, called Magic Kingdom Drive, leads from the underground entrance out to the Emergency Services, Center Building, Monorail Central, Security Booth, Disney University, and Reams Road. Magic Kingdom Drive is the road directly behind the attraction 20,000 Leagues. It is hidden behind a row of mostly evergreen trees which can be seen looking across the attraction's lagoon. If you are a normal Cast Member at the Magic Kingdom, you actually have to park at the parking lot, approximately 500 yards behind the Magic Kingdom itself, and take a bus to the main tunnel entrance! However, if you have a Gold Walt Disney World football shaped parking sticker on your car, you can enter into any backstage parking area with whomever you want in your car. You can even park at the mouth of the tunnels.

    After taking "The Great Bus Ride," you end up at the main tunnel entrance underneath the Pinocchio's Village Haus right next to Fantasy Fair and Small World in Fantasyland. There is a sub-tunnel to the left that goes to costuming, and locker rooms. The tunnel has the costumes for all the characters and themed areas hanging for the Cast Members. With 1.2 millon pieces of clothing, it is the largest operating wordrobe department in the world. Each Cast Member has 3 costumes. The one s/he is wearing, on on the rack and on in the wash (or bag as the Cast Members call it).

    As you walk in the main tunnel, there is a relatively short central corridor with pictures on the walls of the Magic Kingdom during construction. After the short corridor, it opens into the main tunnel system. This can be described best as an octagon underneath the entire park, with a central corridor cutting right down the middle to security offices at the front of Main Street. The central corridor slopes down in the center of the park then back up again. this probably has something to do with the moat around Cinderella Castle.

    From the center, an elevator with a special key, goes to the famous "secret" apartment inside the castle.

    From various sites inside the octagonal tunnel, stairs and elevators go up to points "On Stage," usually, elevators go to kitchens, and stairs go right out into the park or into a shop. The next time you see an unmarked door remember the tunnel system. There are many hidden entrances throughout the park. As an example: in Main Street there is a door that leads to the back of the bank where Cast Members get their checks; there is a door besides the carrousel. Walk through the door and go down some stairs and you are in the utilidors.

    The tunnels connect all of the theme areas in the Magic Kingdom, except for Mickey's Toontown Fair since it was added much later to the Magic Kingdom. The utilidors go into Frontierland as far as Peco Bill's Cafe. There is a stairwell behind Peco Bill's Cafe, and there is one at Diamond Horseshoe which also lets Cast Members out in Adventureland. Stairwells are also in Liberty Square, Small World, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Snow White, Alien Encounter, East and West Main Street and the Adventureland Veranda.

    Here are the list of tunnels from the internal phone book.

    1. Stairway 1 - to Pinocchio Village Haus
    2. Stairway 2 - unknown
    3. Stairway 3 - unknown
    4. Stairway 4 - to Liberty Square, Columbia Harbor House and Peter Pan
    5. Stairway 5 - to Fantasyland Theater (Lion King)
    6. Stairway 6 - unknown
    7. Stairway 7 - unknown
    8. Stairway 8 - unknown
    9. Stairway 9 - to Fantasyland and Tomorrowland
    10. Stairway 10 - to the Hall of Presidents
    11. Stairway 11 - unknown
    12. Stairway 12 - to Ye Old Christmas Shoppe
    13. Stairway 13 - to Liberty Square and Adventureland Veranda
    14. Stairway 14 - unknown
    15. Stairway 15 - unknown
    16. Stairway 16 - to Adventureland and Frontierland
    17. Stairway 17 - to Crystal Palace and First Aid
    18. Stairway 18 - to MO-8
    19. Stairway 19 - to MO-6 and West Parking Lot
    20. Stairway 20 - to Town Square Kitchen
    21. Stairway 21 - to MO-5 and East Parking Lot
    22. Stairway 22 - to MO-7
    23. Stairway 23 - unknown
    24. Stairway 24 - to Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
    25. Stairway 25 - to Mickey's Star Traders
    26. Stairway 26 - unknown
    27. Stairway 27 - to Transportarium
    28. Stairway ? - to Tinkerbell's Treasures

    You can also see them on the map.

    The bigger restaurant kitchens are split in two, with a cooking kitchen on the tunnel level, and a prep kitchen at park level. The tunnels are also used to store merchandise, and hurricane provisions. Gasoline powered vehicles are not allowed in the tunnels for safety reasons. Normally, the only exception is the Brinks truck which collects money from Cash Control. Cash Control is located underneath Pinocchio's Village Haus. It never closes. Ambulances are allowed to drive in the tunnel, but only in cases of extreme emergency.

    The utilidors occupy 392,040 square feet of space under the Magic Kingdom and are bustling with action. Beside navigation information the walls are covered with motovational information, such as the 7 rules of a Cast Member, guest feedback and other items to insure that your stay is magical.

    As an aside, Epcot and the Disney Studios do not have tunnels like the Magic Kingdom does. At Epcot, there is a small tunnel under connecting the two parts of Innoventions and The Land. It's mostly for storage, kitchens, and break rooms. And another tunnel that leads from Universe of Energy, under Spaceship Earth, and ends at The Living Seas.
    REPORTED: Larry Merrick 27 JUL 95
    CONFIRMED: Mark Matthews 30 JUL 95
    CONFIRMED: Mike Kaply 10 AUG 95
    CONFIRMED: Sue 07 SEP 95
    CONFIRMED: Shawn Hutchings 21 SEP 95
    CONFIRMED: Michael Littell 04 OCT 95
    CONFIRMED: TR Shaw 07 OCT 95
    CONFIRMED: Caleb & Michele Warner 06 NOV 95
    CONFIRMED: W. Todd Stephenson 11 JAN 96
    CONFIRMED: Mary Glenn Crutchley 12 MAR 96
    CONFIRMED: mobri 11 APR 96
    CONFIRMED: anon 18 APR 96
    CONFIRMED: Jennifer Roberts 06 MAY 96
    CONFIRMED: Enrique 08 JUN 96
    CONFIRMED: Jennifer Fuller 05 AUG 96
    CONFIRMED: Mickey 23 OCT 96
    CONFIRMED: Ken Klingensmith 26 DEC 96
    CONFIRMED: Peter Bleickardt 27 JAN 97
    CONFIRMED: Nicholas Pappas 23 FEB 97
    Unless the person is a Cast Member or on the tour they are not allowed in.
    UPDATE: stephanie 19 MAR 97
    We were even able to see the computers for "Mission". It was cool! We were able to see everything but we could not take pictures.
    CONFIRMED: The Travelenman 26 MAR 97
    CONFIRMED: Shawn 08 MAY 97
    On WDW Inside Out, and they said that Epcot and Magic Kingdom are actually built off the ground. First, they built the tunnels at ground level before they did anything else. Then, they built the attractions up to 13 feet off the original ground
    CONFIRMED: Chris Holmberg 23 MAY 97
    CONFIRMED: Jessica Winn 27 MAY 97
    CONFIRMED: Randy 15 JUN 97
    If you want to see what the utilidors look like then use the WDW Explorer CDRom and in the search area look for Cast Members then click on backstage and it will show you a short film about the utilidors.
    CONFIRMED: joey werner 19 JUN 97
    I took a tour. We went all over the Utilidors and all around backstage..... It wuz great !
    CONFIRMED: Dion Cini 18 SEP 97
    CONFIRMED: Tom and Renée Shaw 28 DEC 97
    CONFIRMED: anon 20 MAR 98
    CONFIRMED: joyce lacomb 22 MAR 98
    CONFIRMED: Jbd114 27 MAR 98
    CONFIRMED: Marla Jenkins 06 JUN 98
    In reference to the report on gold footballs and parking at the mouth of the tunnel. There are some castmembers who have a parking decal other than a gold football who are allowed to park at the tunnel, it's all according to the coding on the decal. As far as gold footballs, there should be no children in a backstage area in a vehicle with a gold football, especially the tunnel area. Yes, the gold footballs give access to all areas, but it is intended for the castmember to whom it is issued only.
    UPDATE: anon 18 AUG 98
    CONFIRMED: anon 24 AUG 98
    The ONLY gas powered vehicle allowed in the Magic Kingdom's Utilidor is the daily cash pick-up with the armored truck. The truck drives into the Utilidors via a service road and collects all of the Magic Kingdom's daily cash. The cash office is in a very secret location. Many cast members don't know where it is!! It's a tight fight driving through the Utilidors...The truck driver has only 4 inches on each side to maneuver. All other vehicles are operated by battery and are re-charged every night and throughout the day. Most of the battery operated vehicles are golf carts.
    UPDATE: David Silipigni 29 AUG 98
    Regarding the elevators in Cinderella's Castle, there is one that leds to the park level. It goes from the tunnels and comes out in the tunnel that vistors pass through to get to Fantasyland. It really is quite neat and I used to take it everyday to get to work in Fantasyland because I liked the look on people's faces when I came out of a door from nowhere.
    UPDATE: mel 29 OCT 98
    While no one but CM's and guests over 16 on guided tours are allowed in the tunnel, there are kids who are in the parades who are allowed in the tunnels.
    UPDATE: Kurt 22 NOV 98
    I worked at Tinkerbell Treasures and it is 3 floors up.
    UPDATE: Kurt 22 NOV 98
    All the money that park makes is routed to a giant safe that is located under the Carrousel in the utilidors.
    UPDATE: Jeff Fields 12 JAN 99
    CONFIRMED: anon 01 MAR 99
    The cast member cafeteria under Fantasyland is now called The Mousekteria, and the one near Main Street is now called The Patio. It is not under Adventureland, it is next to Tomorrowland behind Main Street. I know because I had the opportunity to be on the College Program in the Fall of '99.
    UPDATE: Skipper Liesl 31 JAN 00
    CONFIRMED: Steven Castellano 26 APR 00
    In the late 80's, the Orlando branch of Wells Fargo Armored had at least two armored vehicles that differed from the norm - they were shorter than the rest of the fleet! The manager explained to me that this allowed them to enter Disney's tunnels. A full-sized model would not have been able to make it through.
    UPDATE: anon 27 MAY 01
    CONFIRMED: Mike 20 JUL 01
    CONFIRMED: Steve 16 APR 02

  3. The main Utilidor at Magic Kingdom runs directly beneath Cinderella's Castle, Main Street USA, and out to Fantasyland between Ariel's Grotto and Pinocchio Village Haus.
    REPORTED: Jim Miller 02 OCT 98
  4. In the Utilidors there are two Cast member restaurants, one is called Fantasyland Dining Room, and it is the first thing you see when you enter the tunnel system, the other is the Veranda break room which is under Adventureland. There is also an arcade.
    REPORTED: anon 24 MAR 99
  5. When the Princess of Wales brought Princes William and Harry to WDW in the mid 1990s, the Royal Protection Squad insisted that the family travel through WDW via the utilidoor system. The boys were nicknamed "The Popup Princes" since they kept popping up at the various attractions. By the way, the Queen insisted that the boys fly on a separate plane from their mother's, in case of an accident. The Queen also required the boys to be in their hotel room by dusk, so the family was not allowed to see any of the nighttime Disney Magic.
    REPORTED: Steven Castellano 26 AUG 99
  6. Downstairs all of the maintenance equipment is labeled "Park Maintenance west" and "engineering west."
    REPORTED: Safari Steve 03 NOV 99

  7. There is also a secret tunnel in "It's a Small World", it is on the right hand side just as you turn left near the beginning and the tunnel exit is also on the right about 20 yards down. The tunnels on the ride are service tunnels for the boats, where the water is drained without lifting the boats up.
    REPORTED: Chris Owens 19 JAN 98

    pict from hiddenmickeys.org

  8. The Magic Kingdom cleaned each night. Each land is divided into 2 sections except for Main Street, which is only one. A hoseman in each section uses a hose slightly smaller than a fire hose to push debris into drains in the ground and at the base of each little "sit-down island" in the park. This takes most of the night, but the streets are largely dry by morning.

    Hosemen are part of the custodial crew, which is also are responsible for mopping, sweeping, and buffing floors. They also clean the restrooms and hose and mop the kitchens.

    Electricians change light bulbs. Nursery crews trim trees and re-plant plants. A "sets" crew is responsible for dusting, re-clothing, and taking care of the various animatronic sets along the rides. And maintenance crews fix anything that's broken. The park is full of people 24 hours a day.

    The sanitation crew works 24 hours per day picking up the garbage and dumping it into the AVAC systems throughout the park. Garbage is literally sucked to a central location for processing.

    The AVAC system moves garbage through pipes at 60 miles per hour using compressed air. The system operates at intervals of about every 20 minutes. Depending on where you are when it happens, it sounds as if a tornado is quickly approaching, then passes you by. The system moves the garbage from all points around the park to a central location where it processed and recycling takes place.

    The central location for garbage processing is also where floats are stored. On a hot day, it can be pretty strong over there.
    REPORTED: Michael Littell 04 OCT 95
    CONFIRMED: Mike Kaply 10 AUG 95
    CONFIRMED: mobri 11 APR 96
    CONFIRMED: Jeremy Forsythe 14 NOV 96
    CONFIRMED: anon 12 JAN 97
    CONFIRMED: Brent Altenhof 30 MAR 97
    CONFIRMED: Tom and Renée Shaw 29 MAR 98
    You can see parade float storage and entrance, garbage processing area, the storage area for the electric light boats, Splash Mountain's water recycling building and more from space.
    CONFIRMED: Rob Hamilton 07 JUL 98
    The system creates a vacum using 2 motors and exausters. It has there motors total the one not being used for that is a spare incase one quits working. It creates a very powerful vacum. The pipe that the trash 'slides' through is 20" in diamiter and you are right it can produce a wonderful smell!
    REPORTED: anon 12 NOV 98

  9. There are three elevators in the Castle. One is in the tower located to the right of the clock. This is the dumbwaiter elevator for the restaurant. The other is located right behind it. This one goes to the Penthouse. The letter P in the elevator indicates the floor. I've seen it and it's not that big at all, very cramped, only 2-3 windows to look out. The windows to look out of are the yellow ones facing Liberty Square and those that face Fantasyland. The third elevator is located inside the restaurant for the handicapped. It only goes 2 floors: the lobby and the restaurant.
    REPORTED: W. Todd Stephenson 11 JAN 96
  10. There is an official tour that can be taken by any Guest over the age of 16 for a cost of (the last time I checked) $65. This cost is in addition to Park Entrance. In the Magic Kingdom, go to Guest Relations in City Hall and ask for the Keys To The Kingdom Tour. This tour is NOT given every day, so call ahead to book a day. If this is your first visit to the Magic Kingdom, don't take this tour. Spend at least two days just enjoying yourself and experiencing the Magic. Also, be forewarned that this will forever change the way that you look at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. It's like pulling apart a flower to see how it grows. You end up knowing more, but in your mind you will never look at a flower the same way.
    REPORTED: Marcus -- Cast Member 06 MAY 02
  11. Just a note- at one time you were allowed in the tunnels, even if your were under 16. I took a tour for kids (under 15) and we went into the tunnel system. I don't remember much and I'm sure that they made sure we didn't see anything that would upset us, but we were defintly in the tunnels. I do remember seeing the color coding on the walls!
    REPORTED: Kelley Kremin 12 JUL 99

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