Attention to detail and surprises for guests are two things Walt Disney World is famous for. Some things are obvious, other things are a lot more subtle, but all add to the magic.
While I don’t want anyone to bump into other guests, if you only look straight ahead when visiting Walt Disney World, you’re missing some cool things. I did a blog a while back about “looking up” this one is all about the interesting things you can see if you look down. While all the Walt Disney World parks have areas in the ground that are special, this blog will focus on the Magic Kingdom.
We come to our first “look down” as you pass through the turnstiles to enter the Magic Kingdom. While many guests focus on the beautiful Mickey head made of flowers (or pumpkins if it’s Halloween time J) that is straight ahead, take a look at the ground and you will see a beautiful rendition of the Cinderella Castle in the pavement, with the words “Magic Kingdom” written in red splashed across the image of the castle. Although this is there as of this writing, it is surrounded by “Walk Around the World Bricks” which Disney has been systematically removing elsewhere on property. I can’t say for sure if those bricks will remain in that area, or will be replaced with something else. I sure hope whatever happens, they don’t take away the castle and the inscription.
If you continue on and enter via the park via the right-side tunnel, once inside you will soon encounter Tony’s Restaurant. This table-service eatery is themed on the Lady and the Tramp film, and there is a fun touch added outside the restaurant. Towards the left if you are facing Tony’s, look down in the red pavement (sometimes strollers partially block the area, but don’t give up, you will find it!). There you will see a rendition of the heart Tramp drew in the pavement in the movie, complete with paw prints and an arrow going through the heart.
As you walk down Main Street in the hub by the Railroad Station as well as near the Cinderella Castle, notice that the pavement in the street is red. This is to make the green grass in those areas seem even brighter to guests, which occurs because green and red are opposite colors on a color wheel. The red pavement in the first hub is also there to signify that Disney is “rolling out the red carpet” for their guests.
If you turn left at the end of Main Street and pass the Crystal Palace Restaurant, you soon come to the entrance to Adventureland. Of course, there is a huge sign with the name of the land, but have you ever noticed the pavement beneath your feet changes as you feel the slats of the wooden bridge that take you into the land? Walt wanted guests to use not just their eyes and ears to enjoy the different areas in his park; he wanted them to feel the changes as they moved from land to land. (Remember, much of the Magic Kingdom is based on Disneyland in California, which of course, was very much the project of Mr. Disney).
If you enter Adventureland and walk towards the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, this is another great place to look down. The ground has various “jewels” and other objects embedded in the ground in the area. Just be careful; if you look down and forget to look ahead there is a “spitting” camel that just might soak you! Further into Adventureland, in the area of the Pirates of the Caribbean, there are some attractive mosaics in the ground. Maybe they are not a thrill, but they are quite attractive and worth checking out if you have never noticed them.
Continuing past the Pirates ride and bearing right to Frontierland, take a stop at the Country Bear Jamboree. Even if you don’t care to experience the attraction, step inside and check out the floor. It’s not called Grizzly Hall for nothing; you can see bear claw marks all over the wooden floor!
Once you leave the attraction building, turn right towards Liberty Square. Take note that the sidewalks of Frontierland are raised, as they would be in Frontier times. This not only looks authentic; it’s another area you can feel the difference in your feet as you walk on the wooden sidewalks.
As you move right down the street, notice that the ground is mostly red, but there is a fairly wide section of grey-brown tiles in the area as well. Keep in mind that this land is supposed to represent colonial America. The brown pavement represents the raw sewage that ran down the streets during that era, as there was no indoor plumbing. So, people threw the waste from the upper windows of their homes, and it gathered in the middle of the street! (Isn’t it lovely to know the backstory to this 😊).
For our next “look down” you’ll need to keep going in Liberty Square until you reach the Haunted Mansion. You will NOT see this on the Fast Pass Queue, but if you walk through the graveyard on the standby line, there is a surprise in the ground. The exact location is a little hard to describe (ask a Cast Member if you can’t find it). If you look next to the right and behind you, as you are about to exit the graveyard, just before you turn left towards the entrance to the Mansion, a “diamond” ring is embedded in the ground. There are a number of explanations regarding the backstory to the ring, but most say it was thrown there by the bride in the attic.
Exiting Liberty Square and heading towards the “New Fantasyland” when we arrive, we see horseshoes and wagon wheel prints in the street all through that area.
If you walk the queue to Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid there are literally dozens of ocean-related objects in the pavement, including many varieties of seashells.
After this, heading towards the Storybook Circus shop in Fantasyland there are a number of different footprints in the ground around the tent-shaped building. Bears, horses, and deer are among the animal prints you will see, with one set of bear prints leading straight into the shop! (As a quick aside there are very similar prints are found in the ground leading up to Wilderness Lodge Resort from the parking area).
Some final “foot-notes”:
- Cast members at the Disney World parks, and sometimes at Disney Resorts, draw water art of Disney characters on the ground. These don’t last long when it’s hot.
- The manhole covers on Main Street USA all have Mickey heads in the center
- Also on Main Street USA the trees are protected by metal fences and encircled by a plate in the ground, each plate says “Main Street USA”
- If you are waiting to ride Dumbo and you’re inside the tent that’s part of that queue, look at the floor. Although it is not real canvas, it very much resembles the canvas you would find on the floor of a real circus tent
- Near the Tangled-themed bathroom in Fantasyland, you can see hoofprints made by Maximus, the horse from the Tangled film
As mentioned at the beginning, all of the parks have surprises on the ground if you take the time to look. I am sure I missed some in the Magic Kingdom (I am ALWAYS discovering new things at Walt Disney World), but hopefully you learned something new about that park while reading this.
Have fun looking down!