67 Surprising Disney Fun Facts and Secrets

October 11, 2022

From the Marvel universe to galaxies far, far away, to the jubilant animation of such classics as Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King, it is safe to say that the wonderful world of Disney has made an indelible mark on film, TV, and pop culture.

Ready to celebrate National Disney Day with our best Disney facts and secrets?

For over 50 years, Disney productions and theme parks have brought magic, imagination, and happiness to audiences everywhere. 

In honor of Disney, and the enigmatic man behind everyone’s favorite animation film, every December, we celebrate National Disney Day! 

On December 5th, we celebrate National Disney Day in conjunction with Walt Disney’s birthday. 

This festive occasion is a joyous testament to the Disney brand’s eternal fascination, love, and admiration. 

So grab your mouse ears, sit back and relax as we dive into the best ways to commemorate National Disney Day this year, plus our best Disney fun facts and secrets.

Wide shot of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Renato Mitra via Unsplash

Walt Disney

If Walt Disney was still alive today, he would be a whopping 120 years old! Besides his countless contributions to cheerful childhood memories worldwide, Walt was the founder and creator of both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. 

The beloved originator of Mickey Mouse and so much more lived a colorful life that went way beyond animation. For example, did you know Walt Disney dropped out of high school at age 16? 

Despite his less-than-stellar academic success, Mr. Disney would go on to win 26 Academy Awards (a record high) and produce more than 100 feature films. Disney won his first Honorary Academy Award at the fifth Academy Award ceremony for the creation of Mickey Mouse. The animated feature film Jungle Book was the last film produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production.

Girl Being Held up in front of the Peter Pan's Flight Sign at Walt Disney World - Orlando, Florida, USAHow to Celebrate

Disney Parks Facts

Did you know there are over 1,200 hidden Mickeys all around Disney World

Discover the enduring charm of Mickey and the entire Disney gang when you visit Disneyland or Disney World on National Disney Day. Grab your magic bands, and let's dig in!

There’s no better way to toast to the creative genius behind Disney than an enchanted trip to either the ‘happiest’ or ‘most magical place’ on earth. With die-hard fans on both coastal parks, here's an in-depth comparison of Disneyland vs. Disney World

Related Post: Disney World Hidden Mickeys: The Ultimate Hunting Guide

Whether you are zipping around with your favorite Cars Pixar characters at California Adventure Park, screaming your head off on Space Mountain, or high-fiving Disney characters on Main Street, a Disney vacation is always a great idea. 

Learn everything there is to know about planning your perfect Disney getaway when you check out our Insider’s Guide to Disneyland and Insider’s Guide to Disneyworld.

And for all Scrooge McDuck’s, check out our Ultimate Guide to Disneyland and Ultimate Guide to Disneyworld, which will spill all of the tea on the best coupons, deals, and discounts.

excited kids standing with donald duck at disneylandHost a Movie Marathon

Maui might be the one singing ‘you’re welcome’ to Moana, but we think a huge ‘you’re welcome’ should go out to every Disney singer, songwriter, and creator for keeping generations of kids, families, and friends entertained.

If a theme park visit just isn’t in the cards, our other preferred way to observe National Disney Day is with an epic movie marathon! 

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Disneyland: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Pop some popcorn, gather the whole family, and pick out your favorite Disney flicks for a wholesome evening of Disney fun. 

Mix up your selection by selecting Disney classics, such as The Little Mermaid, along with newer breakout hits, such as Raya and the Last Dragon.

Tell a Friend & Spread the Social Media Love

Lastly, if you have a Disney-loving friend who doesn’t know about National Disney Day, take this opportunity to spread the Disney love and educate them. Share with them some of our fun Disney facts below, or take to social media to tell us why you appreciate Disney. Then check these Can't-miss experiences off your bucket list!

view of Millennium Falcon Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland CaliforniaCrazy Disney World Facts and Secrets

Mickey Mouse

  • The actors who voiced Mickey and Minnie Mouse were married in real life!
  • Contrary to popular belief, Walt Disney’s first animated character was not Mickey Mouse but rather a rabbit named Oswald.
  • Mickey Mouse was the first animated character to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Mickey Mouse has quite a fashionable wardrobe—almost 300 pieces fill his closet. Minnie’s, with around 200 pieces, is tame in comparison.

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Disneyland

Animation

  • Ever wonder how the Disney animators achieved such realistic depictions of animals? Disney kept live animals on the set of some of his productions to inspire the animation.
  • Walt Disney’s favorite Disney movie and piece of animation was the magical transformation of Cinderella’s torn, tattered dress into her ballgown. 
  • In 1945 Walt Disney and surrealist painter Dali teamed up to create a short film project called Destino. The film combined Disney animation and live dance.

Snow White

  • In 1937 Walt Disney took out multiple loans and even mortgaged his own house to finance Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was his very first animated feature film, pioneering a new form of family entertainment.

Related Post: Ultimate Guide to Walt Disney World: Coupons, Discounts, and Deals

Lion King

  • The Lion King was the first Disney animated film to feature a completely original storyline (although some believe it is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet).
lion king at the art of animation resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Sleeping Beauty

  • Sleeping Beauty was a big box office flop! Because of this failure, Disney would not produce another ‘princess’ movie until 1989, when The Little Mermaid was released. 
  • The Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland was actually supposed to be ‘Snow White’s Castle.’ But there was a last-minute name change in order to promote the upcoming film.
  • The Sleeping Beauty Castle is the only Disney theme park castle with an operable drawbridge. However, staff has only lifted the drawbridge for two occasions throughout the years: the castle's opening day and after the remodeling of Fantasyland. 

Related Post: Insider's Guide to Walt Disney World

Lady and the Tramp

  • From the film Lady and the Tramp, famed canine heroine Lady was inspired by a real dog named Lady. 
  • Lady and the Tramp’s romantic spaghetti slurping scene was almost cut from the final film! 

Tinkerbell

  • Watching Tink fly around Cinderella’s Castle is an iconic part of any Disney World experience. However, one Disney World fact is that it’s much more technical than you may realize.
  • Tink needs a lot of momentum to make that flight. If not, she has to pull herself, hand-over-hand, to reach her final destination.
  • Plus, she has to be Tinkerbell-tiny (no more than 95-pounds) as her costume and battery pack weighs upwards of 35-pounds.

Related Post: 50 Years of Magic at Walt Disney World

Disney History

  • You’ve probably heard the term ‘Disney Vault’ bantered about. Indeed, a real vault exists in Glendale, California. It houses everything from the Disney films themselves to the sketches and models used to make them.
  • Walt Disney had bestowed stock to his longtime housekeeper and cook, Thelma Howard. By the time she died in 1994, it was worth over $9 million.
  • Over 500 trees around Disney World Theme Parks started as acorns from the “Liberty Oak,” the featured centerpiece of the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.
  • Walt Disney had his own 500-square-foot private apartment above the fire department on Main Street in Disneyland. Visitors who notice the apartment window will see a lit lamp, which signifies Disney's continual presence.
Disney Character actor in Tinkerbell costume riding float covered in lights with other floats and dineyland castle in background at Mainstreet Electrical Parade in Anaheim, California, USA

photo credit: Cow Missing Productions via Facebook

Disney Parks Fun Facts

  • Disney theme parks have exemplary customer service. In fact, Disney cast members cannot answer any guest query with, ‘I don’t know.’
  • Did you know all Disney parks have secret menu items? You can order items such as a cinnamon bun and candied bacon cheeseburger or a ‘spiky pineapple’ aka the alcoholic version of everyone’s beloved Dole Whip
  • Nope, your nose isn’t acting up! Disney parks actually utilize special machines called ‘Smellitizers’ to elicit specific smells and responses. This is why Main Street always vaguely smells like freshly popped popcorn.
  • One of the interesting facts about Disney World is how many people wish to have their ashes spread at the park. It’s such a common phenomenon Disney World has cleaning protocols in place for this exact occurrence.
  • During the holiday season, more than 3,000 Christmas trees are on display throughout Disney Theme Parks. In addition, there are miles and miles of garland used to turn this park into a winter wonderland.
  • For the park's 40th anniversary on July 17, 1995, Disney buried a time capsule at the entrance of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. The capsule is set to be unearthed on July 17, 2035. 

Related Post: Disney World Bucket List: 9 Experiences You Can't Miss

Walt Disney World Fun Facts: Animal Kingdom

  • At the Animal Kingdom, you’ll have to suck down that Coke without a straw. And be careful not to spill your beverage because you’re not getting a lid either. One Disney World fun fact is that Animal Kingdom doesn’t offer either at this park as a precaution to the animals.
  • How do the animals along the Kilimanjaro Safari always cooperate with guests so easily? One of the Disneyworld facts is that the naturalists on staff use a few tricks, such as shooting raisins toward the gorillas and putting honey on the top of safari vehicles for elephants. And that rock the lion is leisurely enjoying? It’s air-conditioned. The zebras and giraffes, however, are free roaming and even cause roadblocks at times!

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Orlando, Florida

Trees and Plants at Pandora The World of Avatar at Disney World's Animal Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Avatar via Facebook

Walt Disney World Facts: Rides

  • Sadly, when the Pirates of the Caribbean was being built, an Imagineer named George was killed. Legend has it his ghost haunts the ride to this day. One of the interesting Disney World facts is that the cast members say “Goodnight, George” at the closing of each night as a superstition to prevent ride closures the next day.
  • Both Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest and Disney’s Hollywood Tower of Terror are built just shy of 200 feet (199 feet to be exact). This is due to the fact that any building over 200 feet would require red flashing aviation lights.
  • The Tower of Terror screams you’re hearing on the ground and around the park aren’t real. Sure, some of them are, but to induce an even more terror-filled allure the majority of what you hear has been pre-recorded.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals at Walt Disney World Resort

Mother and Son riding Pirates of the Caribbean at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom - Orlando, Florida, USADisneyland Fun Facts: Rides

  • Did you know U2 was the original choice for Hollywood Studios’ Rock 'n' Roller Coaster? They declined the offer, and the rest is history…err…Aerosmith.
  • Today Hollywood Studios (aka Disney World Studio) is a more modern Disney experience with themed Marvel & Toy Story areas and rides centered around Pixar greats such as Finding Nemo & Ratatouille.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean was the last Disneyland attraction personally supervised by Walt Disney. And most importantly, the ride inspired the movie, not the other way around!
  • The Haunted Mansion ride's grounds house a pet cemetery on the side lawn, but don't worry! It's fake, and the gravestones have funny inscriptions. 
  • One of the best lesser-known Disneyland facts regards the riverboat ride. Ask an employee to check out the captain's quarters of the Mark Twain Riverboat. You may be allowed to steer the ship and signal to other boats. 
  • The fastest ride at Disneyland (excluding the Incredicoaster at Disneyland Adventure Park) is actually Splash Mountain. Passengers reach approximately 40 mph when taking the 47-degree fall into the briar patch. 
people aboard the Incredicoaster with water splasing at the side of the track in Disneyland, Anaheim, California, USA

photo credit: Theme Park Review via Facebook

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals in Los Angeles, California

  • According to Imagineer Jason Surrell, human bones from the UCLA Medical Center were used as props for the Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean ride when it opened in 1967. Supposedly, passengers can spot a real human skull perched above the bed in the treasure room when the ride begins.
  • The King Arthur Carousel is older than anything else at Disneyland. The ride was originally built in 1922 for Toronto's Sunnyside Beach Park.
  • While waiting in line for the Indiana Jones ride, you can view real props from the movie franchise.
  • Rumors surrounding a basketball court inside of the Matterhorn are true. However, the court is strictly for employees to blow off some steam.
  • While waiting in line for the Star Tours ride, passengers can hear a page to a "Mr. Egroeg Sacul," which is George Lucas' name spelled backward. Further, Lucas actually attended the opening day of Disneyland at age 11.
  • The voice of Frosted Flakes' Tony the Tiger and the famous "Mr. Grinch" song in the animated film voices many of the park's attractions. You can hear Thurl Ravenscroft's voice on rides such as the Mark Twain River Boat, the Haunted Mansion, and It's A Small World.
  • Built on an orange grove, park landscapers attempted to make up for the 12,000 displaced orange trees by planting dozens of flora species throughout the park that are frequently replanted. The Jungle Cruise alone boasts  700 exotic trees and over 40 species of flowers.

Related Post: Current Events and Festivals at Disneyland Resort

View looking up at the Haunted Mansion through the trees at night at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Fun Disney World Facts: Epcot

  • At 5.7 million gallons, Epcot’s Aquarium of the Seas is second only to the Georgia Aquarium in terms of sheer size.
  • American Adventure Pavilion is home to an American flag taken from the rubble of the Twin Towers from the 9/11 attack.

Cinderella's Castle

  • One of the most disappointing Walt Disney facts is how little there really is to Cinderella’s Castle.  From the outside, its opulence is without question. On the inside, though, it merely features a restaurant, Cinderella’s Table, and the Bibbidi Bobbiddi Boutique.
  • One of the other weird facts about Disney World is that there is a highly coveted hotel room that's nearly impossible to reserve. (The hotel room was originally designed to be Walt Disney's apartment.)

Related Post: When is the Best Time of Year to Go to Disney World?

Walt Disney World Florida Facts

  • If cleanliness is next to godliness, Walt Disney World is heaven on earth! Often heralded as one of the cleanest theme parks in America, you are never more than a few feet from a trash can.
  • Since Florida is at sea level, the Magic Kingdom is at ground level to accommodate the ´secret tunnels´ that exist below the park.
  • Hidden Mickey’s are everywhere! The Mickey silhouette can be found in décor, table settings, buildings and numerous other places. Keep your eyes open and make a game of it.
  • History buffs will take pleasure knowing the lengths that Disney went to keep Liberty square concurrent with the colonial time period. In keeping with the technology of the times, there are no bathrooms here!
  • And the last of our Disneyland Florida facts: Did you know Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL is roughly the same size as San Francisco or two Manhattan Islands?

Stone hidden mickey at the bottom of a pond with ducks swimming and greenery surrounding

Read on for more fabulous Disney World fun facts and secrets.

Lost and Found - Walt Disney World Facts

  • Have you ever lost a pair of sunglasses at Disney World? You’re not alone. An average of 200 pairs of sunglasses turn up at the lost and found daily.
  • Sure, a lot of sunglasses get lost at Disney World, but what are the oddest items to get misplaced? Try a glass eye, prosthetic leg, and potty trainer. Believe it or not, all were claimed!

Food - Interesting Facts About Disney World

  • Epcot serves food that grows right inside the park by Disney horticulturalists.
  • The novel, caveman-size turkey legs you see people noshing on at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot? Almost 2 million pounds of those are eaten each year. Apparently, Turkey Day isn’t just celebrated on Thanksgiving at Disney World.

Related Post: Disney World Bucket List: 9 Experiences You Can't Miss

Walt Disney World Resorts

  • There are almost 30,000 Disney World hotel rooms throughout Disney Resorts. As a result, one of our fun facts about Disney World is that it would take nearly a lifetime to spend the night in every room. Unsure where to stay? We have Everything you Need to Know About a Disney Resort.
Wide shot of the Caribbean Beach Resort hidden in the trees on the other side of the lake with a purple clouded sky in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Walt Disney World via Facebook

Disneyland Facts: History

  • Disneyland’s iconic churros were first introduced in 1985.
  • In order to pay for the construction of Disneyland in California, Walt Disney created a Disneyland TV show. The production ended up airing on ABC.
  • The monorail at Disneyland opened in 1959, and at the time, it was not only the United States but the entire Western Hemisphere's first daily operating monorail system, according to the park's social media director.

Related Post: Your Guide to the Best Disney World Resorts

Interesting Disneyland Facts: Today

  • You can actually eat the plants in Tomorrow Land, as the landscape was designed to double as a farm.
  • One of the most interesting and expensive Disneyland facts: the facade of the It's A Small World building is allegedly completely covered in gold leaf. 
  • Visitors can throw coins down the Wishing Well in Snow White Grotto to the right of Sleeping Beauty Castle. You can hear her voice echoing in the well and throughout the peaceful garden area. Your wish will be donated to children's charities.
  • Feral cats have roamed the Disneyland grounds since the park opened, which Disney originally discouraged. However, they have been embraced, as they are typically nocturnal anyway. Around 200 cats reportedly reside at the park.
  • Made with more than 28,000 Swarovski crystals, passengers can purchase a crystal replica of Cinderella's Castle to complete their magical dreams. Simply stroll into Crystal Arts on Main Street (or order it online) and drop $37,500 to make it yours.
  • One of the best secret Disney facts includes an upscale club in the park. You may never get to see it, but Disney used to entertain at Club 33 in the center of New Orleans Square, and the restaurant continues to operate as a speakeasy. Visitors who receive an exclusive invite take a winding staircase to the five-star speakeasy. Further, it's the only place in Disneyland that serves alcohol. 

Related Post: The Grown-Up Guide to a Walt Disney World Vacation for Adults

Character Mascots Woody and Jessie along with other Toy Story characters ready to interact with guests at Disneyworld, Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Perry Merrity II via Unsplash

How Will You Celebrate?

We hope that you enjoyed our most popular facts about Disney World. Surely we haven't even scratched the surface of all the interesting Disney facts and secrets - and some we may never know. 

From sharing pancakes with real-life princesses to fighting for the Resistance with your favorite Star Wars characters to singing along to Frozen, there are countless ways to enjoy the magic of Disney in each Disney theme park. And with 12 Disney theme parks located at six different resorts around the world, there is a lot to choose from! From Disneyland Paris to Shanghai and Hong Kong, each one is magical and unique in its own way. 

For almost a century, the Disney brand has brought light and laughter into theaters and homes worldwide. With over 50 feature films, TV shows, franchises, and a plethora of themed products, the impact of one man’s hopeful vision has been nothing less than amazing.

Break From the Ordinary

Today on National Disney Day, we invite you to take a break from the ordinary and embrace the childlike wonder and happiness at the heart of every Disney production. Ready to visit the world of magic? 

In addition to great rates for Disney tickets and resorts, we have vacation packages to help save you time and money while booking your next trip. Bundle an LA-area hotel with fun attractions, or choose ticket-only packages while visiting Orlando. Start building your packages today!

What Disney Fun Facts or Secrets Did We Miss?

Did we miss any Disney World interesting facts? Share your Disney fun facts and secrets in the comments below!


isis with mural in background

Written By Isis Maya

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central America and her love o ...

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    • Hi Lisa! Most definitely! Disney has many magical rides that comfortably accommodate people of all shapes and sizes.

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