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10 Essential Things That Happen at Disney Theme Parks After Closing Time

Magic Kingdom closing time

Disney's theme parks operate for 365 days a year, and often open late into the evening. That leaves little "downtime" during which they can be scrubbed and refurbished - and yet they manage to look sparkling clean every single morning. How exactly does Disney achieve this? The simple answer is through sheer weight of manpower. Every night, hundreds of Cast Members descend upon each park, each with a specific range of tasks to complete under the glow of portable floodlights. At Disneyland, for example, there are 1,500 workers in the "third shift", and many of them have worked to a nocturnal schedule for years. There is alwayssomething happening at the parks, which truly are "cities that never sleep". Here are 10 essential tasks that are completed every single night at Walt Disney World, the Disneyland Resort, the Disneyland Resort Paris, the Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland.

10. The security sweep

Disney security First things first, Disney has to make sure that its theme parks are empty before it begins any maintenance work. It's not unknown for guests to try and "camp out" in the parks at night, particularly in seemingly hard-to-spot locations such as Tom Sawyer Island. Park security, though, are aware of the most common hiding places. "If someone tried to hide, they would not stay hidden for long," Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown told the LA Timesin 2010.

9. Refuelling


Many of Disney's attractions still run on good old-fashioned gasoline. Every night, a team of oiler-truckers sweeps into refuel them. At Disneyland, for example, the Columbia Sailing Ship, the Mark Twain Riverboat, the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts, the Jungle Cruise boats, the Main Street Vehicles and the Casey Jr. Circus Train all need topping up. In addition, some 104 cars on Autopia need to be refueled.

8. Safety inspections

Image © Disney

Like all theme park operators, Disney is under an obligation to ensure that its rides run smoothly and safely. An army of engineers inspects its roller coasters and other rides, walking along tracks to check for defects, inspecting vehicles and performing other essential tasks. Firefighters also work at the parks, and carry out inspections of fire extinguishers, alarm systems and sprinkler systems.

7. Repairs

Carthay Circle restaurant

Image © Disney

It's not just the rides that occasionally need repairing. At the Disneyland Resort, there are Cast Members whose sole responsibility is checking and replacing 800 umbrellas, 25,000 chairs and 7,000 tables in the various restaurants and snack bars in its two theme parks.

6. Production of commercials


Image © Disney

Disney wants commercials for its theme parks to look good - and that means controlling exactly who appears in them, both in the foreground and the background. It also wants guests to be able to move freely around the park by day, without having to stop at "roadblocks" set up by production crews. For that reason, most filming takes place at night.

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There are 31 comments.

They don't dive to work on World of Color's fountains, they lower the water level and walk out to work on them. We witnessed this first hand last week.

Thanks - fixed.

The world of color platforms actually raise up and down, so I would think that's what they did and not lower the water level. That would be an immense amount of water to store in a tank. Also, if they were to drain it and it would take days to drain and days to refill. That would also be VERY expensive.

"guests spitting at the guests"...interesting...Those guests must be pretty mean to spit on each other on the Indiana Jones ride! Haha

Gotta love typos...

It says 'guests spitting at the ghosts.' Although you would think the people would know better than to do this and ruin things for others. Thank goodness Disney is so meticulous in their cleaning.

Actually, they aren't doing it to be mean, or gross or anything. It's cultural. Many cultures spit to ward off evil spirits. The chair at the Haunted Mansion has to be cleaned frequently too, for this reason!

it is NOT the "culture" in America to spit all over the place, in public, where others are. People who are visiting Disney parks in this country as well as people who have moved to the US should attempt to learn and respect our culture.

Well said!!

While I agree with you completely, Anna, I have to say that the converse is just as important: Americans need to learn how to behave when travelling in foreign countries. Sadly, the vast majority of them do not.

Oh relax. How can you reasonably expect a visitor to our country to understand every little complexity of our traditions and mores? I suspect that your main issue is that you simply don't like foreigners...

I don't know what level of pay would be sufficient to watch the Tiki birds more than once a.... month! Haha

I had heard that everything at Disney is re painted every couple of weeks (or something like that). So there must be a lot of painting that's going on at night, also.

Every couple of weeks, not so much. Most surfaces that require paint are done during their scheduled annual "refurbishment," unless there was an event in which substantial damage was caused. Then they'd have the night crew come in and repair the damage. If it will take more than a day to fix, they will usually put a barrier wall around whatever the eyesore is so the guests won't see it during operating hours.

I have to disagree with part of the refueling section. This may pertain to Disneyland but in Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Speedway (FL's equivalent to Autopia) is refueled by the opening cast members for the attraction. I used to work Tomorrowland attractions and have fueled many of the cars. They fuel them, and bring them onto the track before the park opens. Maintenance, however, is completed overnight.

Never touched a gas can at Disneyland. Did plenty of laps from the sides of the cars though! I thought that was just about the coolest thing that I never knew prior to starting there.

I habe always loved Disney and at 55 i still remember the firt time i daw The Disney show. On color tv and my fist visit to Magic Kingdom Disney never missed anything... I at age 55 meber went to universal or stsyed at a Hotel ON INIVERSAL PROPERTY, , UNTIL THE 6_9 OF JUNE AT PORTA Fina.... ot was worse stay ever ,,, A Disney lover and ill never go to Univerdal again edpecially Their Hotel.. Disneys Beach and Yacht Vlun is my Fav loved the concierge floor... and. The rise in ticket. Price wd long over do Congratulations.Dismey on a job well done anf keeping everthing dage clean and in good repair

Type this with your feet or something?


Don't be a jerk, you jerk.

I was thinking the samething....there is no way this person typed this while awake. She didn't get her point across because she made no sense so she was better off not talking at all!
And yes I'll be a jerk!

How about you type your comment when you have time to make it so people actually understand wth you're saying?!

I feel like you're trying to say something to me but I just can't make out what it is!!!

Since apparently people are rude and pretend they can't understand, even though statistically over 80% of your brains(If Literate) will fix the words as you read...He wrote (generally):

I have always loved Disney and at 55. I still remember the first time I saw The Disney Show on a color tv.On my first visit to Magic Kingdom Disney, [I/we] didn't miss anything. I, at age 55, remember going to universal or staying at a Hotel ON UNIVERSAL PROPERTY, ON THE 6-9 OF JUNE AT THE PORTOFINO. It was the worst stay ever. As a Disney lover and I'll never go to Universal again especially their hotel.. Disney's Beach and Yacht club resorts are my favorites. I loved the concierge floor! I think the rise in ticket price was long over do. Congratulations to Disney on a job well done and keeping everthing so clean and in good repair.

Good job Justin! You have a true Disney heart!

The seven dwarves ride is a major disappointment.

Just to let you know most commercials aren't shot at night. There's a few that do happen but most of them happen before the parks open or when the parks are open and there are plenty of times that there are "roadblocks" for guests to get around or have to deal with. It's inconvenient but it happens way more than late night shoots

Just to let you know most commercials aren't shot at night. There's a few that do happen but most of them happen before the parks open or when the parks are open and there are plenty of times that there are "roadblocks" for guests to get around or have to deal with. It's inconvenient but it happens way more than late night shoots

Being cleaning is a big topic in the article, I deviate a bit to ask if anyone has noticed how gross some of the tram seats appear?! Whether they are or not, some at AK & DHS looked awful. I was shocked that Disney king of 1st impressions lets them run that way. Anyone else think its time for autonomous trams that are quicker and faster loading?

Floating ghosts on Indiana Jones? Do they mean the ones floating in Haunted Mansion in the graveyard?

The Jungle Cruise boats don't run on gasoline. They run on natural gas. Others, please chime in if the other vehicles they mentioned run on fuel other than gas.


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