Disney invests huge sums of money to create the immersive lands at its theme parks. Whereas the budget for most theme park attractions is spent almost entirely on the actual ride mechanism, Disney devotes a huge proportion of its spend to other features that most other operators would consider to be unnecessary luxuries. Ride designer John Wardley, who created classic attractions such as Nemesisat Alton Towers, recently remarked that the theming budget for the UK park's £18 million The Smiler roller coaster "wouldn't have covered the decoration of one of Disney's post-ride shops". Given that Alton Towers is owned by the second largest attraction operator in the world behind Disney, the Merlin Entertainments Group, this shows the enormous level of investment that Disney makes in scenery, props and other theming elements. Next time you are at Walt Disney World, keep an eye out for these intricate details - and many more besides.
10. The shutters in Liberty Square (Magic Kingdom)
The shutters in Liberty Square sag. Why? At the time of the Revolutionary War, colonists melted down hinges sold to them by the British to make shot for their weapons. Leather hinges were used in their place, resulting in the sagging shutters. Disney's "leather" hinges, ironically, are made of metal.
9. The "urine trough" (Magic Kingdom)
Elsewhere in Liberty Square, look out for a host of other historical details. In particular, notice the brown "stream" flowing down the middle of the streets - in frontier times, this acted as a urine trough to catch waste from horses!
8. The metallic foliage (Magic Kingdom)
The metal palm trees located close to Space Mountain in Tomorrowland are not just there for show. They fold up at night and open during the day, and are even used to collect solar energy.
7. The chimneys (Epcot)
The pavilions in Epcot's World Showcase are great examples of Disney's commitment to great theming. As an example, look closely at the ornate chimneys in the United Kingdom Pavilion. They were painted with blackened soot to give the impression that they are still working.
6. The "flawed" tiles (Epcot)
Look at the mosaic tiles in the Morocco Pavilion. Each mosaic has at least one flawed tile in it - as local beliefs dictate that only Allah can create something that is "perfect".
I haven't seen the trees in Tomorrowland move at all. They might have at one point, there are several things around the area that went from being interactive to just random props.
I'm pretty sure the trees in Tomorrowland don't actually collect solar energy, although it is part of the story/thememing that they are supposed to...
I recall one of my colleagues, a Space Shuttle engineer just like (former) myself, who decided to become a Disney Imagineer. This attention to detail, the depth of thought... None of it even surprises me. Disney draws some of the very finest engineers and artists in my reconing.
When I go to Disney, I delight in the details. I look at the folks they've hired. I think of my friend and, indeed, one of my best students. They have given all of their best to Disney. I, as an engineer and scientist, am good with it!
Notice the red brick walkway entering the MK is red symbolizing the red carpet at movie premieres !
If you look at the ground going toward beasts castle, you'll see 'bird prints' wagon prints and many other interesting things.