Walt Disney World is carefully orchestrated to provide guests with the perfect combination of autonomy and attentiveness. While you’re free to create your own magical experience unlike any other, you’re also guided very carefully along the path. One of the keys to Disney’s careful control of a park teeming with thousands of visitors is its use of concealed spaces and hidden observation points.
From areas like these, managers, maintenance personnel, and Imagineers can assess everything from the flow of guest traffic to the performance of spieling Cast Members. You’re almost always observable when you’re in the parks, and in many cases you won’t have any idea where concealed watchers are hiding. Here are a few subtle spots where Cast Members could be hiding in the parks.
1. Behind “faux” windows
If you’re familiar with some of the more common methods for maintaining Disney illusions, you already know about forced perspective. Using forced perspective, Imagineers make the buildings on Magic Kingdom’s Main Street appear as though they’re three stories tall when they’re really only two. Windows, balustrades, and other details on the second and third stories are scaled down to create this effect.
With forced perspective in mind, you’d probably expect a faux storefront. However, the interior of these areas, though small and cramped, is still very real. You won’t be able to see them, but Cast Members can reach these areas and look down on the streets below. This isn’t a common practice, but it can prove handy for managers who want an unhindered view of the parade or other major events on the packed streets below.
2. Just overhead
Guests rarely look up when they’re on an attraction, which is why Cast Members are so easily obscured from view when they’re above. The Great Movie Ride, for example, is liberally criss-crossed with catwalks that run above the ride track. Regular Cast Members aren’t permitted into the catwalks, but trainers do have access. One of the most anticipated rites of passage in training for the attraction is climbing into the catwalks to watch the show from above.
Managers are also a big fan of catwalks. In a spieling attraction like the Great Movie Ride, catwalks make it possible for management to assess Cast Members’ performances unseen. Everyone puts on their best show when they know they’re being observed on a ride, but with a feature like this you have to stay on point all the time, because you never know who might be watching.