HERE YOU LEAVE TODAY AND ENTER THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND FANTASY
— Plaque over the entrance tunnels into Disneyland
The five (soon to be six) Theme Park resorts owned and operated by the Disney Company. Their best known attractions include state-of-the-art rides and shows based upon the Disney films, as well as spectacular parades, fireworks and other live performances. You want to make sure everyone knows you're going there.Walt Disney came up with the idea for his original park when he took his children to a park and noticed the parents just hanging off to the side while the children played. He decided to build a place where the entire family could have fun and enjoy themselves. While the idea was met with some skepticism, the execution was resoundingly successful.The resorts include:
Disneyland: Opened July 17, 1955 by invitation only, and the following day to the general public. Located in Anaheim, California. The original and the only park Walt saw built within his lifetime. Serves as the template for most of the parks worldwide, though fans praise the fact that Disneyland is the only park that had Walt's personal touch. Its companion park, California Adventure, opened in 2001. There are not as many resorts around this site because Disney did not have a lot of money at the time – they were nowhere near the Mega Corp. in the fifties as they are today.
Walt Disney World: The largest and most popular of the resorts opened in 1971, located near Orlando, Florida. Includes four parks: Magic Kingdom (based largely on the original Disneyland), Epcot (devoted to science, technology, and cultures of the world; opened in 1982 as EPCOT Center), Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney-MGM Studios and focusing on movie/moviemaking-related attractions, 1989) and Animal Kingdom (combo of theme park and wildlife park, 1998), as well as two (formerly threenote The original, River Country opened in 1976 but eventually became very outdated compared to its sister parks and closed permanently in 2001) water parks: Typhoon Lagoon (1989) and Blizzard Beach (1995). Fans constantly debate which of the four parks is the best, whether they were better in the old days, and so on. Disney World also includes many hotels, an all-purpose sports complex, golf courses, and a few shopping/dining/entertainment complexes like Downtown Disney. The actual "Reedy Creek" property upon which Disney World sits is huge, and many guests are surprised to learn that it consists mostly of wildlife preserves and undeveloped natural Florida habitat. This "breathing space" is deliberate, as Walt Disney was particularly upset when the popularity of Disneyland sparked a development frenzy back in Anaheim, essentially cutting off almost all chances of expansion (Disney couldn't do this in Anaheim because other businesses got to the surrounding land first). The property on which the resort sits on was bought by Roy O. Disney, Walt's older brother.note Note also that this is the only park to have "Walt" in the title. Roy specifically wanted to name the park in honor of his brother rather than just the company. For his efforts to complete Walt's long-in-development Florida Magic Kingdom, there is a statue of him sitting with Minnie Mouse just past the entrance of that park, to complement the famous "Partners" statue at the main hub.
Tokyo Disney Resort: Opened in 1983 and is the first (and only) franchise Disney resort run by the Oriental Land Company rather than Disney itself. Some additions such as Pooh's Honey Hunt and the Tokyo DisneySea park have become some of Disney Imagineering's most lavishly praised creations.
Disneyland Resort Paris (formerly known as Euro Disney Resort): Opened in 1992, and going for an even more elaborate look (as well as Darker and Edgier for some attractions). Includes two theme parks, the original one now known as Disneyland Park and a second, opened in 2002, known as Walt Disney Studios Park. Urban Legend has it that this park was planned and built because Michael Eisner's wife, Jane, liked to shop in Paris and wanted someplace she could stay without paying for it. It bombed spectacularly at first, though it eventually gained some legs. As of late, though, Disneyland Park's ticket sales have been cannibalized by Walt Disney Studios Park. After opening, the park was hated by the French people, who opposed the poor (by French standards, anyway) working conditions there and viewed it as an example of American cultural imperialism. Despite the initial hostility, today the resort has some of the largest attendance numbers of any European tourist destination.
Hong Kong Disneyland: The newest of the resorts, opened in 2005. It's very close in design to the original Disneyland, though it's much smaller and only has a few of the iconic Disney attractions. Nonetheless, it's gained notoriety for, in essence, having the exact opposite problems that Euro-Disney did. However, Disney has announced plans for a large expansion that brings unique attractions to the park, some being new twists on old favorites. The expansion includes Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Carts, which is a twist on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The story goes that miners discovered gold in the mountain on 1888, complete with friendly bears. Now it's your turn to take a ride through the mine.... The expansion also includes a Toy Story themed land, which is themed to look like Andy's toys in the grass of his backyard, and a Lighter and Softer twist on The Haunted Mansion, set inside a Victorian-era mansion in the jungle belonging to Adventurer Archaeologist Lord Henry Mystic and his pet monkey, Albert. Lord Mystic's just gotten back from another archaeological expedition and brought back an enchanted music box. Then one day, Albert opens the music box, and the artifacts in the mansion come to life...
Shanghai Disneyland: After years of planning for a resort in mainland China, the project was approved by the Chinese government in November 2009. Ground was broken in April 2011 and is currently scheduled to open in 2015invoked. The resort will be 2-3 times the size of the Hong Kong Resort with room for up to 3 parks. The first of which will of course be a version of the Magic Kingdom with the other two expected to be ports of Epcot and Animal Kingdom.
The following attractions have their own sub-pages:
In addition to the main theme park resorts, Disney also runs several additional vacation and leisure ventures that spread their influence to just about every corner of the globe and give guests access to more vacation options outside the parks while still maintaining that "Disney feeling":
Adventures by Disney: Runs guided vacations to various destinations in the US and around the world ranging from Yellowstone Park to the French Riviera, each coordinated by Disney "Adventure Guides" who serve as personal tour guides as well as concierges, giving guests the opportunity to see the wonders of the world while still retaining trademark Disney hospitality.
Disney Cruise Line: Well, it's a cruise line… from Disney. Currently has a fleet of four ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and the newest, Disney Fantasy which entered service in 2012. Originally based out of Port Canaveral, FL the ships now sail from various ports in the US for cruises to the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and Alaska. Caribbean cruises all feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's own private island in the Bahamas. Yes, Disney bought their own island just for cruise guests. Should this really surprise you?
Disney Vacation Club: Disney's take on timeshare ownership, and as you might hear about it while staying at WDW, The Best Kept Disney Secret. Members buy into a share of a DVC resort and get an annual allotment of points based on the size of their investment. These points can be put towards a trip, as well as banked year to year or borrowed again the next year depending on the type of trip wanted. For most people, the initial investment pays for itself after a few years. Resorts feature amenities above and beyond those of the Deluxe resorts including Villa style rooms with full kitchens. Members get priority access to their "home" resort when booking, but can also use their points to stay at any resort they choose. Disney also owns three off-site resorts in Hilton Head, SC, Vero Beach, FL, and Aulani in Hawaii, and contracts with hundreds of hotels around the world that members can visit as part of DVC.
The nods to dragons and unicorns in Animal Kingdom were hinting towards a land that they ended up never building, Beastly Kingdom, focusing on fantasy creatures. The only things left of that (so far) are a dragon shaped rock formation near Camp Minnie Mickey, a bridge that looks like the entrance to a castle, and the big dragon who appears on the park's logo to the confusion of many a guest. The concept of including mythological creatures into the park was eventually picked up by Expedition Everest's Yeti, but has yet to be paid off in full. It's speculated that the ideas for Beastly Kingdom might finally be realized in the upcoming Avatar Land, but so far they've been very tight-lipped about details.
Some of the Imagineers behind Beastly Kingdom went to work on Universal Studios' Island of Adventure, and many of the attractions in that park's mythology-themed area, especially the Dueling Dragons coaster, were derived from the Disney project. (Much of this area would be incorporated into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter later; Dueling Dragons was rethemed and renamed Dragon Challenge.)
In the super-secret-invite-only Club 33 restaurant, several disused animatronic animal heads hang from the wall. Walt had planned to be able to speak through them to his guests. The idea was abandoned because it was deemed too silly for a high-class restaurant and because of privacy concerns. The idea sort of came to fruition at the now shut-down Adventurers' Club in Disney World's Pleasure Island.
The giant, unused building at Epcot's Japan pavilion was originally built to hold an American version of Meet the World, a charter attraction at Tokyo Disneyland (as the parks' development and construction overlapped). But this Audio-Animatronic/film show recounting Japanese history glossed over the country's role in World War II, and Disney execs realized that it might offend American veterans, so it was scrapped.
Ace Pilot/Cool Plane: The queue in Soarin' Over California features a pre-show area paying tribute to many a famous pilot and aircraft who've made a groundbreaking impact in aviation history. Among the icons shown are Amelia Earhart, Chuck Yeager, Howard Hughes and James Herman Banning.
Action Figure Speech: The character performers. Though more recently, costumes with functional mouths (and blinking eyes) have begun to be introduced for cases where they need to speak, such as the Mickey who appears at the opening of the Magic Kingdom and the Timon who emcees The Festival of the Lion King.
Adaptation Distillation: The philosophy behind designing the "dark ride" version of an animated film is that, instead of rehashing the plot of the film, you should try to recreate the dominant visual/emotional impact of the film using a handful of pivotal scenes taking place in immersive environments. Hence (for example), the bulk of the Peter Pan ride consists of two rooms occupied by models of London and Neverland surrounded by fiber-optic stars, over which riders "fly" in vehicles suspended from an overhead track. The film's actual plot is compressed into a few brief scenes toward the end of the ride.
A lot of attraction backstories rely on promotional items and books on the parks to understand, and/or familiarity with their source material in the case of rides adapted from films, TV shows, etc.
Disney has a website to explain different locales in Walt Disney World's New Fantasyland, as well as a fictional explanation as to why visitors had to wait 41 years after Disney World's opening before going to these places. (After fans of fairy tales outgrew the stories, villains seized the opportunity to steal significant items, activating a curse that hid New Fantasyland from the real world.)
To understand the backstory of Mystic Manor, you need to watch the pre show. It mentions that Lord Henry Mystic along with his adorable and mischief making pet monkey Albert collected rare artifacts from around the world to display in the manor, and have opened it to the public in the 1900s for them to see.
American Kirby Is Hardcore: This trope can be felt in the TV commercials for Splash Mountain when it first opened. They play "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" in the background and, of course, feature the huge climactic drop, but that's where the similarities end. The commercial for the ride at Disneyland (opened in 1989) has a very foreboding feel to it and features an announcer (that sounds very much like Don LaFontaine) who says ominously that "the only way out is a long. Way. Down!" By contrast, the commercial for the same ride at Tokyo Disneyland (opened in 1992) has a much more cheerful tone to it. The announcer (speaking in Japanese, of course) also sounds excited.
At Disneyland, several walkaround characters such as Alice and Mad Hatter are allowed to roam through Main Street USA despite not being from that period or location.
The DINOSAUR ride, despite being set in the Late Cretaceous period, mixes in several dinosaurs from different eras, including ones that go all the way back to the Late Jurassic era.
A minor example, but the final scene of Carousel of Progress set in The Nineties accidentally became this when the TV broke, and since analog tube TVs are no longer manufactured, they replaced it with a very 2000s-ish flatscreen.
Apocalyptic Log: One of the radio transmissions in the queue for Jungle Cruise has a skipper warning the dockmasters about the natives attacking passing boats, cracking in and out before being lost in static.
The Imagination pavilion at EPCOT had its ride and Image Works section re-themed to correspond with Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, which is now replaced with Captain EO. Which Honey replaced to begin with. Captain EO, in its original run, broke the original continuity of the pavilion by being Space Opera rather than whimsical fantasy as charter film Magic Journeys was (upon disembarking the ride, one was encouraged to "Follow Figment to Magic Journeys"; the sign was pulled down when EO went in). So the ride was the artifact first!
If you've ever seen the Electrical Parade, most of the people around you were probably murmuring "Who is that?" when the Pete's Dragon float came by. The Pete's Dragon float that is immediately followed by an America's Bicentennial float! This also happens during Disneyland's Soundsational Parade when the Three Caballeros-themed float comes by.
The Electric Water Pageant also sports a Bicentennial-themed finale.
The aforementioned mythical creatures in the Animal Kingdom iconography.
Huge chunks of Disney's Hollywood Studios' acreage became this once it stopped operating as an actual film/animation studio, and the tours that remain are shadows of their original selves. Current rumors have the land being reclaimed for more Star Wars attractions and/or an East Coast version of Radiator Springs Racers.
Artifact of Doom: The Shiriki Utundu idol in DisneySea's Tower of Terror. Also a mystic gem in the Indiana Jones sequence of the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. And no matter what, DON'T LOOK INTO THE EYES OF MARA. That could be dangerous. Very dangerous. And then there's the enchanted music box at Mystic Manor, which makes the artifacts come to life to try and kill Albert the Monkey and the guests, and wreck the mansion.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Hearing Spanish instructions can feel this way in the American parks: the English voices are all very expressive and in-character. The Spanish announcements by comparison sound almost like a text-to-speech announcement. The "Exit" signs in some attractions and Dark Rides too...but really, you'd have to be Too Dumb to Live to not make them visible, or to have some way to fix the ride/rescue stuck people.
VERY nicely averted in It's A Small World with the foreign language instructions - fits the theme and all sound very nice and expressive. Alice in Wonderland and Casey Jr. Train also avert this, too.
The Animatronics can also seem this way. When they fail, it's either quite hilarious at best or downright scary at worst.
As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The chanting in a made-up language in the Tapestry of Nations/Tapestry of Dreams parade was meant to evoke the feel of African or Native American languages to give it the world music feel it needed without being very specific of its origin.
Ascended Extra: Dr. Nigel Channing (played by Eric Idle) started off as one of the characters in Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, but was later then given a prominent role in the pre-show of Tokyo's version of the attraction, and later was made the star of the Journey into Imagination, expanding the universe HISTA is set in.
Awesome Moment of Crowning: Tokyo Disneyland and later Walt Disney World had a show, Cinderellabration, depicting Cinderella's coronation into a princess. The festivities included guest appearances by the other princesses, and fireworks that viewers could see even in the daytime.
Bat Scare: The first lift on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad leads through a cavern full of screeching bats.
Beneath the Earth: DisneySea's Journey to the Center of the Earth, the portion of Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor where the Doombuggies are Buried Alive and you see a bunch of corpses rising from their underground graves.
Bears Are Bad News: Played fairly straight with the bears in Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars at Hong Kong Disneyland, in which bears inadvertently send riders on the wrong track and later blow up some TNT and sending riders off on another track.
The various Country Bear shows more or less avert this (see Beary Funny below), except for in the Country Bear Vacation Hoedown, which has a line in one song, "The Great Outdoors", in which the bears sing that "if y'all don't join us, we'll chase you up a tree!"
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride, replacing - for example - pirates chasing women with them chasing the food the women carried and then with women chasing the food-stealing pirates. Somewhat Truth in Television, as unspoiled food was fairly hard to come by on the high seas, and if you were a pirate the only way you could really acquire some is to steal it.
Animal Kingdom got a taste of this before it even opened. Kilimanjaro Safaris originally had the visible corpse of Big Red after she is killed by poachers, and the dragon cave on the Discovery River Boats originally had the dead knights lying around it. Both were removed after they received extremely negative response during the park's employee previews.
Bright Castle: The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle (or Cinderella Castle, if you're in Florida) in each of the Magic Kingdom-style parks.
Butt Monkey: Skippy, the cute and fuzzy little alien from the pre-shows of Alien Encounter and Stitch's Great Escape. In Alien Encounter, he was teleported from one tube to another, but got fried in the process, then disappeared indefinetely when being re-teleported to the previous tube. He does not suffer any physical harm in Stitch's Great Escape, even though he has been arrested for "jaywalking between Mars and Jupiter".
Albert at Hong Kong's Mystic Manor is a literal example. After opening an enchanted music box acquired by his owner, he soon becomes a target for some of the things brought to life by the magical music, from the tikis shooting arrows at him, to Samurais trying to decapitate him and even the jade statue of The Monkey King/Sun Wukong creating a vortex trying to suck him out of the mansion.
California Doubling: Often the Florida parks are advertised with footage from Disneyland Resort. This has only become more common with the homogenous "Disney Parks" branding.
The Cameo: The current version of "it's a small world" includes "small world" versions of Disney characters in the corresponding areas. Some are really obvious (Ariel and Lilo & Stitch in the tropical area, The Three Caballeros in South America), some not so much (you specifically have to be looking to find Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying way overhead in Europe, and it may take a minute to realize some of the jungle's animals are Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon).
Collectible Card Game: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is looking to be partially this, though played within the parks and utilized to battle various Disney villains at interactive screens.
Compressed Adaptation: Some of the more recent dark rides such as The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh, Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure have eschewed the Adaptation Distillation approach of their predecessors and instead just retell the movies scene-for-scene in live action form.
Content Warnings: In a sense. On the park maps, some attractions have warning symbols if they're likely to frighten children; however, it's inconsistently applied (using Hollywood Studios as an example, The Great Movie Ride gets the warning, but not Star Tours - The Adventures Continue).
Cool Starship: The StarSpeeder 3000 from Star Tours as well as it's forerunner, the StarSpeeder 1000 from Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. Also, various Star Wars ships have appeared throughout the ride's history, including the X-Wing, the Naboo N-1 fighter, Boba Fett's Slave 1 and the Falcon.
The "Rockets" on Space Mountain and the Astro-Oribter.
Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: Star Tours: The Adventures Continue (2011-Present) is set in the Star Wars universe roughly a year or two before the events of A New Hope whereas the original Star Tours (1987-2010) took place sometime shortly after Return of the Jedi. Since the Star Warsprequels already fit this trope, it naturally stands to reason the droids, various technologies and overall look of the attraction appear slightly more advanced and sleeker than its predecessor. You might also say this is because the ride is now set at a time when the Star Tours spaceline was in its prime whereas in the original attraction, the company, like the rest of the galaxy, may have undergone some wear-and-tear after constant Imperial oppression. On a side note, Captain Rex (RX-24), the original ride's Starspeeder pilot droid, is now seen in the Sector 2 area of the queue as a defective "prototype" model.
Stitch's Great Escape also fits this trope, since it takes place before the events of the first Lilo & Stitch film, as it features Stitch's first run-in with the Galactic Federation.
Averted with non-child guests, who are not allowed to enter the parks if they are wearing Disney character costumes, for fear they would be mistaken for (and thus compete with) the official characters by other guests (this did lay down some extra rules for Anime Expo the one year it was at Disneyland; see Fan Convention below). Cue the DisneyBound phenomenon, in which fans visit the parks wearing outfits that vaguely resemble character costumes without replicating them.
Counting to Potato: At the entrance to Toontown in Disneyland, there's a population counter which is constantly cycling through numbers...and screws, stars, dumbbells, TNT, and various other random things.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: On 9/11, cast members in Walt Disney World (including the ones in costume) evacuated all six parks. In ten minutes, bringing the guests along with them. note Note That the Magic Kingdom at Disney World has a truly massive underground tunnel system (the "utilidors"), partially designed to help protect any guest to the park.
Upon hearing that the WTC and the Pentagon had been attacked, Disneyland Resort immediately shut down both parks out of fear that they would be attacked as well. However, the Indy Ploy resulting from it was ingenious: show classic movies and cartoons in the hotels non-stop (complete with popcorn), and make all the games in the arcades free. Operations resumed the following day.
Magic Kingdom's former The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was far more adult-oriented than the other attractions in the park, being about a blood-thirsty alien getting unleashed among an audience of guests, with the attraction even giving the illusion of it licking you.
Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland's Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy Halloween overlay is much darker than the normal attraction, as it depicts you getting chased by an evil cosmic entity that makes some particularly hellish-sounding moans and growls, complete with a more horror-themed soundtrack.
Hong Kong Disneyland's Haunted Halloween event, while not reaching a Halloween Horror Nights-level of scary, certainly pushes boundaries of what you would expect from Disney, as it has featured several haunted houses and scare zones that have delivered some pretty solid scares.
The recent Villains Unleashed event at Disney's Hollywood Studios featured a show called Oogie Boogie's Freaky Funhouse, which attracted some controversy from parents, as it featured things like some rather-provocative fire dancing, wild sword swallowing, horror-themed crossbow shooting, and even some sexual innuendos.
Death Mountain: Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, and Expedition Everest's Forbidden Mountain fit the role pretty well.
Dem Bones: Found in Pirates of the Caribbean. Cheerier skeletal characters are in both versions of the Mexico pavilion's boat ride in a Day of the Dead scene.
Pretty much what World of Color is. Even with the deletion of the Alice sequence.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride takes you through HELL. Literally.
And then, there was Magic Journeys...
The "Tomorrow's Child" sequence from the Walter Cronkite version of Spaceship Earth
The entirety of the original Journey Into Imagination ride.
Disneyland's Alice in Wonderland ride.
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.
Disneyfication: Disney did this to one of their own attractions: The Sinbad ride at Tokyo DisneySea, which went from a rousing adventure in a Mary Blair-esque visual style to a musical that took out all the danger in Sinbad's adventures, gave him an adorable sidekick and basically went full Small World.
Early-Bird Cameo: Disney's done this with whole rides. The Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough at Disneyland opened several years before the movie, It's Tough to be a Bug opened a few months before A Bug's Life, and Countdown to Extinction featured Aladar and the Carnotaurus from Dinosaur about two years before the movie came and the attraction was renamed for the movie (though they have nothing in common, otherwise).
From 1957 to 1961, there was an area within Disneyland park called Holidayland that was only accessible from outside the park's gates. It had its own separate admission and featured playgrounds, picnic tables, a baseball field, horseshoe rings, and volleyball nets, among other recreational activities - and unlike Disneyland, the area actually sold beer. After four years it was torn up in order to make room for New Orleans Square, annexing the land back into the park.
Earn Your Happy Ending In the old Tokyo DisneySea show 'Over the Waves' the main characters, Tonio and Maria, seem to get this.
Easing Into the Adventure: The purpose of Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom parks is to give guests something cozy and relaxing to enjoy before presenting them with the more exotic environments of Adventureland, Tomorrowland, etc. This was especially important when Disneyland opened, as no one had ever seen anything like it before.
Easter Egg: Entire books have been written about the so-called Hidden Mickeys, inconspicuous images of Mickey Mouse or his silhouette placed in various unexpected locations around the parks. It is also very common, when one attraction is closed and replaced with another, for the Imagineers to include an unobtrusive tribute to the old attraction in the new one.
Ego Polis: Does this trope REALLY need explaination? The ENTIRE theme parks are smothered with Walt Disney's likeness, including the name!
Strangely enough, Walt Disney himself tried to avert this. He named Disneyland after himself (or more accurately after his company) but he didn't want his image to appear anywhere in the park, and during his lifetime it didn't. It was only after his death that "The Walt Disney Story" was installed in the Main Street Opera House, complete with a mural featuring a huge grinning portrait of Walt. More portraits, statues, etc. have been added over the years, but Walt wouldn't have wanted any of them.
Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Point, named for Lord Henry Mystic, though it is more of a small explorer's outpost that serves as the base of operations for Mystic's adventures that he's opened up for visitors curious to see his vast collection of art from around the world and a meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers.
Same with Tokyo DisneySea’s Tower of Terror and fellow explorer Harrison Hightower, except due to Hightower's mysterious disappearance, the New York Preservation Society handles tours of his former hotel.
Eiffel Tower Effect: Each park has a certain landmark that's used to represent itnote Imagineers call such visual magnets "weenies." Really.: Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty Castle for all "Magic Kingdom" style parks, Spaceship Earth for Epcot, the Sorceror Mickey hat for Disney Hollywood Studios, the Tree of Life for Animal Kingdom, and the Carthay Circle Theatre for California Adventure. They serve two main purposes. The first is having something to get your picture taken standing in front of. The second is so that no matter where in the park you are, you can look up, note where the landmark is in relation to you, and instantly know where in the park you are (which can be very important, as many rides have exits nowhere near their entrances).
We're devils, blighters and ne'er-do-well cads Drink up, me 'earties, yo-ho Aye, but we're loved by our mommies and dads Drink up, me 'earties, yo-ho
Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Probably the only reason Epcot's Universe of Energy has a massive Dinosaur sequence, which itself was based on Disneyland's Primeval World diorama that serves as the finale for the Disneyland Railroad.
DinoLand U.S.A at Animal Kingdom.
Has your theme park developed the technology to create a free-moving, independently walking, lifelike animatronic figure of an animal? Obviously the animal in question should be a dinosaur!
Everything's Better With Sparkles: "it's a small world" contains a very high ratio of glitter to total surface area. Many of the parade and stage show costumes ramp up the glitter quotient as well. And then, there's the Bibbity Bobbity Boutique...
Also, the taxicabs at Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin.
And the Cars Quatre Roues Rallye at Walt Disney Studios Paris.
Another Cars example: the tractors at Mater's Junkyard Jamboree at the California Adventure.
Everything Is Trying to Kill You: The nasty side effect of the enchanted music box on the artifacts in Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland, from Norse Gods freezing up to the room, huge Venus Flytraps snapping at you, cannons and giant crossbows firing at you, Tikis shooting arrows at you and Albert, and the Monkey King statue creating a massive vortex trying to suck you and Albert out of the mansion.
Expansion Pack - Well, Toontown and California Adventure. And well before either, New Orleans Square and Bear Country/Critter Country.
It's much harder to do in California specifically because they couldn't buy as much land when they started out - by the time they could have bought the land to make it mirror the Florida and other worldwide parks; third party hotels and restaurants had already gobbled it up and capitalized on it.
Expy: Some of the original park characters bare a striking resemblance to each other.
The dogs in Living with the Land, Carousel of Progress, Horizons, and the dog holding the keys in Pirates of the Caribbean all look identical.
The caretaker in The Haunted Mansion and one of the men getting poked by the rhino on the Jungle Cruise both share the same face.
The lava monster in Journey to the Center of the Earth and the alien in The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter both look very similar aside from different skin colors and the former not having wings.
Facial Profiling: Averted on "it's a small world." The same mold is used to make the faces for all the dolls, regardless of ethnicity. This is of course entirely deliberate, since the idea being promoted by the ride is that humans are all essentially the same no matter where they come from.
Fan Convention: The Disney parks actually played host to a few of them.
The 2000 edition of Anime Expo took place at the Disneyland Resort. Yes, they did have to play by Disney's rules on cosplay (as noted above) and mature content.
The 2012 edition of Minecon, the official Minecraft convention, took place at Disneyland Paris.
"Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Body Wars. Was taken further in "Adventure Thru Inner Space", which went down to an atomic scale.
Fantasy Ghetto: Averted in that classic fantasy aspects are a major part of the parks - Fantasyland is even front and center in the Magic Kingdom-style ones. Affirmed in that, more than ever, the fantasy aspects are almost all fairy-tale princesses and, well, fairies; intended to appeal to young girls. You want stuff like knights, sorcerers, or dragons; you're pretty much out of luck. Supposedly part of the major expansion to Florida's Fantasyland is intended to fix this.
Far East: China & Japan at Epcot's World Showcase and Asia at the Animal Kingdom.
The giant cobra on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland (named, in fact, Fluffy)
Harold the Yeti on the Matterhorn.
Bucky, the fire-breathing dragon in Fantasmic!
And now the new model is called Murphy—actually a reference to the many problems it experienced when it was first unveiled, but still a cutesy name for something that can spit a plume of fire 20 feet long
Follow the Leader: A trope that unfortunately hung around Walt Disney World throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s after Michael Eisner took over. While both decades were periods of unprecedented growth throughout the resort, the reasoning behind it was less "we should deliver the most original concepts we can to the guests" as it had been previously, and more "why are people leaving the resort, and what can we do to prevent that?". And so the Disney-MGM Studios was built so people wouldn't have to leave to visit the (then-unbuilt) Universal Studios Orlando park, Pleasure Island was built so people wouldn't have to visit Church Street Station, Animal Kingdom was built so people wouldn't have to visit Busch Gardens, etc. This logic came back to bite them when they attempted to apply it to Disneyland on the west coast with Disney's California Adventure, built on the reasoning that if the best of California was showcased in the park then people wouldn't have to go out and actually see California. The only problem is that most of the park's guests were natives of California, who really didn't care for Disney's take on their state.
Phantom Manor is the French version of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris in a house awfully reminiscent to Bates Manor in Psycho and is set to an original backstory integrated with the themed Frontierland it's located in. There's also Mystic Manor at Hong Kong Disneyland.
Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea has no affiliation, whatsoever, with The Twilight Zone and is themed with "Hotel Hightower" in 1912 New York instead of 1930s Hollywood.
Frivolous Lawsuit: Too many to count; hardly any are successful. A lot of people only saw the Theme Park Version of law... so as a result they thought they could sue for absolutely trivial things. One of the more hilarious ones is a woman who claimed to have gained 50 pounds after The Three Little Pigs apparently fondled and harassed her - the charge was dropped when the costumes were found to have had inoperable stub-arms.
Fun with Acronyms: EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (Walt's intention for the site, but after his death the company reworked the idea into a World's Fair-style theme park). There of course have been jokes about other things it could stand for, like "Every Person Comes Out Tired".
Among Cast Members it's "Employee Paychecks Cut On Thursday"
The boat operator on one Troper's trip gave this gem: "Experimental Polyester Costumes Of Torture"
Fur Against Fang: The theme of 2012's Halloween Celebration at Hong Kong Disneyland
The whole of Disneyland Paris's Pirates Of the Caribbean ride counts as this, as it is the only version of the ride not to have been bowdlerised or updated for the film series; therefore, it still contains, for instance, the pirates clutching a teenage girl's petticoats and wondering where she is. If anything, more crap has gotten past the radar in this version: there are silhouettes of a woman being harassed by two pirates, and it seems like they are trying to sexually assault her.
Gone Horribly Right: The construction of Disneyland Anaheim created a land value boom across the city, transforming it from a quiet rural community to the tourist attraction of Southern California. This came at the dismay of Walt Disney, who was not only unable to expand his park, but also felt this new development detracted from the magical atmosphere his park was vying for. He kept this in mind when plotting out construction for Walt Disney World.
Before Great Moments with Mr Lincoln was opened, Disney's demonstrated their new animatronic technology to a group of Illinois government officials. They were not amused when the Lincoln figure broke down and started leaking redhydraulic fluid from its head. From then on all figures were switched to blue fluid.
Green Aesop: Contained in Epcot's The Land pavilion and almost the entirety of the Animal Kingdom park.
During the 1970s, the burning cabin on Tom Sawyer Island was changed to fake fire as people complained it wasted energy. The actual energy was trivial compared to Disneyland as a whole, of course.
Guide Dang It: Some of the Hidden Mickies are in very hidden locations. How do people find these without a guide?
Have a Gay Old Time: The Mexico ride ends with a cut-down rendition of the Three Caballeros' theme. Despite being clearly a brand-new recording made specially for the ride, the line "three gay caballeros" was left intact.
Hub Level: In the Magic Kingdom parks, the Central Plaza at the end of Main Street is a real-life example and possible Trope Maker.
Hula and Luaus: The Enchanted Tiki Room and Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort. Also the long gone Tahitian Terrace at Disneyland.
There's apparently going to be a Disney resort in Hawaii.
Which has the unexpected positive side effect of both raising the value of Mariott's timeshare next door, and giving Mariott more business. See, the timeshare units cost about the same. Disney's are smaller, though.
The Tribal Arts room of Hong Kong's Mystic Manor lifts elements directly from the Tiki Room.
"And here we see the back side of Schweitzer Falls, named after the back side of the famous explorer, Dr. Albert Falls."
Also noticeable in the Aladdin-based stage production in California Adventure.
Not to mention the extinct Kitchen Cabaret / Food Rocks show at The Land pavilion.
Ignored Expert: Poor Professor Dorje puts up all those nice displays in the Expedition Everest queue warning people of how dangerous the Yeti is and yet they still walk right by and get on the train headed into its sacred domain...
Improv: Minus the scripted bits involving Mike and Roz, Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor is entirely this, with digital puppeteers performing on stage and interacting with people in the audience.
Incredible Shrinking Man: A Bug's Land, a part of California Adventure themed to the movie A Bug's Life, is built to make guests feel bug-sized, with giant shamrocks, benches made of popsicle sticks, and restrooms disguised as a giant box of tissues. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids became the basis for a playground/set walk-through (Hollywood Studios) and the 3D show Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (Epcot/Disneyland/Disneyland Paris/Tokyo Disneyland). Body Wars (1989-2007) took you on a mission inside the human body within a ship miniaturized to fit within a blood vessel. Before all of these, however, the trope was taken to the maximum possible severity in the long-gone Disneyland ride Adventure Thru Inner Space, in which riders were "shrunk" small enough to travel inside an atom.
Fantasmic! is an even better example, with several Disney Villains from various films attempting to attack Mickey Mouse via his dreams, and a few good guys helping him out.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, an interactive game hosted by Merlin that sends guests around the Magic Kingdom park to battle the various Disney villains that are working together.
Occasionally, the walkaround Disney characters will interact with one another. For example, on YouTube you can find several videos of Alice and the Mad Hatter interacting with Peter Pan and Wendy.
Inverted Trope: While normally the scenery would attempt to be as believable as possible, the (real) restaurant opposite of the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride, The Blue Bayou, could easily be mistaken as part of the scenery.
Disneyland Paris has a similar Maleficious Halloween Party where various villains teach Doctor Facilier some evil skills (and Maleficent and Jafar appear to be an item)
Lighter and Softer: Stitch's Great Escape is a much softer version of the now-gone ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, about which parents frequently complained to the staff that it terrified their kids even though there were warnings saying it may be too intense for children 12 and under (see Content Warnings above). Alien Encounter itself is actually lighter than the original concept for the show, which was based on the Alien films and was going to be called Nostromo featuring the Xenomorph along with Ripley as well as the Weyland-Yutani company. The idea was abandoned when it was decided to be too dark for a Disney theme park.
Mystic Manor at Hong Kong is much lighter than its Haunted Mansion counterparts (and much, much lighter than its Phantom Manor counterpart!), featuring an adorable little monkey, much brighter lighting, a musical score more adventurous than spooky (and by Danny Elfman, no less), a tone of general whimsy rather than dark comedy, and as a matter of fact, no ghosts whatsoever- just magic. Apparently, this was done due to Chinese cultural views regarding spirits and the paranormal; that is, that they're evil and undesirable, and certainly nothing to laugh at.
Light Gun Game: Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters and Toy Story Midway Mania are theme park ride versions of this.
Literal-Minded: Face characters will sometimes develop a severe case of this when asked for an autograph.
Long Runner: Many of the attractions at these parks are well between 20 to 60 years old and they're still giving guests of all generations fond memories even today.
Jungle Cruise and Autopia opened with the original park in 1955. Matterhorn Bobsleds was there since 1959. The Enchanted Tiki Room's been entertaining guests since 1963. Pirates of the Caribbean opened in 1967. The Haunted Mansion, since 1969.
Space Mountain (1975), Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (1979), Star Tours (1987), Splash Mountain (1989), The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin (1994).
Dr. Seeker from Dinosaur takes riders back in time minutes before the meteor that would eliminate the dinosaurs hits, despite the safety restriction imposed by Dr. Marsh. He thankfully has the sense to return the riders to present day before the meteor actually makes impact.
Magic Map: Disneyland's live show Mickey and the Magical Map.
Matrix Raining Code: Shows up in the current version of Spaceship Earth at the start of the descent. This probably wasn't meant to be unnerving but...
Meaningful Name: The two talent agents from The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management are named William and Morris.
And pretty much any other character in the park who isn't from a pre-existing Disney movie or TV show is named meaningfully or punnily.
Mega Corp.: An intergalactic one in the form of X-S Tech in the now-gone Alien Encounter attraction at Magic Kingdom.
Disney itself falls into this with the amount of power that they wield at Disney World. Just look up "Reedy Creek Improvement District" and be astounded at the amount of power that the state of Florida gave Disney for its operations there. There's a reason why snarky Floridians call it "America's Vatican".
Root Of All Evil declared Disney to be more evil than SCIENTOLOGY. Well, it is a whole lot bigger, wealthier, and influential, and thankfully hasn't caused anyone's death. Not on purpose anyway. That we know of. Less litigious, too.
Merchandise-Driven: If it's a popular movie or other Disney property that sells a lot of merchandise, odds are you can expect to see an attraction based on it — if not now, then certainly in the near future. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is hotly debated.
Every ride built for the last several decades ends by dumping you right into the gift shop for that attraction.
And some are being actively remodeled so that they will dump guests into a gift shop. It's a Small World is, at the time of writing.
Guerrilla Movie: Escape from Tomorrow, a black-and-white film about a man slowly going crazy (or is he?) during a family vacation, was secretly filmed at Disney World and Disneyland. The director was amazed he, his actors (who hid their scripts on their iPhones), and crew wasn't caught; then again what's one more a guy with a camera at Disney World?
Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof are currently producing a sci-fi flick titled Tomorrowland starring George Clooney and Hugh Laurie. This one might not have anything to do with the park save for the name, however.
Mr./Ms. Fanservice: Some of the female parade dancers wear pretty short skirts for being in a Disney Theme Park. Especially the dancers on some of the parades in Europe. This equally goes for some of the male actors portraying musclebound, open-shirted characters.
Munchkin: There is a certain class of fan that treats a day at the park like a game. Most time on rides and least time in line wins. With the addition of FastPass, the strategy has become even more Serious Business.
Mythology Gag: Increased a lot after the original park hit 40 years or so, especially as so many rides have gone away. It's not uncommon to see a nod to Horizons around today's Epcot, an attraction which itself had a Continuity Nod to Carousel of Progress.
In fact, one of the biggest Horizons tributes in Florida is not in Epcot at all, but rather in the post-show for Space Mountain after the ride was overhauled in 2009.
Never Trust a Trailer: Sometimes, commercials for the attractions feature things that are not at all included in the actual attraction for obvious reasons other than for perhaps, dramatic effect.
Nice Guy: Practically a prerequisite for working in a Disney park. It's incredibly hard to find someone working there who doesn't genuinely enjoy doing their job (or at least do a decent job of acting like it), from the costumed characters to the guys who walk around with brooms and dustpans who keep the place obsessively clean.
This is a big part of Disney's corprate policy.
It should be noted that they certainly don't get paid extra to smile.
Nice Hat: Mainly (but not exclusively) the iconic mouse ears. It started with the classic Mouseketeer style and exploded from there. You can get one for practically any conceivable occasion or character now.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Pirate Zombie Robot part, anyway—audio-animatronic pirate skeletons on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Noble Savage and The Savage Indian: Disneyland capitalized on the popularity of The Western with a full-blown Indian Village in the early days. Tom Sawyer Island featured a burning cabin and arrow-studded settler. As attitudes changed, the Indian Village closed in the 1970s and the burning cabin went through a series of new back stories — river pirates, a moonshiner accident, and finally a careless settler endangering an eagle nest (seriously). The fire is finally out and the cabin is just a cabin.
Furthermore, you hear the narrator of the Railway train ride tour blabber on and on about "the spirit of Pocahontas" as you pass through the remains of the Indian Village.
Obvious Beta: Some criticisms seem to be merely because of maintenance and construction - "When I last went there; half the park was walled off", "*insert ride here* were closed so everybody swarmed Mullholland Madness/California Screamer/Soarin' over california/Other attraction here", "The halls are too narrow because it's all under construction." This gives the feel of an Obvious Beta but really; construction and maintenance has to happen sometime.
Official Cosplay Gear: One of the many things available as souvenirs, with one of the most famous being the hats with the Mickey Mouse ears.
Ominous Pipe Organ: Dreamfinder played one in the Tales of Terror sequence of the original Journey Into Imagination (the twist, though, was that since the section was about literature, the organ resembled something of a huge typewriter/computer). And don't forget the atmospheric music in the Haunted Mansion, which even has an actual pipe organ being played by a ghost in the ballroom scene (and is actually the same pipe organ from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea).
The Oner: Honey, I Shrunk the Audience is built around two long, continuous-appearing shots to pull off its premise (see the trope page for details).
Open Secret: Disneyland's Club 33. It's secret in theory and doesn't advertise, but it's not like Disney can prevent people from talking about it. Even if you never get to go (and most people won't—it is highly exclusive), you can learn as much as you want to know from various books and websites.
Oracular Head: Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion. Also the Shrunken Ned fortune telling machine at Disneyland's Adventureland.
Our Ghosts Are Different: The Haunted Mansion's spirits are said to be from all over the world, with the Mansion itself serving as a supernatural boarding house/retirement center. But in the Tower of Terror, the ghosts seem to be permanently stuck in the hotel as a result of the elevator accident. Then in Phantom Manor, we've got the ghostly villain taking on three forms throughout while tormenting the bride into old age.
In fairness, Tower of Terror (at the U.S. parks) is based on an intellectual property that Disney had to license, so discrepancies could arise from that situation.
Lampshaded in the movie where it states that the ghosts can't actually leave the hotel grounds due to the curse that caused the accident in the first place.
Out of Focus: The first iteration of Epcot's Journey Into Imagination attraction took guests on a hypothetical journey through the human mind's creative process (hence the title). The second iteration kept guests mostly in a laboratory, and focused on how optical illusions tricked people into seeing things that aren't really there... in order to (somehow) make the guests more creative. The third iteration ditches the first-person guest narrative entirely and instead spends (or at least attempts to spend) most of its time discussing how the five senses can trigger the imagination.
The message of the attraction has changed with each iteration as well, and seems to match up with whatever message the park itself was trying to push at the time it was made. The message of the 1983 version has the very 1980s Epcot message that "imagination and science can work together to solve the world's problems", while the message of the 1999 version had the very 1990s Epcot message of "science is totally awesome, and it can be used to analyze the imagination", and the message of the 2003 version has the very 2000s Epcot message of "science is boring, but imagination is totally awesome and the two should be separate".
Oven Logic: In the last part of the current version of Carousel of Progress, though unintentional, the oven was programmed to automatically set the temperature if it hears numbers spoken aloud (that's one hell of a design flaw) and the father was talking about the Grandmother's score in a video game.
Pantomime Animal: Cast members in character costumes who roam the parks. (This doesn't include "face characters", like Alice or Snow White.)
Parental Bonus: Disneyland has (or at least had) a few areas where parents could take a breather and enjoy some relatively tasteful atmosphere and fine dining, complete with (gasp!) alcoholic drinks. Oh, and the Submarine Lagoon used to have comely Mermaids in there to wave and smile at passing men. There also used to be a working Pharmacy, a tobacco store and a shop selling women's underclothes.
While Disney World's Magic Kingdom has a very, very strict "no alcohol, EVER" policy — in 2012 it was relaxed at one new venue, the Be Our Guest restaurant, and only at dinnertime — said policy does not extend to the non-Magic Kingdom parks. As a matter of fact, "Drinking Around the World" (guests attempt to try the signature alcoholic beverage of each country in Epcot's World Showcase) is a popular extra-curricular activity for some guests. They even let you bring a margarita on Mexico's El Rio del Tiempo until it closed for a Retool in 2007.
As for Disneyland, you'll probably have to head for California Adventure, unless if you're lucky enough to have a membership in the uber-exclusive Club 33. There, you'll find the more complete bar in any Disney Park.
A former band of holiday-themed street performers in the Hollywood Studios park in Florida performed a song about what they would build the perfect gingerbread man out of. After singing an overly-long description of how he bites the gingerbread man's arm off, a rather effeminate man completes his portion with the line "and a gummy thong!"
Politically Correct History: Pretty much any attraction with a historical setting, although Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hall of Presidents are major offenders. Upper management seems to think that people don't come to theme parks to be disturbed or have their consciences bothered, and they're probably right.
POTC is noticeable for once containing scenes that were considered less politically correct (pirates chasing wenches, a naked girl hiding in a barrel) that have since been replaced by "family friendly" versions (women chasing pirates away with brooms, Jack Sparrow hiding in a barrel).
Averted with the now-defunct Golden Dreams in California Adventure. The show didn't pull any punches regarding the treatment of native Indians by the conquistadors, the dangerous circumstances under which Chinese railroad laborers had to work during the Gold Rush, the overt racism against the Japanese (especially "picture brides") during the early part of the 20th century, or the hardship and borderline hostility towards migrants from Oklahoma and Arkansas during the Dust Bowl. (It often played to near-empty houses and has been closed and replaced by a dark ride themed to The Little Mermaid.) Golden Dreams was intended as the Spiritual Successor to Epcot's still-running The American Adventure, a retrospective on U.S. history through World War II that does take a few moments to point out that women, blacks, and Native Americans often got the short end of the stick compared to white males.
Poisonous Friend: Disneyland's very first employee, C.V. Wood, is viewed as this by the company. He started out as a researcher for the Stanford Institute (who helped Disney locate the land for the park) and shortly after joined Disney full-time, becoming something of an unsung hero of the park's development. He was the guy who made sure that everything was running on schedule (the park only had a year to be built, so this was insanely important) and he also made many little deals with outside companies to help sponsor the park, and in doing so is credited as helping make the park a reality. Then, three months after Disneyland was opened, Roy Disney discovered that Wood was embezzling money from the park. He was very quickly fired from Disney... and then almost immediately afterwards set up his own amusement park development company with many of the people who had helped build Disneyland, and built many different Disneyland-esque parks around the United States, including the very first Six Flags.
Pretty in Mink: The cast members who are cast as a Disney Princess get warmer dresses in winter, with the collar and cuffs lined with white faux fur, and Belle's actresses getting a white fur shoulder cape.
Product Placement: A rendition of the song "Dear Old Donegal" that was sung at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Theater swapped out the word "whiskey" for "Pepsi" in the lyrics. Given Walt Disney's somewhat cavalier attitude towards alcohol in his films and theme park attractions (despite refusing to sell it in the park), this was less Bowdlerization and more of a shout-out to the Theater's then-sponsor Pepsi-Cola.
Rattling Off Legal: Parodied in Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, where the disclaimer for all the astronomical incidents the agency will not cover lasts for almost half a minute. It is the Evil Empire 's reign, after all...
Raygun Gothic: Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World. Tomorrowland at Disneyland ("updated" in the 90s to wild indifference) and Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris are more Steam Punk.
Recycled IN SPACE!: Space Mountain is pretty much The Matterhorn IN SPACE, sans monster (save for a spooky look for Halloween). This is even more apparent in Florida's version, where the vehicles only fit one rider per row, just like the Matterhorn.
Retcon: Attractions would be updated with new scenes or elements which become integrated into the storyline. This is typically done out of necessity for maintenance and/or to regain appeal. A notable example is the ghostly bride in the attic of The Haunted Mansion who got her own complex backstory in 2006 after decades of being an amorphous, nameless character. See also Updated Re-release below.
The original Star Tours was continually updated with better graphics for a while before before being fully refurbished into Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. A lot of these were mainly to include references to the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.
Retraux: The 2008 Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough at Disneyland uses all kinds of special effects to recreate a mid-50s attraction. Meanwhile, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln utilizes audio from a 1964 World's Fair exhibit with an advanced audio-animatronic.
Right on Queue: The lines at especially popular attractions range into the truly absurd, especially for newer rides. Various methods have been attempted to combat this, like adding interesting things to look at during the wait including puzzles (The Indiana Jones ride has old hieroglyphs you can decode), short films that help set up the plot, and finally the Fast Pass system.
The longest ride queue to date occurred in Walt Disney World Christmas day (one of the busiest days for the park) in 2009, when one of the theaters for Epcot's Soarin' broke down. The resulting line from fans of the ride soon grew to SEVEN HOURS! For those keeping score at home, a flight from Orlando International Airport to LAX is only five hours. (Hard mode: Leave the end of the broken-down Soarin' line in Florida, hop on a real plane to LAX and arrive in Anaheim to get in line for their Soarin' Over California before you would've gotten to go on the Florida version!)
Radiator Springs Racers at Disney California Adventure Park - quite literally every. single. rider. knows. this.
Rodents of Unusual Size: Well, what else would you call the costumed versions of Mickey, Minnie, and other such characters?
Scenery Porn: No shit! Some look very artificial... but many of the resorts and rides are very elaborate. Special mention goes to Storybook Land in Anaheim - Those plants you see in there? There's a good reason they look so realistic - they are real.
Also, there are herbs growing throughout the parks in Anaheim, but there's a lot in Tomorrowland. There are herbs growing such as lavender, sage, and basil; fruits such as bananas, grapes, pomegranate, and oranges, and even peppers and coffee beans. All selected based on an "Agrifuture" concept for the area's landscaping.
In the Animal Kingdom park, the designers even made sure the streetlights and power poles looked correct for the regions of the world the park sections represent. And the entry rainforest contains plants from every continent.
Scotireland: Anecdotal evidence suggests more than a few Merida face characters don't know the difference between a Scottish and Irish accent.
Script Wank: Ellen's Energy Adventure. The original Universe of Energy spent a lot of time discussing alternate energy sources, such as the solar panels on the attraction itself. The current version, which launched in 1996, may well be titled I Love Fossil Fuels.
Shrunken Head: The Jungle Cruise has a native witch doctor at the end holding a few of these, seemingly to sell to passing tourists. River guides at this point will usually insert an Incredibly Lame Pun.
Sigil Spam: The Mickey symbol is everywhere. Fans have raised finding all of them, no matter how small or subtle, to an art form.
Signs of Disrepair: In Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!, as Wayne's hovering machine malfunctions, it slams into the neon sign reading "INVENTOR OF THE YEAR AWARD", which knocks out some letters leaving only "NERD" before shorting out the sign entirely.
Souvenir Land: Parodied by Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, though the area itself would grow to be hated by park fans owing to its silly, carnival-style rides.
Spiritual Successor: New attractions will come up that replace and/or greatly remind you of a previous attraction that A: Were produced with the involvement of creators from a previous attraction, B: Utilize the very same or similar technology or C: Simply just have a multitude of attributes in common. These attractions may even exist in the same park, no less.
The Haunted Mansion is easily one to Adventure Thru Inner Space (in more ways than one, you might say). Both are Omnimover/"Doom Buggy"-type dark rides narrated by legendary voice actor Paul Frees, opened in the late 1960s.
YMMV, but The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror might be one to The Haunted Mansion: two classic, popular, dark, horror-themed, Disney attractions set within haunted venues and narrated by disembodied voices.
The Indiana Jones Adventure to Star Tours and, by extension, Captain EO since they're all adventure-themed collaborations of Disney and George Lucas.
While we're on Star Tours, consider Epcot's beloved Body Wars. The interior of the Bravo 229 vessel mimics that of the Starspeeder so much, you couldn't help but automatically think that you're on "Star Tours only inside the human body". Even the instructional video was a clone. This is because Star Tours opened at Disneyland in 1987, but didn't arrive in Florida until December 1989 (Metropolitan Life, which sponsored Epcot's Wonders of Life where Body Wars was found, insisted on opening that ride first, which it did in October of 1989). Body Wars copied the technology and arrived shortly before the original did, at a different park — one that, at the time, was trying to plus up its image with kids via more exciting attractions.
Luigi's Flying Tires and Radiator Springs Racers of California Adventure's Cars Land to Disneyland's Flying Saucers (1961-1966) and Test Track (currently-running Epcot attraction), respectively.
Epcot's Mission: SPACE to Disneyland's former attraction Rocket to the Moon, later renamed Flight to the Moon, which was then remade into Mission to Mars and is now Pizza Planet Port Restaurant.
On a park section scale, Epcot's Future World is this to Tomorrowland.
Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest to Disneyland's own Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Arguably, California Adventure's World of Color might be seen as this to Disneyland's Fantasmic!.
Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin to Mad Tea Party AKA "The Tea Cups".
The Starscream: The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game shakes things up and has Maleficent play this part to Hades, who serves as the Big Bad. Jafar and Ursula are also trying to take the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom pieces for themselves or shake off Hades' leadership.
Steam Punk: Mysterious Island at Tokyo DisneySea is based on the works of Jules Verne, and clearly looks the part.
Stock Dinosaurs: Disneyland's Primeval World diorama depicts, in order, Dimetrodon (not a dinosaur, but certainly a Stock Prehistoric Reptile-Like Thing), Apatosaurus,Pteranodon (see above parenthetical), Triceratops, Struthiomimus, Stegosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus. Most of them are none too accurate, but then the animatronics were built in the 1960s.
The Talk - Yes, Epcot's The Making of Me was real. While this site does not include the film, it does have a photo of the hilarious disclaimer outside the theater. Still to be answered: Is the middle of an already overstimulating Disney World vacation really the best time to have this subject brought up; possibly for the first time for some kids? That said, Martin Short actually handled it pretty well.
Unexpected Character: The shops in Epcot's World Showcase sometimes carry merchandise of works from the country in question, meaning you can be wandering WDW and run into merch of Doctor Who or the latest Pretty Cure season.
Updated Re-release: Quite a few rides have been altered over the years. Although whether or not this is a good thing is up to debate, most have just received technical upgrades.
This also helps keep some rides from getting too old, from getting too outdated not only because they're over fifty years old, but also for safety purposes.
Among others, the Star Tours ride got retooled to include more scenes and characters from the entire Star Wars film saga uniting both the classic and prequel trilogies.
With Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm and the prospect of upcoming franchise installments, we're likely to see many updates to the ride in the years to come.
Variable Mix: Many of the rides with iconic theme music have that music change slightly from scene to scene, utilizing different instrumentation, rhythm, and even chords to provide the right atmosphere for the visuals. "It's a Small World" is the most famous example, but an even better one is "It's Fun to Be Free", the jaunty theme song from the now-defunct World of Motion attraction. You can sometimes catch it on MouseWorld Radio.
Many of the parades do this. For example, the Main Street Electrical Parade has a unique theme for each float, and the sound system smoothly segues between them as the floats move down the route.
The Wild West: Frontierland (also, Westernland at Tokyo Disneyland and, to a lesser degree, Grizzly Gulch at Hong Kong Disneyland).
Wooden Ships and Iron Men: This exact phrase is used in the recorded narration for the Sailing Ship Columbia attraction (a full-scale replica of the historical ship)
World Tour: First and most obvious, It's a Small World. To a lesser degree, Epcot's World Showcase can also count. There was also once a Circle-Vision show called "Magic Carpet 'Round the World", which played only at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland very early on in their respective lives.
World Tree: The Tree of Life, the centerpiece of Disney's Animal Kingdom.
The "Tree of Technology" in Anaheim's Innoventions attraction also seems to have a bit of this vibe.
Yodel Land: No, this isn't a new park area. Disneyland literally built a replica of the Matterhorn as one of their attractions, the Matterhorn Bobsleds. In addition to a thrilling ride to meet the Abominable Snowman, climbers frequently scale the mountain's sides and yodelers will entertain guests below.
You Look Familiar: Martin Short has starred in four different Disney attractions, the Monster Sound Show at (then known as) Disney-MGM Studios, The Making of Me and O Canada! at Epcot, and CinéMagique at Walt Disney Studios Paris.
Zeerust: Tomorrowland and Epcot fell into this over time. The former was originally how people in 1955 thought people would be living in 1980; the latter, how people in 1982 thought people would be living in 2000. The Tomorrowlands were eventually overhauled to reflect "the future that never was", an invocation of this trope but with a more acceptably retro feel.
Actually discussed and then reconstructed in the old attraction Horizons, which reminisced about some visions of the future that were off the mark, then goes ahead and made some slightly less absurd (at the time) predictions of its own.