Trivia / Disney Theme Parks

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This could have been Walt Disney World.

  • Actor Allusion:
    • At The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, William calls Morris a hockey puck, a favorite insult of his voice actor Don Rickles.
    • In the Aladdin stage show at California Adventure, Iago may squawk "Aflac!?" like another bird that Gilbert Gottfried has voicednote .
  • All-Star Cast: Most never receive "billing", as it were — it would distract from the immersive nature of the attractions — but an amazing array of name performers and renowned voice actors have contributed to these parks over the years. Some are simply reprising roles from Disney's film, TV, etc. productions, but many others have worked as narrators and even original characters.
  • Development Hell:
    • We've been teased one or more new "countries" for World Showcase for decades now. Additionally, there were plans to add a Mt. Fuji-themed roller coaster to the Japan area for a very long time. The idea finally got off the ground (sorta) in the form of Expedition Everest over at Animal Kingdom.
    • The Haunted Mansion took 18 years from first concept sketch (1951) to actually opening (1969), entering this state several times.
    • Rivers of Light, the new World of Color-esque night show at Animal Kingdom has the dubious honor of entering this state mere days before it was supposed to begin previews in spring 2016. No one knows exactly what was wrong with it, whether it was mechanical or something with the programming/choreography, but the opening was postponed indefinitely and six months laternote  no one knows when it will actually open or if it will even open before Pandora, which is scheduled for summer 2017.
  • Doing It for the Art: This attitude among the cast members is strictly enforced by the rigorous training and crazy work conditions. Most are not going to get rich working at a Disney park, so they're going to stay only if they really want to work there.
    Cracked: To outsiders, this seems like the kind of minimum wage summer job anybody can get. When you see some guy sweating his balls away in a huge furry mascot costume, you don't imagine his job interview was much more intensive than "Are you currently breathing and not a child molester?" But this is actually a very difficult job to get, and a lot of people want it. [...] Those who remain are the ones who are truly into it — many have known all their lives that this was where they wanted to work. They grew up not wanting to be an astronaut or a cowboy, just wanting to work at Disney.
  • Executive Meddling: Very prevalent in the late Eisner-era, like so many other things at Disney. The Subs getting shut down for the first time, the entire fiasco surrounding Journey Into Imagination, the infamous cost-cutting that went into California Adventure, the Paris Studios park and Hong Kong Disneyland, and other problems. When Walt Disney World was in early development, there were plans for rides based off Sleeping Beauty, and The Sword in the Stone. However, Roy Disney felt Florida deserved their own versions of already existing rides from the California Park, thus they got their own Snow White's Scary Adventures, and Peter Pan's Daring Flight. It's been theorized that the reason the former ride was so scary was it being a deliberate Writer Revolt.
  • Exiled from Continuity: Don't expect to see Kingdom Hearts characters in the park anytime soon.
  • Fan Nickname: On fan forums, Disney's Hollywood Studios tends to be referred to as "The Park Formerly Known As Disney-MGM Studios", or "TPFKAD-MGMS" as a gag of sorts.
    • Bucky, the fire-breathing dragon in Fantasmic!
      • The updated model after Bucky is officially code-named Snaps McGee, but it's also known under its Fan Nickname of Murphy - A reference to the many problems it experienced when it was first unveiled, but both are pretty cutesy names 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.
  • Fountain of Expies: Some of the knockoff "lands" that popped up around Disneyland are so bizarre that they have to be seen to be believed.
  • The Other Darrin: Some of the characters for attractions at Walt Disney World such as Captain Hook (Peter Pan's Flight) and The Witch (Snow White's Scary Adventures) have different voice actors.
  • Market-Based Title: Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was renamed MicroAdventure when it was exported to Tokyo. As a bonus, while the American and Paris preshows were a narrated slideshow, Tokyo got a specially-shot filmed one in which a Japanese reporter interviewed Dr. Nigel Channing.
  • Newer Than They Think: That statue of Walt and Mickey holding hands at the end of Main Street is so iconic, most everybody thinks it's been around forever. In fact, it was only installed in 1993!
  • No Export for You: There's been four video games based on Tokyo Disneyland: Mickey no Tokyo Disneyland Daibōken (Mickey's Great Adventure in Tokyo Disneyland) for the SNES, Tokyo Disneyland: Mickey no Cinderella Shiro Mystery Tour (Mickey's Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour) and Tokyo Disneyland: Fantasy Tour for the Game Boy, and Adventure of Tokyo Disney Sea for the Game Boy Advance.
    • Speaking of Tokyo Disneyland, remember the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse hats that are sold at every Disney park? Well in Tokyo, they also have hats for characters such as The Little Green Men and Marie.
    • Some Disney Theme Parks also have some Disney characters that can be extremely rare, or exclusive to each park, some not even showing up at all. For example, the characters from The Emperor's New Groove have be reported to be spotted only in Disneyland Paris but aren't seen in the other parks. Same goes for Berlioz and Toulouse who are only found in Paris and recently Tokyo. Chef Louis can only be found in Tokyo Disneyland at Tokyo Disney Sea, while the other characters such as Jumba and the other experiments can only be found during special events in Tokyo Disneyland. The Cheshire Cat is also exclusive in Disneyland Paris since Halloween.
  • Old Shame:
    • Splash Mountain is based upon Song of the South, a movie Disney otherwise doesn't like talking about. Rumor has it, however, is that people who are hired as Cast Members on the ride are shown the movie during training.
    • As the parks have aged, Disney has begun talking more and more openly about old rides that didn't quite work out or simply didn't last for very long, such as Flying Saucers or the Viewliner, respectively. But certain attractions, such as the opening year's circus or the Rocket Rods will only ever be acknowledged once every blue moon.
  • Parody Retcon: The Jungle Cruise was supposed to be an African safari ride, with animatronics replacing the inconvenient live animals. Nobody took it seriously, so Disney switched to the Played for Laughs version we have today.
  • Production Throwback: Disney has practically made an art form of this. If a ride is remade, expect some reference to the original to be present somewhere in the new version, typically in the queue area. It would actually be easier to list the rides that DON'T follow this trope. Some notable examples:
    • In the most recent incarnation of the Imagination ride ("Journey into Imagination with Figment"), one of the offices in the Imagination Institute Sense Lab belongs to one "Dean Finder", a call-back to Dreamfinder from the original version of the ride.
    • In "Test Track", the emblem to the pavilion's original ride, "World of Motion", is visible in the queue.
    • In "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", various references to the site's former occupant, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. These include pictures in Owl's house of Mr. Toad handing over a deed to Owl and Pooh meeting Moley.
    • In the new version of "Star Tours", the previous version's host, REX, can be seen in a crate bound for his home factory (with a "DEFECTIVE" label stamped on it).
  • Prop Recycling: Various animatronics from closed rides. Dozens and dozens of America Sings characters were moved to Splash Mountain, and various bits of World of Motion have shown up in everything from Pirates to just hanging around the California Adventure backlot section for atmosphere. It was necessary in Splash Mountain's case to do a lot of reprogramming to make the America Sings animatronics "forget" their old routines.
    • When Journey to Imagination went down for its first refurbishment, most of the props were removed from the ride and sold off. However, they kept the Dreamfinder's vehicle - it now sits in the rafters of the MouseGears store in the Innoventions area of the park.
  • Missing Episode: In the early 80's when Disney Channel was new. There was a show possibly never-aired called Dreamfinders which starred Dream finder and Figment. The show has been reported to have 3 episodes made but have never been released to the public.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: A perpetual licensing deal that Marvel Comics signed with Universal Studios in 1994 prevents Disney from building anything Marvel-related in Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, their two biggest theme park markets. However, they are free to build Marvel attractions in their four other resorts. How, you ask? Well, originally, the licensing deal extended to California as well,note  but when Universal got into a dispute with Marvel over the profits of the license, Universal Studios Hollywood let the rights lapse back to Marvel in 2008... one year before Disney purchased the company. God knows what happened to the poor sod in Universal who made that call.
  • Similarly Named Works: The spinning teacup ride based on Alice in Wonderland is named Mad Tea Party. California Adventure also features a nighttime Electronic Music event named... Mad T Party. The fact that nearly everyone just refers to the former as some variant of "the teacup ride" as opposed to using its name keeps this from being much of a problem, however.
  • Troubled Production: It appears the entire existence and construction for Shanghai Disney Resort at Mainland China is currently suffering this. From the opening dates being switched from Spring 2016 to June 2016, to the smog issues going on in China at the moment which could be distracting for non-Chinese visitors. The budget cuts currently effecting Walt Disney World and Disneyland due to the construction of the resort as of February 2016. And the fact that Disney had to make alot of changes to certain sections at the park to appeal to Chinese guests due to people not being very familiar to anything Disney in China outside of Hong Kong.
  • Throw It In: Walt didn't have the landscaping ready for Tomorrowland when Disneyland opened—so he instructed his staff to leave the native California desert shrubs, and put little signs in front of them giving the plants' scientific names.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: America Sings was clearly a product of the mid-1970s Bicentennial celebration era and it showed. Act 4 Modern Times was already this when the ride opened, featuring only one song from after the 1950s ("Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night).
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: "*insert ride here* is getting closed down and remade!" is one that frequently makes the rounds and it's (almost...) never true. Journey Into Imagination seems to be the most popular subject of this rumor thanks to its wildly popular first incarnation and resultant heavy dose of They Changed It, Now It Sucks from those who dislike the revamped version.
    • The Haunted Mansion is subject to several:
      • One of the singing busts in the graveyard section bears an uncanny resemblance to Walt Disney himself and many people assume it's him; it's actually Thurl Ravenscroft (and yes, that's his voice singing).
      • One rumor was that Disney would put in characters from the 2003 movie adaptation in the ride, much like how Pirates of the Carribean put in Jack Sparrow and Barbossa from the films into the ride.
      • There are also plenty of rumors about Walt Disney's cremains being stored in an urn somewhere in the ride, as well as that the ride is haunted by his spirit (or possibly some others). The latter will probably depend on your belief in the supernatural, but Disney has vigorously denied that the former is true. The ride is, however, a popular place for relatives of deceased Disney-lovers to dump their cremains (much to the chagrin of the ride's operators, who have to clean up the ashes).
  • What Could Have Been: So many examples... Quite a lot of unused concepts for attractions come up online. Have a look here and here.
    • According to the Haunted Mansion anniversary issue of Disney Twenty-three magazine, plans were made and eventually scrapped for an indoor, perpetual-twilight (think Blue Bayou/Pirates Of The Caribbean) Disney park featuring, at the end of their Main Street USA equivalent, not the familiar princess castle, but the Haunted Mansion on a hill. Crowning Hub Of Awesome!
    • Early concepts for Disneyland called for Adventureland to be where Space Mountain is now (directly east of Main Street - it was built directly west instead). Some prototype maps even show parts of it existing on both sides of MSUSA.
    • The original design for Disneyland incorporated numerous orange trees already present on the property. Walt's staff marked trees to be kept and trees to be removed with different colors of ribbon. Unfortunately, all of the trees were destroyed - the bulldozer operator was colorblind.
    • The Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World was originally planned as a fully-functioning city rather than a theme park, and was a major part of Walt Disney's personal plans for "The Florida Project." After Walt died, the idea fell by the wayside for over a decade. When the plans were revisited, the prospect of building Epcot as a functional city exactly as Walt envisioned it was simply too impossible, so it was re-tooled into a theme park. The basic idea of Disney forming their own city was not forgotten however, and the idea was later realized when Disney created the town of Celebration, FL. Coincidentally, the original idea for Epcot also inspired the design of Midgar.
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios grew out of plans for a movie making-themed pavilion at Epcot's Future World.
    • Animal Kingdom was originally going to have a mythology-themed area called Beastly Kingdom where Camp Minnie-Mickey is now, but it was ultimately scrapped. In a way, the forthcoming Camp Minnie-Mickey replacement — an Avatar-themed pavilion — is something of a return to that concept (land of fictional creatures). Another attraction at Animal Kingdom that signified a return to the concept of the park being a home for mythical creatures is Expedition Everest, which is similar to a proposed attraction for Beastly Kingdom called Dragon Tower, a roller coaster ride through an abandoned castle that culminated in a close encounter with a fire-breathing dragon. However, Everest has a yeti instead of a dragon and a snowy mountain taking the place of the castle. Also, Dragon Tower was planned to be an inverted coaster.
    • At one time under Jeffrey Katzenberg, Disney would have had Nintendo integrated into their parks. Not much is known about these concepts except that it would have been initiated right after the Super Mario Bros. Live-Action Adaptation was supposed to be successful. The kicker? It was the complete opposite of what they'd hope for, and the attempts to integrate Nintendo within Disney were ultimately abandoned after that film bombed, starting the Video-Game Movies Suck trope and getting a no-film mandate from Nintendo. Katzenberg departed the company a year later. Two decades later, Disney's worst fears were realized when Nintendo snubbed them and instead gave Universal Studios the rights to Nintendo properties for theme parks. That's gotta sting.
    • Ride revamps that were considered but not implemented:
      • Retheming the Journey into Imagination ride (Epcot) to Flubber. As ill-fated as the actual, first revamp turned out to be at the end of The '90s, would this have been any better?
      • Retheming the Submarine Voyage/20,000 Leagues Under the Sea rides (U.S. parks) to Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Instead, the Florida subs were shut down for good and the land eventually reclaimed for New Fantasyland, while California got a Finding Nemo retheming.
    • In early 2003 blueprints were leaked for what was called "Project Gemini", a complete redo of Epcot's Future World area in an attempt to solve its Zeerust problem. As part of a three year plan, Future World would be renamed Discoveryland and feature some of the most bizarre decision choices that Imagineering had ever come up with:
      • Spaceship Earth would become a thrill ride called Time Racers sponsored by Microsoft, though its post show Global Neighborhood would still be sponsored by AT&T for some reason.
      • Innoventions would be split into six separate buildings and consist of two restaurants, two shops and two exhibits.
      • The Universe of Energy, Mission Space and Test Track would remain the same, but the Wonders of Life would become a (never-announced) new attraction and a mini car ride would be added to the exterior of Test Track for kids too young to ride the attraction.
      • The Land would gain an outdoor hedge maze and an outdoor "rainforest" roller coaster, as well as a clone of the Disney's California Adventure attraction Soarin' (which actually did end up happening). The Living Seas would become an attraction re-themed to the Little Mermaid called Under The Sea, while the Imagination dark ride would get a re-theme to Monsters, Inc. (of all things).
    • Disney initially held the rights to Harry Potter attractions, and intended to have a single ride for that IP where guests would use wands and shoot at interactive 3D screens. J. K. Rowling disliked the idea and, after numerous disagreements and Executive Meddling at Disney, she reluctantly went to Universal instead, who built the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to immense success... That's gotta hurt. The interactive 3D dark ride concept was retooled into Toy Story Midway Mania.
    • When the Country Bear Jamboree was to be removed from Disneyland, the Imagineers attempted an Author's Saving Throw to at least keep the Country Bear characters themselves in the form of a Wacky Racing attraction called the Critter Country 500. Unfortunately, nothing could stop Paul Pressler's demands for a profitable Winnie the Pooh attraction.
    • According to one interview of the original Dreamfinder Ron Schneider, he mentioned that there was going to be a TV show starring Dreamfinder and Figment after he got asked a question about rumors going around about some old footage of Dreamfinder and Figment inside the Imagination Pavilion. Disney still has footage but it hasn't been released to the public her.
    • Illuminations was originally going to have its score composed by Hans Zimmer. Due to scheduling conflicts on Zimmer's end, his colleague Gavin Greenaway was sent instead, by Zimmer's recommendation.
    • Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom was originally going to feature a T-Rex that chased guests. However, when word got out of the discovery of Carnotaurus fossils, it was decided that the ride would feature the newly-discovered dinosaur.
    • Dinoland USA initially had a roller coaster called the Excavator, a runaway mine train through an abandoned archaeological dig site alongside a safari ride featuring animatronic dinosaurs. While the Excavator was scrapped, Dinoland eventually got its roller coaster in the form of Primeval Whirl, and the Dino Safari ride was reimagined into Dinosaur, AKA Countdown to Extinction.
  • Writer Revolt: Done on the occasions when Imagineers are forced to tear down a ride to build a new one. They'll often sneak in a Shout-Out to the original version.
    • Occasionally, the shout out will be in a totally different attraction. At the Magic Kingdom, a tombstone for Mr. Toad is in the Haunted Mansion queue. Also, references to Horizons and Submarine Voyage are in Space Mountain's post-show.
    • According to this fan website, the Electric Umbrella Restaurant was going to be replaced by "Test Track Café." Why it didn't happen is currently unknown.
  • You Look Familiar: Martin Short has appeared in four different Disney attractions over the years, the first being the Monster Sound Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, then The Making of Me and O Canada! at Epcot (in all of which he stars as himself), and later in CineMagique at Walt Disney Studios Paris, in which he plays a character called "George".

Miscellaneous Trivia:
  • Steve Martin worked at the Main Street Magic Shop at Disneyland in the 1960s, learning comedy and borrowing a few acts from The Golden Horseshoe Revue.
  • As far as celebrities hosting Disney attractions go, Martin Short is the only one to have hosted something in both halves of Epcot: The Making of Me, a short film in the former Wonders of Life pavilion in Future World where he gives the audience The Talk, and the current version of the Circlevision film O Canada, which pretty much has No Fourth Wall (partly because the theater it's shown in is circular).
  • Henry Kissinger once took a break from his day job and sold popcorn on Main Street USA. Nobody recognized him.
  • In the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, when you enter the Portrait Room, the floor lowers as to have you go through a hallway under the train tracks and into a building outside the berm, saving space. In Disney World, on the other hand, the ceiling rises (there's more room in Disney World, so the room doesn't have to move, but they wanted to keep the gags).
  • The skeletons inside Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, when it first opened, were real human remains. Walt Disney was dissatisfied with artificial prop-skeletons available at the time, so he acquired actual skeletons for the ride prior to his death. All the real skeletons have long since been laid to rest - the skeletons in the ride now are artificial, save one, the skull on the headboard is the last real skull.
  • In the mid-1970s, Michelle Pfeiffer played Alice from Alice in Wonderland, performing in the Disneyland Main Street Electrical Parade.
  • The gold parts of the outer facade of "it's a small world" in Disneyland are covered in 24K gold leaf. The facade's construction used up all the gold leaf available in the entire United States at the time. Although much, much more expensive at the outset than gold paint would have been, it has long since paid for itself by never needing to be replaced or retouched.
  • The Main Street Electrical Parade has temporarily returned to Magic Kingdom twice since originally being replaced by Spectromagic, most recently in 2010 where they brought it back for the summer until popular demand saw them change it to an open-ended run. That's what they told everyone at least. The not so well kept secret was that Spectro was in desperate need of refurbishment, and since they needed to get MSEP out of California Adventure because of concerns over crowd control before World of Color opened, they figured bringing it back to Florida was the best way to handle both situations. As of July 2013, the "open ended run" has been going for over 3 years. However, the refurbished Spectro floats have been spotted backstage at MK signalling its return is imminent, although no one knows exactly when.
    • The Sebastian animatronic was put on The Little mermaid float for the current Festival of Fantasy parade.
  • The front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle was originally intended to be the back. Designers weren't entirely satisfied with the original front and decided to turn it around and Walt preferred the result.
  • Almost all of the windows on Main Street USA in both parks are call-outs to one Disney staffer or another. The one exception is "Benjamin Silverstein, M.D."; there was no person by that name, but having a Jewish name listed meant that Disneyland had a place to hang Hannukkah decorations.
    • The window for park designer Ken Anderson, listed as "Ken Anderson Bait Co.", is a friendly jibe at Ken's hobby - Ken was an avid fly fisherman, and you don't use bait when fly-fishing.
    • In Adventureland, this window advertises banjo lessons taught by Harper Goff, a designer and art director for Disney and the man behind the Nautilus. This is a reference to Goff being resident banjo-player in Ward Kimball's Dixieland band "The Firehouse Five Plus Two", whose music can be heard around New Orleans Square.

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