Disney Undiscovered

Learn more about this world of secrets and surprises: explore undiscovered Walt Disney World.

By: Amy Marathe

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There is a side to the Walt Disney World complex of theme parks and resorts that most visitors don't know about. What happens after dark? What lurks behind closed doors? What are these hidden Mickeys everyone talks about, and how do you find them? Find the answers to these questions and learn more about this world of secrets and surprises -- the undiscovered Walt Disney World.

Animal Kingdom: Did You Know That ...
The giraffes outside your balcony of the Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge are separate from the ones in the theme park? Think of it as your own private reserve as you sip your coffee and get ready for the day.

You can sign up for a sunrise safari that will take you and your family around the park before it opens? Here, you get your own safari vehicle and can make as many stops along the way as you'd like, to take pictures and ask questions. The animals are more active at this time of day too, since it's when they start their day.

Contemporary Resort: Did You Know That ...
From the dock of the resort you can rent watercraft and do something very few visitors know about? Here, you can actually go parasailing at Walt Disney World. Just strap yourself in and before you know it, you're airborne. Soaring 100 feet higher than the Contemporary Resort, you're in the air for 10 minutes and can see for miles.

Disney's Grand Floridian: Did You Know That ...
There is a special table at the elite Victoria and Albert's restaurant in the Grand Floridian? This invite-only table is set in the restaurant's kitchen, where chef Scott Hunnel prepares a special meal just for you. From your inside perch, you'll get a full view of the culinary experience. As the evening progresses, he also personally explains each new course as it's brought to the table.

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Did You Know That ...
You can witness a showdown between good and evil every night at MGM Studios? Called Fantasmic, it's the most technically advanced stage show at Walt Disney World. Set to music, it's an action-packed showdown between good and evil with lasers, lights, pyrotechnics, dancing water, and your favorite Disney characters.

Downtown Disney: Did You Know That ...
You can build your own roller coaster at the park?  Disney Quest is an interactive theme park in downtown Disney that offers pulse-racing adventures like a virtual jungle cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. The biggest draw without a doubt, is Cyber Space Mountain. Here you have the opportunity to create your own roller coaster. Once you've finished, you can get on an F-16 flight simulator and experience what you just created.

Epcot: Did You Know That ...
Epcot is home to the world's sixth-largest ocean? The Seas with Nemo and Friends (formerly The Living Seas) is the largest aquarium in the world. As the most visited aquarium in the country, it's home to over 3,000 fish, sharks, rays, turtles and dolphins. Want an even closer look at those exotic fish? Then dive in. A little known secret is that you can go scuba diving in the main tank. Disney has developed a special program for certified divers called Dive Quest. Slip on your wet suit, mask and tanks, and spend 30 minutes on your own in the world's largest aquarium.

Magic Kingdom: Did You Know That ...
It's possible to get into the backstage areas of the theme park? One of the most popular ways is the Keys to the Kingdom program at the Magic Kingdom. This half-day experience takes visitors into restricted areas all over the park, where their tour guide will share hidden treasures about Walt Disney World. 

At the Magic Kingdom, you can experience the thrill of high-speed driving on your own? That's right. In a far corner of the park sits a genuine speedway that hosts professional events. It's called the Richard Petty Driving Experience. At 145 mph, it's the ultimate in high-speed driving fun. There are not many places you can drive authentic Winston Cup-style stock cars.

One of Walt Disney World's biggest and most debated secrets is the hidden Mickey? So, what is a hidden Mickey? A hidden Mickey is a subtle tribute to Mickey Mouse hidden in any of the Disney parks, hotels or shops. Created by Disney Imagineers, they are hidden all over Walt Disney World, inside and outside attractions, facades, even bathrooms, but no official record of them exists.

There is an exclusive place to view Disney's world-famous fireworks display? Millions have seen them from Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, but very few know of this special place, The California Grill, perched high atop the Contemporary Resort. When it's time for the Magic Kingdom fireworks, the restaurant dims the lights and the show music starts up.

Typhoon Lagoon: Did You Know That ...
You'll find some of the best secrets at Typhoon Lagoon, a theme park elaborately designed to look like an island that has been devastated by a typhoon? In fact, before the park opens and after it closes, you can actually surf the big, perfect waves created by the lagoon's engineers. In 3 hours, they send out 100 waves, one every 90 seconds. You can also enroll in the park's surfing school, if you need a lesson!

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