May 29, 2022

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Inside the Magic Kingdom’s secret underground city

BAY LAKE, Fla. – There are all varieties of city myths and legends about Walt Disney Planet. Most are flat out fables: No, Cinderella Castle’s turrets and towers never arrive aside for storage in a hurricane. No, Walt Disney’s head is not frozen underneath (Walt was cremated). Just one is unquestionably real: There seriously is an underground city beneath the Magic Kingdom. So what actually goes on within this 9-acre round network of subterranean tunnels known as the Utilidors?

To sum their purpose up merely, the tunnels supply “an city basement giving out-of-sight accessibility to infrastructural expert services,” in accordance to Disney creator and historian Jeff Kurtti.

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The Utilidors underneath The Magic Kingdom as seen in an early 1970s publicity image (Disney)

And they were a part of the program from the extremely starting — a bold approach that extra enormously to the price and complexity of bringing the 1st phase of The Florida Task, but a person born out of a need to learn from and leading what was developed in Anaheim and Disneyland.

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“(Walt) loved the point that we were heading to have a basement simply because the 1 factor he didn’t like about Disneyland is that the cast members experienced to go by distinctive areas out of costume. This way they could be underground and occur out into their land,” Dick Nunis, former chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts claimed.

Shade-coded partitions aid forged associates navigate the Utilidors underneath The Magic Kingdom (Disney)

But they are not actually a basement. Everyone who’s tried out to make in Florida is aware of — or will rapidly discover — the water desk is way too significant in our point out to go down really deep, at least without a large amount of excess operate and revenue. To make Disney’s underground earth, more than 7 million cubic yards of the earth dug up to generate 7 Seas Lagoon was dumped and flattened.

The recently-crammed Seven Seas Lagoon in early 1971. Far more than seven million cubic yards of earth dug to make the Lagoon also created up the Magic Kingdom web-site to an typical of 14 toes previously mentioned floor stage, letting for the underground Utilidors (Disney)

All of that grime was made use of to create up the heart of The Magic Kingdom’s fiefdom. In fact, the “basement” is the ground ground, placing much of the Magic Kingdom on the next ground at an typical of 14 toes earlier mentioned ordinary ground stage. Just one boundary is around the entrance to “It’s a Compact Entire world.” Visitors consider ramps down to get to the trip because its boats sail at genuine ground amount.

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This construction picture displays the Magic Kingdom in 1970, with the major entrance to the Utilidors obvious in the decrease-ideal. (Disney)

Not only do the Utilidors house the sewer strains, pipes, cables and other utilities you’d expect to come across down below ground, there are also storage regions, offices, breakrooms, make-up and dressing rooms, a cafeteria, a barbershop, a “zoo” to hold the Disney people comfy when they are not onstage, along with out-of-sight passages main to 29 access points.

Partitions are colour-coded so workers can pop up near to their position web page. Most of those people obtain details characteristic signals reminding the “cast” to smile, because they are about to be onstage. Quite a few all those entrances and exits are cleverly hidden in plain sight.

An exit from the Utilidors reminds solid associates they will shortly be “on stage” in the early 1970s (Disney)

EPCOT – the foreseeable future city was still top of head when section just one of the Entire world was mapped out, a distinctive characteristic of the Utilidors is the Swedish AVAC trash-disposal procedure, which funnels trash underground in pneumatic tubes to a central selection stage.

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“Think about all the locations through the Magic Kingdom anywhere the trash is at you go to a big receptacle, you pour it down, and it travels through these pneumatic tubes to one particular selection point. No need for vehicles to come any place shut to the visitor. And the sights, the smells, everything is whisked away. It is effective as properly now as it did, you know nearly 50 many years ago,” Phil Holmes, previous vice president of Magic Kingdom from 2001 to 2015, reported.

A employee dumps trash baggage into the AVAC squander system — which sucks it all to a central place to be hauled absent or recycled (Disney)

It could be the swiftest trash disposal procedure on Earth. According to Aaron H. Goldberg, writer of “Buying Disney’s Planet,” when the trash is deposited it is whisked absent in tubes at pretty much 60 mph. Then it’s compacted and trucked to an incinerator.

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The Utilidors deliver critical place for numerous crucial functions, together with the command of animatronic figures within attractions during the park above. Kurtti wrote, “The Digital Animation Management Program (DACS), makes sure that the hundreds of Audio- Animatronics figures in the Magic Kingdom are ‘on cue’ throughout their performances, by orchestrating a lot more than 2,000 personal functions each second.”

DACS – The Digital Animation Regulate Method – within the Utilidors after controlled just about every single clearly show factor in The Magic Kingdom (Disney)

DACS also plays a part in opening computerized theater doors, elevating phase lifts, running lights and curtains and checking hearth defense, security, tools failure and power reduction, whilst as the Kingdom has constructed out and technological innovation has highly developed in excess of 50 years, not every little thing is as centralized as it was in 1971. With modern-day personal computers making use of little storage chips alternatively of huge reel-to-reel tapes even some legacy points of interest like “The Enchanted Tiki Room” are primarily controlled from its very own demonstrate making.

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For many years the world’s biggest performing wardrobe was housed inside the Utilidors. There are continue to make-up areas down there. This photo also shows a audio recording booth down there in the incredibly early 1970s (Disney)

Disney workers, tens of countless numbers of cast users, and characters at Magic Kingdom preserve the magic alive, which suggests a ton of costumes. In accordance to Disney, for lots of many years the greatest active wardrobe office in the globe termed the Utilidors dwelling, housing additional than 2 million parts of apparel and accessories to outfit the person cast associates and Audio-Animatronic performers in Magic Kingdom. In 2005, substantially of that wardrobe was relocated to a more substantial spot in the forged members’ parking lot, making it less complicated and more rapidly for them to check out and choose dwelling costumes.

Possibilities are solid you’ve by no means seen a services automobile or shipping truck outside a store or restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. When once more, that’s many thanks to the Utilidors.

Snow White normally takes the Witch and a Very little Pig for a spin inside of the Utilidors underneath The Magic Kingdom — as witnessed in this publicity photo from the early 1970s. (Disney)

Deliveries and upkeep are generally done by means of below-floor accessibility, keeping the streets obvious for pedestrians and the “peace and dreamlike high quality of the park undisturbed,” Disney stated. Even the lender vans can push appropriate up to the “underground” entrances to collect the cash. You can thank Walt for that.

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Lots of attendees request to go down inside the tunnels. That is forbidden, apart from for a few of tours that have been on keep because of to the pandemic. So the future time you stroll through Major Road, believe about what could be getting put throughout the mile of crisscrossing corridors that lie beneath your feet.

The Utilidors lie beneath the heart of the Magic Kingdom. 1 boundary is in close proximity to the entrance to It really is a Smaller Entire world.. The ride’s boats sail at genuine ground degree. Note The 20,000 Leagues Below the Sea Lagoon and the Tea Occasion has no roof (Disney)
Disney 50

To all who arrive to this pleased corner of ClickOrlando.com, welcome! Walt Disney Environment is counting down to its 50th Anniversary, and so are we. With 50 times until finally 50 many years, we are having a day-to-day appear back at the earlier, how Disney’s opening shaped Central Florida’s existing and a peek at what’s in store for the upcoming.

We’re also searching to listen to your reminiscences of Walt Disney Globe: What do you like? What do you pass up? What are some of your magical times? You can share them with us by sending us an email and we’ll publish them all for anyone to love. Some might even be highlighted during our News 6 Tv set protection of Walt Disney World’s 50th.

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Here’s to dreaming, and here’s to yet another 50 percent-century of The Most Magical Place on Earth!

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