Disney World Underground
Living here in Central Florida I get asked all the time by my northern friends about what takes place behind the scenes at the magical place called Disney World. There are many rumors and legends about what takes place at Disney and some of it is true and some of it is not. I spent my time working at this magical place, I have been behind the scenes, under the complex, through most of the back entrances, been to where Disney shoots off the fantastic fireworks, and been many times to the Disney World cast members costume warehouse. So you could say that I have a good understanding of how things move and take place at the world famous Disney World vacation complex.
Why a tunnel system
Walt Disney World in Florida is made totally different then the Disney Park in California. The story goes that while Walt Disney himself was upset while he was in California Disneyland he saw a cowboy character walking through Tommorowland on his way to Frontierland. Because of this sitting Walt Disney decided to make a tunnel system at Disney World so people could move around to different locations on the property without disrupting the visitors to the park.
When the property on Florida was purchased it was nothing more than a swamp. So Walt Disney decided to build the tunnel system at ground level and move over eight million cubic yards of earth that was being excavated for the man-made lake to cover the tunnels and put the park on the second and third floor. Designers and architects did such a wonderful job that if you had no idea you would not even notice the incline in the land.
The Disney Utilidors
The Disney Utilidors
That’s right the Disney World Utilidors is what the tunnel system or city under Disney World is called. This underground catacomb structure is huge in size, some of the areas have ceilings that are twenty to thirty feet high. The tunnels are bustling with cast members walking to their stations to go to work, or forklifts taking supplies to various areas of the park. At breaks cast members will head down to the cast members cafeteria. Also in the tunnels you will find areas like break areas for the cast members to get away from the hustle and bustle in the park and find some solitude close by to their work stations.
Different hallways and doors off the tunnels lead to elevators or stairs to the park above in order for the cast member to pop up very close to their work stations. Also close to the shops and restaurants in the park are storerooms in the tunnels where extra stored merchandise and food is stored so the cast member can get to this stuff to keep the shelves filled in the shops in the park.
In the tunnels overhead you will see large amounts of mechanical items running along the ceiling for plumbing, electrical, the automated vacuum trash collection system, hvac, and communications. Everything needed to keep the happiest place on earth up and running.
Also in the tunnels are the operations center for the park, locker rooms for the cast members, offices, computer central for the parks, exercise room for the cast members, make up rooms, and much more for everyone that works at Disney.
There is not a lot of information or pictures out there about the tunnel system under Disney. But if you are interested in seeing the behind the scenes of this magical place you are lucky. If you are over 16 and want to pay to see how things work at Disney then you too can take the “Keys to the Kingdom Tour” for self. This four and a half hour walking tour mainly shows you everything about the underground world under the Magic Kingdom of Disney World.
Map of Tunnel System at Disney World
Automated Vacuum Collection System
One thing that you will never see at Disney World is trash. Disney has a system that was designed by a Swedish company called an AVAC (Automated Vacuum Assisted Collection) garbage collection and disposal system. This system is also part of the utilidors tunnel system under the park which is huge pneumatic tubes that are connected to most areas of the park. Garbage from the park is dropped down these 20 inch collection tubes and is whisked away at some sixty miles per hour by compressed air. The trash containers throughout the park are also hooked to these collection tubes so none of the trash receptacles will get overfilled with trash.
Disney World Wardrobe
When you receive your assignment as a “cast member” one of the places that you stop is the building called the “Disney Wardrobe” store. Pretty much every costume that Disney has is in this building. It is pretty awesome to see, racks and racks of costumes of every size and color. When you go through orientation you will be measured for the outfit that you will be wearing while at Disney. The environment is pretty control with high tech equipment for checking uniforms and costumes out and returned for cleaning. I never had any problem getting the uniforms I needed to do my position.
Disney Costume Shop
Disney World Sustainable Tourism
When I was on the city council for my local community I was blessed with a project for reclaimed water. This project save millions of gallons of water over a short period of time for our community. But what opened my eyes was how Disney World was using reclaimed water all over the park in order to conserve water and the Florida Aquifer.
Reedy Creek which is the supplier for water to Disney World for the past fifteen years utilized reclaim water to meet non-potable water needs at the park. Reclaimed water is used to irrigate golf courses, the lush landscape that Disney offers, used for washing the streets in the theme parks and resorts, and to wash down the mass transit busses at the park.
The water for our project just like Disney World uses water that is treated to advanced levels that exceed the state and federal requirements and meet the drinking water standards. I know from experience that when you see, taste, and smell the reclaimed water after it has been treated, you would not know the difference from treated reclaimed water and water from your kitchen faucet.
Next time driving through Disney World, and you see all these pretty purple colored pipes coming out of the ground on the Disney property, more than likely these are the water distribution lines for reclaimed water. By using this system it will help save the precious drinking water that Florida desperately needs to meet the demand of fresh drinking water for Florida home owners.
Disney World Fireworks
Who doesn’t love the awesome fireworks shows at Disney World? Kids of all ages are taken back by the incredible show that Disney puts on for the general public most evenings during the year. But did you know that Disney patented a new way that is safer, quieter, and cleaner to shoot off the fireworks. With the help of the Chinese the pyrotechnics director at Disney came up with a new system to shoot off the rockets and shells called ALF (Air Launch Fireworks). This system uses a compressed air system instead of the traditional black powder which cuts down on the pollutants in the air. Over 740 individual pyrotechnic pieces are launched at each show from 34 different locations around the lagoon. During the holiday season two more barges are used to light off an additional 455 rockets, producing an awesome show for the holidays.