Before our last Disney World vacation, I studied up on some Disney Parks secrets. Some of what I read is on my Pinterest board. Most of what I looked for came from a book that I borrowed from my younger sister: The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World: Over 600 Secrets of the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom by Susan Veness. You can find it here. It’s also available for Kindle.
Some things I took note of were Disney “secrets” and other things were just interesting and fun to know. Here are some pictures of the things from my Fun Facts and Secrets Search at World Showcase.
I love the beautiful Sunken Garden in the Canada Pavilion. According to this plaque in the garden,The Hidden Magic of Disney World book, and the Butchart Gardens website, Robert Pim Butchart was a limestone worker. He developed a quarry and a cement factory. After he dug out limestone, the area was left with a big, empty pit. His wife, Jennie, made the pit into a beautiful garden. How clever! Today, the gardens are a popular tourist attraction and a National Historic Site of Canada. After learning all of this, I had a new appreciation for the Sunken Garden at Epcot.
Another interesting thing about the garden area is that the mountain in the back uses forced perspective. The plants on the mountain are big at bottom and smaller at the top. The differences in sizes makes it appear taller than it actually is.
After the buildings were made in the UK Pavilion, they decided that they were too clean to be accurate, so they painted on soot!
The cottage that holds the Tea Caddy tea shop is based on Anne Hathaway’s home in Stratford-upon-Avon home. Anne was the wife of Shakespeare. Below is a picture of her house.
The second story windows of The Queen’s Table gift shop shows four crests. These are the crests of four prestigious universities in the United Kingdom. From left to right they are Oxford, Eton, Edinburgh, & Cambridge.
The bridge from the United Kingdom Pavilion to France is based on the Pont des Arts, which is the bridge between the famous Louvre museum & the Institut de France.
Compare it to the real bridge here:
Extra trivia: The Pont des Arts is also the bridge where lovers have started the tradition of leaving a padlock on the fence and throwing the key into the river. Romantic? Yes. Getting to be a bit much? Also yes. I sincerely doubt that Disney World will allow that to start happening to their version of the bridge!
Also in France, the park by the canal is inspired by Georges Seurat’s painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” I didn’t get a good picture of this park, but you can see it in the right of this photo. There is a better photo from an excellent post on the France Pavilion by AllEars.net (this is also on my Disney Pinterest board!).
I’ve had the privilege of seeing this painting in-person a couple of times at the Art Institute of Chicago. He painted people relaxing by the Seine River (which is in France). It’s my older sister’s favorite piece of art. More trivia for you: The painting is huge (6.8 feet x 10.1 feet) and was done using Pointillism (painting with dots)!
Behind the tasting counter at Aux Vins de France, you can find Chef Remy! These Little Chefs are also for sale in the store.
From the Moroccan Pavilion, you can see the Tower of Terror in the distance. I, unfortunately, forgot to look for this one, so this great photo is from Tower Secrets. The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World explained that the Tower looked out of place, so they added minarets to the top to help it blend in with the Moroccan architecture. So cool!
I learned on the Disney Channel that the king of Morocco sent craftsmen to America to ensure the accuracy of their buildings. It follows the Islamic rules on architecture. It’s also the only World Showcase Pavilion that is sponsored only by a government, not a company.
If you watch IllumiNations, you may notice that the Morocco Pavilion, with respect for Muslim beliefs, does not light at night.
Don’t forget that the Moroccan Pavilion also does Henna tattoos. I have a detailed description about that here.
The gateway by the lake is modeled after one in Hiroshima. The artificial barnacles on the legs show tide level there.
The Japanese think a stork nesting on the roof is good luck. Buildings may have a blue roof with golden fish to trick storks into landing there.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
Disney used forced perspective again in the USA Pavilion. This building looks like it’s only a few stories tall, like traditional Colonial buildings are, but is 5 stories! The doors may look normal, but are 12 feet tall!
In Italy, forced perspective tricks our eyes once again. The bricks that make up this tower get smaller as they go up, making the tower seem taller than it is.
Disney is very intentional about the plants that they use in their landscaping. They vary according to what part of the park you’re in. So, it’s only fitting that Italy has an olive tree. I snapped a quick picture of this olive tree next to the canal bridge.
There is a Hidden Mickey on Das Kaufhaus store in Germany. Do you see it? Probably not…
Here’s a closer look. Check out the prince’s crown.
These statues are called Foo Dogs. Their purpose in Chinese culture is to protect the building and defend the law.
On the right side of the door is the boy Foo Dog. His foot is on a globe.
On the left is a girl Foo Dog. Her foot holds a baby Foo. Cute!
I made a discovery of my own in Noway. Their giant troll statue is, apparently, a replica of trolls in Voss, Norway. Read more about that in this post of mine.
The top of the pyramid in Mexico is a launch spot for fireworks!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey around the world from Epcot’s World Showcase! I will be making more secrets and fun facts posts in the near future! Follow me on Pinterest, facebook, or subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss them!