Imagineers are mythical creatures that supposedly come out at night throughout the Magic Kingdom. They impishly fly around and tinker with things, always trying to make them better. But when the sun starts to come up in the East, these strange little creatures disappear… until the next night!
And just what do they do during their nocturnal visits? They create little touches that affect our Park experience, whether we realize it or not.
With great difficultly, I’ve managed to discover the TOP FIVE touches, and I will reveal them to you now:
5. Use of Forced Perspective
From the buildings to the vehicles, nothing is exactly what it seems at the Magic Kingdom! The higher something is, the smaller its upper portions become. The farther away something is, the narrower the streets to it become. Only an Imagineer will know all of the tricks used, but everyone will be fooled by forced perspective while visiting the Disney parks.
4. The Hub
Need a meeting place? The Hub. Need a starting place? The Hub. Need a place to relax and watch the World go by? The Hub. Only Walt Disney, the first Imagineer, thought of designing his parks with a central spot. From there, you can reach every land or destination easily and quickly.
3. Textured Walkways
You won’t notice it, but then, you not supposed to. But the next time you walk from one Land to another, look down. You’ll then notice that the ground you’re walking on has changed. From the smooth surfaces of Tomorrowland to the rougher ones of Frontierland, the Imagineers have found a way to get you out of one mood and into another: Your feet. As you’re busy looking up and all around, your feet ‘notice’ a subtle change in the terrain, and immediately your brain starts to shift gears.
But the Imagineers aren’t finished messing with your mind yet…
2. Themed Land Music
Again, you won’t notice it, but even the music changes from one Land to another. But it does so so gradually that your brain just goes along with the cheat. So by varying the terrain and the music, the Imagineers reduce the shock of changing from, for example, a space age environment to an old west environment. And all while you’re happily oblivious!
1. The Weenie
This is my favorite term that Walt Disney ever coined. No, it isn’t a new edible treat, but actually… Cinderella’s Castle! Yup.
Cinderella’s Castle is a great big weenie. Perhaps I should explain! Disneyland broke the first rule of Theme Park layout by having only one entrance. Then went a step further: How do you keep people moving into the Park? The answer: Put a big ‘weenie’ at the far end, hence, the placement of Cinderella’s Castle. It’s so beautiful that you just naturally gravitate towards it. And before you know it, you’re at the Hub, or the center of the Magic Kingdom with every option open to you.
Tricky fellows, those Imagineers. Maybe someday, we’ll be able to catch one, and make him tell us all of the other touches made over the years.
So what’s your favorite Imagineering Touch at the Magic Kingdom, or elsewhere in Walt Disney World/Disneyland?