Look Up, Look Down to Discover Disney Details

One of the things that has always fascinated me, is all of those amazing details that you find everywhere at a Disney park or resort, and how much they can add to a vacation experience. So with that in mind, I thought I would use today’s post to talk a little bit more about Disney detail magic, and how incredible it is – if you take the time to look. 🙂

When you first start visiting Walt Disney World, for most people, your focus is on the “obvious” things that everyone focuses on: the rides, the attractions, the shows, having fun and creating special memories. Once you start visiting multiple times though, that focus often begins to change. Yes, you are still interested in these things, but as that Disney brand of magic draws you back again and again, you start to realize that there is so much more to Disney than your typical theme park. Much, much more!

In fact, as we have been fortunate to be able to visit Disney World many times now, I’ve come to realize that many of the most amazing things about Disney are truly not in the obvious but in the subtle. It’s in those details, that are everywhere, that I believe Disney shows some of its best magic.

The thing is, we often are missing most of it, because we are focusing on those “obvious” things that people think of when they think Disney vacation. We’re checking crowd levels, we note park opening times, we worry about wait times at our favorite rides, and getting to our FastPasses and dining reservations. We’re in a hurry to cram as much Disney as we possibly can into a few days, so that we get as much out of our vacation as we possibly can. This is such an ingrained part of Disney vacation planning, that entire books and websites are devoted to helping people squeeze every single bit of pixie dust out of their vacation as they can. And while there is nothing wrong with this – because everyone wants to get the most for their vacation dollars – it’s also kind of a shame.

Because most people are literally running past some of Disney’s best stuff.

A Cast Member gave me some great advice on trip once. When talking about all those fantastic Disney details, he told me to always remember to “look up and look down”, because that’s where you will see some of the most interesting details that Disney offers its Guests.

As this Cast Member pointed out, no detail left behind by the Imagineers was put there accidentally. These creative folks are true masters at using design, materials, color, lighting, and sound to make a point, tell a story, or in some cases, to just make something “work better”.

For example, have you ever noticed the color schemes of Future World in Epcot? Did you know that there are two different ones, one for the “east” side and one for the “left” side? One side is green, and one side is blue, and what you’ll find on the “blue” side for example, is that the walkways, signage, trash cans, even the benches…are all blue. On the green side, everything is green. Wondering why this is? Well it seems that when the two sides were simply “east” and “west”, Cast Members, when trying to give park guests directions, found that telling folks to go east or west just wasn’t working well: most people don’t know their east from their west. But they do know their colors, so now Guests can be directed to go to the “blue” side or “green” side, and people know just where to go.

Simple use of details….and it’s brilliant how well it works.

Let’s use another example from Epcot to look at those amazing details, the Land pavilion. When you approach this pavilion, the attention to details begins before you even get there, as the curves of the hill are meant to simulate the rolling hills of farmland. Once you start to walk up to the building, SLOW DOWN for a minute, and let the people rushing to get on Soarin’ go past. Take a look at that fantastic mosaic on your right: it depicts the various layers of the earth, and it’s truly gorgeous.

Now go inside, stop at the top, and look out over the food court below – the “Sunshine Seasons” food court. Look at the colors of the seating areas: they are divided into 4 quadrants, and each is different, for each of the seasons. Now look up at the balloons that are the focal point on the ceiling. See how each is decorated? Each one is a different color (see the food court colors) and also a different season.

Finally go downstairs into the food court, and pass by all the goodies for a minute. Go into one of the seating areas, like the one for fall. Look at the colors and designs on the carpet, banquettes, chairs and even the tables – sure looks like fall in this seating area.

Isn’t it amazing what you see when you really, really, REALLY look?

I spend my days helping folks plan their Disney vacations, and working with them to get the most out of their money and that precious Disney World vacation time. But the more that I visit, the more I am convinced that “getting the most out of my trip” is more than just riding rides, seeing shows, and eating great food – not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂

To me, getting the most out of my trip means remembering to look up and look down, to really SEE what the Imagineers have left for us, and to discover those hidden Disney treasures that are found in the details….and that are Disney magic at it’s best.

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