Fun Facts: Magic Kingdom's Tunnel System

It is one of Disney's not-so-secret-secrets...the maze of tunnels that run under the Magic Kingdom.  The Utility Corridors or "Utilidors" are a fascinating piece of the Disney Puzzle.  It was one of many of Walt's genius ideas that really helps make the Magic Kingdom the most magical place on earth.  As I stroll down Main Street, I cannot help think of the amazing hustle and bustle going on beneath my feet.  The logistics of moving the people, food, and merchandise around the park in any kind of timely manor is just mind boggling!  Spend a few minutes thinking about all of the behind the scenes work that is perfectly synchronized to insure your good time - it kind of makes you appreciate your experience even more.  Here are some fun facts to get you started:

• The tunnels are not actually underground, but are technically the first floor of the Magic Kingdom. Due to the high underground water tables and risk of flooding, the tunnels were built on ground level and covered with dirt excavated from the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Park was built on top of it all, 14 feet above the original grade, which explains the reason you walk up a gentle incline to reach the park.

• The inspiration for the tunnels in Disney World came from Walt Disney himself. Walt thought the cowboy from Adventureland strolling through Tomorrowland to get to his assigned post ruined the magic. The utilidors allow cast members to enter their assigned land via a stairwell from the tunnels.

• There are 29 access points from the Utilidors to the Park above.

• The utilidors cover about 9 acres of real estate under the Magic Kingdom. Golf cart and other electric vehicles are used to shuffle people, equipment, merchandise, and supplies around.

• Gasoline powered vehicles are not allowed in the tunnels, with the exception of armored vehicles to collect cash and ambulances in the case of extreme emergency.

• In addition to cast member movement, the utilidors contain the parks infrastructure including sewer lines, power lines, computer networking cables, and water lines.

• Trash is emptied via the utilidors as well. Pneumatic tubes literally suck trash from the parks to a central location for collection.

• In addition to infrastructure, the utilidors boast a mini under-park city which includes two employee cafeterias, salon, bank, laundry facility, costume shop, rehearsal space, break rooms, locker rooms, offices, storage, prep kitchens and security.

• The Digital Animation Control System (DACS) is also housed in the Utilidors. DACS is the “nerve center” that controls the hundreds of Audio-Animatronics figures, by orchestrating more than 72,000 individual functions every second. DACS also opens theater doors, elevates stage lifts, operates lighting and curtains, and monitors fire protection, security, equipment failure, and power loss.

• Utilidors run under the Magic Kingdom under every land except “Toontown” (Fantasyland Expansion area). This area was built after the park opened and therefore is not connected to the tunnel system.

• The tunnels use a system of colors and pictures to indicate which land you are under. This helps prevent people from getting lost or “popping up” in the wrong land.

• The main tunnel entrance is behind Fantasyland, specifically under Pinnochio’s Village Haus. All employees, supplies, merchandise and equipment enter from this area.

• You can tour the utilidors on the “Keys to the Kingdom” tour, but you must be at least 16 years old.

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