Today I am writing about the famous Walt Disney World Utilidors. Surely you have heard about them even though you probably have never seen them.
Let’s start with a definition:
U til i dor
an above ground, insulated network of pipes and cables, used to convey water and electricity in communities situated in areas of permafrost.
When Walt Disney (the person), looked at his original Disneyland in California, he was always concerned with preserving the “show” and didn’t like it when a cast member from one land (say Frontierland) was seen in costume walking through another land (say Tomorrowland). He thought that seeing the out of place cast member took away from the experience. Disneyland did not have the luxury of behind the scenes space, so it became nearly impossible to avoid these out of place sightings.
While Disney World was being designed, he wanted to make sure that these out of place sightings would not have to take place. Thus the concept for the Magic Kingdom utilidors was born.
Florida, as you may know, contains many wetlands and has a very high water table. This means that you can find water after digging only two feet into the ground. So the prospect of digging a series of underground tunnels was not very practical. So similar to the problem with the always frozen ground in some areas of Canada, the wet Florida environment needed an above ground level solution.
They built a series of corridors and pathways as a 15 foot high “1st Floor” of the Magic Kingdom. Then they used the ground that was excavated while making the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon to build up the land to make it appear that the first floor areas were below the natural land level.
In all there are over 1.5 miles of tunnels and corridors included under the Magic Kingdom that are used to allow the Cast Members to enter directly into their appropriate lands in costume. The below the scenes area also allows for delivery trucks, garbage removal and costume storage. All of this takes place behind the scenes in order to allow you, the guest, to enjoy “the show” without these unnecessary distractions.
Enjoy this video from Disney parks talking about the Magic Kingdom utilidors and showing you what they look like.
If you wish to visit the Utilidors, you can do so on either of two Walt Disney World Tours: "Disney's Keys to the Kingdom" or "Backstage Magic".