You might find that there is something strange going on when you go to Walt Disney World Resort. Within the park, it’s impossible to find mosquitoes buzz anywhere! You may not have realized it before we brought it up. It just goes to show that whatever they are doing is successful. But how is it possible in Florida, famously known for its swampland and humid weather, that you can’t find any mosquitoes? The truth will surprise and, at the same time, impress you. Let us find out why there is nowhere in sight for these unwelcome visitors!
Reaching The East
Disney World opened its doors to the public in October 1971. We are sure that there were plenty of mosquitoes over there before the resort was built on the land. Sixteen years after the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1955, it was developed. Market surveys revealed in the ’50s that only 5% of its visitors would travel from across the Mississippi River. This was quite worrying because it meant that at the time, Walt Disney could not tap into a market composed of 75% of Americans!
Buying The Property
As you can imagine, from the eastern side of the United States, Disney wanted to unlock that potential. The filmmaker chose a site near Orlando and Kissimmee, located in Bay Lake, Florida city. On this side of the country, Disney was determined to make his mark here. Not only that, but he wanted the title of “The Happiest Place on Earth” to be associated with the place.
The Florida Project
And so he began developing the idea! Throughout the ’60s, the planning was done in secret. Under a code name, he referred to it as “The Florida Project.” The filmmaker wanted to transform it into more than your regular amusement park. As he worked on the idea, he had several things in mind. He came up with, among other things, the area of the resort that we now know as Epcot.
An Experimental Community
In case you didn’t know, Epcot stands for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow.” It was supposed to be an urban area that would become the backdrop for the latest urban living developments. Disney spearheaded the project, but after he passed away in December 1966, it was eventually abandoned. Disney World resembled Disneyland more than he intended after he passed away.
Still A Success
Disney, unfortunately, wasn’t able to live to witness his plans come to fruition. The first area of the park to open did not open its doors until 1971. After the Magic Kingdom, 11 years later, Epcot came. Meanwhile, in 1989 and 1998, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom were introduced. Although the strategy has changed, it is difficult to deny that Disney World is a success. It sees more annual visitors than any other resort in the world of its kind!
Breaking Records Left And Right
On average, every single year, more than 52 million visitors go to Disney World. In 2014, each of the four parks secured a spot in the world’s eight most-visited amusement parks. With its 19,332,000 visitors that year, the Magic Kingdom earned the top spot. How is that impressive? Maybe you were even one of the vacationers that went to the park that year!
The Cast Members
Guests are not the only ones who go to the resort, however. If it were not for the 74,000 “cast members” who made the magic happen, Disney World would not be in operation. With that figure, it is the United States’ largest single-site employer. More than $1.2 billion was spent by the company to pay the cast members. Also, it is shelling out $474 million for additional benefits.
A Massive Undertaking
Given the number of individuals who visit Disney World, it makes sense that running the place is a massive operation. You will find 34 hotels and resorts across the property that serve as accommodation for the guests. Allow us to provide you with a reference. You will need to spend 68 years doing so if you want to stay in every single hotel room in the resort.
It Is A Huge Place
Disney World is vast, which is necessary for all of those guests to be entertained and housed. It is the same size as San Francisco and twice the size of Manhattan, with nearly 25,000 acres of land. Only half of the land, however, is in use at the moment. Although Disney was excited about working on the attractions, he also wanted to preserve the land. This is why a third of it for conservation has been restricted.
Its Own Transportation System
Transporting visitors from one part of the resort to another is no joke! Disney World has a complicated yet effective system of transportation. Some might even say it’s easier than some big cities in the country to navigate the resort. The resort, for one thing, has 400 buses. This is more than the Department of Transportation of Los Angeles offers.
Even The Trash Cans
When it comes to running Disney World, the firm does not cut corners. It feels like every single aspect imaginable has been checked. For one thing, no matter where you are in the park, there is always a waste bin near you. They are located within 30 steps of each other! By observing how many steps individuals kept their trash before they discarded them on the floor, Disney did some research.
An Underground City
The level of detail that went into planning the resort has blown us away. This also refers to what lies beneath it. “The Magic Kingdom was built above a series of tunnels called Thrillist’s “underground city. Despite this, at ground level, they are constructed. Florida rests on the sea level, which is why the engineers had to build them that way. Since the tunnels under the ground could not be concealed, they did the next best thing instead.
The tunnels they use for the Magic Kingdom are called “Utilidors.” This is where the members of the cast take their breaks and get their costumes. Allegedly, this complex tunnel system was the brainchild of Disney himself. He got up so that the characters wouldn’t have to go through the park before and after work.
Another fascinating thing about the park is that with the help of “Smellitizers,” the magic is preserved. These are devices planted in every corner that release scents related to the areas where they are located. The ones on Main Street, for example, smell like cookies and vanilla. On the other hand, they smell like fresh sea air near the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions! And how cool is it?
Millions Of Plants
Not only does Disney World look amazing, but it also looks magical. The company has accomplished this by annually placing over three million flowering shrubs all over the park. In addition, there are gardeners whose job is to take care of 13,000 roses, over 200 topiaries, and 2 million plants.
No Bubblegum Sold
It takes a lot of effort, as you can see, to make the resort look pristine. We can see why certain items are not sold in Disney World’s stores. Disney itself decreed that the park would not sell chewing gum to customers. The stories go. To keep the resort as clean as it could be, this was done. If you can’t go without them, as long as you buy them in advance, you’re allowed to bring them in.
Where Are The Mosquitoes?
We have a lot of evidence that points to the fact that the company has done all it can to ensure the cleanliness and effectiveness of the job. However, it turns out that in comparison to one aspect of the park, these efforts pale! How is it possible that there are no mosquitoes at all at Disney World?
Getting Rid Of The Bloodsuckers
Trust us when you hear the reason for this, you will be impressed. Getting rid of mosquitoes when you’re in Florida is no mean feat! Even better, the resort was built on top of a swampland. If you live in the South, these blood-sucking insects need to be more familiar to you than you want to be. Disney, however, was very determined to ensure that mosquitoes would not have to worry about visitors.
Major General Joe Potter
His mission to eliminate the mosquitoes at Disney World started with a meeting between him and Major General William “Joe” Potter. He was an alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was known for his engineering expertise. He served as the Panama Canal Zone Governor before he worked with Disney on this project. The two of them met at the 1964 New York World Fair.
Pest Control Expert
The Panama Canal Zone was an unincorporated American territory from 1903 to 1979. The area has been a hotspot for malaria. This is a disease, as we all know, these pesky critters transmit that. The authorities knew that they could not risk the workers contracting it if they wanted to finish the project. Potter was able to learn a great deal about pest control during his assignment there!
Working On The Project
Once Disney learned about what Potter did in the Panama Canal Zone to control the mosquitoes, the filmmaker immediately offered him a job. The engineer accepted the offer and began to use his vast pest control knowledge to good use! He hopped on the “Project of Florida,” which eventually became the Disney World we all know and love.
Other Techniques Used
We doubt that guests would be able to enjoy their time at Disney World as much without Potter. Although it is difficult to get rid of them completely, the park staff uses various techniques to keep the mosquitoes away. And these tactics are all working very well from the look of things! What are they doing?
A Prevention Policy
For example, the resort tries to make itself seem as unpleasant as possible for any insects that need to lay their eggs, rather than killing adult bugs. By following a prevention policy, Disney World can permanently keep the population down and ensure that the bloodsuckers do not bother guests.
No Stagnant Water
That mosquitoes thrive in still water is no secret. They, after all, tend to lay their eggs there. Basically, by ensuring there is no pool of standing water anywhere in the park, Disney keeps the bloodsuckers away! Disney has successfully reduced the presence of larvae in the area by getting rid of its breeding grounds. But how can puddles and the like possibly be prevented?
The Drainage System
It’s a simple solution, you might think, but it’s more complex than it sounds. The resort was constructed on top of a swamp, for one thing. Once Potter was hired to work at Disney World, his first task was to build a massive drainage system that would turn the boggy property into a building-friendly location.
He installed drainage gutters after him, which are called “Joe’s ditches.” Hearing that they continue to be used to this day is neat. As you might already have guessed, they were installed to ensure that water always flows through the resort. Water doesn’t ever have to come to a standstill this way.
It Is Always Flowing
A Disney expert, Christopher Lucas, spoke to Reader’s Digest and explained the logic behind this drainage system. He said, “The guests usually don’t notice it, but the water is constantly flowing… Whenever you walk by a body of water, there’s usually a fountain in the middle of it, or they’re doing something to keep it flowing.”
A New Standard
It turns out that the system is so successful that when Disney works on a new project, this has become a standard procedure. Near the property that would serve as the site of these drainage ditches, the company always buys extra land. Let us learn about the other ways in which the architects and engineers ensured that the park would not have puddles or pools of water!
The Design Of The Architecture
In addition, the construction team also designed the buildings in such a way that no water could be collected anywhere. “All of the buildings are built so that water flows right off of [them]… With all the rainstorms, if water got caught on the buildings, it would form a pool, and then mosquitoes would hatch their eggs, and you’d have thousands of mosquitoes,” Lucas informed Reader’s Digest.
Run Right Off
It was a priority for the engineers and architects to ensure that the water would always run straight from the structures. “They made every building there curved, or designed in a way so there’d be no place for the water to catch and sit there… The architecture is appealing to the eye, but it also serves a purpose: it makes it less conducive to mosquitoes,” Lucas expounded further.
War Against Water
Standing water must be treated as an enemy in the fight against mosquitoes! This strategy was a fantastic idea. The plants also play a part in this mission against the bloodsuckers, aside from the drainage ditches and the architecture. The company only plants species that would avoid puddles in the park, to be specific.
No Water Plants
When it comes to the park’s water features, the staff ensure that no water lilies are present and the like. They might, after all, be hiding mosquito eggs. “They also stock-fill those places with minnows, goldfish, and a type of fish called mosquito fish that eat the larvae,” Lucas said to explain this tactic.
No Nasty Pesticides
We are certainly blown away by the lengths Disney has gone to avoid stagnant puddles! Apart from these things, Disney uses sprays as well. Walt Disney himself, however, requested that he refrain from using nasty pesticides. “[He] did not want to ruin the environment at all so that they couldn’t use pesticides… It’d be easy to just spray the whole thing, but he wanted it to be something natural,” Lucas recounted.
Garlic As An Alternative
If they do not use chemicals, what do they use? It turns out that garlic spray is something that employees at Disney World are familiar with. This pungent-smelling plant doesn’t like mosquitoes, which is why the employees spread a garlicky scent throughout the resort. Lucas shared, “The amount that they use is so small that humans can’t smell it, but mosquitoes are very susceptible to it.”
We know that sprays of garlic sound strange, but wait until you hear how Disney uses chickens to get rid of insects. In various parts of the park, they keep the birds in coops. The birds mostly live regular chicken lives but often undergo blood tests to ensure that they do not have pathogens related to mosquitoes.
Testing The Chickens
Mosquitoes spread various diseases like West Nile and Zika. While chickens are not susceptible to these viruses, their blood test results should show the pathogens’ presence. If anything appears in their blood work when it comes to mosquito-busting efforts, the staff can then figure out which area of the park requires more attention.
The Mosquito Surveillance Program
Although Potter’s efforts live on in the quest of Disney to get rid of mosquitoes, the park is still working to enhance the Mosquito Surveillance Program further. Another thing the company does is to test mosquitoes scientifically to learn more about these insects. This way, in the future, Disney will find an even more effective way to deal with them.
His Legacy Lives On
Joe Potter, despite this, left his mark on Disney World. We are sure his legacy is not going to be forgotten! Former Walt Disney Attractions president Dick Nunis had kind words to say about him after he passed away in 1988. According to the Official Disney Fan Club website, here is what he said: “Joe was a man [whom] Walt Disney was very fond of. Without Joe Potter, there would be no [Disney World] today.”
A Disney Legend
Joe Potter was named a Disney Legend in 1997. One of the ferries for the Seven Seas Lagoon ride became known as General Joe Potter in another touching tribute! How fantastic is that? While the park continues to benefit from his expertise today, most guests have no idea that their lack of mosquito bites deserves credit. Try to look for chickens when you go to the park next time!
The Secrets Of Disney World
The approach to mosquitoes is not the only secret that the park is hiding. Behind the scenes, many things are happening that escape the notice of the guests. Read on to take a look at the Disney World revelations that will blow you away! You’ll find out, among other things, why you keep bumping into Chris from Orlando on the park premises…
Hidden Mickeys No Matter Where You Look
When you next find yourself at Disney World, we highly recommend taking a good look at the surroundings. Everywhere you look, the famous set of mouse ears you’ll probably spot! By coincidence, this did not happen. The Imagineers who worked at the park deliberately left this symbol’s imprints wherever they could! A blogger named Steven Barrett has been trying to track down every single one of them.
Feral Cats Prevent Rodent Problems
Walt Disney wanted to build a new attraction at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in the ’50s. After the Imagineers looked inside, they found that there were wild cats inside! They agreed, eventually, to let the animals stay there. They proved, after all, to be an effective pest control solution for the area’s mice. This is also the reason why about 200 feral cats are living in the park now.
The Biggest Wardrobe On The Planet
At Disney World, the costume library boasts about two and a half million items. They are stored for eight miles on racks that go on! The owner of the biggest wardrobe on the planet must be Disney! We are sure that you don’t have anything on the Mouse when it comes to clothes and shoes. Don’t get upset, because you can at least enjoy every single item of clothing you own.
How It Transports Litter Across The Park
In addition to helping the employees make their way around the park, the utilidors have another use. They’re great at transporting trash as well! With pressurized air, litter is transported and travels down the pipes at a speed of more than 60 mph. The trash cans might be spaced 30 steps apart, but beneath the ground lies the real ingenuity behind them.
The Truth About Chris From Orlando
Anyone who has ever been to Disney World should know Chris from Orlando. But how is it even possible here? The reality is that this is the name tag used by members of the staff who forget to bring theirs! There is a chance there is an actual Chris out there from Orlando. Every other person who uses the name, however, simply personifies this guy.
Why The Water Is So Green
Did you ever wonder why the water is so green in the park? Because it’s not dirty, there is no need to worry. For several reasons, Disney dyed it that color. First of all, the murky color is a good way to hide the tracks beneath the water. The boat ride feels even more immersive in this way. It is also a good way to hide trash and everything else that ends up in the water, on top of that.
The Water Bubbles Signal The Ducks To Hide
If you’ve ever watched the “Fantasmic” show on the Rivers of America, you’ll know it involves fire. There is a giant dragon, in particular, that sets one of the rivers on fire! There was a possibility that the ducks on the river would sizzle when the show was still new. These days, a few minutes before this happens, the water bubbles so they can get out of there.
Secret Codes For Every Possible Scenario
When they say that the employees have a secret code for whatever you can imagine, we are not kidding. Code 101 implies that an attraction has disintegrated. Code 102, meanwhile, implies that it is open again. Code V implies that on the premises, a guest has vomited. The most interesting one, however, could be “white powder alert.” This is used when a guest at Space Mountain tries to scatter ashes! Can you believe that something like this occurs so often that a code of its own is needed?
Main Street Windows Are Named After Legends
In case you were wondering, when it comes to the names on the Main Street building windows, there is more than meets the eye. They are the names of people who have contributed to the creation of the park somehow. You’re going to have names in shops that have something to do with their work. Just so you know, only the greatest former employees have the opportunity to see their names!