Disney fans publish book of fun finds

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WEST ORANGE — Did you know that the old woman knitting in a rocking chair near a fireplace in The Haunted Mansion ballroom at Magic Kingdom also appears — seated in the same pose — at the Tomorrowland attraction Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress?

Did you know that a 1930s-era airplane was divided and placed in two different parks? The front end is near Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the “Casablanca” scene in Hollywood Studios’ The Great Movie Ride, and the back half appears crashed in Magic Kingdom’s The Jungle Cruise.

Julie and Mike Neal, of Orlando, have written a second guide book full of findings at the famous mouse house: “The Complete Walt Disney World Fun Finds & Hidden Mickeys – The Definitive Disney Field Guide.”

Julie Neal said she wrote the book “because the hidden level of fun Disney sprinkles throughout its property is one of the most interesting parts about Walt Disney World.”

This publication came about when the Neals were working on their main book, “The Complete Walt Disney World,” which first came out in 2007.

“In researching that book, we kept finding all these hidden and fun items,” Julie Neal said. “We included some of them in the main book, but they wouldn’t all fit. We knew we’d need a whole book to hold them all.”

Her favorite part is the section on The Haunted Mansion, which is the largest and takes up 41 pages.

Mike Neal is the photographer for all of their books; their 21-year-old daughter, Micaela, a student at Florida State University, assists with photos and research when she’s not at school.

To properly do her research, Julie Neal, a former Disney concierge supervisor, said she spent nearly every day of seven months at the parks.


Mickey Mouse’s image is everywhere at Walt Disney World — you just have to be on the lookout at all times. Here is just a sample:

In The Haunted Mansion, he is in the attic, created by plates on the floor near the third wedding portrait. At Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, he appears to the left of the Viewmaster in the queue.

In Epcot’s Soarin’, a Mickey silhouette appears on an errant golf ball. At Epcot’s Canada pavilion, his shape appears twice on the left entranceway totem pole, underneath its top set of hands.

And at Hollywood Studios, Mickey shows up as greenish-white moss on a tree trunk under the Ewok village platform facing the entrance to the Star Tours ride.

Julie Neal said her favorite is a three-dimensional one at Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom. It features Mickey posing like Steamboat Willie, complete with the steering wheel.


Nearly every building on Main Street U.S.A. in the Magic Kingdom showcases windows with supposed business names. Among them: “Community Service Recruitment Center. Bob Matheison. Quality, Integrity & Dedication.”

This is a nod to Matheison, a longtime Windermere resident who created Disney World’s executive training program. His window is above the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and was dedicated when he retired.

(A second window for Windermere Fraternal Hall lists him, Bob Allen, Pete Crimmings, Dick Evans, Bill Hoelscher and Bill Sullivan, the operating committee that opened Disney World. All of them lived in Windermere.)


The Neals are now setting their sights on another local theme park, and work begins this month on “The Complete Universal Orlando.” Publication is expected in early 2016.

All of the Neals’ books are available in bookstores and online.

Contact Amy Quesinberry Rhode at [email protected].


Magic Kingdom

• It’s a Small World: A bespectacled doll under the Eiffel Tower represents the ride’s artist, Mary Blair.

• The Haunted Mansion: Julius Caesar sits at the end of the table in the ballroom.

• Space Mountain: After exiting the ride, former Magic Kingdom attractions are alluded to on a console to the left. These “closed sectors” of the universe include FL-28K (Fantasyland’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), FL-MMR (the Mickey Mouse Revue), FL-MTWR (Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride) and TL-SK2FL (Tomorrowland’s Skyway to Fantasyland).

• Seven Dwarfs Mine Train: The two vultures that stare down at you as you climb a lift hill are the same ones who started down at riders in the attraction Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

• Jungle Cruise: A headhunter, just after the start of his chant, shouts, “I love disco!” but the skipper’s voice might drown it out. The phrase was secretly added by a Disney audio engineer in the late 1970s.

Animal Kingdom

• Kali River Rapids: In the last room, Michael Jackson is among the raft riders in a mural created in Nepal by a Jackson fan.

Hollywood Studios

• Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: There are props from “The Twilight Zone” television episodes, including two ventriloquist dummies from “The Dummy,” a slot machine from “The Fever” and a small spaceship from “The Invaders.”

• Hollywood Boulevard: While adding his name to his handprints in cement outside The Great Movie Ride, Charlton Heston accidentally left out the “l” because a photographer distracted him.


• Soarin’: A flying bird is guided through mountains by the mass of people in line if they lean in unison from side to side.

• Spaceship Earth:  Many of the audio-animatronic figures are duplicates of those that portray U.S. commanders in chief at Magic Kingdom’s Hall of Presidents. For instance, the ride’s Greek actor is actually William Henry Harrison, the Roman soldier is Zachary Taylor and a lute player in the Renaissance is Dwight D. Eisenhower.


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