Disney Theme Parks

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Cinderella Castle, as seen at Walt Disney World.


HERE YOU LEAVE TODAY AND ENTER THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY, TOMORROW AND FANTASY
Plaque over the entrance tunnels into Disneyland

The five (soon to be six) Theme Park resorts owned and operated by the Disney Company. Their best known attractions include state-of-the-art rides and shows based upon the Disney films, as well as spectacular parades, fireworks and other live performances. You want to make sure everyone knows you're going there.

Walt Disney came up with the idea for his original park when he took his children to a park and noticed the parents just hanging off to the side while the children played. He decided to build a place where the entire family could have fun and enjoy themselves. While the idea was met with some skepticism, the execution was resoundingly successful.

The resorts include:

  • Disneyland: Opened July 17, 1955 by invitation only, and the following day to the general public. The original and the only park Walt saw built within his lifetime. Serves as the template for most of the parks worldwide, though fans praise the fact that Disneyland is the only park that had Walt's personal touch. Its companion park, California Adventure, opened in 2001. During his visit to the United States, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's biggest disappointment was the fact that he couldn't visit Disneyland due to security concerns (he publicly wondered if there were missiles hidden there). That the leader of the largest Communist state wanted to go to one of the greatest successes for capitalism ever should say something about A: the Cold War at that point, and B: how much everybody wanted to go to Disneyland. It's important to note that there are not as many resorts around the parks because Disney did not have a lot of money at the time. This is also why many attractions were and still are sponsored. For example, Dole Pineapple sponsored the Tiki Room, Mattel sponsored It's a Small World, and Honda now sponsors Innoventions (where you can see an ASIMO demonstration).
    • The primary reason was that the KGB told the U.S. Secret Service that if anything happened to Khrushchev during the visit it would mean war. And even though Walt was very anti-communist, he enjoyed having foreign dignitaries and looked forward to showing Krushchev his submarines.
  • Walt Disney World: The largest and most popular of the resorts opened in 1971. Includes four parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT (opened in 1982), Disney's MGM Hollywood Studios (1989) and Animal Kingdom (1998), as well as two (formerly three[1]) water parks: Typhoon Lagoon (1989) and Blizzard Beach (1995). Fans constantly debate which of the four parks is the best, whether they were better in the old days, and so on. Disney World also includes many hotels, an all-purpose sports complex, golf courses, and a few shopping/dining/entertainment complexes like Downtown Disney. The actual "Reedy Creek" property upon which Disney World sits is huge, and many guests are surprised to learn that it consists mostly of wildlife preserves and undeveloped natural Florida habitat. This "breathing space" is deliberate, as Walt Disney was particularly upset when the popularity of Disneyland sparked a development frenzy back in Anaheim. (Disney couldn't do this in Anaheim because other businesses got to the surrounding land first) The property on which the resort sits on was bought by Roy O. Disney, Walt's older brother. Fittingly, there is a statue of him sitting with Minnie Mouse just past the entrance of the Magic Kingdom, to complement the famous "Partners' statue at the main hub.
  • Tokyo Disney Resort: Opened in 1983 and run by the Oriental Land Company rather than Disney itself. Some recent additions such as Pooh's Honey Hunt and the Tokyo DisneySea park have become some of Disney Imagineering's most lavishly praised creations.
  • Disneyland Resort Paris (formerly known as Euro Disney Resort): Opened in 1992, and going for an even more elaborate look (as well as Darker and Edgier for some attractions). Urban Legend has it that this park was planned and built because Michael Eisner's wife, Jane, liked to shop in Paris and wanted someplace she could stay without paying for it. It bombed spectacularly at first, though it eventually gained some legs. Recently, though, its ticket sales have been cannibalized by nearby Walt Disney Studios Paris. Both parks are hated by the French people, who oppose the poor (by French standards, anyway) working conditions there and view them as examples of American cultural imperialism. Still has some of the largest attendance numbers for a European tourist attraction though.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland: The newest of the resorts, opened in 2005. It's very close in design to the original Disneyland, though it's much smaller and only has a few of the iconic Disney attractions. Nonetheless, it's gained notoriety for, in essence, having the exact opposite problems that Euro-Disney did. However, Disney has announced plans for a large expansion that brings unique attractions to the park, some being new twists on old favorites.
  • Shanghai Disneyland: After years of planning for a resort in mainland China, the project was approved by the Chinese government in November 2009. Ground was broken in April 2011 and is currently scheduled to open in 2016. The resort will be 2-3 times the size of the Hong Kong Resort with room for up to 3 parks. The first of which will of course be a version of the Magic Kingdom with the other two expected to be ports of EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.

Some attractions have so many tropes, they have their own pages:

In addition to the main theme park resorts, Disney also runs several additional vacation and leisure ventures that spread their influence to just about every corner of the globe and give guests access to more vacation options outside the parks while still maintaining that "Disney feeling":

  • Disney Cruise Line: Well, it's a cruise line...from Disney. Currently has a fleet of four ships: Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and the newest, Disney Fantasy which entered service in 2012. Originally based out of Port Canaveral, FL the ships now sail from various ports in the US for cruises to the Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, and Alaska. Caribbean cruises all feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's own private island in the Bahamas. Yes, Disney bought their own island just for cruise guests. Should this really surprise you?
  • Disney Vacation Club: Disney's take on timeshare ownership, and as you might hear about it while staying at WDW, The Best Kept Disney Secret. Members buy into a share of a DVC resort and get an annual alotment of points based on the size of their investment. These points can be put towards a trip, as well as banked year to year or borrowed against the next year depending on the type of trip wanted. For most people, the initial investment pays for itself after a few years. Resorts feature ammenities above and beyond those of the Deluxe resorts including Villa style rooms with full kitchens. Members get priority access to their "home" resort when booking, but can also use their points to stay at any resort they choose. Disney also owns three off-site resorts in Hilton Head, SC, Vero Beach, FL, and the recently opened Aulani in Hawaii, and contracts with hundreds of hotels around the world that members can visit as part of DVC.
  • Adventures by Disney: Runs guided vacations to various destinations in the US and around the world ranging from Yellowstone Park to the French Riviera, each coordinated by Disney "Adventure Guides" who serve as personal tour guides as well as concierges, giving guests the opportunity to see the wonders of the world while still retaining trademark Disney hospitality.

Cirque Du Soleil has mounted two non-touring shows on Disney resort property, though they charge separate admission and are not beholden to the Mouse in terms of content, etc.: La Nouba at Walt Disney World and the now-closed ZED at Tokyo Disneyland.

A rich well of Affectionate (or not) Parody Fuel, often in the form of Souvenir Land. Some of the most popular attractions have been adapted into movies, with Pirates of the Caribbean being the most successful of them, but also including Tower of Terror, The Haunted Mansion, and The Country Bears. There's also Kingdom Keepers, a series of books by Ridley Pearson, that take place at Walt Disney World; and the Wasteland of the Epic Mickey video game is based on the "Magic Kingdom" parks. Also, two DVD sets in the Walt Disney Treasures line have been dedicated to the parks: "Disneyland, USA" and "Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, and Magic".


Tropes used in the parks include[edit | hide]

  • 3D Movie: Several, including Captain EO, Muppet*Vision 3D, and It's Tough To Be A Bug
  • Aborted Arc: The nods to dragons and unicorns in Animal Kingdom were hinting towards a land that they ended up never building, Beastly Kingdom, focusing on fantasy creatures. The only things left of that (so far) are a dragon shaped rock formation near Camp Minnie Mickey, a bridge that looks like the entrance to a castle, and the big dragon who appears on the park's logo to the confusion of many a guest. The concept of including mythological creatures into the park was eventually picked up by Expedition Everest's Yeti, but has yet to be paid off in full. It's speculated that the ideas for Beastly Kingdom might finally be realized in the upcoming Avatar Land, but so far they've been very tight-lipped about details.
    • Some of the Imagineers behind Beastly Kingdom went to work on Universal Studios' Island of Adventure, and many of the attractions in that park's mythology-themed area, especially the Dueling Dragons coaster, were derived from the Disney project.
      • Which is in turn now being partially scrapped in favor of a Harry Potter area.
    • In the super-secret-invite-only Club 33 restaurant, several disused animatronic animal heads hang from the wall. Walt had planned to be able to speak through them to his guests. The idea was abandoned because it was deemed too silly for a high-class restaurant, and because of privacy concerns. The idea sort of came to fruition at the recently shut-down Adventurers' Club in Disney World's Pleasure Island.
    • The giant, unused building at Epcot's Japan pavilion was originally built to hold an American version of Meet the World (see Politically-Correct History below for why this was cancelled).
  • Actor Allusion: At The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, William calls Morris a hockey puck, a favorite insult of his voice actor Don Rickles.
    • In the Aladdin stage show at California Adventure, Iago may squawk "Aflac!?" like another bird that Gilbert Gottfried has voiced.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The philosophy behind designing the "dark ride" version of an animated film is that, instead of rehashing the plot of the film, you should try to recreate the dominant visual/emotional impact of the film using a handful of pivotal scenes taking place in immersive environments. Hence (for example), the bulk of the Peter Pan ride consists of two rooms occupied by models of London and Neverland surrounded by fiber-optic stars, over which riders "fly" in vehicles suspended from an overhead track. The film's actual plot is compressed into a few brief scenes toward the end of the ride.
  • Adjective Animal Alehouse: A sign for "The Green Dragon" can be seen in Disneyland's "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride".
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of attraction backstories rely on promotional items and books on the parks to understand.
  • Anachronism Stew: Very minor, but the final scene of Carousel of Progress set in The Eighties accidentally became this when the TV broke, and since analog tube TVs are no longer manufactured, they replaced it with a very 2000s-ish flatscreen.
  • Apocalyptic Log: One of the radio transmissions in the queue for Jungle Cruise has a skipper warning the dockmasters about the natives attacking passing boats, cracking in and out before being lost in static.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Hearing Spanish instructions can feel this way in the California park - The english voices are all very expressive and in-character. The Spanish announcements by comparison sound almost like a text-to-speech announcement. The "Exit" signs in some attractions and Dark Rides too...but really, you'd have to be Too Dumb to Live to not make them visible, or to have some way to fix the ride/rescue stuck people.
    • VERY nicely averted in It's A Small World with the foreign language instructions - fits the theme and all sound very nice and expressive. Alice in Wonderland and Casey Jr. Train also avert this, too.
    • The Animatronics can also seem this way. When they fail, it's either quite hilarious at best or downright scary at worst.
  • The Artifact: The Imagination pavilion at EPCOT had its ride and Image Works section re-themed to correspond with Honey, I Shrunk The Audience, which is now replaced with Captain EO.
    • If you've ever seen the Electrical Parade, most of the people around you were probably murmuring "Who is that?" when the Pete's Dragon float came by. The Pete's Dragon float that is immediately followed by an America's Bicentennial float..
    • The Electric Water Pageant also sports a Bicentennial-themed finale.
    • And of course there are the aforementioned mythical creatures in the Animal Kingdom iconography.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Shiriki Utundu idol in Disney Sea's Tower of Terror. Also a mystic gem in the Indiana Jones sequence of the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. And no matter what, DON'T LOOK INTO THE EYES OF MARA.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The chanting in the Tapestry of Nations/Tapestry of Dreams parade is a fictionalized version of African languages giving it the world music feel it needed without being very specific of its origin.
  • Awesome but Practical: Every park, even if not based around a hub structure like Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, will have one very tall and very unique landmark directly in the center of the park.[2] Disneyland, the assorted foreign Disneylands, and the Magic Kingdom have a castle. EPCOT has the Spaceship Earth sphere, Hollywood Studios has the Sorcerer Mickey cap, and Animal Kingdom has the Tree of Life. They serve two main purposes. The first is having something to get your picture taken standing in front of. The second is so that no matter where in the park you are, you can look up, note where the landmark is in relation to you, and instantly know where in the park you are. (California Adventure doesn't quite have one of these as nothing is as visible as the ones listed above; the closest thing would probably be the bear-shaped mountain peak, though the boardwalk's coaster and ferris wheel give it a run for its money despite being on the park's edge.)
    • The latter function is VERY important, as many rides are not only disorienting, but have exits nowhere near their entrances.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland had a show, Cinderellabration, depicting Cinderella's coronation into a princess. The festivities included guest appearances by the other princesses, and fireworks that viewers could see even in the daytime.
  • Beneath the Earth: Disney Sea's Journey to the Center of the Earth, the portion of Disneyland Paris' Phantom Manor where the Doombuggies are Buried Alive and you see a bunch of corpses rising from their underground graves.
  • The Big Easy: New Orleans Square (Disneyland) and Port Orleans French Quarter Resort (Walt Disney World).
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Expedition Everest both star Yetis.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Prevalent in many parks, most notably in Animal Kingdom, where the African portion features signs in mostly accurate Swahili.
  • Blatant Lies: "Do you know Disney's best kept secret?" That's how they ADVERTISE the Disney Vacation Club.
  • Bowdlerise: The Pirates of the Caribbean ride, replacing - for example - pirates chasing women with them chasing the food the women carried and then with women chasing the food-stealing pirates.
  • Bright Castle: The iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle in the "Magic Kingdom" parks.
  • Call An Employee A Cast Member/Insistent Terminology: Just one of many show-biz terms used to set park operations apart from a typical business. Note that this applies to all Disney employees, even those who work thousands of miles away from the parks.
  • Bulungi: The hub of the African portion of Animal Kingdom is set in the town of Harambe, in the fictional nation of East Africa, which judging by a bench received independence in 1961.
  • California Doubling: Often the Florida parks are advertised with footage from Disneyland Resort. This has only become more common with the homogenous "Disney Parks" branding.
  • The Cameo: The current version of "it's a small world" includes "small world" versions of Disney characters in the corresponding areas. Some are really obvious (Ariel and Lilo and Stitch in the tropical area, The Three Caballeros in South America), some not so much (you specifically have to be looking to find Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying way overhead in Europe, and it may take a minute to realize some of the jungle's animals are Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon).
  • Captain Obvious: The narrator of the extinct semi-educational ride Adventure thru Inner Space gave a few gems such as:

(while the car is surrounded by giant snowflakes) "These are snowflakes!"
"And yet this wall of ice only seems smooth and solid. From this tiny perspective, I can see that nothing is solid, no matter how it appears!"
"Yes... these are water molecules! H2O... Two hydrogen atoms bonded to a single oxygen atom."

    • Justified in that the voice-over we heard was supposed to be his stream of consciousness from the first time he underwent the voyage.
    • Parodied on The Jungle Cruise.

Skipper: And now I'd like to point out some of my favorite plants here to you. (points at random plants without saying anything)

Note That the Magic Kingdom at Disney World has a truly massive underground tunnel system, partially designed to help protect any guest to the park.

  • Death Mountain: Big Thunder Mountain, the Matterhorn, and Expedition Everest's Forbidden Mountain fit the role pretty well.
  • Dem Bones: Found in Pirates of the Caribbean. Cheerier skeletal characters are in both versions of the Mexico pavilion's boat ride in a Day of the Dead scene.
  • Development Hell: We've been teased one or more new "countries" for World Showcase for decades now. Additionally, there were plans to add a Mt. Fugi-themed rollercoaster to the Japan area for a very long time. The idea finally got off the ground (sorta) in the form of Expedition Everest.
    • The Haunted Mansion took 18 years from first concept sketch (1951) to actually opening (1969), entering this state several times.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Some straight from the movies, and some unique to the parks.
    • The Heffalump and Woozle room on the Winnie the Pooh ride.
    • Pretty much what World of Color is. Even with the deletion of the Alice sequence.
    • Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (RIP) takes you through HELL. Literally.
    • And then, there was Magic Journeys...
  • Disneyfication: Disney did this to one of their own attractions: The Sinbad ride at Tokyo Disney Sea, which went from a rousing adventure in a Mary Blair-esque visual style to a musical that took out all the danger in Sinbad's adventures, gave him an adorable sidekick and basically went full Small World.
  • Doing It for the Art
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: General Knowledge (played by Corey Burton) from the now-gone Cranium Command show.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Disney's done this with whole rides. The Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough at Disneyland opened several years before the movie, It's Tough to be a Bug opened a few months before A Bugs Life, and Countdown to Extinction featured Aladar and the Carnotaurus from Dinosaur about two years before the movie came and the attraction was renamed for the movie (though they have nothing in common, otherwise).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending In the old Tokyo Disney Sea show 'Over the Waves' The Main characters, Tonio and Maria seem to get this.
  • Easter Egg: Entire books have been written about the so-called Hidden Mickeys, inconspicuous images of Mickey Mouse or his silhouette placed in various unexpected locations around the parks. It is also very common, when one attraction is closed and replaced with another, for the Imagineers to include an unobtrusive tribute to the old attraction in the new one.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Dreamfinder was somewhere between here and The Obi-Wan to Figment until the attraction was updated to remove him.
  • Egopolis: Does this trope REALLY need explaination? The ENTIRE theme parks are smothered with Walt Disney's likeness, including the name!
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: At Walt Disney World, certain landmarks from the four parks are used to represent them: Cinderella Castle for the Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth for EPCOT, the Sorceror Mickey hat for Disney Hollywood Studios, and the Tree of Life for Animal Kingdom.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: There's a lot going on behind the scenes.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Probably the only reason EPCOT's Universe of Energy has a massive Dinosaur sequence, which itself was based on Disneyland's Primeval World diorama that serves as the finale for the Disneyland Railroad.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: They were all over the place, especially shows and parades, even before the Disney Princess line started.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: "it's a small world" contains a very high ratio of glitter to total surface area. Many of the parade and stage show costumes ramp up the glitter quotient as well. And then, there's the Bibbity-Bobbity Boutique...
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Teacups ride, based on Alice in Wonderland, is all about spinning as fast as people can go.
  • Evil Elevator: The Tower of Terror, of course.
  • Executive Meddling: Very prevalent in the late Eisner-era, like so many other things at Disney. Shut down the Subs for the first time, the entire fiasco surrounding Journey into Imagination, the infamous cost-cutting that went into California Adventure, the Paris Studios park and Hong Kong Disneyland and other problems.
  • Expansion Pack - Well, Toontown and California Adventure. And well before either, New Orleans Square and Bear Country/Critter Country.
    • It's much harder to do in California specifically because they couldn't buy as much land when they started out - by the time they could have bought the land to make it mirror the Florida and other worldwide parks; third party hotels and restaurants had already gobbled it up and capitalized on it.
  • Fantastic Voyage: Body Wars. Was taken further in "Adventure Thru Inner Space", which went down to an atomic scale.
  • Fantasy Ghetto: Averted in that classic fantasy aspects are a major part of the parks - Fantasyland is even front and center in the Magic Kingdom-style ones. Affirmed in that, more than ever, the fantasy aspects are almost all fairy-tale princesses and, well, fairies; intended to appeal to young girls. You want stuff like knights, sorcerers, or dragons; you're pretty much out of luck. Supposedly part of the major expansion to Florida's Fantasyland is intended to fix this.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Several examples:
    • The giant cobra on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland (named, in fact, Fluffy)
    • Harold the Yeti on the Matterhorn.
    • Bucky, the fire-breathing dragon in Fantasmic!
      • And now the new model is called Murphy—actually a reference to the many problems it experienced when it was first unveiled, but still a cutesy name for something that can spit a plume of fire 20 feet long
    • Space Mountain has been given a temporary overlay for Halloween, called "Ghost Galaxy." Its star is the charming fellow seen in the background here. His name is Bob.
  • Frivolous Lawsuit: Too many to count; hardly any are successful. A lot of people only saw the Theme Park Version of law... so as a result they thought they could sue for absolutely trivial things. One of the more hilarious ones is a woman who claimed to have gained 50 pounds after The Three Little Pigs apparently fondled and harassed her - the charge was dropped when the costumes were found to have had inoperable stub-arms.
  • Fun with Acronyms: EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow (Walt's intention for the site, but after his death the company reworked the idea into a World's Fair-style theme park). There of course have been jokes about other things it could stand for, like "Every Person Comes Out Tired".
    • Among Cast Members it's "Employee Paychecks Cut On Thursday"
    • The boat operator on a recent trip gave this gem: "Experimental Polyester Costumes Of Torture"
  • Gang Plank Galleon: Pirates of the Caribbean.
    • With Bubblegloop Swamp in the form of the Blue Bayou portion in California, Tokyo and Paris.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: In the vein of the original movie, the Aladdin stage show keeps its pop-culture references up to date.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Anette's Diner in Disneyland Paris, every once in a while the waiting staff jumps on the counter and dances to Greased Lightnin'. It's the uncensored version which says "pussy wagon".
  • Ghost in the Machine: Cranium Command's premise
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The "plot" of several thrill rides.
    • Before Great Moments with Mr Lincoln was opened, Disney's demonstrated their new animatronic technology to a group of Illinois government officials. They were not amused when the Lincoln figure broke down and started leaking red hydraulic fluid from its head. From then on all figures were switched to blue fluid.
  • Green Aesop: Contained in EPCOT's The Land pavilion and almost the entirety of the Animal Kingdom park.
    • During the 1970s, the burning cabin on Tom Sawyer Island was changed to fake fire as people complained it wasted energy. The actual energy was trivial compared to Disneyland as a whole, of course.
  • Guide Dang It: Some of the Hidden Mickies are in very hidden locations. How do people find these without a guide?
  • Hell Hotel: The Tower of Terror.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Patrick Warburton plays a chief flight attendant in the pre-flight videos on Soarin' over California.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Several. Troy McClure and |Mr. Potato Head as the talent agents at The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management, Lumiere as Pierre in the same attraction, Paul Reubens as Rex in the Star Tours ride, Robin Williams in The Timekeeper. Thurl Ravenscroft also provided his voice for many of the rides. In fact, he's that singing bust everyone mistakes for Walt Disney.
  • Hub Level: In the Magic Kingdom parks, the Central Plaza at the end of Main Street is a real-life example and possible Trope Maker.
  • Hula and Luaus: The Enchanted Tiki Room and Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort. Also the long gone Tahitian Terrace at Disneyland.
    • There's apparently going to be a Disney resort in Hawaii.
      • Which has the unexpected positive side effect of both raising the value of Mariott's timeshare next door, and giving Mariott more business. See, the timeshare units cost about the same. Disney's are smaller, though.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Happens with glorious frequency on the Jungle Cruise.

"And here we see the back side of Schweitzer Falls, named after the back side of the famous explorer, Dr. Albert Falls."

    • Also noticeable in the Aladdin-based stage production in California Adventure.
    • Not to mention the extinct Kitchen Cabaret / Food Rocks show at The Land pavilion.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: A Bug's Land, a part of California Adventure themed to the movie A Bugs Life, is built to make guests feel bug-sized, with giant shamrocks, benches made of popsicle sticks, and restrooms disguised as a giant box of tissues. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids became the basis for a playground/set walk-through (Hollywood Studios) and the 3D show Honey, I Shrunk the Audience (EPCOT/Disneyland/Disneyland Paris/Tokyo Disneyland). Before all of these, however, the trope was taken to the maximum possible severity in the long-gone Disneyland ride Adventure Thru Inner Space, in which riders were "shrunk" small enough to travel inside an atom.
  • Indian Burial Ground: Combined with Never Say "Die" in some versions of Big Thunder Mountain. There's a curse on the mountain due to it being a "sacred place" to the natives.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Disney World's Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management). The new management? Iago and Zazu.
    • The Tokyo version is invaded by Stitch.
    • Fantasmic! is an even better example, with several Disney Villains from various films attempting to attack Mickey Mouse via his dreams, and a few good guys helping him out.
    • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, an interactive game hosted by Merlin that sends guests around the Magic Kingdom park to battle the various Disney villains that are working together.
  • Inverted Trope: While normally the scenery would attempt to be as believable as possible, the (real) restaurant opposite of the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride, The Blue Bayou, could easily be mistaken as part of the scenery.
  • Invisible Backup Band: Sonny Eclipse's Space Angels at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe
  • It Will Never Catch On: A running gag in the current version of Carousel of Progress, thanks to its Technology Marches On plot.
    • Also, people once said this about Disneyland, back when Walt was trying to get funding to build it. They couldn't have been more wrong.
  • Jungle Japes: A major portion of Adventureland and Animal Kingdom.
  • Large Ham: The costumed characters often make exaggerated gestures and do goofy things.
  • Legion of Doom: Walt Disney World currently has the villains in a "Halloween Villain Mix and Mingle." Maleficent and Captain Hook seem to be an item (?!), and Frollo is there again, dancing. Hey, Frollo! I thought you didn't enjoy these kinds of festivals?!
  • Light Gun Game: Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters and Toy Story Midway Mania are theme park ride versions of this.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Well of course. Some of them, including Doug, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, and Power Rangers, have become subject to Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
  • Mad Scientist: The Timekeeper starred a robotic one voiced by Robin Williams.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Shows up in the current version of Spaceship Earth at the start of the descent. This probably wasn't meant to be unnerving but...
  • Meaningful Name: The two talent agents from The Enchanted Tiki Room: Under New Management are named William and Morris.
    • And pretty much any other character in the park who isn't from a pre-existing Disney movie or TV show is named meaningfully or punnily.
  • Mega Corp: An intergalactic one in the form of X-S Tech in the now-gone Alien Encounter attraction at Magic Kingdom.
    • Disney itself falls into this with the amount of power that they wield at Disney World. Just look up "Reedy Creek Improvement District" and be astounded at the amount of power that the state of Florida gave Disney for its operations there. There's a reason why snarky Floridians call it "America's Vatican".
    • Root of All Evil declared Disney to be more evil then SCIENTOLOGY. Well, it is a whole lot bigger, wealthier, and influential, and thankfully hasn't caused anyone's death. On purpose. That we know of.
  • Merchandise-Driven: If it's a popular movie or other Disney property that sells a lot of merchandise, odds are you can expect to see an attraction based on it—if not now, then certainly in the near future. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is hotly debated.
    • Every ride built for the last several decades ends by dumping you right into the gift shop for that attraction.
      • And some are being actively remodeled so that they will dump guests into a gift shop. It's a Small World is, at the time of writing.
  • Minecart Madness: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • Mood Whiplash: The "Celebrate a Dream Come True" used to have a villain float where they talked about their dreams coming true.
    • Also happens in Snow White's Scary Adventures. The Disneyland version cuts immediately from the witch falling off a cliff to a giant storybook reading, "...and they all lived Happily Ever After."
  • Ms. Fanservice: Some of the female parade dancers wear pretty short skirts for being in a Disney Theme Park. Especially the dancers on some of the parades in Europe.
  • Multiple Choice Past: As noted below, the burning shack on Tom Sawyer's Island.
  • Mythology Gag: Increased a lot after the original park hit 40 years or so, especially as so many rides have gone away. It's not uncommon to see a nod to Horizons around today's EPCOT, an attraction which itself had a Continuity Nod to Carousel of Progress.
  • Nice Guy: Practically a prerequisite for working in a Disney park. It's incredibly hard to find someone working there who doesn't genuinely enjoy doing their job (or at least do a decent job of acting like it), from the costumed characters to the guys who walk around with brooms and dustpans who keep the place obsessively clean.
    • This is a big part of Disney's corprate policy.
      • It should be noted that they certainly don't get paid extra to smile.
  • Nice Hat: Mainly (but not exclusively) the iconic mouse ears. It started with the classic Mouseketeer style and exploded from there. You can get one for practically any conceivable occasion or character now.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The Pirate Zombie Robot part, anyway—audio-animatronic pirate skeletons on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
  • Noble Savage and The Savage Indian: Disneyland capitalized on the popularity of The Western with a full-blown Indian Village in the early days. Tom Sawyer Island featured a burning cabin and arrow-studded settler. As attitudes changed, the Indian Village closed in the 1970s and the burning cabin went through a series of new back stories—river pirates, a moonshiner accident, and finally a careless settler endangering an eagle nest (seriously). The fire is finally out and the cabin is just a cabin.
    • Furthermore, you hear the narrator of the Railway train ride tour blabber on and on about "the spirit of Pocahontas" as you pass through the remains of the Indian Village.
  • Official Cosplay Gear: One of the many things available as souvenirs.
  • Old Shame: Splash Mountain is based upon Song of the South, a movie they otherwise don't like talking about. Rumor has it, however, is that people who are hired as Cast Members on the ride are shown the movie during training.
    • As the parks have aged, Disney has begun talking more and more openly about old rides that didn't quite work out or simply didn't last for very long, such as Flying Saucers or the Viewliner, respectively. But certain attractions, such as the opening year's circus or the more recent Rocket Rods will only ever be acknowledged once every blue moon.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Dreamfinder played one in the Tales of Terror sequence of the original Journey Into Imagination. And don't forget the atmospheric music in the Haunted Mansion.
  • Oracular Head: Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion. Also the Shrunken Ned fortune telling machine at Disneyland's Adventureland.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The Haunted Mansion's spirits are said to be from all over the world, with the Mansion itself serving as a supernatural boarding house/retirement center. But in the Tower of Terror, the ghosts seem to be permanently stuck in the hotel as a result of the elevator accident. Then in Phantom Manor, we've got the ghostly villain taking on three forms throughout while tormenting the bride into old age.
    • In fairness, Tower of Terror (at the U.S. parks) is based on an intellectual property that Disney had to license, so discrepancies could arise from that situation.
  • Oven Logic: In the last part of the current version of Carousel of Progress. It wasn't intentional. The oven was programmed to automatically set the temperature if it hears numbers spoken aloud (that's one hell of a design flaw) and the father was talking about the Grandmother's score in a video game.
  • Pantomime Animal: Cast members in character costumes who roam the parks. (This doesn't include "face characters", like Alice or Snow White.)
  • Parental Bonus: Disneyland has (or at least had) a few areas where parents could take a breather and enjoy some relatively tasteful atmosphere and fine dining, complete with (gasp!) alcoholic drinks. Oh, and the Submarine Lagoon used to have comely Mermaids in there to wave and smile at passing men. There also used to be a working Pharmacy and a shop selling women's underclothes.
    • While Disney World's Magic Kingdom has a very, very strict "no alcohol, EVER" policy, said policy does not extend to the non-Magic Kingdom parks. As a matter of fact, "Drinking Around the World" (guests attempt to try the signature alcoholic beverage of each country in World Showcase) is a popular extra-curricular activity for some guests. They'll even would let you bring a margarita on Mexico's El Rio del Tiempo until it closed in 2007.
    • As for Disneyland, you'll probably have to head for California Adventure, unless if you're lucky enough to have a membership in the uber-exclusive Club 33. There, you'll find the more complete bar in any Disney Park.
    • Animal Kingdom has its own beer
    • In the Aladdin play, Genie's lines.
  • Parody Retcon: The Jungle Cruise was supposed to be an African safari ride, with animatronics replacing the inconvenient live animals. Nobody took it seriously, so Disney switched to the Played for Laughs version we have today.
  • Politically-Correct History: Pretty much any attraction with a historical setting, although Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hall of Presidents are major offenders. Upper management seems to think that people don't come to theme parks to be disturbed or have their consciences bothered, and they're probably right.
    • POTC is noticeable for once containing scenes that were considered less politically correct (pirates chasing wenches, a naked girl hiding in a barrel) that have since been replaced by "family friendly" versions (women chasing pirates away with brooms, Jack Sparrow hiding in a barrel).
    • Averted with the now-defunct Golden Dreams in California Adventure. The show didn't pull any punches regarding the treatment of native Indians by the conquistadors, the dangerous circumstances under which Chinese railroad laborers had to work during the Gold Rush, the overt racism against the Japanese (especially "picture brides") during the early part of the 20th century, or the hardship and borderline hostility towards migrants from Oklahoma and Arkansas during the Dust Bowl. (It often played to near-empty houses and has been closed and replaced by a dark ride themed to The Little Mermaid.) Golden Dreams was intended as the Spiritual Successor to Epcot's still-running The American Adventure, a retrospective on U.S. history through World War II that does take a few moments to point out that women, blacks, and Native Americans often got the short end of the stick compared to white males.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: The Enchanted Tiki Room.
  • Prop Recycling: Various animatronics from closed rides. Dozens and dozens of America Sings characters were moved to Splash Mountain, and various bits of World of Motion have shown up in everything from Pirates to just hanging around the California Adventure backlot section for atmosphere.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Star Tours 2.0
  • Rattling Off Legal: Parodied in Star Tours 2.0, where the disclaimer for all the astronomical incidents the agency will not cover lasts for almost half a minute. It is the Evil Empire 's reign, after all...
  • Raygun Gothic: Tomorrowland at Walt Disney World. Tomorrowland at Disneyland ("updated" in the 90s to wild indifference) and Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris are more Steampunk.
  • Retraux: The 2008 Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough at Disneyland uses all kinds of special effects to recreate a mid-50s attraction. Meanwhile, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln utilizes audio from a 1964 World's Fair exhibit with an advanced audio-animatronic.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Dreamseekers from Tapestry of Dreams
  • Ribcage Ridge: The T-Rex skeleton at Big Thunder Mountain
  • Right on Queue: The lines at especially popular attractions range into the truly absurd, especially for newer rides. Various methods have been attempted to combat this, like adding interesting things to look at during the wait including puzzles (The Indiana Jones ride has old hieroglyphs you can decode), short films that help set up the plot, and finally the Fast Pass system.
    • The longest ride queue to date occurred in Walt Disney World Christmas day (one of the busiest days for the park) in 2009, when one of the theaters for Soarin' Over California broke down. The resulting line from fans of the ride soon grew to SEVEN HOURS! For those keeping score at home, a flight from Orlando International Airport to LAX is only five hours.
      • Hard mode: leave the end of the broken-down Soarin' line in Florida, hop on a real plane to LAX and arrive in Anaheim to get in line for their Soarin' Over California before you would've gotten to go on the Florida version.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Well, what else would you call the costumed versions of Mickey, Minnie, etc?
  • Scenery Porn: No shit! Some look very artificial... but many of the resorts and rides are very Scenery Porn. Special mention goes to Storybook Land in Anaheim - Those plants you see in there? There's a good reason they look so realistic - they are real.
    • Also, there are herbs growing throughout the parks in Anaheim, but there's a lot in Tomorrowland. There are herbs growing such as lavender, sage, and basil; fruits such as bananas, grapes, pomegranate, and oranges, and even peppers and coffee beans. All selected based on an "Agrifuture" concept for the area's landscaping.
    • In the Animal Kingdom park, the designers even made sure the streetlights and power poles looked correct for the regions of the world the park sections represent. And the entry rainforest contains plants from every continent.
  • Script Wank: Ellen's Energy Adventure. The original Universe of Energy spent a lot of time discussing alternate energy sources, such as the solar panels on the attraction itself. The new version may well be titled "I love fossil fuels".
  • Serious Business: Ah, pin trading... Just to name one thing.
  • Sigil Spam: The Mickey symbol is everywhere.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Matterhorn, Expedition Everest and the Blizzard Beach water park.
  • Souvenir Land: Parodied by Chester and Hester's Dino-Rama, though the area itself would grow to be hated by park fans.
  • The Starscream: The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game shakes things up and has Maleficent play this part to Hades, who serves as the Big Bad. Jafar and Ursula are also trying to take the Crystal of the Magic Kingdom pieces for themselves or shake off Hades' leadership.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Mostly in shows, and not just fireworks displays.
  • Take That Us: The park staff often makes pot shots to "It's a Small World After All".
  • The Talk - Yes, "The Making of Me" was real. While this site does not include the film, it does have a photo of the hilarious disclaimer outside the theater. Still to be answered: Is the middle of an already overstimulating Disney World vacation really the best time to have this subject brought up; possibly for the first time for some kids? That said, Martin Short actually handled it pretty well.
  • Temple of Doom: The Indiana Jones attractions. At Disney Sea, it's complimented by the Raging Spirits coaster.
  • Thememobile: The Disney Stars and Motorcars parade at Disney-Hollywood Studios featured popular Disney characters (and characters licensed by Disney for the parks) riding in themed cars.
  • Theme Park Version - Trope Maker. The characters were already Theme Park Version 's of the original stories, and then they go through an additional layer of this when they're actually put into the theme park...
  • This Is Sparta: The Back. Side. Of. Water!
  • Title Drop: Tower of Terror, Sounds Dangerous.
  • Toon Town: One inspired by the Trope Namer, no less.
  • Toy Time: Both Toy Story Midway Mania and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin/Astro Blasters'.
    • As well as Hong Kong Disneyland's new themed world, Toy Story Land, which will open in November 2011.
  • Tron Lines: They're going to be everywhere in the 2012 redo of Test Track.
  • Under the Sea: The Submarine rides, the Finding Nemo attractions and The Little Mermaid dark rides.
  • Updated Rerelease: Quite a few rides have been altered over the years. Although whether or not this is a good thing is up to debate, most have just received technical upgrades.
    • This also helps keep some rides from getting too old.
    • Among others, the Star Tours ride recently got retooled to include scenes from the prequels and more characters from the movie series.
  • Variable Mix: Many of the rides with iconic theme music have that music change slightly from scene to scene, utilizing different instrumentation, rhythm, and even chords to provide the right atmosphere for the visuals.
    • Many of the parades do this. For example, the Main Street Electrical Parade has a unique theme for each float, and the sound system smoothly segues between them as the floats move down the route.
  • Villain Song: The Hallowishes show.
    • "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)"
  • The Wild West: Frontierland (and Westernland at Tokyo Disneyland).
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: The backside of water at the Jungle Cruise.
  • What Could Have Been: Quite a lot of unused concepts for attractions come up online. Have a look. and also Look Here
    • According to the Haunted Mansion anniversary issue of Disney's "Twenty Four" magazine, plans were made and eventually scrapped for an indoor, perpetual-twilight (think Blue Bayou/Pirates Of The Caribbean) Disney park featuring at the end of their Main Street USA equivalent, not the familiar princess castle, but the Haunted Mansion on a hill. Crowning Hub Of Awesome!
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: This exact phrase is used in the recorded narration for the Sailing Ship Columbia attraction (a full-scale replica of the historical ship)
  • World Tree: The Tree of Life, the centerpiece of Disney's Animal Kingdom.
    • The "Tree of Technology" in Anaheim's Innoventions attraction also seems to have a bit of this vibe.
  • Writer Revolt: Done on the occasions when Imagineers are forced to tear down a ride to build a new one. They'll often sneak in a Shout-Out to the original version.
  • X Days Since...: Used in the exit to Stitch's Great Escape.
  • Zeerust: Tomorrowland and EPCOT settled on this as a result of the problems of Twenty Minutes Into the Future.
    • The former was originally how people in 1955 thought people would be living in 1980; the latter, how people in 1982 thought people would be living in 2000.
    • Actually discussed and then reconstructed in the old attraction Horizons, which reminisced about some visions of the future that were off the mark, then goes ahead and made some slightly less absurd (at the time) predictions of its own.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Dreamfinder's Cool Ship was one of these.

Notes

  1. The original, River Country opened in 1976 but eventually became very outdated compared to its sister parks and closed permanently in 2001
  2. Imagineers call such visual magnets "weenies." Really.