Exploring the Secret Underground City of the Disney World Utilidors (2024)

No Disney World Secret comes with as much mystery and allure as the Disney World utilidors located in—or rather under—the entire Magic Kingdom park. Besides being a great source of mystery and rumors, the utilidors serve many functional purposes that help the park run smoothly while maintaining the magic.

Is There a Secret Disney World Underground?

Underground at Disney World are the vast tunnels and mazes of the Disney utilidors. The utilidors were constructed after Walt saw a Disneyland Frontierland Cowboy moving through Tomorrowland during his route to work. Walt was all about maintaining the illusion and magic, and an old timey cowboy in the future ruined that illusion.

When Walt was planning Magic Kingdom in Florida, he came up with an idea to maintain the illusion of each themed land while helping staff and materials make their way around the park. The utilidors were constructed in a large circle underneath every land located within the park, with a section going through the middle and directly underneath the castle.

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Contrary to popular belief though, the famous Disney World underground tunnels are not even underground. The Disney World utilidors are at ground level, while the rest of the park is at the first or second story level.

The local water table is too high for anything to be built underground in the park. To combat this, and still have the necessary Disney tunnels, dirt from the lake/ lagoon excavation was built up to build the entire Magic Kingdom Park.

When you disembark from the buses or boats, you will find yourself walking up a slight incline to the entrance. The entrance is the second story of Magic Kingdom. As you make your way down Main Street, towards Cinderella’s Castle, you are very slowly making your way from the second story to the third. The castle is raised up to make it appear even larger from the entrance.

What Happens in the Disney Utilidors?

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The Disney World utilidors operate as a mini city and facilitate every hidden service that needs to take place for the Magic Kingdom to run. The biggest function of the utilidors is to serve employee needs, well out of sight of guests.

Down in the 9 acres of Disney World utilidors, an elevator brings materials and cast members from the ground level to the castle. The main Disney World utilidor entrance is located behind Fantasyland, where all cast members begin their shift. Buses transport cast members from the employee parking lot to the utilidors and back.The other entrances to the utilidors (which will be explained below,) are mainly accessed by stairwells hidden throughout the park.

Inside the Disney tunnels are employee services and accommodations such as a cafeteria, lockers, break rooms, restrooms, and a rumored Subway restaurant. Disney even brings in shopping vendors to entertain the employees. Holiday parties, complete with DJs also happen right underneath guests’ feet.

Additionally, there are rooms for makeup, costumes, and warm-up and practice rooms for performers. Cast members often walk through the Disney World Utilidors with costumes in large black, rolling suitcases to the prep rooms.

Cast members who perform, or portray characters are responsible for checking out their costumes for the day and readying themselves for each role. For example, anyone performing as Cinderella is responsible for knowing and applying their own makeup and wigs. All face characters must wear wigs, even if their hair is already the correct color. This ensures that the character looks the same no matter who is playing the role.

All costumes must be returned prior to the end of the cast member’s shift to ensure costume integrity. All cast members must also go through rigorous training to portray different characters, and much of this happens right inside the utilidors.

Aside from employee uses, the Disney World utilidors serve as something of an underground warehouse. All deliveries for the Magic Kingdom take place in these Disney World underground tunnels. Throughout the tunnels, small electric vehicles zip around, full of supplies and materials that are needed throughout the park. No gas fired vehicles are allowed inside the tunnels to help keep the air quality high.

With the number of guests that the Magic Kingdom brings in, you can probably imagine how much trash goes out. Managing trash inside such a large park can be a chore. But the Disney World utilidors make it much easier. Lining the walls off the tunnels are large pipes which act as a vacuum to carry trash bags through the park and to the trash compactor.

The last, and possibly most crucial thing that happens inside the Disney World utilidors, is the DACS, or engineering room. The Digital Animation Control System, (DACS) controls and coordinates all the audio and timing for the audio animatronics inside the entire park. Inside the engineering room are also controls for the lighting, music, and parades.

Why are the Disney Utilidors So Secret?

Disney always has been and always will be about the show of things. The biggest part of the Disney experience is the theming and the illusion. Without those pieces, it becomes just a regular amusem*nt park, rather than an experience.

To extend the magic, Disney World theming requires costumes for every employee. Rather than one basic Disney uniform, however, employees are dressed based on their location inside the parks.

Every land inside the park has a different theme, and different employee uniforms. In fact, many shops and rides even have their own uniforms to help with the illusion. The utilidors help to preserve this magic by providing a way for cast members to move between lands without being seen by guests. Imagine a Haunted Mansion employee making their way past Cinderella’s Carouse. That would be a little too spooky!

In addition to that, the utilidors provide a place for character actors to get ready for their performances. Imagine how jarring it would be to see Winnie the Pooh with his head missing, especially for little ones.

The utilidors are kept secret to keep the illusion a secret. They are also kept a secret to give employees privacy when they relax and come out of character.

Is there a Disney World Utilidors Tour?

The answer is, yes! The Disney World Keys to the Kingdom Tour starts outside of the utilidors and gives glimpses into many secrets and backstage areas before descending into the Disney World tunnels. The tour covers Disney history, details about the park and Walt, as well as little known facts about popular rides for the first half.

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Once the Disney World utilidor tour enters the backstage area, no cameras are allowed, period. First you explore the backstage area above ground behind Splash Mountain. Here, the trash compactor is located as well as the parade float storage. After, you will head through a door in a Fantasyland shop to one of the Disney World Utilidor entrances and descend a stairway to the tunnels.

Inside the tunnels, your guide will walk you past many of the rooms, such as the engineering room, the costume room, and more while explaining what cast members do inside the utilidors. We also got to see the main entrance from the inside, the trash tubes, and where the elevator to Cinderella’s Castle is.

Where do the Disney World Utilidors Go?

The utilidors technically begin behind Fantasyland in the backstage area. Here, employees access the tunnels, and deliveries take place. From here, the tunnels create a circle, going underneath Liberty Square, then Frontierland, Adventureland, and to Main Street USA.

A single branch also travels underneath the entrance on Main St USA. The tunnels then go either in a straight line, down Main Street and under the castle, back to the main entrance, or continue in a circle underneath Tomorrowland and back.

Color coded lines on the walls of the Disney World utilidors guide cast members so they always know where they are. Each land has at least one entrance into the utilidors.

Disney World Utilidor Map

Below you will find an approximate Disney World utilidor map. No official map has been released, so this is my recreation based off of available information. Parts, or all of it may not be to scale.

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Exploring the Secret Underground City of the Disney World Utilidors (2024)
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