Did You Know?

FUN FACTS ABOUT WDW ROCKS

WDW Magazine - - Contents - BY TERRI MILLER

Did you know… Pan­dora's float­ing moun­tain is the only fully formed "rock" that you can walk com­pletely around and un­der­neath? All other rock-for­ma­tions found at Walt Dis­ney World aren’t fully formed—why com­plete the back­side of a rock or moun­tain if no one can see it? Here are some fun trivia facts about rocks at Walt Dis­ney World… Who knew that rocks could be so fun?!

The rock for­ma­tions of Big Thun­der Moun­tain Rail­road are man-made but were formed to look just like the real-life beauty of Ari­zona’s Mon­u­ment Val­ley. Imag­i­neers took great pains to make it seem that the rail­way was formed within and around the moun­tain, rather than look­ing like the rock was formed around the rails.

Big Thun­der Moun­tain takes up 2.5 acres of prime Magic King­dom prop­erty in Walt Dis­ney World, which in­ci­den­tally is 25% larger than its coun­ter­part at Dis­ney­land. To make the rocks look re­al­is­tic, work­ers used 6,500 tons of steel beams, rods and mesh, 4,675 tons of con­crete, 90,000 gal­lons of wa­ter, and 4,000 gal­lons of desert paint.

The "rocks" of Splash Moun­tain were de­signed by sculpt­ing them in foam. A so­phis­ti­cated com­puter pro­gram plot­ted points on the scale model of the "rocks," thus en­ter­ing them into the com­puter. From that, these points were loaded on a ma­chine that bent the sup­port­ing re­bar to the ex­act, or­ganic form of the scale model. Over the re­bar, welded wire mesh was at­tached onto which, gu­nite (a sprayable con­crete) was ad­hered.

Shades of Green has it’s own ar­ti­fi­cial rock for­ma­tion. Atop this rock for­ma­tion stand the flags of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard—flap­ping in the breeze, hon­or­ing our mil­i­tary mem­bers!

There is a Hid­den Mickey lo­cated in the rock for­ma­tion called, “Fire Rock Geyser” at Dis­ney’s Wilder­ness Lodge. Look for it in the run-off area!

Want to find a Steam­boat Wil­lie Hid­den Mickey? This hid­den Mickey is not only hid­den, it’s also a 3D Steam­boat Wil­lie Mickey from one of Walt Dis­ney’s ear­li­est car­toons—lo­cated as you exit Un­der the Sea: Voy­age of the Lit­tle Mer­maid, Imag­i­neers carved a dis­torted in­ter­pre­ta­tion of this iconic fig­ure into the rocks!

For­bid­den Moun­tain houses the Yeti of Ex­pe­di­tion Ever­est. Did you know this man-made moun­tain stands 199-feet tall, and was cre­ated us­ing 5,000 tons of struc­tural steel and 10,000 tons of con­crete?!

As you stand on top of Mount Gush­more at Dis­ney’s Bl­iz­zard Beach, you can see the back­side of For­bid­den Moun­tain, and there’s some­thing a lit­tle eye-catch­ing—you may no­tice that the moun­tain isn’t fully formed!

Mount Gush­more for­merly in­cluded a rock climb­ing wall at­trac­tion; this has, how­ever, been non-op­er­a­tional for a num­ber of years, due to safety and staffing con­sid­er­a­tions.

Are there any real rocks at Walt Dis­ney World? Other than gravel found near the beaches or used within land­scap­ing, it’s tough to find any real large rocks! But Dis­ney de­tails their rock for­ma­tions to look so real, even the lions are fooled. Did you know that the lions that you can see on Kil­i­man­jaro Sa­faris orig­i­nally came from Ore­gon and had a hard time ad­just­ing to the Florida heat? The Imag­i­neers de­cided to in­stall air con­di­tion­ing around the lions’ promon­tory to make it eas­ier for them—this is why you of­ten see them loung­ing on the large rocks!

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