Friday, April 18, 2014

the magic underground kingdom

Earlier this week, I posted about a conference in Tallinn, with a photo of the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. It seemed perfect to follow up that post with a picture of another building, with at least some visual similarities: Cindarella's Castle. Why? Because I have recently discovered something you may already have known about, a secret world underneath a magic one: Magic Kingdom's underground tunnels, including, of course, a pneumatic tube system.

I remember going to Disneyland when I was young, finding out it was a small world after all, riding the monorail, seeing my first 3D film, and waving glow-in-the-dark sticks with my sister during the night parade. It was an amazing holiday and my whole family had a ball. Little did we know though that the fantastical themepark had a major flaw which bugged Walt for years: cast members had to walk through one themed area, to get to another themed area, in costume, to get to and from work, looking all out of place! Disney wanted to fix this with the Florida themepark so he designed the Tunnel system:

According to blogger Steve, a long fan of Disney World who worked there for three years, the tunnel was a hive of activity, with cast members walking along, electric carts, maintenance workers on bicycles and much more. Overhead was all the electrical wiring and plumbing. And the pneumatic tube system, otherwise known as the Avac system.

The Avac system is a garbage system. Trash is picked up from Disneyworld by workers on the ground and dropped into bins which are connected to tubes. Every 20 minutes the Avac system "fires" and the trash is pushed through the large tubes with compressed air, through the whole tunnel to another collection area where garbage trucks pick it up. Apparently if you are standing in the tunnel "it sounds as if a tornado is quickly approaching, then passes you by".

Magical trash disposal! From Tomorrowland to the tip. For those as fascinated by this system and those underground tunnels as me, you are in luck. There is a walking tour which spends some time in the tunnel, something to book for your next trip to Magic Kingdom (but not for those under 16 - apparently according to Hidden Mickeys, "because it would bother children, seeing two Goofys passing each other, Mickey without a head, seeing Minnie eating with Snow White, and ruin the magic". In the meantime, for those who can't make it on the tour and aren't too afraid by what they may see, here is a link to a video of the underground.

Creative Commons image of Cindarella's Castle from Matt Wade photography, via Wikipedia. Other images from, where much material for this blogpost was also sourced, as well as from HiddenMickeys.

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