This is why you never see mosquitoes at Disney World

While you’re strolling around Disney World on a hot day, debating which ride to check out next and munching one of these delicious foods you must try at Disney, chances are you’re not swatting away mosquitoes. You might take it for granted—of course, there are no pesky blood-sucking bugs in the Most Magical Place on Earth. But then when you start to think more about it, it gets perplexing. Disney World is in Florida, after all, a hot state filled with swampland. In fact, the area where the park is used to be nothing but swampland! So how is Disney World virtually mosquito-free?

Well, there’s no miraculous Disney-magic method that completely eliminates all bugs. Some bugs do still make it into the park because no technique can be 100 percent effective. But, by combining a few different methods of pest control, Disney can create a mostly pest-free park in the middle of swamp country. And most of the park’s pest control methods trace back to one man.

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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019
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11 new things to do at Disney in 2019

Mickey and Minnie's Surprise Celebration

Open: January 18, 2019 through September 30, 2019

Join Disney's Mickey and Minnie for new surprises in the Magic Kingdom. Sign the Celebration Guest Book and meet the duo (in their new party outfits!) for a picture inside the Town Square Theater. Then join them outside in front of the castle for their new Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party

The new outdoor dance parade features a new song called "It's a Good Time," and classic cast members like Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Chip 'n Dale and more. 

Choreographer Cindy Wilson told the Disney Parks Blog, “The ‘Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It!’ Street Party is a throwback to the Mickey Mouse Club, with wonderful music that everybody’s going to want to get up and dance to, and it’s contemporary at the same time. I think when [the characters] all come off the floats, guests are going to want to just jump in.”

Check the entertainment schedule for run times. 

Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party

Open: January 2019

Disney is celebrating the 25th anniversary of "The Lion King" with a Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party hosted by Timon and Rafiki on Discovery Island in the Animal Kingdom.

The dance party includes music, characters and new photo ops every day from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Meet The Incredibles at Pixar Place

Open: January 2019 through September 30, 2019

At the start of 2019, Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios transformed into a Municiberg city block. The park features a party for Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone to honor their victories and a meet-and-greet with Edna Mode and her best creations. In addition, guests can look throughout Pixar Place for clues on where to find the youngest member of the Incredible family, Jack-Jack.

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy

Opening: March 31, 2019

Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy is a new show using high tech screens. Guests (rookie racers) will learn the rules of the road from "Cars" star Lightning McQueen. There will also be a new character meet-and-greet with Cruz Ramirez.

Wonderful World of Animation

Opening: May 1, 2019

The Wonderful World of Animation is a new projection light show that will take place at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The show will take guests on a journey through more than 90 years of Disney and Pixar animations with favorites including "The Incredibles," "Coco," "Sleeping Beauty" and more. 

Space 220

Opening: 2019

Epcot is opening a new space-themed restaurant called Space 220. According to Disney Food Blog, the restaurant will showcase simulate space views while guests sit in a restaurant modeled after a space station. It will seat more than 350 guests, those of which will be "transported" to the restaurant by elevators covered in digital screens that will mock a trip to space.

A job posting seeking staff for the restaurant lists April 2019 as when applicants can join the cast, so we can assume this restaurant will be open by summer. 

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge

Opening: Fall 2019

Both Disney World and Disneyland will be opening a Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. The park is being made to look like the planet of Batuu, which is a remote outpost that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes and is now a safe haven for those avoiding the First Order. 

There will be two main attractions where guests can fly the Millennium Falcon and another that puts guests in a Star Destroyer in a battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

Other fun additions will include Luke Skywalker's blue milk, a marketplace and toys, apparel and characters like BB-8 and Chewbacca. 

See more on the park's progress here

Skyliner Gondola

Opening: Fall 2019

If you like taking the monorail into the parks, you'll want to check out the new Skyliner Gondolas. Similar to a lift you'd find at a ski resort, the gondolas will take guests through two parks, offering spectacular views. 

The Skyliner Gondola will connect Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios to four hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation ResortDisney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort as well as a new resort coming in fall 2019, Disney’s Riviera Resort.

For more on the Skyliner Gondola system, see here

Disney's Riviera Resort

Opening: Fall 2019

The new Disney Riviera Resort hotel is inspired by the "grandeur of Europe." It will have transportation to the parks, a fitness center, a rooftop restaurant and wide range of room sizes.

The Riviera Pool, a family-friendly pool, will be decorated with stucco façades, a slide that winds around a column tower (pictured) and a kids interactive water play area that slightly mimics the public fountains of Europe. 

For adults seeking peace and quiet, there's a separate area called the Beau Soleil Pool. 

The Disney Riviera Resort is currently taking reservations for Dec. 16 - Dec. 31, 2019. 

Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway

Opening: 2019

While there's no set opening date yet for Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, their first ride attraction, it's set to open sometime this year. The ride will begin with guests viewing a new cartoon short with the mice getting ready for a picnic As Mickey and Minnie are leaving, they drive alongside a train where they see that Goofy is the engineer and the ride takes off from there.

There isn't a whole lot of additional information, but according to the Disney Parks Blog, "Imagineers have been hard at work creating Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, using breakthrough technology to transform a two-dimensional cartoon into an amazing real-world experience."

Epcot Forever

Opening: Fall 2019

Epcot's famous IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth nighttime lights and fireworks show is sadly ending at the end of Summer 2019, but will be temporarily replaced with a show called Epcot Forever. The new show will feature classic Epcot tunes, combining music with fireworks, lighting, lasers and special effects kites. 

Then, keep an eye out, because in 2020 Disney is gearing up to replace Epcot Forever with a new nighttime show called A Celebration of Disney Music with floating set pieces, custom-LED panels, fountains, lights, fire and lasers.

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Walt Disney meets Joe Potter

If you’ve taken the ferry from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom, you may have noticed the name “General Joe Potter” on one of the boats. MIT graduate and engineering expert Major General William “Joe” Potter met Walt Disney during the 1964 World’s Fair. Potter had previously served as governor of the Panama Canal Zone, an area ravaged by malaria-carrying mosquitoes. According to Christoper Lucas, author of Top Disney100 Top Ten Lists of the Best of Disney, this was where Potter developed his extensive knowledge of pest control as one of the engineers fighting to control the swarms. As Joe and Walt talked at the World’s Fair, the former mentioned his background in controlling mosquitoes. Walt “hired him on the spot” and put him in charge of keeping mosquitoes out of the expansive theme park Walt was planning on building in central Florida, Lucas says.

Flowing water

Disney’s methods aren’t to kill bugs but to prevent bugs from being in the park at all. So their methods target the larvae instead—they make the park a non-ideal environment for mosquitoes to live or lay their eggs. One of the ways they accomplish this is by making sure the park has no standing water—mosquitoes are attracted to still water and it’s an ideal environment for them to lay eggs. “You [need to] get rid of their breeding ground, which is standing water,” Lucas explains.

But, as you can imagine, swamps are filled with standing water. So, when Potter got to work on construction for Disney World, he immediately set about building drainage ditches to remove all of the water, converting the swampy land to buildable land. And those ditches—nicknamed “Joe’s ditches”—are still used today, to keep all of the water in Disney parks constantly moving.

“The guests usually don’t notice it…but the water is constantly flowing,” Lucas says. “Whenever you walk by a body of water, there’s usually a fountain in the middle of it, or they’re doing something to keep it flowing.” Whenever Disney prepares to build a new property, such as one of these best Disney resorts for a perfect family vacation, they buy a lot more land than the property itself requires so that they can build drainage ditches to allow them to keep the water moving.

Architecture

Disney’s buildings, too, are designed to prevent standing water from collecting. “All of the buildings are built so that water flows right off of [them],” Lucas explains. “With all the rainstorms, if water got caught on the buildings…it would form a pool, and then mosquitoes would hatch their eggs and you’d have thousands of mosquitoes.” So Disney World buildings have a certain shape that doesn’t allow water to collect. It’s something that guests would never notice but is very effective. “They made every building there curved, or designed in a way so there’d be no place for the water to catch and sit there,” Lucas says. “The architecture is really appealing to the eye, but it also serves a purpose: It makes it less conducive to mosquitoes.” See if you can spot this architecture style on your next trip to the parks to visit these things debuting in Disney in 2019.

Landscaping

Even the plants in and around the Disney World property are chosen with the intention of eliminating standing water. Plants are chosen because they won’t allow water to puddle in them. Bodies of water are kept free of plants like water lilies that mosquito larvae can hide underneath. “They also stock-fill those places with minnows, goldfish, and a type of fish called mosquito fish that eat the larvae,” Lucas explains.

Sprays—but no, not that kind

Right from the get-go, Walt Disney made it clear that he didn’t want nasty chemicals floating around his park. “[He] did not want to ruin the environment at all, so they couldn’t use pesticides,” Lucas explains. “It’d be easy to just spray the whole thing, but he wanted it to be something natural.” So, instead of pesticides, the park uses an unusual insect repellent: liquid garlic. Mosquitoes notoriously can’t stand the smell of garlic, so Disney sprays an extract around the park. “The amount that they use is so small that humans can’t smell it, but mosquitoes are very susceptible to it,” Lucas says.

It’s certainly quite the operation, but Lucas acknowledges that none of it would have been possible without Potter. “Without him, they might’ve built the place, but they’d have a problem today with mosquitoes,” he says. We’re sure glad he’s immortalized with a boat! Check out more incredible behind-the-scenes Disney tips and facts with these secrets Disney employees won’t tell you.

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The post This Is Why You Never See Mosquitoes at Disney World appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Plants that keep mosquitoes away
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Plants that keep mosquitoes away

Lemon Balm

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Catnip

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Peppermint

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Basil

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Sage and Rosemary

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Lavender

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Marigold

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Scented Geranium

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Citronella

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