Here are the most extreme security measures Disney takes to protect its parks

Ever wonder why you've never seen a plane fly over the parks? Or why none of the Disney hotel rooms have "Do Not Disturb" signs? It's all part of Disney's masterplan to keep its guests safe and comfortable. 

Disney does an excellent job of preemptively planning for any sort of disaster or danger, as well as having backup plans should anything go wrong. But what's even more impressive about Disney's extreme security measures is how most guests — if not all — don't even notice what's going on around them. It's a perfect balance of ensuring guest safety without making everyone paranoid.

From secret underground cities below the parks to the reason why the music never stops playing, Disney aims to be ahead of anything that could potentially endanger parkgoers.

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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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While some of the measures might seem over the top, Disney has the right way of thinking, and their track record supports it. An 18-month study proved that 99 percent of people at big theme parks reported feeling safer from a greater security presence — contrary to the belief that measures such as metal detectors or bag searches (which create longer lines) would deter guests from wanting to visit.

Disney has always been prepared to go to security extremes that few other parks and crowded venues have gone before, and now they're setting the standard for how other businesses — such as hotels, malls, airports, etc. — should be.

Disney parks are the happiest places on earth, and also some of the safest places. Watch the video above to find out all the hidden security measures Disney takes to keep it that way.

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8 insider secrets for the best Disney World vacation ever
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8 insider secrets for the best Disney World vacation ever

Stay on-site at a Disney hotel

Staying on site can be a timer saver, says Shani Wolf, a travel consultant specializing in Disney vacations. Not only can you use Disney’s transportation to get from park to park, purchases made in the parks can be delivered to your room and Disney’s Magical Express will transport you from Orlando International Airport to your hotel—you don’t even have to wait for your luggage. There are hotels at every price range from the budget Disney's All-Star Sports Resorts to the luxury Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

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Take advantage of early Extra Magic hours

Another advantage to staying at an on-site hotel: you’ll have access to Extra Magic Hours at select parks on certain days. Although these hours can be in the morning or evening, Tom Murray, a 20-year Disney travel expert, says that it’s best to go in the morning. “Guests have the flexibility of moving at a slower, more relaxed pace and can then save their FastPass+ reservations for later in the day when the crowds and wait times increase,” he says. Before the park opens to the general public, you’ll have already experienced Space Mountain or Rockin’ Roller Coaster (where wait times can normally exceed two hours) and can enjoy a leisurely breakfast while the masses charge at rope drop.

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Eat at unusual times

Eating your mid-day meal at 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. can pay off. Sure, you’d rather eat lunch at noon, but so would everyone else. Wolf suggests eating at non-peak times to cut down on time spent waiting in line to order your food. Here are some things you should make sure to book in advance of your Disney World trip.

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Miss a fireworks show or two

Fireworks and parades are something special at Walt Disney World, however, if you’re willing to miss one or two, Murray says show times are the best time to check out popular rides. “These are key opportunities to get in line for your favorite attractions, since most guests will be gathering to see these events,” he says.

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Don't follow the crowd

The excitement of entering Epcot or the Magic Kingdom for the first time might lead you to the closest ride right away. Of course, that’s where everyone else is headed, too. Instead, Wolf suggests walking a bit further at the beginning of the day. “Earlier in the day, it’s a good idea to start visiting the attractions in the back of the park and work your way forward,” he says.

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Book a breakfast reservation before park opening

Several restaurants inside the Magic Kingdom open an hour earlier than the park for breakfast. Some even offer character breakfasts, which Murray says can save your family time later because you’ll already have that much-needed autograph and won’t need to wait in line to meet Cinderella or Minnie Mouse. This trick works for the other parks, too. Do note, though, that reservations at popular breakfast places (like Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom) can be booked up weeks or months in advance, so it’s best to make your dining reservation as close to the allowed 180 days out as possible. (Set up an account at Disneyworld.com to make reservations.)

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Use the services of a Disney vacation consultant 

You might be used to traditional travel agents who charge fees, so here’s a surprise: “Authorized Disney vacation consultants such as myself do not charge a fee for their services,” Wolf says. “Disney makes sure I get compensated so that their guests are not out a cent.” Using an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner can save you time because they can make reservations, help with special needs, and walk you through technology like the My Disney Experience app. Check out these secret spots in Disney parks you never knew existed.

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Take a break

Your Disney vacation shouldn’t be all go, go, go. In fact, you should try to go back to your hotel for a swim or rest mid-day, Wolf says. This tip might seem counterintuitive if you really want to get the most out of your vacation, but it makes sense. Wolf says you’ll return to the parks feeling refreshed and able to stay through until closing, long after many guests have left, thus leaving rides with shorter wait times.

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