Walt Disney World Orlando Feature

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Disney Architecture

Much of Disney World's breathtaking majesty comes from its architecture and a little design trick called forced perspective, in which buildings appear taller than they actually are.

The best example of this is on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. Look very carefully at the upper floors of the shops. Together, the second and third floors take up the same amount of space as the ground floor. The buildings start at normal scale at the base but then get imperceptibly smaller toward the top to simulate that cozy hometown feeling. Forced perspective is used in Cinderella Castle, too. Notice how it gets narrower toward the towers. This trick of the eye makes it look as if the spires are soaring into the clouds.

In the Animal Kingdom, architectural scale is suppressed to allow trees to overshadow the buildings. The aim is to relay a sense of humility in the face of nature's wonders. Building height is limited to just 30 feet, whereas trees can tower well above that. But Animal Kingdom's showpiece is the centrally located 145-foot Tree of Life. It's a sculptural masterpiece, too. Its trunk is carved with the images of hundreds of animals, illustrating another important Disney design tenet: every structure must tell a story.

Updated: 09-2013

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