While Walt Disney Imagineering is best known for the incredible attractions that they create inside the Disney parks, another area where the group truly excels is in the small things. Whether creating a new ride, a new land, or an entire theme park, every detail is considered and planned so that there is nothing standing between a guest and the feeling that they've stepped into another world.
No stone is left unturned, and in fact, every stone you see is there for a reason. This includes the pavement that makes up Walt Disney World's Liberty Square inside Magic Kingdom. The area is themed to Colonial America and it's the home of the resort's Haunted Mansion as well as the Hall of Presidents. It's also home to an odd brown path that runs the length of the land. You can see it in the image above.
It's an odd design feature. It's not even or regular, but it continues throughout Liberty Square. As mentioned, it's not a random design choice either. What you're looking at is actually, quite simply, represents a river of poop. So how did it get there?
The History Of Liberty Square
Walt Disney World was in its initial design and construction phase throughout the 1960s. This is the same period that the first new land was being added to Disneyland, New Orleans Square. Magic Kingdom needed a land like that, as it was getting its own Haunted Mansion. However, the feeling was that since Florida was much closer to the actual New Orleans, there would be less of an interest in a land dedicated to the Louisiana city. For the same reason, one of the popular New Orleans Square attractions, Pirates of the Caribbean, wasn't planned for Walt Disney World, because the park was so close to the real Caribbean.
So instead of a land themed after New Orleans, the decision was made to go back to one of the many ideas Walt Disney had for Disneyland that never became real, a land based on Colonial America. The Haunted Mansion, while largely the same attraction on the inside, was transformed externally from a Southern plantation home to a gothic-revival style building to match this new design.
Liberty Square Waste Management
Colonial America didn't exactly have indoor plumbing and so, when chamber pots needed to be emptied, they were. Usually, just right out in the road, with those on the upper floors simply dumping things out the window. Of course, there also weren't gutters or sewers as we know them today, so what resulted was a literal river of waste flowing down the same roads that people walked on. This brown pavement seen in Liberty Square is there specifically to replicate this idea. Yes, there is a symbolic river of poop inside Disney World.
The theme of a lack of plumbing extends beyond this one detail however. If you find yourself in need of using a restroom while in Liberty Square you'll need to go into one of the two restaurants in the land, The Liberty Tree Tavern or the Columbia Harbour House. The law requires that the eateries have toilets, but there are no visible public restrooms when walking the land itself, to keep with the theme of a lack of plumbing.
And so that's the dirty history of Liberty Square. Next time you're on your way to the Haunted Mansion, take a look down at the ground, and maybe watch your step.