I remember very clearly the WDW trip where I first realized that the audioanimatronics were not real. I was 9 or 10 I think - okay that's pretty old, but I'm slow to pick up on things sometimes! It must have been around my 6th trip to WDW ever, and I remember riding Small World and noticing - for the first time - the wires, dark grey steel bars, and other mechanical things under and behind the brightly colored singing dolls.
I was heartbroken.
More heartbroken than when I realized Santa wasn't real.
We stood in Fantasyland, after I again had seen the mechanical apparati moving the cardboard forest in Snow White's Scary Adventure, and my parents asked me what was wrong. Suddenly, I wasn't interested in coming to this place anymore. I didn't hate it, but it wasn't as wonderful as I had believed for the first six trips. The pirates weren't really chasing the wenches, the ghosts weren't really singing, Peter wasn't really flying. But I was too young to be able to articulate this, so to my parents I was just an inexplicably depressed 9 year old in the happiest place on Earth.
We kept going for the sake of my little sister who, at 6, still believed. But for several years thereafter, I wasn't quite as excited to go to WDW as I had been before.
Fortunately, I've found other ways to enjoy and love the magic as an adult. :)
Sorry if I bummed you out with this post. Need cheering up? Then, hop on to the next stop!