No matter how many times you’ve been to Walt Disney World, there’s always a sense of wonder and “how do they do that?” What if you could learn some of Disney’s secrets into how they create and maintain the rides, costumes and buildings?
You can with the Backstage Magic Tour — a comprehensive, eye-opening peek behind the curtain at Walt Disney World, giving guests the opportunity to learn the history and the reality of how Disney creates a make-believe world.
Disney World’s Backstage Magic Tour Review
The Backstage Magic Tour is a 7-hour walking exploration of select locations in Epcot, Central Shops, Costuming, Wilderness Lodge, and the Utilidors under the Magic Kingdom.
If you’ve never been “backstage” at Walt Disney World, just getting to the first stop will be an eye opener. You’ll get a glimpse at areas where guests can’t normally go as you are transported in a private motor coach along a perimeter road that runs behind Epcot’s attractions. (Spoiler alert – the Eiffel Tower in France is much smaller than it looks from “on-stage”.)
Let’s check out the tour!
Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion
At this first stop on the tour, you will learn some interesting history of the location and design of the American Adventure. The Imagineers stayed true to Colonial American architecture when structures were limited to three stories. The pavilion building is actually five stories high, but forced perspective is used to make it look shorter.
The tour unlocks the secrets behind the technology that brings the Audio-Animatronics in the American Adventure to life. Audience Guests are unaware that under their seats, there is a track system that carries a series of tableaus on wheels that tell the story of America.
Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, George Washington and other great Americans are in period costume and posed on moveable platforms that raise and lower each scene to the stage at the perfect time in the show.
Imagine a giant warehouse filled with a rainbow of threads, fabric, buttons, trimmings and ribbons. This is where a creative team designs the costumes for Disney Characters, performers, entertainers, bell hops, merchandisers, and even the parking lot attendants.
Your Backstage Magic tour guides explain the process and technology that Disney utilizes to use wardrobe to tell a story and dress their 50,000+ Cast Members.
Disney even manages to make washing, drying and folding linens fascinating. At a whopping 250,000 square feet, the Textiles warehouse is the place where ALL of the laundry is done. Duffle bags filled with used sheets or towels – and weighing 150 pounds – hang from the ceiling as they wind along a 3-mile-long track and stop to drop their bundle into an available washing machine.
After a sudsy bath, each week 2.5 million pounds of clean linens are dried, folded and loaded into green carts and delivered to the resorts. NOTE: After June 1, 2019, this stop of the tour will be replaced with a visit to behind the scenes at Rivers of Light in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Lunch at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
After a morning filled with facts, secrets, and more than 10,000 steps, you’ll be eager to sit at the Whispering Canyon Café and feast on an All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Skillet of fresh-baked Cornbread, Slow-smoked Pork Ribs, Barbecued Pulled Pork, Citrus Herb Chicken, Western-style Sausage, Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Buttered Corn, and Cowboy-style Baked Beans. Leave room for the Strawberry Cobbler for dessert!
NOTE: After June 1, lunch will be served at Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
After lunch the tour continues with the next stop.
This is where the Magic is built. Know as the “Can Do People” the cast members in this massive facility create, rejuvenate and repair everything from the trash cans to ride vehicles to Audio-Animatronics.
Each day, they can have more than 3,000 work orders in house. You never know what you might see when you visit. It could be a carousel horse being sanded and repainted, a test track vehicle taken apart or a Tiki Room bird in need of new feathers.
Legend has it that as Walt Disney was strolling through Tomorrowland in Disneyland, he crossed paths with a Cast Member dressed like a Cowboy from Frontierland. Immediately, the Magic was broken. Walt vowed not to let this happen when they built Walt Disney World in Florida. To solve that problem, the Magic Kingdom was built above a series of tunnels known as the Utilidors.
On the Backstage Magic Tour, you’ll venture down into those secret tunnels and see busy Cast Members on their way to work. They’re walking, riding bikes, or driving golf carts as they transport merchandise or food to various locations. Getting around is easy because the walls are color coded to let you know what land you are under and pictures show which ride or store that each staircase or elevator will bring you to in the Magic Kingdom.
During your tour, you’ll see offices, a “Mouseketeria,” lockers, and display cases with inspirational messages and stories. It is the grand finale of the day!
Each Backstage Magic Tour is led by two Adventure by Disney guides who share a wealth of trivia, stories and secrets. Guests on the tour receive an exclusive Backstage Magic pin as a parting gift.
Their positivity and enthusiasm kept the group engaged and in good spirits. This tour is a must if you are curious about how Disney sprinkles Pixie Dust, achieves unrivaled efficiency, and pushes the boundaries of technology and innovation.
The Backstage Magic Tour is priced at $275 per person and is offered Monday through Friday. Call 407-WDW-Tour to book your tour up to 180 days in advance. Ask about possible discounts such as DVC or Passholder. A theme park ticket is not required for this tour.
Some additional items to know before taking this tour:
• For safety reasons, closed-toe and closed-heel shoes (such as sneakers) are required.
• No cameras, video equipment, or cell phones may be used while backstage. However, photography is allowed and encouraged in all non-backstage areas.
• Guests aged 12 – 17 must be accompanied at all times by a parent or guardian who is registered for the tour.
• Tours meet near Guest Services outside the entrance to Future World at Epcot. Start time is either 8:30AM or 9:30AM depending on the expected crowd levels at the theme parks.
Interested in the Backstage Magic Tour or any of the other tours available at Walt Disney World? Do you need help planning? You have questions…Small World Vacations has answers!
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