We have visited Walt Disney World so many times, and although we love it dearly, we needed something new to enjoy. This past week we took part in the 7 hour Backstage Magic tour which is run by two Adventure By Disney guides. If you are not familiar with Adventure By Disney as a whole, they provide group guided family vacations to various domestic and international destinations under the Disney brand. The guides on those adventures are top notch, so it was quite a treat to have two of them for our 7 hour tour.
The tour itself is currently $275 per person and includes a table service lunch as well as all the bottled water and snacks your little heart desires while on the motor coach (our snacks for this tour were allergy free chocolate chip cookies). The tour does not require park admission and children must be 12 years of age or older to attend.
We met at the front of Epcot where they went through some housekeeping like no photography allowed (they take photos for you in specific areas) and then we boarded the motor coach. They drove us behind the scenes to the American Adventure. For those of you who have not yet been behind the world showcase, the drive alone is very neat. We also had access before the park was open so we were able to see how many cast members get ready for the day. Outside of the American Adventure we learned some of the many tricks the Imagineers used by forced perspective to create the three story building image to look as though it was five stories tall. Our guide then took us behind the scenes of the actual show as we learned all about the system used to manage the attraction (which by the way is still from the 70's) and we even got to touch a real animatronic!
Our next stop was over at Creative Costuming which is exactly as wonderful as you could imagine it would be. I was in full blown little girl, princess mode when we walked in! You learn a lot about how the costumes come to be for the front line performers, the entertainment performers and of course the animatronics. You also get to see the Cast Members in action which is very cool and lastly you get your picture taken.
We then headed back on the motor coach and drove over to the Animal Kingdom for a private lunch at Tiffins with a special menu where we learned more secrets about the park and the restaurant. I have always been a fan of Tiffins so this was a real treat.
After we finished our lunch we were brought to a hidden marina where the lotus and animal barges are prepped for the Rivers of Light nighttime spectacular. It was so incredible to see exactly what the barges look like up close but even more so how they are cared for. Then we were walked inside for an exclusive visit to see what happens with the technology portion in the control room. These are really things you just never think about when you are watching the show.
After finishing up with the Animal Kingdom we were escorted back to the motor coach and driven to Central Shops. This is where Imagineering actually builds and maintains Disney Park ride vehicles, props, and animatronics. We learned exactly what happens when maintenance needs to be performed on a ride vehicle as well as how they can build rides from scratch. While we were there we saw Tomorrowland Speedway cars, pirate ships from Peter Pan's flight, a tea cup from Mad Tea Party and so much more. We watched Cast Members mold faces, work on signs, paint, weld, you name it, they were doing it. We then visited the audio animatronic area and were able to to see an original bird from Disneyland's Enchanted Tiki Room, but even more exciting, we got to see the large polar bear that was once used in my favorite Epcot ride The Maelstrom! #BringtheMaelstromback
Our next and final stop was the one most of us had been waiting for......the infamous Utilidors of the Magic Kingdom! We learned how and why the Magic Kingdom was built the way it was and why they built the utilidors. They showed us the mapping of it, where the ambulance area was, how cast members managed not getting lost in such a vast area and much more that I will not spoil for you. One of the neatest things was they actually did not play Disney music in the utilidors, I remember hearing Whitney Houston. Our guide said this was to give the Cast Members a break when they had stepped away from the park. You can only listed to It's a Small World so many times a day. After our time here the motor coach drove us back to Epcot where we started earlier that morning. It was a long day, but a day we will never forget. The guides were so full of information and you could tell they really loved what they did for a living. The tour was pure perfection and really great for those who are frequenters to Walt Disney World and need something new and fresh to enjoy. It is also great for people who enjoy learning all about how a big business works behind the scenes. It left us wanting to book another tour!
If you are ready to book your next Walt Disney World tour, reach out to your Starstuff Travel Planner today!