I have always been one to wonder what happens behind the scenes, what goes on behind the curtain. I finally had the chance while going on the Backstage Magic tour. Now the great thing about this tour is that it is not something that only VIPs or the media can go on, it is something offered for anyone and everyone to attend.
About Adventures by Disney
“Adventures by Disney offers behind-the-scenes tours that take guests backstage to see how the magic is brought to life at Walt Disney World Resort. Offering exclusive experiences and world-class service throughout, these tours make for an unforgettable vacation experience.”
About The Backstage Magic Tour
Enjoy a one-of-a-kind VIP look at the inner workings of Walt Disney World Resort on an amazing 7-hour journey through the Magic Kingdom Utilidors, Creative Costuming, Walt Disney World Central Shops and more. Tour participants are among the select few who receive an exclusive look into the artistry, technology, mechanical marvels and backstage stories that go into producing world-class Disney experiences.
The things we saw on this tour were amazing and so top secret we could not even take pictures or even have our phones out (not even to check our text messages).
EPCOT stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt Disney’s plans were for EPCOT to be a model of sorts for city planning testing and would have been home to twenty thousand people. After he passed away the rest of the company did not want to run the city without Walt Disneys’ guidance so it became the Epcot that we know and love. It was originally just the area where you have future world, the World Showcase was added later.
Explore the inner workings of The American Adventure as guides reveal the feats of engineering and artistry behind this inspiring Audio-Animatronics stage show.
Now this is where I kinda geeked out a little bit, one the most amazing things I learned from this tour, aside from how the entire backstage operation to ensure each scene hits its mark, but the fact that they STILL use the original computer system and hardware from the 70s that is retrofitted with updated software to work the stage and the animatronics. It brings a whole new meaning to “if it isn’t broke, why fix it?”.
Observe the talented professionals who develop, manufacture and maintain costumes for character, show and parade performers.
This was beyond words for me, I love to dabble in costume making, mainly for the kids for Halloween (saves money…kinda and so much family sewing fun). To see costumes from Disney’s history and the amazingly detailed work that goes into each costume was truly beyond words.
They have a wall of thread in almost every color imaginable. They have a wall of costumes from shows that are no longer done at Disney. Swatches from every costume and cast member uniform ever made in the history of the company. My Disney Moment was made when I got to hold the jacket that is used for Jack Skellington and it is a LOT heavier then I would have imagined. I have always respected the cast members that bring the Disney characters to life but seeing the outfits they have to wear daily shows what their dedication to the part they play and the company they represent.
Here we were able to unfold the secrets behind one of the world’s largest laundry facilities. Now after a long vacation the most dreaded moment is getting the laundry finished. I HATE doing laundry but it is a necessary evil. It was not until we visited Textile Services that I came to appreciate the amount of laundry I have to do. 2 1/2 MILLION POUNDS OF LAUNDRY! The people working in Textile services are the unsung heroes of the Disney resorts.
This is literally where the magic happens! We were able to get up close with the artisans whose skill and craftsmanship make dreams come true all around the Resort – from the tiniest details to elaborate stage sets.
Here we were able to see where the animatronics are created, rides are maintenance/built and basically how Disney stays running! Now as someone who is obsessed with history as I am sure many of you are as well, I will let you in on a story of the carousel we all know and love, the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, formally known as Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel and formally known as The Liberty Carousel.
The carousel was once the largest in America, built in 1917 it was once adorned with red, white and blue Americana artwork, which is a pretty big jump from how it looks today but still beautiful!
“The 60-foot diameter carousel had 80 wooden horses and four chariots. While the inner four rows were jumpers, the outer row contained stationary horses. Daniel C. Muller carved many of the horses and the chariot boards. Its band organ, imported from Italy featured a cymbal, bass drum, snare drum, and four graceful carved dancers that twirled to the sound of its music. Its music, popular tunes and stirring marches, played from paper music rolls.” The 4 chariots that were on the original ride was actually lost for years once Disney acquired it but thankfully all but 1 was found, the other is lost to history, it may turn up one day who knows.
We all grew up knowing about the huge network of tunnels below the Magic Kingdom but it is not seen, not many people (except for cast members) even know where the entrances are. One thing many people do not realize about the Utilidor is the tunnel system is not a basement, due to the elevated water table the Utilidor was actually built on ground level and then the rest of the resort was built on top of that. The tunnels have many uses some include:
Deliveries and storage warehouses – This is why you never see a delivery truck or cast members taking merchandise through the park.
Foodservice – The park’s cooking and prep kitchens are housed in the utilidors. We also got a peek at the Smellitzers, which uses air-cannon technology to bring us smells from fresh-baked cookies to the smell of burnt oil and grease that we smell on the Tower of Terror.
Emergency services – Medical carts are housed in the utilidors so in case of an emergency, they can get to you. Aside from all of the above, I think this is one of the most important uses for the utilidor. Can you imagine with as many people in the park, trying to bring in a medical unit from outside the park?
This is a HUGE article and I still was not able to get in everything I wanted to say and I definitely did not want to give too much away. It is something you HAVE to experience for yourself. I hope to do it again and thanks to our amazing guides and PR that invited me it was something I never thought I would get to see. Disney is known for their magical moments and this was definitely mine. If you have the money and the time it is worth every penny!
What to Know Before You Go
- The tour is 7 hours, sometimes more since lunch is Included
- You may get to see the same tour I saw but they do like to change it up
- DO wear good walking shoes
- DO NOT bring kids under the age of 12
- Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour
Learn more about the tour and schedule your tour by visiting the Disney Parks Website https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/backstage-magic/