Florida Guide > Disney Parks
Going Behind the Scenes at Disney
The minute you step into any of the Disney parks you can feel and see the magic, with so many wonderful experiences to savour, and so many adventures to take part in. Of course, we will never know all the secrets behind these amazing parks, but you can take a special tour which will give you a little insight into how they operate – although I would not suggest taking this tour if you are a ‘first timer. ’ You need to experience the magic first.
One of the most amazing is the ‘Backstage Magic Tour, ’ which takes you on a seven hour adventure across Disney World, and in particular, gives you a detailed look at how Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot work.
The tour generally starts at around 8. 45 am at the Guest Relations office, outside Epcot’s main entrance. It is expensive, but includes lunch at Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios. Each tour varies from day to day, depending on the day’s events, maintenance etc. But it usually includes a mixture of backstage and onstage locations. However, you must be over 16 to participate, and absolutely no photography is permitted in any of the backstage areas.
One of the first stop is usually the American pavilion in World Showcase, and if maintenance schedules permit you will see the animatronics close up, as well as the inner workings which allow the figures to move and speak. You may make a stop at Costume Central and the Scenic Workshops, where a cast member will explain a bit about how shows are designed.
Lunch is served around midday, and your guide will join you. In the afternoon it is time for a visit to Magic Kingdom to see the parade. However, the height of the tour must be seeing the Utilidors – the series of tunnels which are located deep below Magic Kingdom, and which are used by Cast Members to travel between sections of the park without being seen by guests. There is usually a visit to Parade Central where the parade floats are stored.
There is also a tour which takes place in Animal Kingdom, called the ‘Backstage Safari. ’ This is a three hour tour which shows how the Cast Members care for the 1, 700 or more animals at the park. You get to talk to the people who look after them in the Animal Nutrition Center. A fascinating trip is to the Animal Kingdom veterinary hospital, which is a state of the art facility. Here, you will have the chance to find out how three tons of food is prepared, distributed and fed to all the animals every day of the year.
But if you are interested in the land, then the ‘Behind the Seeds’ tour at Epcot will show you how produce is grown, and experimental techniques are used. It lasts about an hour and is an extended version of the ‘Living With the Land’ ride.
But my personal favourite is the ‘Around the World’ Segway tour at Epcot, which gives you the chance to learn how to ride on a 2 wheel Segway Personal Transporter. The first hour is spent teaching you how not to fall off, and once you are competent you are taken on an hours tour of World Showcase.
If you want to experience any of these tours you do need to book early as they are very popular. All of them except the Backstage Magic Tour require separate Disney admission as well.
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