Florida Guide > Disney Parks
Yuletide Fantasy Backstage Tour
My parents took this tour last December and said it was a really magical experience and a lovely start to Christmas. Guests are invited to take a behind the scenes look at that magical transformation in Disney's Yuletide Fantasy, a three-hour tour into the holiday history of Walt Disney World Resort.
They had a guided tour to theme parks and a resort hotel, learning stories about the themes of the Yuletide decorations and how Disney elves transform the parks and hotels into an annual winter wonderland.
The tour is $69 per person, guests must be over 16 (guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult), and theme park admission is not required.
They said it was wonderful to see how Christmas Walt Disney World Resort transforms, complete with millions of sparking lights, larger-than-life Christmas trees and miles of garlands.
Their group had about 30 people with two tour guides, so they were split into 2 smaller groups. The tour was scheduled to begin at 9:30 meeting at Guest Services outside Epcot by 9:15 and they were required to show a photo ID when our names were checked on the list. As everyone had arrived by 9.00am the tour actually began at 9:05.
Nametags were given out and told to be prominently displayed at all times. Park admission is not required for this tour so the nametag is essential to get inside the parks. They then went backstage to board the bus, which was one of the Disney Cruise Line buses with cushioned seats.
They were driven over to World Showcase where they disembarked near Morocco and proceeded to walk part of the way around World Showcase and, at each pavilion, were told about holiday customs in Morocco, Japan, Germany, and the USA. They said they learnt a lot on this part of the trip about customs in other countries that they had not appreciated before.
Onto the bus to Hollywood Studios and they were let off near the Back lot Tour area. The tour guide told bits of Hollywood Studios trivia as they walked over to the Streets of America where they were told all about how the Osborn Lights came to be at Disney World. Facts about how many lights there are, how long it takes to put them up, how they test for burned out lights, etc. were given. They found out there are 40 hidden Mickeys and 2 hidden Minnies throughout the display. They would not tell us where they were; no doubt they will point them out to us when we visit some time in the future!
Back on the bus to go to Magic Kingdom. When they arrived at the back gate, a security guard came aboard and checked their bags for a second time. They got off in an area backstage near Tony's and walked over to Mainstreet. They were told about how the big Christmas tree is assembled, disassembled, etc. They were then taken down the little side street where the music studio is located and
learned about how windows were decorated in the stores in keeping with a Victorian theme. The guide also related other Disney trivia about parts of Main Street.
Next, they drove to the Grand Floridian and were given about 10-15 minutes to see the decorations in the lobby, which they said, were fantastic. The giant gingerbread house has 25 hidden Mickeys although my parents only found 11. They then drove over to Holiday Services, which is a huge warehouse for making, repairing, and storing decorations. This building had been empty for some time before they decided to use it for holiday decoration central.
There were Christmas decorations of all kinds everywhere they looked, stacked several shelves high. The guide explained how concepts are developed for decorating themes in the parks and the resorts and how items were bought and made to carry out the themes. My parents said the workshop area was very quite because at this time of year the workers took their holidays.
Back on the bus once more they returned to Epcot. They arrived about 12:30 pm and, upon departing, were given a very nice limited edition pin of Tinker Bell with a big red holiday ornament with Yuletide Fantasy Tour printed at the bottom.
My parents would recommend this tour to anyone going to Disney at Christmas time.
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Page added on: 17 October 2006
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