Hi y’all! My name is Andrea. I’m a southern gal living in the heart of the Bluegrass. I’ve been a Disney fan as long as I can remember, starting with my first trip to WDW at 7 where my family learned all the things NOT to do on a Disney vacation. Our next trip planned will be in October for my sister’s wedding! I’ve been to WDW with just about every age group imaginable, from a 22 month old toddler to a high school marching band, every trip a new experience of all that Disney can offer. One of my favorite parts of every trip to WDW is finding some new way to discover the magic. Over the next few weeks, I hope to give you some insight into additional ways you can experience Walt’s magic.
One of my favorite things I’ve ever done at WDW is the Backstage Magic tour. This tour takes you behind the scenes at all four parks, giving you a taste of how cast members make things happen. This tour is not for children, as Disney has pretty strict rules about children having access behind the scenes. It’s also 7+ hours long, so if you are on a tight schedule on your trip this might not be worth losing park time over. My husband and I went on this tour a few years ago and it was well worth the price tag. It’s changed a little bit since we took the tour as we did not go to Animal Kingdom and our lunch was at Mama Melrose in Hollywood Studios, but outside of those changes it’s pretty much the same.
We started our day at Epcot, where we went behind the scenes at American Adventure. We learned about the Audio-Animatronics and how they work. Even if you aren’t a techie, I think you’ll find this fascinating. I was amazed at the technology that was created so many years ago and how it has been improved over the years.
In Magic Kingdom, we explored the Utilidor tunnels and how they help the Magic Kingdom stay truly magical. The system is amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I’m still amazed at the memory of it. I also loved hearing all the facts about Main Street USA. Even though some I had heard before, I still learned things I didn’t know. I expected this part of my tour to be my favorite, but it wasn’t. The best hadn’t even happened yet!
Hollywood Studios surprised me. This is where we went to Disney costuming, the place where all the costumes for Disney shows are made. It was so amazing to see the work that goes into designing each and every costume worn by a cast member in a show. The attention to detail, something Disney is known for, is evident here. Hollywood Studios has something for everyone. I know my husband wasn’t so keen on the costume shop, but learning about how The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was designed by Imagineers was right up his ally. I think we both had low expectations for this part of the tour, we underestimated the hidden gem of Hollywood Studios.
The end of our tour took us to places the public never really sees, Central Shops, the Nursery, and decoration storage areas. The term Central Shops is a bit misleading as it has nothing to do with shopping. They mean shops as in work areas! This is where craftsmen of all types make all sorts of things for the parks. Set pieces, ride car refurbishment, landscaping extras, it all happens at Central Shops. We were able to watch the craftsmen work on ride cars from Space Mountain. The Nursery was enormous. It was hard to grasp the sheer number of plants and trees that were there, let alone the number of plants that are used every year in the parks. I’m no green thumb, but I found it inspiring and leaving with the itch to garden. (Heads up, it didn’t last long. Just ask my husband!) The Nursery stop included a stop in at the Walt Disney World Florist, where we saw flowers being prepped for a wedding the next day.The decoration storage areas were mind blowing. I can’t even begin to describe the massive amount of decorations that are used on a rotating basis in the parks. These were my favorite stops. I can’t tell you how amazing it was.
If there was any downside to this tour, our tour guide was really big on promoting Disney as an employer. As we were on the bus, she talked about nonstop about becoming a Disney employee. There were a few on the tour that found her a bit annoying. I personally tuned her out, but I can see where it would have off putting.
The Backstage Magic tour is $229 per person and does include lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
So will Backstage Magic be a part of your next trip to Walt Disney World?