One of Many Tours at Walt Disney World Resort
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -Most guests see Walt Disney World Resort as a picture-perfect fantasy destination, unaware of what goes on behind the scenes to produce the finished product. Those interested in “the business behind the magic” can choose from a variety of onstage and backstage tours available through Disney Institute. These fascinating tours offer an insider’s look at some of the most beloved Disney theme park icons.
Real Disney aficionados can get their fix on Backstage Magic, a comprehensive guided tour that visits all four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort and treats guests to special surprises along the way. In seven hours (including lunch) guests will visit areas strictly off-limits to regular guests at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
At Epcot, guests take a backstage peek at the complicated staging and sets at The American Adventure show in World Showcase, where presidents, inventors and other famous Americans are celebrated in amazingly lifelike detail thanks to the wizardry of Disney’s
What amazes guests about Magic Kingdom is that the park is actually built on the “second floor.” On the ground level out of the guest’s view is a 9-acre maze of tunnels, storerooms and offices known as the “Utilidor” (utility corridor) system. The so-called “underground” is the nerve center of the park, providing all support services. Guests also will explore Main Street, U.S.A. in a new way as they learn the “Language of Vision” – discovering often overlooked details.
On the way to a delicious, family-style lunch at Whispering Canyon Café at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (included in the tour price), Backstage Magic guests visit the “Can Do” people at Central Shops. These craftsmen make dreams come true by building and maintaining much of what Disney guests see at Walt Disney World Resort. After lunch, guests take a stroll through the Walt Disney World Nursery & Tree Farm where they get a glimpse into the roles of horticulture and landscaping that create a truly themed environment.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests travel backstage to explore the design and technology of The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror to show how Walt Disney Imagineers bring ideas from concept to reality. The tour also visits Disney Creative Costuming where the process of designing and building elaborate parade and show costumes is revealed.
The Backstage Magic journey ends at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where guests go behind the scenes to discover how “Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade” comes together through teamwork and cast member dedication.
Because of the popularity of this tour, guests are encouraged to book well in advance. Cost is $224 per person, including lunch. Call 407/WDW-TOUR (939-8687) for more information. Additional tours (prices subject to change):
Around the World at Epcot: “Test drive” the Segway Personal Transporter through World Showcase; $99 per person.
Backstage Magic: An insider’s look into the magic of Disney; $229 per person.
Backstage Safari: Tour backstage animal facilities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; $72 per person.
Behind the Seeds: Backstage tour of greenhouses at The Land pavilion in Epcot; $18 per person (ages 10 and up); $14 per person (ages 3-9).
Disney’s Dolphins in Depth: In-depth and hands-on learning about the dolphins of Walt Disney World Resort, $194 per person.
Disney’s Family Magic Tour: Fun and educational tour of the Magic Kingdom’s themed lands; $34 per person.
Disney’s Holiday D-Lights: Discover how the twinkle of holiday magic is created (seasonal); $199 per person.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour: Breeze around – and under – Magic Kingdom; $74 per person.
Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour: Learn about the Walt Disney World Railroad; $49 per person.
Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour: Magic Kingdom admission required (extra); no cameras; the fascinating life story of Walt Disney unfolds during this walking tour with an inside look at Magic Kingdom park; $30 per person.
Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy: Inside a mirthful world (seasonal); $84 per person.
Epcot DiveQuest: For certified divers, explore The Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot; $175 per person.
Epcot Seas Aqua Tour: Encounter an amazing aqua tour adventure; $140 per person.
Mickey’s Magical Milestones Tour: Retrace Mickey Mouse’s famed career; $25 per person.
Nature-Inspired Design: Glide through “land, sea and air” to witness nature-inspired design at Epcot; $124 per person.
The unDISCOVERed Future World: Hear stories of Walt Disney’s ultimate dream at Epcot; $55 per person.
Wild by Design: The making of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park; $60 per person.
Custom Guided Tours: Experience Walt Disney World Resort with a custom itinerary; $175 per hour (for more information about custom guided tours, guests can call Disney’s VIP Tour Services at 407/560-4033).
Please note that additional tours include may require theme park admission.