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Average Reviewer Rating: 3.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 53.5 out of 5
Number of Reviews: 2 ( Displaying Reviews: 1 - 2 )
3.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.03.0/5.0   4/16/10
Reviewer: worldlover71 NY, NY     May 04, 2010
I am an avid Disney fan so when I decided to take my first solo trip to the World I knew I wanted it to include the Backstage Magic Tour. I already knew a lot about how things worked backstage but wanted to see it for myself. I downgraded the room I was going to stay in to balance out what I feel is a very pricey tour.

The morning of my tour (Friday) I headed to Epcot and quickly found the area outside the gates where you meet your tour guides. My tour would be led by Dena, a former parade performer and manager and Wayne, a horticulturist. We were expressly forbidden to take any pictures and a security guard came on board the bus to check our bags each time we entered a backstage area which I thought was a bit excessive. As we drove backstage at Epcot I got a little worried because the guides were rattling off facts that I had already known for years. Wasn't this supposed to be the ultimate insiders tour where no question would go unanswered and nothing go unseen. The simple answer was that no, it was not. There were even people on this tour who had never been to the parks before! It turned out that aside from me and one other guy everyone else was a casual fan and the tour was designed for them. Over the next seven hours I would see a lot of great stuff but nowhere near the amount of things I though we would see. There were also lots of topics that were off limits, like talking about the actors who play the characters. Eventually I just stopped asking questions knowing what the response would be. Oh well, enough about what the tour wasn't, here's what it was.

We proceeded to the American Adventure and our group headed into the building where a few technicians were checking things out before the day started We were shown the huge carousel under the audience where the animatronics are stored until each one rotates into place and then rises to the stage level at the appropriate time. Very Cool. We re-joined the other half of the group and got back on the bus for our trip to the Magic Kingdom.

We entered the MK backstage area and passed by all the cast member areas and the holiday warehouse which I was very sad to learn we would not be visiting. Where we did go was Central Shops where basically everything is made. Everything from garbage cans to animatronic elephants is made in the enormous building. There were Living with the Land boats being assembled, Splash Mountain logs being painted and Dinosaur jeeps having electrical work installed. We got back on the bus and after a quick trip onstage to use the restrooms we descended to the famous utilidores. After years of hearing about this area, there's not much to say about it. It's really cool to be there but they are very utilitarian hallways with offices, storage areas and exposed pipes and electrical cables. It was getting late and we needed to head to the Wilderness Lodge for lunch so we headed topside again.

Lunch was a quick ride away at the beautiful Wilderness Lodge. We had a fun family style barbeque lunch with all the fixings and I chatted with some of the other people in the group. After lunch we had about 15 minutes to wander around and take in the setting before it was of to the Studios.

At the Studios we pulled up behind Tower of Terror. We went inside and were shown how the elevator is really a ride vehicle just like any of the things we had seen being built in central shops. This vehicle rolls into the actual elevator which is then dropped. I knew all this in theory but actually seeing it was very interesting.

We next headed over to the wardrobe department where all of the performers costumes are designed and built. This is the same building that is passed though on the Backstage Tour but we got to see much more. We entered the design area and saw lots of colorful designs from the current shows framed on the walls. In the sewing are (the part seen from the tram tour) dozens of sewing machines are set up, one for each current sewing cast member. The entire area was filled with beautiful costumes in all manner of preparedness. The details you see up close on these costumes is dazzling and this was a high point of the tour for me. We even got to see Mickeys tuxedo!

Our time at the studio over, we headed to Animal Kingdom which I did not know would be part of the tour. Here Wayne took over the group and he showed us the way topiaries are made. We also saw the green houses that are filled with 1,000 hanging baskets, each one designated for a specific location on property.

Our final stop was the parade barn where we got an up close and personal look at the floats. It was now 3:15 and they told us we were going to get to watch the parade from the park. What? I already watched the parade the other day. How was this a special surprise?

We were now officially done but before we got off the bus they had a special surprise for us. A visit with Mickey? A cast member only tidbit? A fun t-shirt even? A pin. Whoopee. I've tried to focus on the great things we did see on this tour, and there were quite a few, but I just cannot help feeling that it is not worth the high price. For the money, no question should be off limits and we should have seen much more. Maybe there needs to be a secret tour that only hardcore fans know about. Maybe there is and I havent heard about it yet...
 
3 out of 4 people found this review helpful
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4.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.04.0/5.0   October 2007
Reviewer: RizzotheRat80 Chicago, Illinois     April 03, 2008
This is a very long tour (7 hours) but it's worth it. We started at Epcot by taking a bus to the back of World Showcase. Our first stop was the American Adventure. We went behind the screen and saw all the different set pieces lined up ready to go. We learned how everything moves around during the show. Next we were off to the Epcot Costume department and viewed the small hanger like area with all the costumes ready to go. We learned about the process each Cast Member goes through when turning in and receiving their costumes. Next we took the bus over to Disney Hollywood Studios to view their costume department and learn how costumes go from the drawing board onto Cast Members. Afterwards we had a great meal at Mama Melroses for lunch. Then we were back on the bus to Disney's Floral department. We spent time learning about the different arrangements and gifts that can be made for you during your visit. Next we headed to the Machine Shops where attactions are built and maintanced. We also got to see the Holiday storage areas for all the great Christmas decorations. We then proceded to the Magic Kingdom. We saw some of the underground Utilidoors. We finished the day with the afternoon parade. I've done this tour twice and I recommend it for anyone (over 18) who wants to find out more about some of the inner workings of the parks.
 
6 out of 6 people found this review helpful
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