(Warning! This article discusses activities that take
place "Backstage" at Walt Disney World. If you think this will spoil your
enjoyment or that of your children, please DO NOT read!)
On our most recent trip to the
World, my husband and I decided to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour. I was very
interested to see the backstage areas of the
MagicKingdom, some of the hidden magic that not many
guests get the opportunity to see.
Our tour was booked for
, and we were told to arrive at least 15 minutes
before the tour start time. When we went to check in we were given name badges
with Mickey and Minnie on them, guest passes and ear pieces. We were also shown
menus for the Columbia Harbour House and asked to choose what we would like for
lunch. We were then told to meet back up at There were
complimentary drinks of coffee and bottles of water available for guests on the
When everyone had arrived for the tour, we met our guide, Abby, who
was very friendly and informative. We had to introduce ourselves to the group by
telling them our name, where we were from and our favorite character which was a nice ice
After introductions had been made
and ear pieces fiddled with, we set off, stopping first to look at windows and
buildings on Main Street. Abby told us a little about who the
windows were named after and why. We then moved up to the central hub to look at
the Partners statue. We were told that Disney has a “Partners in Excellence”
award which is given to the most exceptional Disney Cast Members and the award
is shaped like this statue.
As we stood at the hub, Abby pointed out that
the pathway leading off to the left was smaller and the one on the right wider,
the reasoning being that as more people are right handed than left, they are
more likely to choose the path on the right.
Next we head over to
Adventureland and sit in the shade while Abby tells us about Walt’s life and the
company’s history. Even though we knew some of the background, it was lovely to
listen to these stories being told.
We walked over to Frontierland and
were told the Disney legend of how the McDonald's cart ended up where it did. It
was then time to go “backstage”. I was jumping up and down excited by this
We were shown the yellow line on the ground behind which Cast
Members cannot be seen by guests, and then went properly backstage. We saw Woody
and Bulls-eye getting into their costumes for the Woody’s Roundup show, and some
other Cast Members dressed up for the show. They were very patient with us all
We got to see the Spectromagic
floats and the ones for the daytime parade.There are three classes
of float, and they are checked every day for defective lamps. Abby told us how
float drivers are required to have been characters previously so that they
understand the constraints these people are under. She also told us the height
requirements of characters, and I was very disappointed to hear that I wasn’t
tall enough to be a princess. I was somewhat cheered to hear that I was exactly
Winnie the Pooh height though!
We were shown the water tanks for
SplashMountain and the trash compactor that is used for
non-recyclable waste. There was an odd smell; a lot like cider, in the backstage
area which we were told was the smell of the trash.
We went back “on
stage” and had a look at the Liberty Bell, and were told that it is an exact
replica of the original bell. We also had a look round the Hall of Presidents,
and Abby told us how the man who makes the busts is 75 years old and still
working for the company.
We went for our lunch at the Columbia Harbour
House next and inside the place name cards found our very special Keys which are
only given to people on this tour.
After lunch, we went on the
HauntedMansion through the back entrance, and I thought
it was very exciting to see the Cast Member only area.
our Doom Buggies, we headed back to Main
Street, and went backstage again through the Emporium shop.
It was now time for the highlight of the tour, the Utilidors! It was so exciting
to see really backstage and watch the Cast Members going about their daily work,
and all the posters on the walls of work related advice – but featuring Disney
characters! We were shown how the tunnels are color coordinated, so Cast Members know whereabouts they
are under the park.
This was the end of the tour, so we stepped blinking
back into the sunshine, having experienced a glimpse of where magic truly is
made every day.
The tour costs $60 per person (price
includes lunch) with a 15% discount for Annual Passholders and
AAA members. DVC owners
receive a 20% discount. The minimum age for taking the tour is 16 and photo ID
is required. Tours run three times a day at , & . The tour lasts approximately 5
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