I’m talking about backstage tours. Every opportunity I got to go witness some behind-the-scenes magic, I seized and I strongly advise you do the same.
For the sake of preserving the magic as much as possible, this post is going to be pretty vague, and I’m doing that intentionally. I loved witnessing and learning about all the magic in person, so I want to save that moment for you. So I’m sorry in advance for possibly driving you crazy with the overall lack of details in this post.
Always be on the lookout for contests and giveaways on the Hub! There was one contest that picked a winner to stay in Cinderella’s Castle for the night and even though I personally didn’t win that one (unfortunately) I actually knew the girl who won and got to pick three friends to stay for the night in Cinderella’s suite. The pictures she posted were AWESOME. There’s always an opportunity to find some magic anywhere you look.
Another way to get to take part in backstage tours is through your place of work. In the Crystal Palace, we had sign-up sheets in the kitchen that would be posted about a month in advance to participate in a tour. While I was there, we had a Haunted Mansion, Kilimanjaro Safari, Fantasmic, Space Mountain, and Spaceship Earth tour available. Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth tours were over my boyfriend’s spring break and he was visiting that week so I couldn’t go to those, but the other three were amazing! However, if you get the chance to go on the Haunted Mansion backstage tour, GO. My roommate went and all the secrets I learned from her would blow your mind. It was about a two hour walking tour through the ride, so just go ahead and imagine all the fun stuff Disney has hiding in there. Here’s a very low quality picture of all my coworkers having fun at the Haunted Mansion tour without me.
The Kilimanjaro Safari backstage tour was my first and it was pretty much an extended version of the ride. Our driver would pull off the trail and stop for about fifteen minutes at a time and just talked about stories that have happened with the animals, jeeps, and trail itself. One thing I can say–if you see the wait time for this ride go from about 20 minutes to 90 in the blink of an eye, it’s probably because a giraffe is just chilling in the road and all the jeeps get backed up.
We also learned this is the largest hidden Mickey on property.
As for the Fantasmic tour, I maybe cried a little. This was INCREDIBLE. If you have an opportunity to do this one, seriously go. I know I said that with the Haunted Mansion, but OH MAN, the amount of things I learned and saw and touched on this tour was out of this world. I still can’t believe half of the things I heard or saw or did. We weren’t allowed to take pictures because it’s a backstage area and obviously there’s a strict rule on what cast members can and can’t post, but if I were to have taken a picture it would have either been of me driving the steamboat (YES THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED AND NO I AM NOT DONE FREAKING OUT ABOUT IT) or me kissing Maleficent the dragon’s nose (STILL CRYING). There were a TON of other things I got to put my hands on during this tour (if you couldn’t tell, it’s an incredibly interactive tour) so whenever I got to see Fantasmic after this, I was the obnoxious person whispering to my friends saying, “I held that costume/I stood there/I touched that rock/I pretended to be Pocahontas” and all that good stuff. I don’t care, it was amazing.
One of my favorite videos from my program is a video I took while heading to Fantasmic. Very rarely are you in Disney and there is no one in sight and walking into Fantasmic was one of those moments from me. This is what a bare Disney looks like.
The last one I got to do was Space Mountain. This was set up by our leaders at the Crystal Palace as a CP appreciation day. We rode Space Mountain with the lights on, which has been on my bucket list forever. I always knew the tracks were close to each other, but after riding with the lights on, let’s just say I keep my hands firmly at my sides instead of up in the air like I used to. In order to open this ride for the day, we had to go on it before the park opened, which is an awesome thing in itself. Have you ever been in a completely empty Magic Kingdom? (Much like the Fantasmic video, I also have a snapchat video of an empty Tomorrowland.) Backstage tours allow you the chance to not only see the magic in action, but let you do something that you’ve never done before and will probably never get the opportunity to do again.
Not only is this a great way to learn the Disney secrets and see them firsthand, but you also get to bond with your coworkers outside of work. It’s a great way to take the day off and go ride some rides together since you’re already in a park with them.
Cast members get some pretty great perks, but I think this is one of the most special ones. Take advantage of it and soak in all the magic you can!