Thursday, 26 September 2013

Daytripping: Keys to the Kingdom

UPDATE: 17 OCT Disney just released a new video introducing the tour guides! less than 2 mins

Just as Zonta went nuts with all their way exciting Convention announcements, I was in the midst of a mini-series on Day Tripping in Orlando.  About 3 posts back, I gave you a healthy list of backstage tours available at Walt Disney World.  Any of these could take your fancy, but there really is only 1 considered a MUST DO at Disney.

The Keys to the Kingdom tour.

My fellow tour participants were never this neat and tidy and smiley
This tour is your 'go to' experience if you want to:
  • learn about the underlying design of the Magic Kingdom (hint: it's an immersive movie theatre!)
  • peek behind the scenes and learn how the park operates
  • hear a bit of Walt Disney personal history
  • front of line access to a couple of the most iconic rides
  • visit the famous underground "utilidors"
The backside of Splash Mountain - check out the plumbing! (source: margaret and ian's website)

  • Only 4.5 hours, leaves first thing in morning, and gives you lunch at the end!
  • The tour guide uses small transistor earpieces - so you can wander a bit and still have the commentary in your ear.
The voices in head keep telling me to speak at the Pro microphone (source: a glass slipper

  • Start by walking down Main Street USA and learn about the key design principles, including the 'forced perspective'.
  • How Tinkerbelle 'flies' during the fireworks show every night.
  • Discover the history of the famous Jungle Cruise ride - how the animatronics work.
  • Go off stage to see the parade float storage sheds
Ahhh - the long lost Spectromagic parade. Enough fairy lights to blackout a minor city.(source: military disney tips)

  • Tell some of the secrets of how they keep everyone so safe with their security systems 
  • How they restock all the stores without a single van, truck, barrow travelling 'on stage'.
  • See their amazing vacuum driven garbage collection process
  • Go underground and take a walk through the famous utilidors (utility corridors)
The glamour of show business: Concrete! Underground tunnels! Safety signs! (source: margaret and ian's website)

This tour is fabulous for jamming in so much cool content! And lunch! and a gift souvenir.

Photography is supposedly banned on the tour - but I have scrounged some piccies for you. Google is my friend.  If you are really keen here is this old Oprah special where she tours the utilidors.

Just a heads up - you won't get the same tour as Oprah

The CONS of this tour - there is a lot of standing on hard concrete and precious little sitting. In the heat of June this may be a bit overwhelming.  And I suppose if you don't want to know all this 'behind the scenes' stuff, it may ruin the magic for you.

At $75 this is a reasonable for a half-day entertainment, with lunch. The tour runs every day, with multiple morning departures - I recommend the first session at 8:30am. You must have a park entry ticket. And GREAT walking / standing around shoes!

Of all the Disney backstage tours, this is the best.

So .... are you the kind of person who loves to find all the little details and discover how they make the magic? or would you rather not know?

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