It’s the ultimate Walt Disney World backstage tour, the Backstage Magic tour (BSM) is a 7+ hour adventure behind the scenes at the most magical place on Earth. We were invited guests of Walt Disney World yesterday for our first time on the tour. As you might expect, there are a lot of moving parts at a resort that’s twice the size of Manhattan. BSM brings you behind the curtain and provides an up close look at just how Disney does it, while providing stories of the resort’s nearly 50 years of rich family friendly entertainment heritage for guests and cast members.
The tour starts at EPCOT where you descend into the maintenance pit of The American Adventure to see the amazing machinery required to make this opening day attraction function. Other stops included textile services (which is more exciting than it sounds), creative costuming (which is a huge and impressive operation), and the central shops (where nearly anything needed for maintenance or construction is built). This is also one of the tours that brings guests into the mythical utilidor tunnels beneath the Magic Kingdom.
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BSM is now part of the Adventures by Disney offerings at Walt Disney World, but it is open to any guest 12-years or older (under 18 must be accompanied by an adult). Lunch is served as part of the tour (we ate at Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge) and bottled water is provided during the tour.
Every stop as a delight for a big Disney fan like me. I can die happy now that I’ve seen the backstage workings of American Adventure, but my favorite part of the tour was the very knowledgeable tour hosts. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about things Disney, but I learned quite a lot from Amber and Pieter.
Who should go on BSM?
I’m a firm believer that the more you know about how Disney makes the magic, the more you grow to appreciate it. But that means you should have a basic understanding of the parks first before you can really appreciate all that goes in to it. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend this tour for first time visitors, or even second. But If this is your third or later trip (meaning you’re a fan of the Disney vacation experience), then you’ll get a lot out of BSM.
Disney recently changed the minimum age to accept children as young as 12 years old. If you have a child who really enjoys seeing how things work and won’t tire at the thought of a 7 hour tour, then BSM is perfectly fine. But if you think the mysteries of how Disney does so much laundry so fast won’t excite your child, probably leave them at home.
Most of the tour is accessible, but there are portions that require you be able to descend or ascend a short flight of stairs. As one of these locations is one of the coolest stops on the tour, I’m not sure I’d recommend the experience for you unless you can transfer from your wheelchair for a short bit. You also spend a significant amount of time on a bus, so make sure you call ahead so Disney can make arrangements for your wheelchair or ECV.
Some other caveats:
You aren’t allowed to take photos or videos backstage, but you can bring your camera to use when you’re on stage. You will be in work areas, so closed toed shoes (like sneakers or boats) must be worn. The tour is only provided in English, but you will be provided a listening device, so you’re not straining to hear your tour guide (a very nice feature). Tour itinerary may change without notice.
The cost for Backstage Magic tour is $275 a person with discounts available to Annual Passholders and DVC members.