Top Behind-The-Scenes Tours You Have To Try On Your Next Trip to Disney World

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I’m a Disney geek and I’m not afraid to admit it.  I like to read trivia about Disney, find hidden Mickeys, and learn about how one of my most favorite places on Earth came to be.  Like, did you know that Liberty Square has no bathrooms?  It was deliberately done to reflect that time in our history when there was no indoor plumbing.  Or how about this: did you know that Cinderella has her very own horse on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel?  It’s the horse with the golden ribbon on its tail.  It’s amazing to see and learn just how much thought and care went into each of our beloved attractions.

When Disney started offering more and more behind-the-scenes tours, well, that little nerd in me wanted to do a happy dance.  Disney tours are chock full of trivia and it really showcases the parks in a completely new way.  If you decide to indulge your inner Disney geek, here are some of our favorite behind-the-scenes tours you have to try on your next trip to Disney World:

Keys to the Kingdom Tour

  • Times: 8:30 am, 9:00 am and 9:30 am, 7 days a week
  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Length of Time: 5 hours
  • Price: $79.00 per person (age 16 and up)

If you want to look behind the curtains and see the inner workings of Magic Kingdom, this is the tour for you.  The biggest draw of this tour is that it takes you through the Utilidoors, a series of tunnels running underneath the park so that Cast Members can go from location to location without being seen by guests.  I mean, Walt can hardly have two Snow Whites running into each other, can he?  With every turn, an engaging tour guide gives you fun little tidbits about Magic Kingdom.  Here’s one: did you know that the Disney Imagineers have taken really great care to make each land unique with its own experience?  Once you turn from the main hub into Adventureland, the music changes and incorporates subtle drumbeats.  The foliage changes too – there are more overgrown plants instead of the well-manicured plants along Main Street, so you feel like you are in a different place altogether.  During the tour, you get to go to some of the most beloved rides at Magic Kingdom, but you get to experience it anew as your tour guide will give you tidbits of trivia that you probably never knew before.  This tour also includes lunch as well as a keepsake for each guest.

Disney’s Family Magic Tour 

  • Times: 10:00 am
  • Park: Magic Kingdom
  • Length of Time: 2 hours
  • Price: $39.00 per person over age 3

If you really want to see the Keys to the Kingdom Tour but have some young ones in tow, Disney’s Family Magic Tour is a great alternative.  This 2-hour tour is geared for adults and young ones alike.  You go through Magic Kingdom as part of a big scavenger hunt, and there are fun riddles to be solved.  You never know who will help you along the way!

World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered

  • Times: 9:30 am and 10:00 am, 7 days a week
  • Park: Epcot
  • Length of Time: 5 hours
  • Price: $109.00 per person (age 16 and up)

Strolling through the fantastic architecture that surrounds the World Showcase is fascinating enough, but imagine if you had a tour guide telling you the significance of a specific structure or window decoration or garden in any one of the 11 countries at Epcot – you would never see the World Showcase the same way again.  This is the premise behind World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered.  It is a fairly new tour being offered at Epcot and includes lunch at Restaurant Marrakesh.  By the time you are done, you will feel like quite the world traveler!

Behind the Seeds

  • Times: Every 45 minutes from 10:30 am until 4:30 pm daily
  • Park: Epcot
  • Length of Time: 1 hour
  • Price: $16.00 per child | $20.00 per adult

I remember riding Living with the Land once and seeing some guests hanging out in the greenhouse – and I thought to myself, how do I do that?!  Well, it turns out, they signed up for Behind the Seeds, a fantastic tour at Epcot that gives you an in depth look at the fish farm and 4 greenhouses within the Land Pavilion.  The tour runs every 45 minutes daily, starting at 10:30 am.  If you happen to time your tour during feeding time, you might even be able to see the fish farm being more active than usual.  Some other things to look forward to during this trip: you can have a chance to see American alligators, unique and unusual plants from across the globe, and cutting edge planting techniques.  To make this tour really special, consider going on the Living with the Land ride prior to the tour, and then having lunch or dinner at Garden Grill afterwards.

Epcot Seas Aqua Tour

  • Times: 12:30 pm, 7 days a week
  • Park: Epcot
  • Length of Time: 2.5 hours
  • Price: $145.00 per person (age 8 and up)

If you’ve ever gone on The Seas with Nemo & Friends, or had a meal at Coral Reef, chances are you’ve seen a person or two snorkeling at the Caribbean Coral Reef within The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion.  That’s because they’re on the Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, a 2.5-hour experience that takes guests on a tour of the sophisticated machines and filters that maintain the 5.7-million gallon saltwater seascape and then allows them to channel their inner Dory through a 30-minute snorkeling experience.  Because the Caribbean Coral Reed is current-free, you have a crystal clear view of the fascinating marine life underneath.  Included in the price is a complimentary photo of yourself in your snorkeling gear, and a special DiveQuest souvenir.  All snorkeling equipment is provided, and guests age 8-12 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

Wild Africa Trek

  • Times: Various times daily
  • Park: Animal Kingdom
  • Length of Time: 3 hours
  • Price: $189.00 – $249.00 per person (age 8 and up, pricing varies by season)

As much as I would love to travel to Africa some day and go on a genuine safari, I’m going to guess that the chances of that actually happening are slim.  So when I go to Kilimanjaro Safaris first thing in the morning and see the animals up and about (and if I get lucky, blocking our truck!) well, I like to think that I truly am on some fantastic African getaway.  The Wild Africa Trek takes that experience to a whole new level.  This 3-hour safari allows guests to explore the Safi River Valley and observe animals in their natural environment.  Just beware that this tour is not for the faint of heart: there is a portion where you cross a hanging rope bridge (with hippos and crocodiles underneath!) – the small bridge you have to cross at Tom Sawyer’s Island is enough to give me the goosebumps, so this is sure to test some nerves!  For part of the tour, you also make your way in a safari vehicle to see some truly awe-inspiring animals, from rhinos to giraffes and more.  And to really bring this tour to life, your tour guide will share interesting tidbits about life at Animal Kingdom, and how these wonderful animals are cared for on a daily basis.  Included in the tour is a complimentary photo service & downloadable pictures, and a souvenir.

Backstage Magic

  • Times: 9:00 am every Monday and Friday
  • Park: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom (and more!)
  • Length of Time: 7 hours
  • Price: $255.00 per person (age 16 and up)

For a truly phenomenal, cosmic (and certainly not itty bitty) tour, Backstage Magic provides a 7-hour, 4-park VIP tour of Disney World.  You start at Epcot, where you are taken to the American Adventure to see some amazing audio-animatronics in action.  Then you make a stop at Hollywood Studios, where you get a behind-the-scenes look at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and an inside view of how Creative Costuming brings their genius to work on our favorite Disney shows.  At Magic Kingdom, you also get to see the Utilidor tunnels and learn more about the little knick knacks and details that bring Main Street to life.  At Animal Kingdom, you have a chance to meet a Wild Africa Trek guide to learn more about his or her role at the park.

But wait, there’s more!  Outside of the four parks, you also swing by Central Shops, which is where you see the craftsmen who make anything from small landscaping to huge set pieces used across Disney World.  At the Walt Disney World Nursery & Tree Farm, you get a firsthand glance at the horticulture experts who have wowed guests time and time again with their larger-than-life topiaries, meticulous plants and shrubs, and beautiful flowers.  All in all, it really is an unbelievable experience that will give you an appreciation for how much technical expertise, creativity, and, well, hard work goes into making Disney World the most magical place on Earth.

Included in the price of this tour is a family-style barbecue lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe, and a special souvenir.

With that, I will turn it over to you.  Have you ever gone on a backstage tour at Disney?  If you could go on one tour on your next trip to Disney, what would it be?  Sound off in the comments below!

Hi, I’m Myra and I’m a huge Disney nerd and addict!  I’m also an independent travel agent at World of Magic Travel, the preferred agency of Chip and Co. and Disney Addicts.  If you have any questions regarding your upcoming vacation, or if there’s anything I can do to help you book and plan your trip, visit my page or send me an email at myra@worldofmagictravel.com.  My services are always free!

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2 thoughts on “Top Behind-The-Scenes Tours You Have To Try On Your Next Trip to Disney World

  1. you did not mention DiveQuest. If you are a certified scuba diver you can dive in the tank at the Living Seas, it is a great tour. Whether you are new to diving or a regular this tour allows you to get up close with a variety of fish, sharks, turtles, etc. Love it!!!

  2. I have done the Animal Kingdome Backstage Tour ( not the one currently offered at Kilamanjaro ) and it was great. We saw elephants, giraffes and a white rhino ( which I touched) up close. I loved it.

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