quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


Disney's Backstage Magic Tour!

Here it goes: My Day on the Backstage Magic Tour!!!
  • Had to wake up at 5:30am to leave the house by 6:30am.
  • Got to EPCOT at 8:00am had a half-hour until tour, searched for bathroom.
  • Joined tour, received tour badge; got on the tour bus - our tours guides were Brian and Mary from the Disney Institute!
  • Went behind the scenes at the American Adventure Pavilion and learned about forced perspective which is used to make the building appear smaller than it is by making things, such as doors and windows, larger by comparison. This was done because it is larger than all the other world showcases, and Disney wanted to make things egalitarian.
  • Got to see the test run of the show, American Adventure, and saw the staging area where two elevators the size of freight cars are used to move around the sets for the show. They come up 5 inches below the seats of the audience and you can't hear a thing!
  • EPCOT is also the only place other than Washington D.C. to hold an Inaugural Parade. They hosted Regan's President’s Inaugural Bands Parade on Memorial Day weekend, 1985.
  • Back on the bus, already pooped from the heat.
  • Traveled to Magic Kingdom.
  • Toured Main Street USA, which uses forced perspective as well, but the flip. By making things smaller as the building moves up gives the appearance of height. Also in order to make the walk from Main Street to Cinderella's Castle seem longer they employ forced perspective, making the sidewalks bigger at the beginning and smaller at the ends.
  • Disney believed that "Guests could sense perfection" and as such used true to life props. The architecture on Main Street is take from all over America giving each person a taste of their hometown and the bricks used to create the American Pavilion are made from Georgia clay and laid with traditional masonry techniques concurrent with Colonial times.
  • Then went down into the Utilidors - the first level of the Magic Kingdom
  • Learned about AVACS (Automated Vacuum Assisted Collection System) which takes garbage from all over the Magic Kingdom and shoots it at a speed of 60mph to the collection site behind Splash Mountain. There the garbage is shifted through and either recycled or turned into compost which is later used throughout the park.
  • Learned Pin Collecting was created to help initiated a Guest/Cast Member experience.
  • Disney doesn't see Universal as competition because while Universal is in the roller coaster business, Disney is in the emotional connection business. They want you to make memories which will last forever.
  • Got back on bus, headed for Central Shops
  • Central Shops is where they make everything the parks need from ride vehicles to trash cans. It's cheaper to make it in-house and then they also have full quality control.
  • We saw the paint shop, the mold shop and the animation shop - this is where the animatronic figures are created; there are two different kinds: hydraulic and compression.
  • Back on to the bus, headed for LUNCH!
  • We ate at the Wilderness Lodge - Whispering Canyon Cafe. This was a family-style lunch, where we had coleslaw, mashed potatoes, baked beans, sausage, ribs, chicken, and cornbread. For dessert there was strawberry-peach cobbler. Oh god it was soooo good!
  • Back to the bus, headed to Hollywood Studios.
  • Toured Creative Costuming. This is where they design the costumes for all the cast members from the dancers on parade to Ariel herself. The difference is that some costumes are created to fit a general body type, such as for the Snow White who just signs autographs BUT then there are costumes for the Equity performers such as Tinkerbell in the fireworks finale. These costumes are custom-tailored to fit each actor's body.
  • Then headed to Tower of Terror. We could hear the screams when the elevator doors opened. We toured the staging area. There are 8 ride vehicles, four for each shaft. And there is a computerized series of drops which randomizes it for each ride so as they say it's "Never the Same Fear Twice!"
  • Back to the bus, even more tired from the sun.
  • Finally we headed to Animal Kingdom. We toured the warehouse for Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. Each vehicle is run on electricity, and the extra "cast members" you see on the vehicles are guests who are usually a part of the Children's Miracle Network or Make-A-Wish Foundation. I cried when I heard that. To think that you might be grumpy watching this parade and complaining why YOU can't be in the parade while these kids are literally dying to be there.
  • After the warehouse, we went to the Tree Farm where they grow all the plants for around the parks. But the coolest thing they do there is make the topiaries. There are three different kinds: Bush, Boxed, and Frame. The Bush is just as it sounds, the figure is carved from a planted bush. They last the longest of all. The Boxed are like the bush but planted in a wooden box so they can be moved if needed. The Framed is the most fragile. Each is made out of a frame stuffed with compost then lain-over with the different plants. Because there is no root system the plants have to be constantly irrigated. These frames are also copyrighted and cannot be re-produced anywhere else.
  • And last but not least, we went and watched Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. It was cool to see the huge animal puppets in action. You really see Africa in the design and colors which is another nod to detail.
  • Back on the bus for the last time, traveled back to EPCOT. Received commemorative Backstage Magic pin! YES! But I'm so tired by this time it is a miracle I even made it to the car.
There's the write up, including the few pictures we were able to take, of the tour. I thought, and so did my sister, that it was worth it for the real Disney enthusiast. To really love the care and time that is put into each thing at the parks, you have to love Disney. Also it's not for those who will freak out by seeing the off-stage stuff. You need to be able to separate the magic from the mechanics. So if you can do that, I really really recommend going the next time you're visiting Orlando!

***The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are my own. I am not getting paid by the Disney Corporation or it's subsidiaries to talk about or endorse this tour.

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