Behind The Backstage Tours - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
Award-winning travel guidebooks

   guidebooks   |   news   |   podcasts   |   boards   |   blog   |   worksheets   |   photos   |   articles   |   updates   |   register   |   follow us on

Forums Closed
As of January 1, 2019, we have closed our forums. This is a decision we did not come to lightly, but it is necessary. The software our forums run on is just too out-of-date and it poses a significant security risk. The server software itself must be updated, and it cannot be without removing the forums.

So it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our long-running forums. They came online in 2000 and brought together so many wonderful Disney fans. We had friendships form, careers launch, couples marry, children born ... all because of this amazing community.

Thank you to each of you who were a part of this community. You made it possible.

And a very special thank you to our Guides (moderators), past and present, who kept our forums a happy place to be. You are the glue that held everything together, and we are forever grateful to you. Thank you aliceinwdw, Caldercup, MrsM, WillCAD, Fortissimo, GingerJ, HiddenMickey, CRCrazy, Eeyoresmom, disneyknut, disneydani, Cam22, chezp, WDWfan, Luvsun, KMB733, rescuesk, OhToodles!, Colexis Mom, lfredsbo, HiddenMickey, DrDolphin, DopeyGirl, duck addict, Disneybine, PixieMichele, Sandra Bostwick, Eeyore Tattoo, DyanKJ130, Suzy Q'Disney, LilMarcieMouse, AllisonG, Belle*, Chrissi, Brant, DawnDenise, Crystalloubear, Disneymom9092, FanOfMickey, Goofy4Goofy, GoofyMom, Home4us123, iamgrumpy, ilovedisney247, Jennifer2003, Jenny Pooh, KrisLuvsDisney, Ladyt, Laughaholic88, LauraBelle Hime, Lilianna, LizardCop, Loobyoxlip, lukeandbrooksmom, marisag, michnash, MickeyMAC, OffKilter_Lynn, PamelaK, Poor_Eeyore, ripkensnana, RobDVC, SHEANA1226, Shell of the South, snoozin, Statelady01, Tara O'Hara, tigger22, Tink and Co., Tinkerbelz, WDWJAMBA, wdwlovers, Wendyismyname, whoSEZ, WildforWD, and WvuGrrrl. You made the magic.

We want to personally thank Sara Varney, who coordinated our community for many years (among so many other things she did for us), and Cheryl Pendry, our Message Board Manager who helped train our Guides, and Ginger Jabour, who helped us with the PassPorter-specific forums and Live! Guides. Thank you for your time, energy, and enthusiasm​. You made it all happen.

There are other changes as well.

Why? Well, the world has changed. And change with it, we must. The lyrics to "We Go On" for IllumiNations say it best:

We go on to the joy and through the tears
We go on to discover new frontiers
Moving on with the current of the years.
We go on
Moving forward now as one
Moving on with a spirit born to run
Ever on with each rising sun.
To a new day, we go on.

It's time to move on and move forward.

PassPorter is a small business, and for many years it supported our family. But the world changed, print books took a backseat to the Internet, and for a long time now it has been unable to make ends meet. We've had to find new ways to support our family, which means new careers and less and less time available to devote to our first baby, PassPorter.

But eventually, we must move on and move forward. It is the right thing to do.

So we are retiring this newsletter, as we simply cannot keep up with it. Many thanks to Mouse Fan Travel who supported it all these years, to All Ears and MousePlanet who helped us with news, to our many article contributors, and -- most importantly -- to Sara Varney who edited our newsletter so wonderfully for years and years.

And we are no longer charging for the Live Guides. If you have a subscription, it's yours to keep for the lifetime of the Live Guides at no additional cost. The Live Guides will stay online, barring server issues and technical problems, for all of 2019.

That said, PassPorter is not going away. Most of the resources will remain online for as long as we can support them, and after that we will find ways to make whatever we can available. PassPorter means a great deal to us, and to many of you, and we will do our best to keep it alive in whatever way we can. Our server costs are high, and they'll need to come out of our pockets, so in the future you can expect some changes so we can bring those costs down.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support over the years. Without you, there's no way us little guys could have made something like this happen and given the "big guys" a run for their money. PassPorter was consistently the #3 guidebook after the Unofficial and Official guides, which was really unheard of for such a small company to do. We ROCKED it thanks to you and your support and love!

If you miss us, you can still find some of us online. Sara started a new blog at -- I strongly urge you to visit and get on her mailing list. She IS the Disney park princess and knows Disney backward and forward. And I am blogging as well at, which is a little craft blog I started a couple of years ago to make ends meet. You can see and hear me in my craft show at . Many PassPorter readers and fans are on Facebook, in groups they formed like the PassPorter Trip Reports and PassPorter Crafting Challenge (if you join, just let them know you read about it in the newsletter). And some of our most devoted community members started a forum of their own at Pixie Dust Lane and all are invited over.

So we encourage you to stay in touch with us and your fellow community members wherever works best for you!

Best wishes for a wonderful and magical new year!

Go Back   PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums > Welcome! > Using Your PassPorter: Tips and Answers > PassPorter News

Welcome! We're happy you've found the PassPorter Community -- the friendliest place to plan your vacation to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and the world in general! You are now viewing the PassPorter Message Board Community as a guest, which gives you limited access. As our guest, feel free to browse our messages by selecting the forum you want to visit from the list below.

To post messages and ask questions, join our FREE community today and you'll get access to tools and resources not available to guests, such as our vacation countown timers, "living" avatars, private messaging system, database searches, downloads, and a special PassPorter discount code. Registration is fast, simple, and completely free. Just click the Join Our Community link.

If you think you've already joined, log in below now. If you don't remember your member name or password, please visit our Member Name and Password Recovery page. You are also welcome to contact us.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-22-2004, 09:33 PM   #1
PassPorter News
PassPorter Guide

Community Rank: Globetrotter
PassPorter News's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,041

Post Thanks / Like
Behind The Backstage Tours

Where in the World can you pet a rhino, visit a VIP area, and go underneath the Magic Kingdom to see the famous utilidors? On one of the many backstage tours now offered by Disney.

PassPorter News is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-22-2004, 09:34 PM   #2
PassPorter News
PassPorter Guide

Community Rank: Globetrotter
PassPorter News's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,041

Post Thanks / Like
Re: Behind The Backstage Tours

So far, we have taken four backstage tours at Disney and plan to take more in the future. They offer a unique view of a place we all feel so familiar with, yet after every tour behind the scenes you will view the parks in a completely different light.

How many of you, who haven’t yet taken a backstage tour, can honestly say that in all your visits you noticed the writing in the windows along Main Street and that you know what it represents? Or did you realize that the plants you were admiring in many of the countries of the World Showcase are species which are native to that particular pavilion?

One of the beauties of Disney is that the Imagineers plan almost everything, yet most guests just don’t see it even though it’s right in front of them. This is where the backstage tours come in, opening up your eyes to the smallest of details.

Our fascination with the backstage tours began on our Christmas 2002 trip. We had already enquired about them during our trip two years earlier, but with only days left of our vacation, we had been unable to get a reservation at such late notice. This is something worth bearing in mind, as the number of tours offered each week is limited and their availability is now more widely advertised than ever. Places do fill up in advance and it’s possible to book many months ahead. For our May trip, we booked our tours four months beforehand and there have been reports of people already booking tours for trips this December.

The more popular tours, such as Keys to the Kingdom, are usually offered more than once a day but others, such as the Wild by Design tour at Animal Kingdom and Gardens of the World at Epcot, are only available a couple of days a week. If you’re particularly interested in a certain tour it’s worth checking whether you’ll be able to fit it into your schedule, before your days become filled with other magical plans.

But for those who might not instantly know which tour they want to take, how do you decide which one to take first? It’s worth considering going for a tour based in your favorite park, as it will give you a completely different perspective of it and will help you to appreciate it even more.

That was the method we adopted when selecting our first tour. Our favorite park is Epcot, which immediately reduced the number of options available. I suggested that perhaps we should concentrate on Future World, as we felt that there was more to learn here and it would be a fun experience particularly as reports we had read suggested that we would be taken on some of the rides. We incorrectly assumed that touring the gardens of World Showcase could be dull and a waste of our morning.

So what can you expect from a backstage tour? Each is unique but they do have some things in common. Let me first dispel a myth. Before setting off on our first tour I had read that they involved a lot of walking and left many people exhausted the next day, so I carefully scheduled our tour with nothing planned for the afternoon and flexible plans for the following day, just in case.

I was pleasantly surprised as we moved around Future World. There were regular restroom breaks and we were given plenty of opportunities to stop and sit down in the shade. On a number of occasions the nearest water fountain was also pointed out to us, in case we needed a drink. Neither of us felt exhausted at any point during the tour or afterwards and that experience has continued through our other tours. While we are certainly not super-fit, we do manage to get around Disney during our vacation but we don’t exercise a great deal at other times of the year, so I would expect most people to find the pace of the tours suited to their needs.

Only on one occasion, during our Gardens of the World tour, were we kept constantly on our feet and that, I have to admit, was partially our fault. Our guide had told us that we could stop as often as we liked for comfort breaks but we failed to take her up on her offer, assuming that breaks would be built in. We won’t make that mistake again in the future!

On some of the tours, such as Keys to the Kingdom and Undiscovered Future World, you will be able to experience some of the park’s attractions, but the ones selected do change from time to time so there’s no guarantee it will include your favorite. Keys to the Kingdom has featured the likes of the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise in the past, while in Undiscovered Future World, guests have been able to sample Test Track and Universe of Energy.

Some of the tours offered are completely “onstage”, but even then Disney can always throw in a surprise. When I booked Gardens of the World, the Cast Member kept repeating that there would be no visits behind the scenes, which I was perfectly happy with. Imagine my surprise when, at the end of the tour, our guide then took us backstage at Canada, so we were right in front of the building that will eventually house Soarin’!

Of course for most people who take the tours the unique selling point of them is the experiences I mentioned earlier, like seeing the VIP area at the Living Seas in Undiscovered Future World, going into the utilidors in Keys to the Kingdom or petting a rhino on the Backstage Safari tour. Disney is careful to state that they cannot always promise such experiences, perhaps with the exception of the visit to the utilidors (which is now an integral part of the Keys tour and is the main reason why kids under sixteen are not allowed to take part).

For many people though, their concern is that a peek behind the scenes may destroy the magic of what’s provided onstage. In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Admittedly it’s not a very magical feeling to pass through a “Cast Members Only” door straight into a car park with no Disney theming at all. There is no transition. Suddenly and abruptly you’re back in the real world with a bump, but while in that real world, you will see magic of a different kind -- the Cast Members going about their everyday jobs of creating magic for their guests and you will learn how they all work together to achieve that. After all, team at Disney means “together everyone achieves magic.”

Backstage tours are not cheap. The four we have taken so far have ranged in price from $49 to $65 per person. Some have included food, while others haven’t, but all have given us unique experiences and perspectives on the various parks. They have all surpassed our expectations and have provided us with so many fascinating facts that we now appreciate the magic that goes into creating Disney parks and Disney attractions all the more.

[You can get more information on backstage tours on pages 242-244 of PassPorter Walt Disney World 2004, where all tours with a “backstage peek” are clearly identified. Book your tour by calling 407-WDW-TOUR up to 90 days in advance.]

By Cheryl Pendry
Guest Columnist and PassPorter Message Board Guide
PassPorter News is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 07-23-2004, 07:40 PM   #3
Love The Hoop-Dee
Community Rank: Tourist
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Ohio
Posts: 16

Post Thanks / Like
Re: Behind The Backstage Tours

On the way to Donald's Breakfastosaurus, we were led by a CM who pointed out interesting things we never would have seen otherwise along the way. Does the Wild By Design tour do this? It talks about seeing the animal holding/feeding areas, which doesn't sound as interesting as a tour of the park.
Love The Hoop-Dee is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2004, 11:34 AM   #4
Community Rank: Adventurer
Meeko's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pittsfield, MA
Posts: 594

Post Thanks / Like
Re: Behind The Backstage Tours

I've taken (the now gone) Backstage Animation Tour as well as the Keys to the Kingdom Tour - both well worth the money! Especially Keys to the Kingdom - any die hard WDW fan will be giddy after seeing where they maintain the monorails, how the American Adventure works, and . . . the Utilidors!
Meeko is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Please login or register to hide these ads -- it's free and easy!

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like v3.4.0 Patch Level 1 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) 1998-2017 PassPorter Travel Press/MediaMarx, Inc.
Celebrating 19 Years of Making Dreams Come True
Ad Management plugin by RedTyger