Are you looking for that unique something to enhance your Disney vacation experience? From customizable personal VIP tours to behind-the-scenes tours, Walt Disney World offers a variety of guided tours throughout the four theme parks that can be just that something extra you are looking for.
I have always found the story of Walt Disney’s life and his perseverance overcoming obstacles to accomplish his dreams a true inspiration full of valuable life-lessons. So on our most recent trip to Walt Disney World in December 2019, my husband and I selected the Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour as an add-on to our vacation plans. This tour promised to provide insight into Walt Disney’s inspiration for several classic attractions including those that he created for the 1964 World’s Fair. It did not disappoint.
We met our tour guide Darlene and the rest of our group in the Magic Kingdom at Town Square Theater on Main Street U.S.A. at 7:45 AM. We were provided personalized badges, a bottle of water, and an audio headset. Our 3-hour walking tour began promptly at 8 AM.
Although Marceline, Missouri is not Walt Disney’s birthplace, we learned how the years he lived there as child and his love of this small hometown had a major impact on the shaping of his vision for the Magic Kingdom.
As we strolled down Main Street U.S.A. with stops in Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Adventureland, and ending in Tomorrowland, we were treated with loads of information and insight about Walt Disney himself and the history behind the development of classic attractions like It’s a Small World and The Carrousel of Progress. This was especially poignant for me personally as I had first experienced these attractions as a young child at the World’s Fair in New York.
The highlight of the tour was learning about the backstory and creation of the Haunted Mansion – there is so much more to know than what meets the eye! After experiencing the attraction itself with narration provided by Darlene via our audio headsets, the ultimate thrill was being escorted “down under” and literally behind-the-scenes of the Haunted Mansion. Here we came face to face with the dining room scene, the animatronics, and the ghosts themselves and witnessed first-hand how the illusion of the dancing ghosts is accomplished. Future rides on the Haunted Mansion are now forever enhanced for us!!
Making the experience extra special was the fact that our guide, Darlene, had personal interaction and inspiration at a very young age from Walt Disney himself. Her dad was a personal friend of and was on Walt’s team, giving Darlene the opportunity to know Walt and to be able to share his personal words of inspiration to her.
We came away from the tour with a renewed appreciation and understanding of Walter Elias Disney - the man, the visionary, and the pursuer of his dreams. Walt never took no for an answer, was a hands-on innovator, and was relentless in his quest for discovery and innovation. His life story remains an inspiration to all.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
Sandy Fardie is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters and Castles Travel. Her favorite park is the Magic Kingdom. Sandy loves planning vacations for her clients as much as she loves planning her own! She has experience planning honeymoons; single family; and multi-generational family vacations. You can learn more about Sandy at https://www.coastersandcastlestravel.com/sandy Contact Sandy at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sfardietravel/