Underground Tours at Disney

The Cinderella Castle at Disney World is the tunnel system's hub.
The Cinderella Castle at Disney World is the tunnel system's hub. (Image: Kin hang norman Chan/Hemera/Getty Images)

Beneath the Magic Kingdom, tunnels and passageways give secret access to park maintenance engineers and cast members, allowing them to appear like magic right where they're needed. Take a tour of tunnels and other areas not usually open to the public to get a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of the Disney theme parks.

Going Underground

When the original Disneyland was built in 1955, characters and maintenance workers got around on the park's main roads or backstage areas screened by foliage. In the mid-1970s, the newly-built Walt Disney World in Florida improved transportation access for the workers through an extensive series of corridors. The corridors were constructed at ground level and then covered with about 5 million square feet of soil excavated when building the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Disney rides are built over the tops of these corridors on the second and third levels.

Behind-the-Scenes Magic

Take a seven-hour tour that gives you a look at the inner workings of the four Disney theme parks. Known as Backstage Magic, the tour transports you to Epcot, Magic Kingdom Park, the Animal Kingdom Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios. The tour includes the Utilidors in the Magic Kingdom where you'll see the characters' dressing areas, transport systems and dining areas as well as how the maintenance and supply systems function. To keep the Magic Kingdom magic for younger guests who could be upset by seeing such things as Mickey Mouse without his head, the tour is open only to those 16 or older.

Follow in His Footsteps

In Anaheim, you can't tour Disneyland's modest tunnels stretching under Tomorrowland, but you can take a look at the development of the park at the Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps tour. Visit areas not open to the average park guest, such as Walt Disney's own apartment in the Town Square where he masterminded the conversion of a citrus orchard into every child's dream destination. Experience some of the park's original attractions that still delight visitors just as they did in 1955 when the park opened.

Be Prepared

While bus transportation is provided between the four theme parks on the Backstage Magic tour, be prepared to do a lot of walking. Wear comfortable shoes, but make sure they have closed toes and heels to meet the park's safety regulations for the tour. Make sure each member of your party has a photo ID or you will have to forfeit your reservation without a refund. Both the Backstage Magic and Walk in Walt's Disneyland Footsteps tours include lunch and bottled water.

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