Looking for a new way to explore the Disney parks on your next trip? Do you love learning about the parks’ history and knowing the story behind hidden details scattered throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland? If so, doing a Disney backstage tour may be a great add-on experience to your vacation. Backstage tours are for ultimate Disney fans interested in seeing how the magic is made and exploring areas other guests don’t get to see. Learn more about how backstage tours at Disney work and which ones are worth it below.
How Backstage Tours Work
Disney backstage tours can be reserved 60 days before you arrive for your trip, like dining reservations. You can book tours through the My Disney Experience app (or have your Authorized Disney Vacation Planner book it for you). Tours are offered on various days and times and are limited-capacity events, so reserve your tour as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot. Each tour has its own cancellation policies, but you generally pay at the time of booking and can cancel without penalty up to 48 hours in advance. For tours located inside a theme park, you must also have valid theme park admission and a theme park reservation (for tours before January 9, 2024). Most tours are designed for teens and adults, with the minimum age for most tours between 14 and 16 years old. Tours can range from one-hour deep dives to half-day events.
Backstage Tours vs. VIP Tours
Backstage tours operate differently than Disney VIP tours. Backstage tours are group experiences that focus on a specific theme or explore a particular location and are led by one expert guide. VIP Tours, on the other hand, are customized experiences where a dedicated tour guide escorts you and the members of your party around all four theme parks throughout the day. You’ll skip lines, utilize private transportation, and have all the day’s logistics figured out for you. VIP Tours are purchased at an hourly rate for a specific number of hours. Backstage tours are charged per person and are generally less expensive than booking a VIP Tour.
Disney Backstage Tour Highlights
Keys to the Kingdom — Magic Kingdom
The Keys to the Kingdom tour is one of Disney’s most popular backstage tours. During this 5+ hour walking tour of the Magic Kingdom, you’ll get an inside look at nearly every aspect of the park. One of the tour’s highlights is exploring the “Utilidor” tunnel system underneath the Magic Kingdom, which houses many of the park’s backstage facilities. You’ll learn about intricate park design details, like why there’s a brown streak of pavement in the middle of Liberty Square and what the names on the windows on Main Street, U.S.A., stand for. The tour also includes lunch at a quick-service location at the Magic Kingdom, such as Pecos Bill or Columbia Harbour House. All guests must be 16 or older to book this tour.
Note: This tour may include some Disney magic “spoilers.” Be sure you’re ready to see the technical side of how Disney operates before going on this tour!
This one-of-a-kind experience for certified scuba divers is a dive you’ll never forget! The tour begins with a peek behind the scenes of Sea Base, the nation’s 2nd largest aquarium, located at The Seas with Finding Nemo & Friends. Then, you’ll take a 40-minute dive inside the aquarium, where you’ll swim with abundant marine life in some of the clearest water you’ll ever dive in. Friends and family (and guests exploring the aquarium) can watch your dive on the second level of the aquarium’s observation deck through large floor-to-ceiling windows. Diving equipment is also included with the tour.
Wild Africa Trek—Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Trek through unexplored areas of the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction on this adventure-packed three-hour tour. You’ll get up close with the African animals that call the safari home and learn about Animal Kingdom’s conservation efforts. Explore walking trails along the attraction route and even cross over a swinging rope bridge that hangs high above the safari attraction route. After your adventure, you’ll enjoy snacks and light refreshments at a covered gazebo overlooking the savanna.
Behind the Seeds — EPCOT
The Behind the Seeds tour is one of the least expensive and most readily available tours at Disney. During this one-hour tour, you’ll explore the four greenhouses showcased in the Living with the Land ride and see how the food produced in the greenhouse is distributed to the eateries around EPCOT. You’ll also see how Disney gardeners experiment with various crops, like Mickey-shaped watermelons and uniquely shaped growing towers.
Wilderness Back Trail Adventure—Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground
This two-hour Segway tour is perfect on a refreshing fall, winter, or spring day! After 30 minutes of Segway instruction and practice, you’ll ride along the trails throughout Fort Wilderness and Tri-Circle-D Ranch (Disney’s primary horse stable).
Walt’s Main Street Story Tour—Disneyland
Take a walk in Walt’s footsteps and get an in-depth look at his frequent hangouts at Disneyland. Discover details and hidden gems along Main Street, U.S.A., and get an exclusive tour of Walt’s apartment above the Disneyland Fire Station. After touring the apartment, you will enjoy refreshments on the apartment’s private patio.
Celebrating Disney100 —Disneyland
This limited-time tour explores iconic locations at Disneyland and California Adventure. Learn to draw a Disney character at the Animation Academy, discover park history, and more. You’ll also get reserved viewing for the daily Magic Happens parade. All ages are welcome on this tour!
Add a Behind The Scenes Tour to Your Disney Vacation with Just Add Magic Travel®
These are just some of the highlights of currently available Disney backstage tours. Offerings change regularly—follow Just Add Magic Travel on Facebook and Instagram for more updates. If you’d like to add one of these experiences to your next Disney trip, please email me or get a quote for your vacation here!
Owner of Just Add Magic Travel