Tours- Good vs. Bad

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jhugo's picture
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Tours- Good vs. Bad

So I have a confession to make....in all the years I have been going to Disney I have never ever booked a tour! Shocking I know. I really would like to fix this problem. So I am asking all of you who have done the various tours. Which ones would you recommend and which ones are a no go? What tours are worth the cost? Do you have one you have done more than once? I have just started looking and the two that caught my eye are the wild Africa trek at AK and the train tour at MK.

The Colonel's picture
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I have done a few:

Epcot Segway tour was by far the best and the most fun. The only one I repeated.

Dine with an Imagineering. The imagineer was not very forthcoming. They are not really allowed to say anything you can't find out elsewhere. I found the other guests more interesting. Lunch was very good though.

Keys to the Kingdom was good but honestly it is almost word for word from the MK field guide. You do get to go backstage and see a utilidor.

Marcelline to MK same as above.

Guided bass fishing tour was a riot and I highly recommend it.

I never did an AK tour because I'm just not into animals. Four legged ones anyway.

The best value tour is The Boardwalk Magic Tour- it's free!

I wanted to do walk in Walt's footsteps in DL but maybe next time.

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CdnSquirrel's picture
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the fishing sounds like fun but wow, it is not cheap!

JoAnn C's picture
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The only tour I have done was Mercaline to MK. I really enjoyed. I would like to try others.

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oHIo's picture
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Have to agree with the Colonel on the Segway Tour. It was a lot of fun visiting many of the countries in World Showcase before it opened for the day. Unfortunately it is no longer offered in EPCOT, it is only available in Fort Wilderness. sad Granddaughter wants to experience it when she turns 16.

Couldn't find the Wanyama Tour on WDW website any more. It was a safari in the AKL savannah followed by dinner at Jiko's.

We enjoyed Keys to the Kingdom Tour with the highlight being the utilidors and the backstage areas, getting up close and personal with the parade floats in their storage and staging area.

Disney's Holiday D-Lights was exciting, seeing 3 parks at night, starting with the lighting ceremony at MK, the Osborne Family Lights and ending at EPCOT with the Candlelight Processional. The five hour tour also included dinner.

Behind the Seeds Tour was very interesting and seeing Living with the Land Boat Ride from a different perspective was kind of neat. It is reasonably priced and easy to make reservations.

The Wednesday afternoon wine and cheese tasting at Jiko's is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and not terribly expensive. Our sommelier was very knowledgeable with out being pretentious.

The Illuminations Boat Cruise was rather expensive, but it is perfect for any kind of celebration. The boat ties up practically under the bridge between France and Great Britain.

Would love to do Backstage Magic. Has anybody done that one?

Have not experienced the Wild Africa Trek, but have heard that it is fabulous.

Hoping to take my son-in-law on the Steam Trains Tour any reports on that one?

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Bass fishing is the cost for the boat, up to five people on a pontoon boat. You catch a ton of fish and get views that you would not normally get.

I know someone who did the trains tour and enjoyed it. But he is a model train enthusiast.

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MrHub's picture
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We loved the EPCOT Segway tour, very disappointed when they cancelled that one.

Keys to the Kingdom Tour way fun, a lot of walking. We got left down on the utilidors by ourselves while the cast member dealt with an emergency.

Dine with an Imagineer, just like Colonel said, they can't tell you anything that is not out on the internet already and you really don't know who you may get.

We have done many Fireworks Cruises, the best is Wishes Fireworks Cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon. EPCOT you can get smoked out on that one, so it can be a 50/50 bet on being good or not. We have taken out the small pontoon, the large pontoon and the last time the Grand 1 (best ever!).

We are doing the Marceline to the Magic Kingdom tour in January.

I know Ken and Jan took the Steam train tour and really liked it.

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We've done quite a few tours - we try to do one with every trip. We have enjoyed all of them and would recommend each of them for different reasons.

- Keys to the Kingdom - we've done this one twice - you get a lot of detailed info about the MK park
- Backstage Magic - great tour and we loved touring the production buildings behind MK
- Backstage Safari - tour of the animal area by Conservation Station at AK, including your own safari
- Undiscovered Future World - at Epcot - ride on Soarin' and get to see some backstage areas
- Behind the Seeds - very informative and you can usually get in last minute, we've also done this one twice
- The Magic behind our Steam Trains tour - this one was really cool and we learned a lot about the trains
- Marceline to MK - this was probably our favourite for the cost and you get to see behind the scenes at the HM; we are doing this one again in January.

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We've done three tours so far and intend to do more. We've done Keys to the Kingdom, Behind the Seeds, and Undiscovered Future World.

My favorite was definitely Keys to the Kingdom just because the subject matter was the most interesting to me (MK is my favorite park) and I liked that the tour included lunch with the guide and other guests. My favorite part is tough to pin down here. The parts that stick out the most to me were the parade float workshop, Splash Mountain, Liberty Square, and the Utilidors, but the whole tour was really fun. I would do this one again.

Next was Undiscovered Future World. I liked this tour a lot, but it was a ton of walking because we crisscrossed Future World multiple times and walked a good bit backstage, too. My favorite parts of this tour were seeing the costuming area (regular CM's--no entertainment costumes) and the 3-D glasses cleaning facility. I would do it again, but Benn would probably not be interested a second time. He was not a fan of all of the backtracking.

Behind the Seeds was my "least favorite", but it's also the least expensive and requires the least pre-planning since they practically beg people to take the tour. This tour was really interesting, but I'm not really into gardening and plants in real life, so that's why I rated it as the weakest of the 3 for me. It was worth doing just to see the Living with the Land ride up close. Our guide here was the best of the three and there was plenty of interesting information to keep even non-plant people like myself interested for the duration of the tour. I would do it again just because it would take several times for all of the information to really sink in if you know nothing about plants going in.

Our next tour will be Walk in Walt's Footsteps when we go to Disneyland in March and I can't wait!!

My tour wish list after that is Backstage Magic, Magic Behind our Steam Trains, Marceline to MK, and one of the backstage safari adventures.

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I really enjoyed the Marceline tour simply because we got to see HM behind the scenes.

The Backstage magic tour is also really good and I'd recommend to take it at least once. You basically hit all 4 parks with a lot of behind the scenes access. The best parts for me were going backstage at Tower of Terror and visiting the production shops just north of MK. It's a Disney industrial park where they manufacture and maintain a lot of the things you see in the parks such as ride vehicles. I'd like to take this tour again sometime.

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I've done the train tour and really enjoyed it even though I'm not that into trains awesome

We plan on doing Keys to the Kingdom in September mickey

Kris1971's picture
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The steam train tour is really great. Its only 3 hours, not super expensive, and you get into the Magic Kingdom before it opens. My husband is a huge train buff and he absolutely loved it. I'm not a huge train buff, and I loved it too. You get to learn all about Walt's love of trains, where they found the trains, how they restored them, and all kinds of really cool stories. You also get to go back to the round house and see where they work on the trains. We both enjoyed it very much, and I highly recommend it!

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The only tour I've done is the Keys to the Kingdom tour. We enjoyed it, but I wouldn't do it again. It was long, a lot of walking, and there were only a few things I learned that a Disney buff/veteran wouldn't already know. I definitely have a small list of tours that I still want to do though, with Marceline being at the top of the list.

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I've actually done a few tours now and loved them all. I really felt the best value for money was the marceline tour. Keys to the kingdom was also fab, as was the sunrise safari (now to be discontinued). Next on my list is undiscovered futureworld. I fancy the steam train tour too. No plans at all to do backstage magic, lots of friends have done it within the last year and at least half of them got their money back as it was so awful and badly put together.

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RobynPrincess wrote:
No plans at all to do backstage magic, lots of friends have done it within the last year and at least half of them got their money back as it was so awful and badly put together.

Really??? Our tour was great as it was all backstage (more than any other tour). We took it in 2012 and I can't imagine how it could be considered awful. Ours was very organized and informative. What happened?

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I have no idea Ken Sad it's a tour I've always wanted to do so until I hear lots of recent good stories I'll be giving it a wide berth Sad

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Watson's go West May 15
The one with all the birthdays Oct 14 4 Big Birthdays and a Vow Renewal thrown in
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Girly trip March 14 A last min cheapy week
September 13 our first all DVC stay
TR May 2013 the last min bargain trip offsite
Oct 2012 TR with a cruise!big family trip featuring the beach club, AKL, the dream and a villa offsite
TR on a budget May - June 2011offsite condo
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We did the Wild Africa Trek and loved it! See my trip report for October for details...link below biggrin

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KenJ wrote:
RobynPrincess wrote:
No plans at all to do backstage magic, lots of friends have done it within the last year and at least half of them got their money back as it was so awful and badly put together.

Really??? Our tour was great as it was all backstage (more than any other tour). We took it in 2012 and I can't imagine how it could be considered awful. Ours was very organized and informative. What happened?

Add us to the "very impressed" section of those that have done the backstage magic tour.

We have also done the KTK tour and enjoyed that .

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I did The Keys To The Kingdom tour this year. The only thing that let the tour down, and it wasn't anything that the tour guide could have done about it, was that I happened to take the tour on probably the coldest day in November in Orlando for years - it was freezing and windy!! But the tour was good. Our guide did her best to keep everyone out of the wind and I enjoyed seeing behind the scenes. She also had a fair amount of knowledge and added a couple of personal anecdotes as well.

I will probably do the Backstage Magic tour next time I'm in town. I've only heard good things about the tour so far, so will take a risk...besides, with a guide getting you onto some of the more popular rides without having to wait - I'm all for that Wink

Everyone gets what they want out of a tour, so if you've gone just because you think you might see a lot of secrets, then you'll probably be disappointed. It is Disney, after all, and they don't want to spoil ALL of their secrets.

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We did Keys to the Kingdom a while back and loved it, but the tour that won my heart was the 'Wild by Design' tour in AK. It was just us and the guides and blimey, it was BRILLIANT. I learnt so much about AK and what went into making the park, including lots of stories behind the designs that I'd never heard/read online - which is almost unheard of these days! I'm not sure if they still offer it but it was surprisingly cheap, with breakfast at Pizzafari included - highly recommended if they're still offering it!

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I've done only tours offered to cast members. I got to take the Haunted Mansion backstage tour. It was awesome. I've also done a Disney transportation environmental tour as well. Both were really good. I haven't done any other tours.