While at Mouse fest this year my husband Ron and I decide to take the Yuletide Fantasy Tour.
This tour is offered Monday through Saturday late November until December 30.
Advance reservation must be made, they do not do walk up or same day reservations.
Cost was $69.00 per person but there are discounts available, AAA, DVC, AP and Disney Visa. Theme park admission is not required. You must be over 16 and have a photo id.
Tour is wheelchair accessible. We had a gentleman in a wheel chair and he was loaded on and off the bus via the rear door, with so many people entering and exiting the bus nobody had to wait either he or the other guest.
This tour ran from 8.45 until just after noon, so just a little over 3 hours.
No cameras or cell phones are allowed to be used back stage.
We meet up with the group outside Epcot guest relations area. This was the meeting place for a few groups but the cast member made quick work of getting everyone registered and in the correct group. Next name tags and ear pieces were handed out. The air piece is so that you can hear the tour guide with out his having to shout.
We were a large group of forty so we were split up into two groups. Once on the bus we were told the story of mistletoe, while we drove to the back stage area of Epcotâ€™s World Show Case on our nice Disney Cruise line bus. We enter from the backstage area of Morocco and worked our way around world show case to Mexico. As we went through the different countries we were told stories of their holiday traditions and customs. I will be putting to good use the German tradition of giving a newlywed couple twelve Christmas ornaments to ensure a happy marriage, as my nephew will be getting married in Germany next year.
Back on the bus and off to Disneyâ€™s Hollywood Studioâ€™s to see Residences Street all decked out with the Osbornâ€™s lights. We were told the story of how when the Osborn family came to see the lights lit the first time they were surprised to see one of their Halloween decorations incorporated into the display. Their purple cat was shipped by mistake but has now become a part of the display, he is moved around each year, and this year he was an ally cat.
Our guides shared some of their holiday stories and memories with us and they even had us do some singing of carols. Our next stop was the Grand Floridian for a very short stop to see the gingerbread house. It is huge and has lots of hidden Mickeyâ€™s. Each of the deluxe resorts has a gingerbread themed lobby and they all smell incredible. Not part of the tour but if you are planning on stopping by the Grand Floridian during the holidays you may want to wait for the evening as outside by the front door the have a cast member roasting chestnuts by an open fire, Hmm sounds like a song, it is very cool.
Back on the bus and off to the Holiday Service warehouse back stage at the Magic Kingdom. While the warehouse is fairly empty it was still cool to see just how big it is , how many extraâ€™s they have and the sign that said â€œ355 days to next set up dayâ€ now that is some long term planning.
Next stop was the Magic Kingdom. We entered back stage and went to the tree, each park has a different themed tree and the Magic Kingdomâ€™s is a kids tree with lots of toys .We next wander up main street to see the castle and the Partners statue. We were loaded back on the bus and brought back to Epcot to end our tour. As we were getting off the bus we were each awarded a Yuletide Fantasy pin.
This tour is held no matter the weather, we had very cold and windy weather but I had a client do the tour a few days before and it poured the whole time so be prepared and dress accordingly.
When entering the back stage areaâ€™s security will come on board the bus and do either a bag check or ask to see your photo id. You will not be allowed to go on the tour without your photo id.
I really enjoyed this tour and found it to be very informational and fun. Our guide was telling us that they may change the tour to a night time tour and include a dinner package with it. Now that would be awesome because you are doing a tour to see the holiday decorations but you canâ€™t see the lights lit up.