Stories Behind the Scenes

From: Jessica 21 JUN 00

Before Main Street became a huge collection of shops, there were a few great attractions that kept bringing us back to Disney World. On hot or rainy days, my family used to duck into a little theatre. A mannequin stood up front in a ticket booth - once you walked past her and opened up the curtains, a cool, air-conditioned room with 5 screens showing old Mickey Mouse cartoons awaited you. We thought of this room as "our little secret", although I'm sure many others have found it while searching desperately for shelter. My father loved main street because it was the only place where he could get a "real" shave. A barber would lather up his face and shave him with a straight blade. He always felt good afterwards. It's sad that our "secret" has become a merchandise shop and our barber is gone. But it was nice while it lasted.

From: Donald 17 MAY 99

While we were at Walt Disney World a few days ago, there was a character sighting with a lot of characters. We came into the courtyard in front of Main Street and saw Captain Hook having a fight with the fox from Pinnochio. While behind Captain Hook's back, my brother started saying "Tick-Tock Tick-Tock". Pinnochio, who was right next to Hook, tapped Hook on the shoulder and motioned to look behind him. Captain Hook chased him all over the courtyard. After that, we decided to interact with other characters around the park. We went over to the Queen of Hearts and asked if she ever lost at croquet. She made an "Off with his head!" gesture, which led to a chase over the courtyard. We then saw Mr. Smee joyfully skip over to Captain Hook, trying to tell him something. Hook ended up pointing off in the distance as if to say, "Hey, look!" and while Smee was trying to find what he was looking for. So, just for fun, if you are ever at a character greeting thing with several characters, not only will the characters interact with each other, they will interact with you! Only at Disney would the characters act their parts!

From:Cheryl Althouse 01 MAR 97

In the summer of 1987, my husband and I visited Walt Disney World for the first time without our children. We had just watched the afternoon parade and decided to do some shopping at the Emporium on Main Street. While purchasing some things, I got into a conversation with the cashier and asked her if her middle name was Ann. The reason being that a lot of people I meet with the first name of Cheryl have that middle name. She looked at me a bit strangely and said yes. When the purchase was over, she whispered to me that in my bag was something that no one can buy as a memento of being there. She had taken off her name tag and slipped it into the bag. I don't know how many people have one, but I have an official Disney World name tag with my name on it.

L. Borne 25 JAN 96

I worked on the 4th of July when the crowds were so large, that we actually allowed guests to exit by going around backstage down main street. In the middle cross road section of main street, large doors could be opened. Another set of doors are located at the horse stable near the exit. Guests were funneled out though the cross road gate and entered back by the stable. We erected large curtains so that no one could see the garages where the main street autos were parked.

anon 25 JAN 96

All of the offices on the upstairs of main street are real. The real offices only have windows looking out toward backstage. The walls of the actual offices are 3-4 feet away from the fake office windows. Once, when I was up talking with the Main Street Cast Member director, I noticed a clever conversation piece on his desk. It was a mouse trap baited with a dime, and a plastic Mickey was caught in it with his hand on the money. This was his way of protesting Eisner's policies.

Steve B 24 SEP 96

I can confirm that guests are sometimes allowed to cut behind the east side of Main Street. I was there in October '96. Although the parks were generally not too crowded due to low season throughout most of the week, Saturday still attracted a huge crowd. Saturday night was the only night of the week (at least in October) when the Magic Kingdom hosted fireworks and the SpectroMagic parade. Even in low season, the place was so crowded that I overheard somebody saying that new admissions had been cut off earlier in the day. I watched the fireworks from the north end of Main Street. I was at the area where you can turn east from the Street itself and sit at tables overlooking the water around the castle plaza and Tomorrowland was off to my right. After the fireworks, a Cast Member opened a door in that section of Main Street facing the castle. Guests were able to go through that door, along the service areas, then re-enter Main Street at Town Square. There was no attempt to disguise or dress up this service area. There were no giant curtains covering anything. I could see various parked cars and the very unthemed backs of buildings. Given the number of people crammed into the park, relatively few seemed to take this shortcut. Perhaps the loss of illusion is not worth escaping from several minutes of shoulder-to-shoulder crowds thronging toward the exit.

Magic Music Days

From: Andy Hoernecke 21 JUN 00

Our high school marching band has marching the afternoon parade every other year for about 10 years. This way each band member has the chance to go twice. First, let me say that marching in Disney is the most incredible experience in the world, however, some people just don't seem to understand the amount of work that goes into a marching band. When we marched the expected attendence for the parade was between 10,000 and 15,000 people. 90% of them clapped and supported us, but the other 10% didn't really seem to care either way. If I wasn't in our marching band, I too may not realize the amount of work that goes into a performance like that. We had around 20 3 hour practices with about 4 of them in winter clothing. (Meaning a tee shirt, a sweatshirt,a winter coat, two pairs of pants, a winter hat, and a pair of gloves) We were at home(Illinois), not Florida, but it was still hot in the 80's. Anyways, I feel that any group that puts that much effort into a performance definetly deserve applause. Our work has always paid off though. We are always told that we are one of the very best bands that marches there. The other thing I thought I'd mention is that for the Magical Music Days Workshop we drive in our buses behind the scenes. Well, I am a big Disney fan, and I had been following the story of the deconstruction of Horizons (a ride in Epcot) One of the main things I wanted to do for this trip was get some pictures of the back of the Horizons building.(They are taking it apart for the back forward so that they can keep the front looking reasonable for the guest) Anyways I brought my digital camera and was focusing and getting ready to take the picture when the batteries in my camera died. I was sooo disappointed, especially because behind the scenes pictures like that are very rare because of Disney's "take the film and kick them out" policies. One more quick note. We also marched at Universal Studios and they were not nearly as polite and friendly as the people at Disney were. I read one story about the picture thing at Disney, but at Universal you were even more limited in what you could/could not do.

From: Karen Koy 16 APR 99

In the spring of 96 my high school music program went to the complex for Magic Music Days. Our jazz band played in the Starlight Cafe in Future World. We were taken down through the tunnels (even the custodians smiled at us!), tuned up in a small room, and were escorted to the stage. The stage was below the restaraunt's main level. It was a small, dark cylidrical room. We had no idea what was going to happen. The floor jerked and we started to go up! We played an intro vamp all the way up. (The room paused for a minute, and later we found out that there had been a small fire in the control room.) Needless to say, both we and our audience were quite thrilled by the whole thing. A couple visiting the park even framed a picture they took of us and sent it to the school!

From: Bridget Vaughan 08 JAN 96

I was a member of a Marching Band and we were always invited to Disney Magic Music Days...While behind the scenes we were told that if we took pictures they would take our film and kick us was like a mini-mob operation...I didn't fully understand at the time why we were basically threatened with our lives. Needless to say a friend of mine snuck away with a couple snapshots...they are kinda crooked and sideways...but no juicy stuff..bummer eh?

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