Stories Behind the Scenes

From: pam22 11 OCT 01

My husband and I went to Walt Disney World for our honeymoon in October, 1999. On the first day we were there, we bought t-shirts with Mickey and Minnie above the caption, Honeymoon, Orlando, 1999 as souvenirs from the Merchant of Venus in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. Three days later, we both wore the shirts on the last day of our honeymoon to Disney MGM. We were waiting for the Mulan parade to start, when a cast member taking surveys stopped to ask us questions. We answered and she was on her way. Ten minutes later we were still sitting on our bench when she approached us with a yellow slip of paper. She told us a package would be waiting for us at package pick-up when we left the park. She smiled, told us congratulations and hurried off. When we arrived at package pick-up, we expected to find t-shirts or mugs. Instead, we found a porcelain Bride and Groom Mickey and Minnie figurine. Since our wedding had a Disney theme, the gift was perfect. We sent an e-mail thank you when we got home. A little piece of Disney magic.

From: Don 07 JAN 01

While on Vacation, my brother and his kids were waiting in line and we met a guy on vacation as well. after chating it up awile he informed me He was a Cast member from Palm Beach Fl. His name was Adam Also known as AJ JAMS Of Radio Disney. He was funny kidding around with the kids and other cast members. When we asked for his Autograph the other Cast members did the same. He made the wait alot of fun for all and My nephew's want to go to work for Radio Disney. AJ if you read this THANKS FOR THE MAGIC!! Don.

Tower of Terror

From: Annie 11 DEC 01

My family and I were at MGM Studios, and we were anticipating riding the Tower of Terror. We were very excited because Grandma was going to get on it! Much to our dismay, the line was being cleared by a cast member when we arrived. The line was shortening quickly as he told everyone to move along. None of us knew why, so we walked up to ask. When we did, the man looked at us and said, "YOU all can go ahead." We got on very quickly in a line that had been very long. We couldn't figure out why he was doing that, but we didn't complain!

Rockin Roller Coaster

From: Pluto 22 01 JUN 01

when I went to Disney world for my 100th time, I rode one of my favorite rides, Rockin Roller Coaster. When the ride first started, it felt a lot faster than when I had rode it the day before. the ride was going extremly fast! Then, when we went under a street sign, we stopped. We sat there for about five minutes, then the music stopped. then all of the lights came on. Finally, two cast members had to come out and get us and have us walk out of the ride. We had to clime down a very big ladder and fallow a path. We were not alowed to take any pictures, but it was really cool seeing the inside with all of the lights on. We had to walk al the way back through the catapolt area where the ride starts. The two cast members said that the ride was going too fast than what it should be going. I had more fun doing that then riding the ride!

Animation Tour

From: Ry Ogron 07 OCT 99

During the animation tour when the put you all in a room to watch an actual animator draw(extremely cool)i noticed alot of cool things. A Batman and Wolverine were hanging from his desk as well as alot of Disney characters. I guess all animator can do this, but i just found this extremely cool to see up close. Also afterwards I stayed behind to see what he does with the drawing that he draws in front of the crowd(Pooh screaming b/c he went on the TOT)it was very cool, but he said he couldn't give it to me and they threw it away because it would be unfair to give it to a member of the audience.

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!

From: Jim Gerard 21 DEC 96

I was chosen to be an extra in Indiana Jones. As we waited onstage our hostess told us the director was coming over to greet us. She then said "Don't say anything about his bad hairpiece!" Well, all the time he was talking to us (on microphone) he would reach up and tug on his hair a little. Not really noticable to the audience, but it kept us all giggling like schoolkids! If you do get chosen as an extra, try to get in the center of the croud as you run out on stage. Be very excited and keep eye contact with the asst. director. You may be chosen to do "The Death Scene" which is probably the best thing to do in the park. Its fun, exciting, and is probably the biggest applause for a non-employee anywhere in the WDW complex!

The Great Movie Ride

From: Steve Bazemore and Joel 07 APR 99

I think this is kind of interesting. Me and my friend were riding The Great Movie Ride, and were in the first row, in show b. (where the gangster hijacks you) We have ridden it so much, that we memorized all the lines. So when the gangster hijacked our car, and right before the "Alien" scene, when the gangster says "Oh, dead end", my friend said it before the ganster, and i think we messed him up, because he started laughing when he said it. So when he says the line "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes", he said "snakes" and gave the microphone to us, but we didnt know the line, so he said it. We rode it again, for the 2nd time in a row, this time in row two, and got the same gangster, and when he said "snakes" he gave us the microphone, and we said why did it have to be snakes. Then, we rode it again, this time we got row eight, and when the tour guide says "um, are you talking to me" the gangster said "no lame brain, i'm talkin to the kinds in row eight, yeah im talkin to you" and, of course let us say "why did it have to be snakes, we got that guy cracking up. The guys name is Danny. I was wondering, because i left 2 days ago, if anyone that sees this could ask to see Danny, and if they say hes not there, or working, ask if the people could take a mess

From: Jonathan Claydon 23 JAN 98

I was visiting WDW the month before MGM opened since we were staying at a Disney Resort my family was offered the chance to participate in a sneak preview of the soon to be ready theme park. (I forget what year it was.) Not all the attractions were open, but the first thing we did was go on the Great Movie ride. Everything was amazing until our car reached the area the separates the Tarzen stage from the Casablanca scenery. Then our car stopped and wouldn't move at all. After an hour of listening to Tarzan's roar, and the elephants and monkeys screeching my sanity was all but gone. That was a number of years ago, and to this day I have the lines from those two areas memorized.

From: Brad Bell 21 FEB 96

Hi. You may not care, but I thought this was pretty funny. When my family and I went to WDW last summer, we were at MGM and it began to storm.

We searched for an indoor ride,and chose the Great Movie Ride. We'd just exited the Chicago scene, and were up to the part in the Western scene where the guide ran out (I guess that was supposed to happen) and some of the actors came out and had to ad-lib!! It was terrible!! The electricity had gone out, and it was an electric car!!

Well, this small girl up front took over, grabbed the mike, and sang the Ittsy Bittsy Spider! I then asked my mother for a quarter, called the cowgirl over, handed her the money and told her to "call someone who cares"!! (I'm in the 6th grade) They ended up escourting us out with the worklights on, and we were back where we started. In the rain!!

From: C Industries 31 JUN 95

I worked as a gangster (Mugsy) at the Studios from September 1990 - March 1991. Lots of crazy things used to go on in the Movie Ride - especially because I was in the College Program - a wild program (you should ask former College Program folks to submit items).

Anyway, the story I was going to tell didn't happen to me but to another character. During the Annubis scene in the ride, a cowboy (the character that is in front of the gangster) was pulling his car into the scene. He read his line about "wanting to heist that jewel" and then ran around the car and up the stairs to do the scene. Unknown to him a guest in the back right of the car (by the stairs) had puked (hurled!!!) onto the floor in front of the stairs. The cowboy was running quickly (probably late on the timing) and slipped on the puke and smacked his head open on the floor. (He was okay though).

At the time, they were working on the stairs on the left of the Annubis. So, the tour guide (who returns to the car) had to come down the same stairs. The cowboy tried to warn him while they were doing the scene. But, the tour guide came down the stairs and also slipped on the puke....smack!

Then, next came the gangster car into the scene and again slipped on the puke..smack! But the tour guide coming down missed it and they cleaned it up in the next round.

Kinda funny! Everyone got puke on them and banged their head pretty good. The Annubis scene was very dangerous back then. I hear it is much safer now.

Also, when I was gangster and it was a slow time, we used to go out into the gangster scene (when no cars were coming) and hide ourselves in the scene. Usually we would just hold super still in the shadows where people could see us, but they would think we were animatronics.

Then, one gangster would be doing the scene and (at the time) the line was: guide: "Hey are you talking to me?" and the correct response was: gangster: "No lame brain I'm talking to the dame back there in the funny hat, of course I'm talking to you."

But we used to say: gangster: "No lame bain, I'm talk to the guy over there in the shadow!"

Then, eveyone would look and usually it would throw off the tour guide and they would forget their lines. Then when the shooting starts all the gangsters would come out and shoot their guns.. what a racket.

It was also fun back then because the (male) tour guides used to do a dramatic dying scene where they would peel back part of their shirt to so a fake blood stain, they they would fall back or dive into the pit (on the mat) below stage left. They later cut out this whole part of the scene. Now they just run away.

When I was a tour guide, I used to get girls I was dating (who worked in the ride) to wait down there on the mat and we would make out, etc. in between doing shows. Fun!

We used to do a lot of things that weren't SOP (standard operating procedure) and we used to get in a lot of trouble. I'm sure many folks have stories like mine.

Backlot Special Effects and Production Tour

From: Daniel Paci 19 MAR 00

When I went to Disney World some years back When I went On Catastrophe Canyon it was raining. They tryed to start the explosion but they wouldn't work. So we ended up just having the flood. But ever since then it has always worked.

From: John Moran 28 JAN 00

I can remember this story that happend about 3 or 4 summers ago when the people running the tram had to evacuate us from inside Catastrophe Canyon. I remember when we left from the station hearing a weird grinding noise and asked my father, who knows a lot about cars what was the noise. He thought it was an axle problem cause it sure was. After the tram had experienced Catastrophe Canyon, the CM said that they were having tram problems, so they were going to let us experience Catastrophe Canyon all over again. However this did not happen and they said that they were going to put all the passengers on a tram that was outside the Canyon. Well that was a fun experience. I was in the third car and remember getting out of the tram and walking on the shaker tables that shake the tram for the earthquake part of the Canyon. I passed the driver and some other Disney employee who were hoping that the Canyon would not activate while we were getting of this tram. Well forunately it did not. I thought it was fun cause I got to walk on the shaker tables and found out that they are not much more than wooden boards that move by hydralics. Anyway I thought I would share this story with everyone.
Dawn M. Landers 12 JUN 96

I worked as an MC for the Special Effects and Production Tour one summer. We always had "Make A Wish" kids or other special groups come into the queue area early, escorted by Disney Liaisons. We recognize these liaisons from the plaid vest they wear. One afternoon, while I was about to do the show for the Special Effects Water Tank, I noticed a liaison had walked in with a family. No big deal - I performed the show as usual. After the show, fellow Cast Members came up to me and patted me on the back stating what a great job I had done and asking me if I was nervous. I inquisitively said no, why? They said because George Lucas was in the audience with his family. I had no idea George Lucas was watching and it was a good thing I didn't. I probably would have fumbled my lines from being so nervous.

Jim Henson's MuppetVision 3D

From: Bonnie Mann 26 SEP 95 & 18 OCT 95

I went to school with Jim Henson and thought you might be inter- ested in this bit of trivia. Our Jr. High Art teached Miss Silverstein taught us to make those muppets, only they wern't called muppets then. We took chicken wire and formed it around our hands and into head shapes; covered them (week after week) with paper soaked in laundry starch. Shaped some more. until we had.... Oh well. During college (U of M) Professor Puglease of the Art Department told Henson he should get rid of those puppets and get a new major. Jim honored him years later with a muppet effigy: you know the two old men, Waldorf and Statler, in the balcony with never a nice word for anything. I don't know which is which but Pugleses is the short chubby one, and I don't know why Hotel magnates.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

From: anon 24 FEB 01

It was a rainy day when we road the Tower of Terror the first time. When we got inside the car, I placed my family's wet ponchos on the floor at our feet. At the first drop the wet ponchos rose up before our faces and stayed there. Then we came to a sudden stop and they landed on the people in front of us. I quickly tried to gather them together so they could enjoy the ride, but it was over before I had them untangled. They were not amused. Moral of the story... put your feet on your ponchos on the TOT..

From: Derek 29 NOV 00

I was at Disney MGM studios two years ago and was riding the TOT for the first time. Everything was fine until we got up to the part (forgive me if my memory slips), after we ascended, where there's shiny stuff floating around (?). Right before we got into the position where we were about to drop, the ride broke down and all the lights turned off. The car load of people waited there for about 15 minutes. Yes, a full 15 minutes about, count it on your watch. the a bellhop came and :rescued" us by getting us off the car and into a SERVICE ELEVATOR. It was pretty cool to walk through the top floor of the ride. Everything is connected with strings and the floor is covered with fibreglass mirrors (or that's what it felt like). So we got to the service elvator (just a normal elevator you would find in an office building) and the weirdest thing was that the elevator indicated that we were on the FIFTH floor. I thought it was supposed to be the 13th floor or something like that? The bellhop had the weirdest

From: Scott Powlas 28 SEP 99

Back in May, some friends and I went park hopping. About mid afternoon we found ourselves at the Studios with the sole intention of riding TOT. The weather that day had been beautiful; however, as we walked down Sunset Boulevard a small bank of dark clouds moved over TOT. It made the already foreboding Hotel look even more frightening. Shortly after we left the Hotel, the clouds moved on and the day was once again beautiful. Very creepy.

From: Aurora 29 MAR 00

To say that I'm obsses with TOT (Tower of Terror) would be putting it lightly, but anyway, since I ride it so often I've gotten to know some of the bellhops pretty well. Anyway In 99 I was riding and as the doors were closing about to take us up to the first floor, the bellhop noticed how calm I was *unlike everyone else in the ride, it seemed* and pointed me out the everyone, and said that I was the star in some movie (I don't remeber what movie anymore), he was saying that as the doors closed and everyone looked at me the rest of the ride... Anyway for the rest of the day, I had people comming up to me for my autograph! people even came back and asked HIM about me! (P.S. I was NOT in the movie)

From: Eric Barnett 16 DEC 99

  • When I went on the Tower of Terror for the second time all the seats were full. I was positioned just right in front of the elevator that I got to sit in the middle! If you noticed theres a seat-belt on the last row right in the middle! I loved it! When we dropped I threw my legs out straight, put my hands in the air, and got the rush of my life. It felt as if I was just floating. Who knows, I could have been. I suggest ya ask if you can sit there. Its a blast! Plus you stand out alot more on the picturess :)

    From: David Kleine 27 APR 99

    I am a Bellhop at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, formally known as the Hollywood Tower Hotel. It is fun being a cast member and knowing many of the secrets but more fun watching guests try and figure things out, such as the hidden Mickey. There are actually only 3 official Hidden Mickeys placed by Disney Imagineers in the Tower, but you'll have to figure out which ones by yourself. Anyway, on to my stories. It's always entertaining when I load the guest's onto the elevator and I have a group of people that do not want their lapbar all the way down. they act as if I couldn't tell that they were holding the bar above their waist with their thumbs or they lift their feet on their toes so the bar stops short. I sometimes have fun and pretend I don't notice so they leave the bar unguarded after I leave...thats when I sneak up and push it the rest of the way down. ;-)haha...Next, what is it with the pennies? When I am unloading the guests, I find pennies in every elevator. Yes, it is true that they do infact float, but so does the guest!! Isn't that more amazing? It is too dark in the elevator to watch the penny anyway! Do enjoy your stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, I do hope that it is an uplifting one...and oh, thank you all for DRoPiNg by..hahahaha

    From: Angela 24 APR 99

    I have a bit of a scary story... My father and I were the biggest buffs of the TOT and had rode it about 6 times before the dreaded. The 7th time, after all the drops had finished off and we were backing away from the screen with the black and white spiral, the car decided not to move. All the music stopped and the lights shut off as if the car was emptied out. They eventually turned on the lights and behind you and then to either the right or left is a long corridor with almost a track like thing the car moved along! It was so cool looking!

    From: Jill 28 MAR 99

    When I was at the Disney Studios last summer, I went onto my favorite ride (The Tower of Terror) for about the gajillionth time. Well, I noticed that a few people were talking about it being their first time, so I wanted to try and make it a memorable and funny time. Well, on the first "floor" when the apparitions appear, I screamed when the window broke. Then, I kept yelling how much I hated the dark. Then, you know the short while you're suspended in the air (in the dark) before you first go down. Well, it was really quiet and I said out loud, "This isn't as bad as I thought." Then, we went down, really fast. As we stopped at the top to have the picture taken, I kept screaming continually. Then I stopped and said, "Oh, what I pretty view." Then. we plunged again. It was in fact a very pretty night. But, when it was over, everyone came up to me and told me how funny I sounded the whole time. A lot of the people even bought the pictures because I had the most hilarious look on my face at the top. I hope everyone has that much fun an that ride as I did.

    From: Arthur Sanders 22 AUG 98

    The first time I rode the Tower of Terror I had a camcorder on a shoulder mount. I had the camcorder running the entire ride. I also got the 'jump seat' for that ride. I made sure that I hooked the seat belt loose enough to allow me to float when the car got pulled down. When I revewed the tape the camera was looking at the top of the elevator cage. At that time I had floated to the top of the car. The next time I rode in the 'jump seat' the cast member came over and rehooked my seat belt for me. I guess they didn't like me floating away. On another note. Most of the props in the Tower were bought not made. I found that out during a pre-opening tour that I took.

    From: adam 20 JAN 98

    TOWER OF TERROR. Being that Tower of Terror is one of my favorite rides, my friends and i went on it time and time again. After awhile, actually the second time on, we didnt want to see the movie portion of the ride. This occurs when u are in the elevator that is supposivly taking u up to the top of the building. Anyways, my friedns and i noticed that if u were the very first people in to the elevator u could actaully run out thru the door that was closing from the people that just left in front of u. when we were too late, we simply stuck our hands in the little crack between the edge of the door and the wall, and the door opens right up. It has a sensory on it that keeps it open so no one can get caught in it, just like a regular elevator. Well needless to say, we got caught doing it on about the third time, and were held back by the attendant and almost got escorted off the ride. oh well, it was better then watching the movie part for the billionth time.

    From: anon 03 MAR 98

  • On my first trip to Walt Disney World we decided to go on the Tower of Terror. Anyways,you know how if you get to the park early everyone at the gate runs to the really fun ride first. So, we were running the marathon to the Tower of Terror and my mom noticed that all the husbands were running ahead and calling to their wives and children to hurry up. When we go their we got on the first ride. I put everything except for my baseball cap into my bag, since I planned to stand on my hat. Any way, you know how they open the doors to take the pictures at the top and then they drop you? Well I'm really afraid of heights and since you could see for like 2 miles I was really freaked. So they opened the doors and I in turn hid my head. At the end of the ride I picked up my stuff and noticed that my hat was missing. My sister said "oh that's what flew by my head" I was sort of upset because earlier on the trip one of the attendants at EPCOT had run up to me on one of the conveyour belts to ask me where I got it and that it was a collectable. (It was a Star Wars PILOT hat) The attendant told us that it probably went up the shaft. They clean it out everday so they said I should come back later. When we returned later they had found it so I was very happy.

    From: Cassie Rife 03 DEC 97

    It was my first trip to Walt Disney World, and my dad and I decided to go on Tower Of Terror. While waiting in line I noticed that right before the big plunge some outer doors open and reveal you sitting in the little cage to everyone that happens to be looking up at the right moment. I started thinking about unique photo opportunities and said to my dad that we ought to take a picture right after those big doors open. So we were all ready with our cameras as we twisted and turned on the elevator before you drop. As soon as the doors opened we were ready and both of us snapped a picture. After the ride was over we started towards the exit and heard some laughter. We came around a corner and saw many people huddled around a tv screen and laughing. We scurried up to find everyone laughing at a picture of everyone in our cage right before the big drop. And in the picture sat my dad and I with our cameras poised over our faces. We ended up buying the picture that the Tower Of Terror took of us taking a picture.

    From: Dean Blom 20 APR 96

    One of our family's most exciting adventures occurred in June,1995 at MGM, when we were trapped in the Tower of Terror. Not as part of the normal ride, but really trapped. We had ridden once before and decided to go again. We thought that something was different when, instead of leaving the up elevator and rolling across the floor in our compartment as we had the first time, we stopped just before entering the drop shaft. As 20 people sat there locked in a cage in darkness so total you could not see your hand in front of your face, it became very apparent that something had gone wrong. After several minutes of questions, jokes, and nervous laughter, I asked if someone had a lighter. Of course, as soon as one was produced the lights came on. We found ourselves sitting just a few feet from a large door. We thought we saw people next to us, but when we waved we discovered it was only a mirror.

    After a few more minutes an employee appeared from behind a partition. He talked to us as he opened a control panel. Inside the panel were buttons and a phone. Pressing a button he opened the door to reveal... nothing! The platform which carries the compartments was not there. If the door had opened and we had rolled a few more feet, this ride would have been our last.

    Apparently, the safety lockouts shut down the whole ride when the platform was not where it was supposed to be. After much time on the phone, the platform finally appeared and we were informed that the only way down was to ride the ride. He reassured us that we would have a unique experience because the lights would stay on. I think it may have been scarier that way because you could see how fast you were falling as you watched the wall fly past your face.

    When we reached the bottom another employee informed us that because of the inconvenience, we would be allowed to take another ride immediately. Everyone accepted. We were taken to a regular elevator, transported up one level, and taken through an entrance directly to where you stand to enter the ride. We received some strange looks when we told those waiting behind us that we were getting an extra ride because we had just been trapped on the previous one. This time, it worked just as it was supposed to.

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