[Disney Vacation Planner]
|At A Glance
||Guided tour through the Disney
studios backlot, finishing with a visit through the Catastrophe
During the Studios Backlot Tour, which lasts
for 35-minutes and runs continuously, guests get the chance to
see and experience some of the backstage stuff that goes into
making the movies more realistic.
The tour features two special-effects sequences, both
in Catastrophe Canyon, during which you get the chance to see
how natural disasters and scenes with huge amounts of cascading
water are created ont he film set.
The tour starts with two guests being selected to help
demonstrate how sea-based battle scenes are created in a water
tank, complete with Pyrotechnics, depth charges, and torpedo blasts.
Next, you board a road-train for the trip around the
backlot area, first passing through the huge wardrobe area, containing
over 2.5 million pieces of clothing. (Walt Disney World has the
world's largest working wardrobe).
The train then passes through the camera, props, and
lighting departments, followed by the scenery shop, before turning
into Residential Street, where empty building facades provide
the appearance of a comfortable American neighbourhood. The houses
on the street are used mainly for external shots, and featureVern's
home from Earnest saves Christmas, the treehouse featured
in George of the Jungle, along with the house used in The
Golden Girls, and the house from Empty Nest.
Shortly after the trip through Residential Street,
there's a little bit of banter from the guide (Jungle Cruise style)
about going into a working studio set that's being used to film
a disaster movie ("but it should be safe to enter because
they're not filming today"), and the train heads into the
Catastrophe Canyon area.
Needless to say the tram gets stuck just as things
start to happen in the Canyon, a rainstorm begins, triggering
a tankerfull of fuel perched precariously on the side of a hill
to slip towards the tram, bursts into flames, (don't you hate
the way all American vehicles in films seem to burst into flames
at the slightest provocation ?), and is promptly put out by a
cascading torrent of water from the canyon above. During this
whole performance the ground beneath the train rocks and bucks
as though an earthquake is occurring.
Predictable though the experience is, the overall effect
is still quite good, and to say it's repeated over and over, day
after day, shows how such a repeatable effect can be used in a
film production, (though these days it's have to be somewhat more
The attraction re-opened in late March 1999 following
a brief refurbishment, part of which included adding a small museum
at the end of the queue area featuring several exhibits worth
seeing including the robot from Lost in Space the movie, Sets
and puppets from Nightmare before Christmas, rocketeer suit, Android
from Terminator, Puppet from live action pinnochio movie, pod
people Muppets from Dark Crystal, ship from Day the earth stood
still, several airplane models from various movies, Palimino model
from Black Hole, and much much more