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Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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Backlot Tour

[Disney Vacation Planner]

At A Glance Guided tour through the Disney studios backlot, finishing with a visit through the Catastrophe Canyon area.

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 realistic).

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



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