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Going behind the scenes at Disney World - MSNBC/Washington Post, 6/23/06

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  • Going behind the scenes at Disney World - MSNBC/Washington Post, 6/23/06

    Going behind the scenes at Disney World

    Find out how why lions stay put, what employees think of shows, and more

    By Steve Hendrix
    Washington Post Staff Writer

    Let's just get this out of the way: They're chipper even when nobody's looking.

    If you go on a behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney World in the hopes of catching one of those happy cast members with his smile down -- spitting on the break-room floor, maybe, or being mean to some kittens -- you'll be disappointed. Disney's Cult of Cheerfulness survives even in the no-go zones.

    Otherwise, this little-publicized series of backstage tours may offer the most mind-blowing Disney experience you've had since your first wide-eyed walk down Main Street. At least, that's what I thought when:
    • I went from staring through the glass of Epcot's 5.6-million-gallon Living Seas exhibit to actually diving into the thing, sharks and all.
    • That giant portcullis opened in the back lot of Animal Kingdom and a couple of African elephants lumbered out for our personal viewing.
    • Our private boat through the venerable Jungle Cruise revealed stagecraft secrets such as the hidden heaters used to warm the tropical plants and the actual words uttered by the animatronic cannibal ("I love disco," believe it or not).
    And that doesn't even count such sworn-to-secrecy dish as how they keep the Safari Adventure lions on that viewing rock (air conditioning), what employees really think of certain daily performances ("Cinderellabration, the Loudest Show on Earth") and just who that is in the Mickey costume (a petite woman, most likely).
    Full Story: Going behind the scenes at Disney World
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