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Unread 23 Jan 20, 11:50 AM  
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Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour - Part 1

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, Disney offered us the chance to choose some tours we would like to do. After some deliberation I selected the 'Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour'.

I'd like start off with saying that this tour was provided by Disney free of charge and I'd like to thank them for the experience. Disney did not ask me to write this review and the comments here are my own personal thoughts on the tour.

The Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour is one of those tours that I think slides under the radar a bit. Most WDW fans have heard of the 'Keys to the Kingdom tour' but it seems there are less people that know of the Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour which is a lighter alternative to the more in-depth Keys to the Kingdom tour.

The Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour is a truly magical experience and one that is very affordable. Currently (at time of writing) the tour is a very reasonable $49 + Tax. You do need separate admission to the Magic Kingdom park.

The tour is a 3 hour guided walking tour that is aimed mainly at Adults, however guests as young as 12 may attend. The tour guide shares many little known facts about Walt's upbringing in Marceline, Missouri, as well as provide insider info about the design and operation of several classic attractions, including those inspired by Walt's participation in the 1964 World's Fair.

This review will contain some spoilers, so if you want to be completely surprised then just book the tour, you won't regret it. If you would like to hear about the tour and it's contents then please keep on reading.

My tour was scheduled to begin at 8am, at 07:45 I made my way to the Town Square Theatre where I was greeted by the tour guides, given my tour name badge, lanyard with listening device (Radio ear piece) and offered a complementary bottle of water.

Once all the tour guests had arrived, there were only 5 of us, we gathered outside the Main Street Theatre where our tour guide, Kaitlyn, introduced herself and made sure everyone in the group could hear her through the radio mic.

As we start the tour with a slow walk up Main Street Kaitlyn explains about the town of Marceline and that Walts most memorable childhood years were from growing up there. Kaitlyn is very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, she goes in to details of Walt's family life and the history surrounding the times he was growing up in and where some of things that influenced both his childhood and later adult life came from.

Kaitlyn stops at the Main Street Cinema and explains that Main Street U.S.A. takes its design inspiration from Walt's memories of Marceline and is designed to resemble an idealised American town from the turn of the 20th century. She also talks in some depth about the relevance of the cinema, the fact that it is located in almost the same exact position as it was in Marceline, she explains the posters being displayed in the windows, especially the Cinderella poster and explains some history about how Walt started with the cartoon 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit', lost control of the rights and had to quickly come up with something else.

She explains how Mickey Mouse was born, originally called mortimer until Walt's wife said she didn't care for the name. How Walt was still under contract to produce Oswald animations and how he secretly produced Steam Boat Willy, Mickey Mouse animations in the basement of his house.

We then continue our stroll down Main Street towards the castle, all the time we are being told the story of Walt and how elements of his life were the inspiration for the lands in his parks.

Continuing the walk though in to Liberty Square and stopping across from the Haunted Mansion. Kaitlyn gives us details for Liberty Square and the Hall of Presidents.


We then move over to the Haunted Mansion.



At the Haunted Mansion we are told the fascinating story of how the original Disneyland Mansion was to be a walk through attraction. The mansion would have a series of secret dark and scary rooms that only the tour guide would know how to enter or leave. The original mansion was going to be scary and Walt decided that it would be too scary for his guests, so it sat empty from 1963 to 1969. in 1969 it was turned over to the design team that brought us the Pirates of the Caribbean and they redesigned the inside of the mansion to what we have today.

Kaitlyn took us through the Haunted Mansion queue line explaining the hidden meaning and secrets of things you can see as you wait in line to ride the attraction.

The first of these secrets or hidden stories can be found at the beginning of the queue. Here you'll find the 'Dreadful Family', a set of 5 busts each having an epitaph inscribed on a plate on their plinths. If you study the busts and the inscriptions you can work out that they killed each other, who killed who and in what order.

To solve the puzzle you have to think of an inheritance trail, who has the money.

To start Uncle Jacob has all the money, so he is the first to be killed, but who killed him. His epitaph says "Greed was the poison he had swallowed, he went first the others followed. His killers face he surely knew, now try to discover who killed who

It says on his epitaph that he swallowed poison, well if we look at the epitaph of Bertie it has a poison bottle on it, so Bertie killed uncle Jacob, but who killed Bertie?

Bertie's epitaph says "Avid Hunter and expert shot, in the end that's what he got".
So Bertie was shot and if we look at the epitaph of Aunt Florence we can see that it has a gun on it. So Aunt Florence killed Bertie.

Who killed Aunt Florence then? Her epitaph says "Never a dishonrable deed, yet found face down in canary seed". So we are looking for bird seed, if we look at the epitaph of the Twins we can see an upside down bird, also behind their heads is a packet of bird seed. So the Twins killed Aunt Florence.

Who killed the Twins? There is only one person left but to confirm it we only have to look at the twins epitaph which says "Departed life while in their beds, with identical bumps on identical heads". If we look at the last family member Cousin Maude's epitaph we can see that it has a hammer on it. So it's confirmed Cousin Maude killed the twins.

So Cousin Maude ended up with the final inheritance but did she get to enjoy it, well she also has an epitaph! If you read her epitaph there is a clue to what happened to her. it says "Our sleeping beauty who never awoke, the night her dreams went up in smoke". A nod here to Disney's Sleeping Beauty from imagineers.

The final mystery, so what happened to Cousin Maude? if you look at the back of Cousin Maude's head you can see that she has used matchsticks to hold her hair in place.

So it would be easy to assume that whilst sleeping the matches rubbed together and set fire to her whilst she slept. However the imagineers have left another clue in the actual Haunted Mansion ride. When you exit the graveyard section your eyes will be drawn to the three hitchhiking ghosts, but here there is a picture of Cousin Maude smiling with all her luggage and holding a lit match. So did she burn in her sleep or did she fake her own death by burning down the mansion as she left?

The next thing Kaitlyn showed us was the mythical engagement/wedding ring embedded in the floor. Just as you pass the dreadful family statues there is a small chained off area with some gates, if you look on the floor just in front of the gates you can see the ring embedded in the floor.

The story goes that it is the ring of the doomed bride in the attic. but in actual fact the ring was nothing more than the left over part of a turnstile gate that was removed. Removing the gate required cutting it from the concrete floor, this left a ring of silver metal in the concrete. As guests saw this an urban myth grew surrounding the ring with various different stories being reported.

The ring even became a popular spot for Disney fans to propose.

At some point Disney paved over the ring and for a long time guests were still looking for the fabled ring that was no longer there. However because it was such an iconic fun easter egg to look for, Disney eventually placed an official ring hidden in the queue area.


Kaitlyn then takes us around the queue explaining the various tombstones. She explains that in the same way, the second storey windows on Main Street are a nod to some of the imagineers that have brought Disney to where it is today, the Tombstones around the Haunted Mansion are a nod to those imagineers that worked on the Haunted Mansion.


Walt gave the job of story telling for the Haunted Mansion to Xavier, he also wrote the script to the Pirates of the Caribbean and the lyrics to the song 'Yo Ho Yo Ho A Pirates Life For Me'.

After the queue tour it's time to take the ride, still having the radio headsets on, Kaitlyn is able to explain the various parts of the ride as we travel in our Doombuggy.

After the ride one of the highlights of this tour is to go back stage, here there is a small area where you can stand. You are below the Doombuggy track and you can see how the famous Ballroom sequence is created using lights, rotating figures, animatronics and Glass Panels. Photography and Video are not allowed in this area.

If you want to know how this all works then do a search for 'peppers ghost illusion'

PART TWO Coming Tomorrow
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Unread 23 Jan 20, 05:19 PM  
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My daughter and I did this tour a couple of years ago and loved it especially the backstage bit in the Haunted Mansion.
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Unread 23 Jan 20, 11:39 PM  
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This is a really under- rated tour within MK and, as you found, some wonderful historical background to the park and to specific rides too.
Looking forward to part 2
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