Steve DeGaetano wrote:
Matt. What did you think of the tour?
Obviously, I thought it was well worth the money (especially if you use your Disney Visa to get a discount) and waking up early to get to the park before opening.
The nice part for me was that I didn't drag my mom to go to this, I did this for my mom as a surprise because she enjoys trains so much. So it was a nice way for the two of us to enjoy some time together in a way that we wouldn't normally have.
I've been lucky enough to experience Disney trains in ways that the general public could never dream to participate so I can only imagine that those without the access I've been given must be even more amazed to stand in front of the engine, climb aboard the cab and get some background as to why steam power exists at the Disney theme parks.
This tour certainly appealed to me as a photographer being granted up-close-and-personal access to shots I couldn't normally get, including the staged shot of the train at Main Street Station before the beginning of the tour. It appealed to me as a Disney historian from the perspective of having a (fairly) concise recap of Walt's love for trains and how that love helped shaped the creation of the Disney theme parks. And it appealed to me as a railfan to climb into a warm cab and look at all the machinery from such a close perspective.
The first part of the tour was my favorite. Entering a mainly empty Magic Kingdom, climbing the steps of Main Street Station and awaiting a train that's coming to pick you up for an adventure backstage, and having fairly unrestricted access to look around the roundhouse bay entrance and whatever equipment they might have on display. Going back to Main Street Station was OK and I'm glad to have gotten to experience the lecture once but having known much of what was said, it didn't hold the appeal that climbing up and down the cab held. Of course, lasting to the end paid off with the nice pin they present to you for having done the journey.
There's so many experiences that can be had at Walt Disney World and never enough time during such a short vacation. I'm the type of person who might be more interested in doing something new next time I visit. That said, I'd sign up for this tour again in a heartbeat and maybe make sure Kathy and Chelsea get a chance to enjoy it rather than dancing with Sleeping Beauty!