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Old 07-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #1561
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Wow, you remembered so much! Your tour guide sounds absolutely fantastic. I like that he even added non-Disney info to the tour too. And although I like all the pics of the Grand Floridian Christmas tree, the greatest one is the one with you lying down on the rug! You really did get such awesome shots that way!
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:22 AM   #1562
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RachelNinja View Post
Wow, you remembered so much! Your tour guide sounds absolutely fantastic. I like that he even added non-Disney info to the tour too. And although I like all the pics of the Grand Floridian Christmas tree, the greatest one is the one with you lying down on the rug! You really did get such awesome shots that way!
Haha good thing I wrote it all down immediately after the tour. He was WONDERFUL! Yeah, they did a lot of Christmas and Disney stories throughout the whole thing, so it was very well rounded! I'm glad you think those are the best - I do too!
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:40 AM   #1563
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Originally Posted by Disneyfreak508 View Post

In the late 90's they started pre-taping the parade in early December. It takes two days and they only have Cast Members and their families on film. Anyone you see on TV is NOT a guest - they signed up to be there!


Did he say that is how it still is? I don't think this is entirely true. We were there for the parade taping this year and while cast members do get first dibs, me and boyfriend entered in the side for parade taping. First we got to watch Justin Bieber perform(haha that was fun!) then we could have headed over to the parade taping and sat on Main Street if we wanted to but we would have to stay for the entire parade and we didn't want to. I think the ticketed cast member tickets do get better spots though. My boyfriend swears he saw himself on TV! It was a fun experience though.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:15 PM   #1564
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Originally Posted by rachel09985 View Post
Did he say that is how it still is? I don't think this is entirely true. We were there for the parade taping this year and while cast members do get first dibs, me and boyfriend entered in the side for parade taping. First we got to watch Justin Bieber perform(haha that was fun!) then we could have headed over to the parade taping and sat on Main Street if we wanted to but we would have to stay for the entire parade and we didn't want to. I think the ticketed cast member tickets do get better spots though. My boyfriend swears he saw himself on TV! It was a fun experience though.
He did say that was still how it is, but maybe it is different! I wouldn't really know, I've never been there. However, the majority of the people on the parade side are probably CM's/their families. Maybe they didn't have enough volunteers this year so they let more guests in to make sure it looked crowded enough. That's cool that you got to experience that though! How fun!
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:23 PM   #1565
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I skipped the tour updates because I didn't wanna know. Hopefully someday when we go at Christmas again we can take it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:48 PM   #1566
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I skipped the tour updates because I didn't wanna know. Hopefully someday when we go at Christmas again we can take it.
That's fine! That's why I warned you guys! I just have one more update to go and then I'll be back to the normal stuff
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:21 PM   #1567
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Oh my gosh, I totally remember having a copy like that of Rudolph! I had never heard that story and I love it. How sweet. Rudolph is even better now!! LOVE good Christmas stories. I just love that holiday!!

This tour is so fantastic. Can't wait to hear about the rest of it!
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:39 AM   #1568
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The tour is pretty awesome! I didn't realize that you would be going to other parks and resorts besides Epcot. Very nice!
Loved the pic of you taking a pic of the tree
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:09 AM   #1569
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The Yuletide Fantasy Tour sounds SO cool! I have never been on a Disney tour (I'm doing my first one in August!) and this sounds like something I would love.

Thank you for taking such detailed notes. I am loving these updates!

I can’t believe they filmed the Christmas Day Parade live before. That’s crazy!

I am in love with the Grand Floridian tree. It’s GORGEOUS!
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:04 AM   #1570
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Quote:
Originally Posted by princess_momma View Post
Oh my gosh, I totally remember having a copy like that of Rudolph! I had never heard that story and I love it. How sweet. Rudolph is even better now!! LOVE good Christmas stories. I just love that holiday!!

This tour is so fantastic. Can't wait to hear about the rest of it!
Aww did you? How cute! I love everything Christmas too!

I'm excited to post the last update - it's SO interesting! I hope you like it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by POLY1985 View Post
The tour is pretty awesome! I didn't realize that you would be going to other parks and resorts besides Epcot. Very nice!
Loved the pic of you taking a pic of the tree
I'm so glad you like reading about it! Oh yeah we went to a bunch of places! The last one is the most unique so I hope you like the update!

Haha thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LifeIsDis View Post
The Yuletide Fantasy Tour sounds SO cool! I have never been on a Disney tour (I'm doing my first one in August!) and this sounds like something I would love.

Thank you for taking such detailed notes. I am loving these updates!

I can’t believe they filmed the Christmas Day Parade live before. That’s crazy!

I am in love with the Grand Floridian tree. It’s GORGEOUS!
It was AWESOME! Which tour are you going on in August?

You're so welcome! Gotta pay attention for my readers

I know, isn't that insane!?

Me too!
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:11 AM   #1571
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Which tour are you going on in August?
We are going on the Marceline to MK tour. I haven't read any reviews on it but it sounded very interesting on the WDW site.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #1572
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Chapter 70: Yuletide Fantasy Tour Part 3 - Holiday Services
December 26th, 2011

Alright guys, one more Yuletide Fantasy post! I hope you enjoy it!

Then we went WAY back stage and rode to holiday services. No photos were allowed to be taken here, so this update is going to be lacking in pictures. Sorry everyone!

Holiday Services is one of the original buildings of Walt Disney World. It was actually built before the parks! The other original building was a transportation building that is still in use today.

Way back in the day, the current Holiday Services building was used for food! It was like a big ol' cafeteria. They tried to ship food from there to the park, but it wasn't very good so they stopped.

We had to wear safety glasses while we were in there!

Holiday Services is designated to create and house the holiday decor for Thanksgiving through Christmas. THEY HAD EVERYTHING - storage for the parks, the resorts, the Disney Cruise Line, Hilton Head, Aulani, etc. You name it, it lives HERE!

Everything was EXTREMELY organized, labeled, documented, and photographed. They would have a section labeled "Animal Kingdom Lodge Decorations" with the Animal Kingdom Lodge logo, and then everything would be right there. They would also take pictures of where they placed the decorations in the park the previous year so they could remember the location for next Christmas.

They buy Christmas decorations for 5 year increments. For example, they replace the Magic Kingdom Christmas Tree every 5 years! After the 5 years is up, they bring the old decorations to property control, which is discount shopping for Cast Members. There, the cast members can actually buy the old decorations!

The Cast Members at Holiday Services plan out the decorations two years in advance. THERE ARE ONLY 26 CAST MEMBERS THAT WORK IN THAT BUILDING. Twenty six people take care of ALL of those decorations. Isn't that insane!? Even though the decorations are seasonal, it is a year-round job!

They used to use glass ornaments in the parks and they would individually take off the tops and hot glue them. Now they use plastic ornaments, but they stil individually drill holes for the strings so they can be hung up!

98% of the Christmas lights in Walt Disney World are LED. This is an absolutely insane fact: The Magic Kingdom Castle Lights use less energy (per night) than doing three loads of laundry in the drier at home! SO CRAZY. Doesn't that just make you feel so much better?

There is a WHOLE wall of glitter in huge containers! It is sorted by color, texture, grain size, etc. The princess part of me absolutely loved that!

Here's a funny fact - Disney actually buys REGULAR garland! They just double it up with zip ties and use one string of lights per 8 feet. That makes the decorations look so much more extravagant!

They also make their own ribbons! They pick out fabric and use machines to add wires on the edges so they can keep their shape. When the ribbons are stored, they get stuffed with tissue paper so they stay fluffed up!

Disney uses one string of lights per branch on each tree. When the lights get set up, they hire 150+ people to help put up the decorations. They are hung up in the middle of the night! Carpenters, electricians, etc. are the type of people they hire. They back-in Semi trucks to the building so they can transport all of the decorations to their appropriate locations!

It takes 4 weeks to set up all of the Christmas decorations and it takes 2 weeks to take them down.

James also told us that they start setting up the Osborne Spectacle of Lights in September and take them down by February.

Going backstage to the Holiday Services was honestly LIFE CHANGING for me. It was one of those moments where I was like "I need to work for this company. Oh my God. Everything is perfect." I was completely in awe and just so greatful that I got the chance to see this setup! Disney really makes it look so easy, but the amount of work they put into the decorations is really remarkable!

I posted on twitter:
Going backstage makes me want to work in Disney SO BAD. Life goal.

Just saw where they store all of disney's holiday decorations.... my life has been changed. UNBELIEVABLE. oh my GOD.

We got back on the bus and James told us some more Christmas stories! The first one was about how Santa originated! His physical description came from the poem "The Night before Christmas," particularly this part:

Quote:
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.


The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
However, Santa acquired his red and white colors from the Coca-Cola Campaign! Obviously, we all know that Coca-Cola has a red and white logo. They first created the image of Santa Claus for their advertisements. Then it was adopted by other companies and it has stuck for all of these years!


(Image Borrowed from Google)

James also read us a beautiful letter. This 8-year-old girl named Virginia wrote to the editor of the New York Times to ask if Santa Claus was real. Her father told her that "if it is in the Sun, it is so." I found the story online and decided to post it for you all to read, because it really is beautiful.

Virginia's Letter:

Quote:
"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.

The Response:

Quote:
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Hearing James read this in his Disney/Christmassy voice just brought tears to my eyes. If that story didn't put you in the holiday spirit, I don't know what would. It was so beautiful and it was a touching way to wrap up our tour.

They handed out Yuletide Fantasy Tour pins before we left. You CANNOT buy these so they are very special. They advise us not to trade these pins for that reason. Pins are handed out at the end of every Disney tour because it was a tradition that was started many years ago. It happened on one tour and now it has just become a ritual! This pin is a wonderful keepsake and they make a new one every year! Ours was truly unique and they will never be handing it out again! I'm so glad that I got to add it to my collection.



The Yuletide Fantasy Tour was SUCH a good choice and well worth our money. The guides were knowledgable and being taken to Holiday Services was such an amazing opportunity. I felt like I learned so much and my Mom and I both agreed that it was SO worth it! I highly, highly recommend this tour if you have enough time to fit it into your trip. It is an experience you will never forget!

Christmas Tip #33: If you are looking for a unique holiday experience, book the Yuletide Fantasy Tour! It gives you a look at Disney Christmas decorations and Christmas stories that you cannot see from merely touring the parks.

We thanked James and then we were on our way. It was the day after Christmas and the crowds were crazy. So what were we going to do now?!

Continued in Next Post
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:21 AM   #1573
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I am still here, but mostly in lurkdom mode these days!

I am totally loving your Yuletide Fantasy Tour trip updates - what an amazing opportunity. If I could ever talk my girls into going during the holidays - this is definately on my 'must do' list!

D~
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #1574
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Wow I am seriously in awe after hearing about the Christmas decorations.....26 people seriously?? What amazing talent they must have to accomplish all of it by themselves.

I've heard the story of Virginia and Santa Claus before but never the whole of the originiation of it...that is so neat and so special that James was able to share all this extra info with the tour.

Can't wait to hear where you guys were headed off to next
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:30 AM   #1575
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I am loving reading all the little facts about the holidays at Disney!

I can’t believe only 26 CMs work in that building! I would love that job.

The pin is so cute!

I had no clue they give you a pin after every tour. Very cool!
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