Disney Behind the Scenes - Review

As part of it's tour series the ship offers a behind the scenes look at how the stage in the Walt Disney Theater is worked. It is hosted by one of the stages stewards and over the course of about an hour you are introduced to the stage manager, costume coordinator and the stage technician manager.

If you are a theater lover, performer or work in a company regularly you will love this tour. First I can't imagine a more lovely theater to take a tour of and second this theater's only equals lie on land. The Walt Disney Theater is the most technologically advanced theater on the seven seas and as a comparison, if you've seen Phantom of the Opera and marveled at the stage work and automation bare this in mind: Any theater with a moveable or programmable set works off of channels much like the channels that are on a mixing console for audio or a lighting console for lights. Phantom's stage had 8 channels of programmable movement. The Walt Disney Theater has 96 channels of programmable movement (believe me that is a lot)! While that is a more technical example of the theater's capacity as far as efficiency and ability to change sets and scenery it is one of the most profound examples of it's technological dominance. In fact that information was given to us by the head stage technician who had come to the Magic after being a part of the national tour of Phantom of the Opera in Australia.
As well our costume coordinator came from the same Australian tour and she had some great information about costumes on board. We had as our examples sections of costumes from Voyage of the Ghost Ship: the previous production on the Magic before Hercules the Muse-ical (which can be seen on the Disney Wonder). The costumes were very elaborate and we had the opportunity to feel the weight of some of them. Myself and another tour 'victim' were lucky enough to get the chance to try on some of the costumes. She got to wear one of the ball gowns that the ladies wear at the end of Voyage of the Ghost Ship and I was slated to wear the Captain's jacket (it was gorgeous, encrusted with jewels and embroidery; probably weighed about 15-20 pounds). Unfortunately I was too tall to wear that particular costume so I got the next best thing: I got to wear a dress. Actually I wore the male Muse's dress from Hercules and it fit like a glove (an Isotoner to be exact!). While I try not to make a regular habit of dressing in drag this was an occasion to take one for the team as it provided much entertainment for the rest of the tour group (I know there are a couple of photographs floating around the site somewhere of this golden moment). To get back to the important information: the price tag on the costumes for the Voyage of the Ghost Ship (for a cast of 10-15) was $58,000. That's quite a budget huh?

After getting acquainted with the ways in which the theater operated we had the opportunity to go up onto the stage and have a look behind the scenes. While we weren't allowed to travel below the stage into the trap or behind the flats in the wings we got a good feel as to what it is like to stand on a stage on the sea. This is a one of a kind experience for anyone interested in the theater because you have the opportunity so see, touch, wear, hear and learn the mechanics of not only running a world class theater but a world class theater at sea.

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