Disney's Mysteries, Myths and Legends Tour
Disney's Mysteries, Myths and Legends, the newest weapon in Disney's arsenal of tours, is completely unlike anything previously available at the resort (with the exception of the distasteful "Where Tragedy Struck" tour which was canceled after only one performance some years back). It is intended not to inform or give an overview of the park, but to frighten, terrify, and, in some cases, leave permanent emotional scars.
The tour begins at the base of the Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure just before closing time, where guests are greeted by a host dressed in black and covered in open sores. The host introduces herself, reminds guests that they are in for a fright, and then has everyone sign a long, complex waiver without giving them time to read it.
Over the course of the night, guests will ride three Disney attractions. The Tower of Terror is first, and the host leads guests into its empty lobby with an admonition to be quiet out of respect for the spirits. In the lobby, guests are told the horrifying story of how the Tower came to be. It's a terrifying tale of a theme park that had lower-than-expected attendance and a thrill ride from a far-away state that was to be copied, but without approval for the budget it deserved. Even though the tour will only have been in progress for some ten to fifteen minutes at this point, many annual pass holders will already be in tears.
While guests are still recovering from the dark tale, they are taken aboard the attraction. Everything appears to be normal until just before the elevator doors clos e, at which time the host dumps a garbage can full of luminescent ping-pong balls into the ride vehicle. As the elevator rises and drops, the balls zoom about like so many spherical hornets, making the experience much more intense.
The next leg of the tour involves quite a bit of walking. Guests are shown through California Adventure and told about the incredible animatronic figures that were at one time planned for Golden Dreams before it was realized that this would cost money, how fireworks over Paradise Bay release deadly clouds of smoke, the park's extraordinarily high ratio of shops to attractions, how glorious A Bug's Land looks on a balance sheet, and how thrilling a certain executive thought Superstar Limo would be. To lighten the tone a bit, a fanciful tale of a cast member who goes berserk, decapitates guests, and then drowns their heads in Paradise Bay is also told.
Having exhausted the horror potential of California Adventure, the tour moves across the esplanade to Disneyland, where guests will ride two of the park's most terrifying attractions and learn that even the happiest place on earth has horrors within its berm.
The park is near closing at this point, and guests may catch the unusual sight of Disney security bum-rushing mouse-eared stragglers out of the park. The tour guide stops near the hub where a board shows expected attraction wait times. She notes how many attractions are down for refurbishment, and then points out that no matter how many of the park's major attractions are inoperative guests still pay the same enormous price for admission!!!
The tour begins moving again, and the guide keeps spirits low by listing some disturbing facts that Disney wishes guests would forget (the Rocket Rods, how long the Submarine Lagoon lay dormant, Monsanto's House of Ill Repute, the Enchanted Tiki Room tribute to Hitchcock films, FASTPASS for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, everything Cynt hia Harris did, etc.).
After a brief pause to throw one randomly selected guest from the Disney Gallery balcony, the tour stops again at the Haunted Mansion. In the ride's foyer, guests are told the building's strange history, from its earliest days when it was closed to the public and used for in-effigy beatings of union leaders, to the installation of the ride and subsequent, apparently ineffective exorcisms and psychic cleansings. They also learn that pretty much every old woman who rides the attraction has a heart attack, 90% of the dust guests see is the cremated ashes of other guests, and that the attraction contains the actual ghost of Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Guests then enter the stretching room and proceed to their Doom Buggies. But this will be no ordinary ride. To make the experience truly upsetting, cast members in disguise as guests take every third Doom Buggy. During the ride, they knock on the back of other guests' vehicles, repeat the Ghost Host's lines from memory, take copious flash pictures, give incorrect explanations for how all of the special effects are accomplished, and complain loudly when "troublesome spooks" repeatedly cause ride stoppages.
On the way out of the Mansion, guests are told that they are to be treated to a special private performance of Fantasmic. They are then brought to the edge of the Rivers of America to claim good viewing spots. After forty-five minutes of waiting in silence, the host informs them that the performance has been canceled because several members of the cast were having trouble finding their motivation so late in the evening, and as method actors they just couldn't go on.
The tour party is very tired, uncomfortable, and uptight at this point, making this the perfect time to spring the evening's largest horror upon them.
For the last, long forced-march across the park, the guide keeps depression fresh by pointing out all of the things Walt would have done differently. This conversation also help distract guests so that they do not realize until it is too late that they are being taken to "it's a small world."
Guests are not allowed to abandon the tour at this point (that was in the small print of the waiver they signed when beginning the evening's grim festivities). The guide does not offer any preamble to the ride, but simply ushers everyone into their boats with a grim expression. But as bad as guests think the situation is, it is about to get worse.
No sooner do the boats begin to move than guests sense something wrong. The boats are moving at half speed. A double-length ride is bad enough, but after the boats enter the show building, guests find that the ride soundtrack's volume has been doubled and that the lights are all off!!! The next half hour is an experience akin to floating in a sensory deprivation tank with a fifteen-second loop of The Chipmunks b lasting away at your brain cells. By the time they reenter the real world, guests are reduced to sobbing puddles of shivering goo.
As a final slap in the face, when guests exit their boats, they are greeted by dozens of costumed Disney characters -- all with their heads off!!!
Thus the tour comes to an end. All conscious participants receive a commemorative death certificate and a limited-edition pin that is particularly sharp and has no back.
Tour length, 3 hours. Cost, $125.
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