In Episode 14 of the Beyond the Berm podcast, we discovered that I have an interest in the rising stages used at Disneyland in California and the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. I’m not sure why those fascinate me, as well as why I haven’t really realized that fascination before. Here is a look at these stages.
Starting out with the original, there is a rising stage in Tomorrowland at Disneyland, at the Tomorrowland Terrace. The stage first appeared with the debut of the new Tomorrowland in 1967. As we mentioned in the podcast, we were on the stage in 1995 for the Disney Store Trivia Showdown. Here is a look:
In this photo, I am at the far left, almost out of the photo. And Matt is just to the right of center. And as you can see behind us, the stage is in the “up” position, although it started out in the “down” position during the show, before we were on the stage. We were out in front of the stage, and the live band for the show used the actual rising stage area. We didn’t get to ride on the stage, but we did get to see the area underneath where they were setting everything up. Not a lot of room down there.
That stage is still there, although as Matt reported in the podcast, it is mainly used for the Star Wars Jedi Academy these days.
Moving east to Walt Disney World, Fantasyland had the Fantasy Faire Theater. The stage had a covered seating area, and it was located next to the Pinocchio Village Haus restaurant. I would guess that most of the people there weren’t actually there to watch whatever show as going on, but rather just to have a place to sit and eat. Here is a view of the Fantasy Faire:
The Fantasy Faire Stage was often used for Magic Music Days performances, where different high school groups and such would come in and perform. That band on the Fantasy Faire Stage above was my old high school band, although I had already graduated from high school by that time and was just in the crowd taking photos. However, my wife and my sister are both on the stage in this photo. And I had been on the same stage with the band two years earlier.
Although you can’t really tell in this photo, the stage here is in the “down” position, meaning the band was sitting on the roof of the rising stage. At least those in the center of the band were. The rising portion of the stage was only in the center where the open area of the ceiling was. Once again, we never did get to actually ride on the stage, although we did get to wait in the lower area before we went on stage.
The other rising stage in the Magic Kingdom is in what used to be known as the Tomorrowland Terrace restaurant and is now Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. Not to be confused with the current restaurant known as the Tomorrowland Terrace, which used to be known as the Plaza Pavilion. Confusing, huh?
Even though the restaurant has changed, the rising stage is still there, although it has a permanent inhabitant. The intergalactic lounge singer Sonny Eclipse now sits on what is actually the roof of the stage. Here is a look:
Sonny sits there all day singing and doing his thing, except when another band takes the stage. You can seen the area cut out in the floor around Sonny, and that whole area actually rises up for the other bands. So where does Sonny go during that time? Take a look at this photo:
Ah, the good old days when you could ride the Skyway between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and get views like this one of the rooftops of Tomorrowland, and the old Star Jets, and even the top of Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Center way off in the distance. But anyway, here you can see a glass dome in the lower right. That dome is actually directly above where Sonny Eclipse sits, and when the stage goes up, he is up in the dome, getting a pretty good view of his own of the rooftops of Tomorrowland.
So there you have it – a look at the rising stages of the Disney parks. Because we like to elevate your knowledge here at Beyond the Berm.