I normally use my Thursday posts to write about free things to do at Disney, but I also think that a good thrifty deal is getting a great experience for the money. During our trip to Walt Disney World last year, my hubby and I decided to splurge and finally take the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom. We really enjoyed it and we found it to be well worth the time and the money. This particular tour takes you behind the scenes at the Magic Kingdom, including the famous utilidors – the first level of the Magic Kingdom, long thought to be a tunnel. It was a great experience and I wanted to share some information with you in case you have been thinking about taking a tour as well.
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom tour is one of the tour opportunities offered at the Magic Kingdom park. It provides the tour guests with interesting and unknown Disney facts, such as the stories behind the creation of Magic Kingdom park and many stories about the vision, creativity and innovative ideas of Walt Disney.
The Keys to the Kingdom tour is a 4.5 hour walking tour. It is wheelchair accessible and there is also equipment provided for any guests with hearing disabilities. A guest must be at least 16 to experience this tour and Magic Kingdom theme park admission is required but not included in the price of the tour.
Guests are asked to check in 15 minutes prior to their chosen tour time. We were scheduled for the 9:00 a.m. tour so we had to check in at 8:45. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Patrick in Guest Services (a very nice young man) and we were given a special guest tour pass as well as a cast member pin. Patrick then asked us to look at the Columbia Harbour House menu to decide on our lunch selections which would be waiting for us later. Then he offered us coffee and bottled water for the tour.
A few minutes before 9:00 our tour guide, Rae, greeted the ten of us who were awaiting the tour. She handed each of us a device for the hearing-impaired so we could wear it in our ears, enabling us to hear her above the crowds. I liked Rae right away — I could tell she was a Disney girl.
Rae is vertically-challenged so she carried a jockey’s whip with a Mickey at the top in order to be seen when the crowds got heavy. This made me laugh because part of her costume is a jockey cap and she carried the whip. Hilarious!
It was evident right away how much she enjoys her job. She is so knowledgeable and just a pleasure to listen to and visit with. She has a great personality and a passion for Walt and all things Disney. She told us of backstage secrets, which I will not reveal, and she told us of the history of certain attractions. As part of the tour we received a narrated ride on Walt’s favorite ride, The Jungle Cruise.
We were also supposed to ride the Haunted Mansion but they were having “technical difficulties” so the ride was closed. This happened to be the same day that Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones were in the park with their kids so we really believe they closed the ride so the celebrities could have a private tour. We weren’t upset about it, though, because in place of riding Haunted Mansion, we received a special voucher to enter any attraction as a fastpass. We used this after the tour for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – one of our favorites.
During lunch time, we were directed to a special area at Columbia Harbour House where our lunches were waiting for us. Patrick told us to find our name at the tables and, wouldn’t you know it, we were lucky enough to be at the table with Rae. After we started eating and talking, Patrick told us to be sure to notice our special surprise inside our placeholder. It was an exclusive, gold Keys to the Kingdom pin and I was so excited I cannot even begin to tell you.
Because the Keys to the Kingdom Tour is an outdoor walking tour, be sure to check the weather report and dress appropriately; especially with comfortable shoes. The cost of the tour is $74.00 per person for guests 16 and up. To schedule this tour, just call (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687. Also, remember that if you have a Disney Rewards Visa Card, you get a 20% discount on the cost of the tour.
We enjoyed the tour very much. I think it is perfect for anyone who loves Disney but doesn’t want to know too much for fear of ruining the magic. I hope you will book a tour for your next trip. It is well worth the money in my opinion; a great experience with some special surprises along the way.
Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.