Magic Kingdom's Keys to the Kingdom Tour
On my recent trip to Walt Disney World, I decided that I was going to try something I never have before, a tour! I was headed to Orlando for a conference and decided to play a few days beforehand. I was going to be there by myself, so I figured a tour was a good way to fill time and experience the parks solo. I’m excited to share the details about this incredible tour.
When planning my day at the Magic Kingdom, I actually scored a 8:05 breakfast reservation at none other than Cinderella’s Royal Table. Since I knew it would be about an hour to eat, I planned to do the last tour time of the day. They typically run 4 tours a day, the first tour leaving at 8:00am and the last departing at 9:30. Just some pre-booking information for you, the tour runs 4.5-5 hours in length. It is a walking tour, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk a lot. They do give you plenty of chances to sit and relax though. The price is $99.00 with a 15% discount available to Disney Visa Card holders (must use the card to pay for it), Annual Passholders, and DVC members. Lunch is included and they also give you a bottle of water at the beginning of the tour. This tour does take you to backstage areas, no pictures are allowed to be taken. Now let’s jump into the tour!
I headed to Town Square Theater where they told us to check in. I had my reservation number available just in case, but it wasn’t necessary. They also say to bring a government issue I.D., but I was never asked for mine. It is probably better safe than sorry to have. If you are unfamiliar with the area, it is where Tink and Mickey meet. You will be given a nametag, a listening device, a backstage pass, and a water bottle if you would like one. You also provide your order for lunch. Since Tomorrowland Terrace was open for the season, that is where we were going to eat. When that is closed for the season, you would eat at a different location.
Housekeeping and start of Tour
Once it is your official tour time, you are brought outside to a shaded area to go over the basics. Our tour guide was wonderful. He explained how to put on and use the listening device, went over the rules and general schedule, and answered any pre-questions you may have. Our group had 20 people, I believe this is the max number per tour.
After all the housekeeping items were out of the way, we headed out onto Main Street. Your tour guide walks you down Main Street and discusses details of the Magic Kingdom, the people who were key to making things happen, and how Disney World came to be. Being a previous cast member, a lot of the info I knew. But there were some really cool new things I did learn, which I loved. You learn about a lot of the names on the windows that are on Main Street USA.
Being Backstage on an Attraction
The next portion of the tour was an attraction, but not like you usually experience it. You head to the Jungle Cruise, but instead of a skipper joking for the duration of the ride, your tour guide provides information regarding the ride and its history. You learn about the tech side as well as those who were key in making it. Once you finish the ride, you continue on through Adventureland into Frontierland by Splash Mountain. It was here you enter your first backstage area, whooo!
Being backstage before, this wasn’t a new concept for me. But it was cool to do it as a guest rather than a cast member. The real gem here is you go backstage to where they store parade floats. This was a part of the tour I was looking the most forward to! We even had our timing right and we got to watch them take out the floats for Move it! Shake it!, what a unique thing to watch. Once we were cleared to move, we got to go into the storage unit for Festival of Fantasy Parade. This is my all time favorite parade, so to see these floats up close and learn about them was incredible. Hands down, the best part of the tour for me. Once we finished looking at floats we went back into the park, or on stage in other terms. It was finally time for lunch.
Lunchtime at Tomorrowland Terrace
We headed towards Tomorrowland Terrace to our reserved seating area. Our meals were set out for us and we had a gift waiting as well. Each person receives pin that is shaped like a key. You have 30 minutes to eat and then you head back out. We went towards Liberty Square and learned about that area and then moved towards Haunted Mansion. This was the second attraction we experienced. We learned about key people in the design efforts and technology used behind the scenes. Once you finish the ride, you head off to your last backstage area, the utilidors! Most people refer to these as the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom.
Again, having been in there before, it was cool to experience it from a guest perspective. You weave your way through a certain section of the tunnels and learn about some of the inner workings of Magic Kingdom. Once you get to a certain place (under the bakery) you head back upstairs. You make your way back to the Town Square Theater and that is the end of the tour.
This has been one of my favorite experiences I have ever had at a Disney park. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and had a love of Disney you could simply feel. The price is not bad a 5 hour tour with lunch included. For anyone who has considered doing this tour, it is a must. Do you have any specific questions? Let me know if the comments below and I'll do my best to answer them!