Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keys to the Kingdom Tour Review

   As a present to myself and my parents I booked the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at Magic Kingdom in June. At $74.00 a person + park admission, it isn’t cheap entertainment, but as a fan, it was worth it. This 4-5 hour tour takes you around Adventureland, Liberty Square, and the all-mysterious utilidors underneath the park. Our tour was scheduled around 8:30 and so we were let into the park around 8 AM where we put our order in for lunch and then allowed to walk around Main Street. Since the park was closed to the public at that time, it was nearly empty with a few cast members and other guests roaming about. It was eerie and at the same time, magical!

   We took a few photos and at 8:30 our tour guide, Claire, gathered us around and handed out our headsets.  We were taken down Main Street where we were educated on the buildings, some of Walt and Roy’s history, as well as how serious Disney is about creating a specific atmosphere for each land. One thing we were told was that no cast member from one land is allowed to go into another land while in their land-specific wardrobe because it disturbs the scene. She also told us that at Disney the create a “set”, it isn’t just a theme park, it’s like a movie and everything must be in place!

   At 9AM we watched rope drop, it was so strange seeing it from inside as the storm of people rushed into the park. We maneuvered our way over to Adventureland where cast member Claire pointed out that even the ground has a “sensory tickle”, as she liked to call it. We walk from Main Street to Adventureland and as you cross, you move from concrete, to a wooden bridge, and then onto a rocky surface. Our first ride was Jungle Cruise, which is one of my favorites! After getting a ride and more neat facts, we headed through Adventureland and backstage to see the floats for Main Street Electrical Parade and other shows. We also saw Woody and Jessie behind the scenes getting ready for work! It was so strange and interesting to see the backstage of the park, something I never thought I’d see.  Next we saw the backside of Splash Mountain and where they pump the water into. Afterwards, we headed over to Liberty Square and had lunch at Columbia Harbor House. We were gifted small KTTK pins and ate our delicious lunch, one that I will have a review for later!

   After lunch, we hit Haunted Mansion and learned so much about the creators as well as the entire arrangement and how many of the effects were created. Being another one of my favorite rides, it was a lot of fun to learn all those facts! After a bit of rain, it was finally time for the utilidors. These get a bad rap, it seems, for being utterly boring. However, I found it one of the most exciting parts of the tour! We saw many characters and cast members heading off to work and learned even more about the layout of Magic Kingdom. As a hopeful future cast member myself, it was nice to see where I, might one day, will hopefully be working! Unfortunately, our tour came to an end as Claire showed us some of her favorite photos of Walt Disney and the crew as they were constructing the Magic Kingdom. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures in the utilidors, for obvious reasons.

    How many bricks were used to make Cinderella Castle? None!
   Claire was the perfect tour guide, working there for nearly 10 years. She was an expert and her admiration of Walt and the company really shined. Claire was happy to answer questions and our tour group was engrossed in everything she said the entire time. I was so entertained throughout the tour and despite the length, I was never tired as there were plenty of times for drinks and rest. I was a little disappointed at the fact that Fantasyland and Tomorrowland were not included in the tour, as those are my two favorite lands. You need also be aware that participants must be 16 years old in order to take the tour. This is mainly so that Disney does not ruin the “magic” for the younger kids. It was unfortunate as my brother, who was 15 and very interested in technical and behind the scenes work, wanted to go. This should be considered when planning the trip. However, I definitely think that every Disney fan should take this tour and I would gladly go again!

1 comment:

  1. Great post- you gave this a nice coverage without spoiling any surprises. Thanks for this!