I was lucky enough on a recent trip to take part in the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at The Magic Kingdom. Let me tell you, this is well worth the price of admission. I used my annual pass to get a 15% discount on the tour. My total was around $66 for the 5 and 1/2 hour tour which included lunch at Columbia Harbour House.
My tour began at 9 am, but we were allowed into the Magic Kingdom at 8:30. This was great since the park was not open yet and we could take those wonderful photos of an empty main street! We checked into our tour at The Chamber of Commerce and were treated to some super cute name tags and bottled water. We were also given our ear pieces at this time and selected what we would eat for lunch.
At 9:00 am sharp we met our tour guide, Molly. Molly was everything that is good about Disney! She was fun, funny, informative, entertaining, and so knowledgeable. She was also an amazing story teller. I absolutely adored her. Molly informed us that we would not be allowed to take any photos on the tour, either “on stage” or “backstage” and we were happy to comply. For this reason, you will not be seeing any pictures that were taken during the walking tour.
Molly began our tour with a walk down, explaining to us what the Keys to the Kingdom are: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. It is upon these building blocks that the entire Magic Kingdom and Disney World as a whole is run. As we walked down Main Street she explained how beginning at the train station you are seeing a show. The station acts as curtain concealing the star; Cinderella Castle. As the curtain lifts and you enter Main Street you will see concessions such as popcorn and soda for sale and walk along a red walk way that is representative of the red carpet! The windows of the buildings act as credits for the people who brought this production to life.
Throughout the tour we got an in depth look at Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square along with Main Street and the icing on the cake; The Utilidors! The utilidors are the underbelly of the Magic Kingdom. Most of what we as guests see of the kingdom is actually on the second floor of the property! Below is where all the real magic takes place! Cast members can transport themselves to the appropriate part of the theme park without walking through another in costume and disrupting the show. This is also where they can take part in trainings, replenish their pin supply, eat lunch, do their banking, and take their breaks. I thought we would only get a sneak peek at the famed utilidors, but we spent quite a bit of time down there and it was fascinating!
During the tour we got to ride 2 famous attractions VIP style which included going in the entrance that the stars use on one of them! I will not spoil it and tell you which attractions are included as that is part of the magic!
When the tour was over I felt closer to Walt Disney as a person and had a real grasp on what it takes to create the on stage magic that makes the park so unique. If you are looking for something new to do on your next visit and really want to see the Magic Kingdom from another perspective I suggest trying out The Keys to the Kingdom Tour!
Jess is a vacation planner for Pixie Vacations. You can contact her at Jess@pixievacations.com for help planning your next trip and to find out how you can get a gift card bonus just for booking! You can check out her blog at www.fastpasstomagic.com and like her page on facebook as well!
- A Shout Out to the Magic Kingdom Newsstand (chipandco.com)
- Taking in the Walt Disney World Parades (chipandco.com)