You will never run out of things to do at Walt Disney World. That is for sure! With all the rides, attractions, shows, character performances and magical extras, you might not even think about booking a tour. I am a student of all things Walt Disney, though, so on a recent trip my hubby and I did splurge to take the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom. We loved it! So I am sharing all the details with you today.
The Keys to the Kingdom Tour is a 5-hour walking tour that takes you behind the scenes at the Magic Kingdom. The tour gives guests the inside scoop on some of our favorite attractions. It is full of interesting and unknown facts, hidden Mickeys and unrealized details about things we all miss when just touring around the park. It includes stories about the vision, creativity and innovative ideas of Walt Disney. It even includes some trivia and games. Oh, and lunch is included in the cost 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 immediately evident how much Rae 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 went backstage at the park and even visited the famous utilidors – the first level of the Magic Kingdom, long thought to be a tunnel. Actually, the guest-accessible areas of Magic Kingdom park are on the second floor of a massive structure. The “tunnel” below, known as the Utilidor, allows the cast members to go from one land to another. It also allows for deliveries to be unknowingly transported below the guests’ feet as they wait in line for their favorite attractions. I must admit that this was one of the most interesting parts of the tour. I loved seeing that part of the Kingdom.
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.
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.
Here is some important information about the tour:
- Theme park admission is required and is not included with the cost of this tour.
- Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour is an outdoor walking tour, so check the weather forecast and dress appropriately.
- It is wheelchair accessible and there is also equipment provided for any guests with hearing disabilities.
- For more information or to make a reservation, call me if you are my guest and I will book this experience for you. If you are not my guest, you can call (407) WDW-TOUR.
- No cameras, video equipment or mobile phones may be used throughout the duration of the tour. Photography is strictly prohibited.
- Locations and attractions visited on your tour are subject to change without notice.
- Guests must be 16 years of age or older and have a valid photo I.D.
- Please check in at Town Square Theater 15 minutes prior to the start of your tour. You will forfeit the entire price of your tour if you no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation.
- Same-day bookings are on a walk-up basis only, based on availability.
- Lunch is included.
- Annual Passholders, Disney Chase Visa Cardmembers and Disney Vacation Club Members qualify for a 15% discount.