On a recent trip to Disney World my wife and I took the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, a special walking tour of the Magic Kingdom. Disney World offers many of these special tours and experiences, for an extra fee, at its Florida resort destination. Years ago the Keys to the Kingdom Tour was the only tour offered, now there are over 20 different tours in and around all four theme parks and other “backstage” areas.
The Keys to the Kingdom Tour is offered three times daily and costs $74 per person plus your theme park entrance and includes lunch. This approximately 4.5-hour walking tour explores the stories behind the remarkable creation and growth of Magic Kingdom theme park. The journey includes stops at backstage facilities and a variety of favorite attractions. You must be at least 16 years old to take this tour, because you’ll be visiting backstage areas where you might see Mickey and his friends not quite prepared for viewing as they are “on stage.”
We checked in for our tour at City Hall on Main Street USA, where we were issued wireless audio devices (to better hear our tour guide) and offered coffee and water bottles. We also ordered what we wanted to have for lunch from the Columbia Harbor Houses’ menu. After a short wait we and the other 10 or so people taking the tour with us were joined by our tour guide Rachael.
Rachael was a fantastic tour guide! She had a perfect personality, very bubbly and friendly. She absolutely made the tour for us.
Our tour started in Town Square and then proceeded up Main Street, with several stops along the way to learn interesting facts. I won’t give away much of the info that Rachael shared with us as that would spoil the tour for you, but it was good stuff. As you may know I used to work in the Magic Kingdom years ago and I even learned things on the tour…
The wireless audio sets we used during the tour were great. As we walked along we sometimes intermingled with the general foot traffic through the park and even though we weren’t right next to Rachael we could hear what she was saying as we moved through the park.
After a stop in front of Cinderella’s Castle we turned and headed into Adventureland. We then rode on the Jungle Cruise and got to bypass the waiting queue. Instead of the regular script of jokes by our Boat Skipper, Rachael told us all kinds of interesting facts during our ride.
We then headed to Frontierland and went through a gate into a backstage area where the parade floats are stored, among other things. We saw some parade members practicing for the Christmas parade. We then reentered the park and walked through Frontierland to Liberty Square, where we had lunch in a reserved area upstairs at the Colombia Harbor House.
All during the tour we would stop to listen to the great information that Rachel would tell us about what was around us or what we would be seeing next.
After lunch we were off to the Haunted Mansion, where we entered through a back door and again bypassed the line. Then we headed back towards Main Street and again went backstage next to the Crystal Palace. Here we descended into the Magic Kingdom tunnel system which runs below the guest areas of the theme park.
We spent quite a bit of time in the tunnel system in the area under Main Street USA. Once we were finished there we popped up on the opposite side of Main Street and entered the park near Tony’s Town Square Restaurant.
We wrapped up the tour near the Main Street Train Station.
Overall the tour took four and a half hours and there was lots of great information presented. I highly recommend this tour for those who have been to Disney World before to enhance their knowledge. Those who have never been to WDW would be better off enjoying and exploring the parks as Walt intended.
Guests must be at least 16 years of age.
Tour start times: 0830, 0900, & 0930 (check in 15 min. early)
Price: $74.00 per person
To reserve call: (407) WDW-TOUR or (407) 939-8687
Disney World’s tours & experiences page
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