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Keys to the Kingdom Tour
One of the things to love about Walt Disney World is that each trip can be different from your previous one, especially when you consider all the guided, backstage tours Disney offers! Did you know you can take a tour with a Disney guide to see the Utilidor tunnels that run under the Magic Kingdom? Or see the elephant habitats in Animal Kingdom? Or visit the Creative Costuming department? If you are a Disney Fan or planning a repeat trip to Walt Disney World, discussing the addition of a Behind the Scenes Tour option with your LBAC Travel Dream Vacation Maker is a surefire way to sprinkle some extra magic into your next trip.
Recently several LBAC Travel team members experienced the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom, which is arguably the most popular of the backstage tour options. We were impressed with the knowledgeable Disney guides, the exclusive background information that we learned about the parks (including how Walt Disney himself envisioned the Magic Kingdom), and the backstage access that most park guests never get to see. Come along with us as we give you a brief look at our “Keys to the Kingdom” adventure- saving a few of the surprises for you to experience on your own, of course!
Our day started in the Town Square Theater where we were checked in, but the tour itself begins on Main Street, where our guide shared history, trivia, and details about the curious windows on Main Street, the unique design elements of this area of the park, and so much more. Our Disney fandom was ignited and we were excited for the rest of the story!
The next stop was Adventureland, which is the backdrop and setting for many Disney’s films and True-Life Adventures. Here we boarded our own Jungle Cruise boat, where our tour guide took over the role of skipper and gave us more detailed info and history on this classic attraction, which was also one of the opening day attractions at Disneyland in 1955!
After the Jungle Cruise, our next stop was our first glimpse backstage where we snuck a peek at the parade float storage and maintenance area as well as the location where the parades step off in Frontierland. It was a real thrill to see the massive parade floats up close—and, with the timing of our tour, we were lucky enough to see both the Christmas and Halloween parade floats! We also got a look at the water tanks that put the splash in Splash Mountain- no ponchos necessary. Here our guide also explained the Magic Kingdom’s trash disposal system, which was oddly fascinating.
As we came back “on stage,” we visited Pecos Bill’s for our lunch, which is included in the tour and gives an extra value to the overall experience. Since we had selected our lunch options at the beginning of the tour, we were ushered to a private room where all of our entrees were waiting as well as a “fixings bar” just for us. This was a pleasant break from the busy tour and lunch was delish!
Walking through Frontierland and Liberty Square after lunch, our guide explained the Disney Imagineer’s design choices for these lands and how they are meant to be a timeline of American history as the United States expanded westward. We couldn’t help but wonder how many times we passed through Liberty Square and Frontierland over the years without noticing some of these cool, little elements.
Before experiencing the Haunted Mansion, our guide told us several things to look for on the attraction, and then we were “back doored” through the Servants’ Quarters to ride this popular attraction. While the Haunted Mansion has always been a favorite, entering through the Servants’ Quarters is a Disney-fan must-do!
The next part of the tour was one that we were looking forward to most of all, a look inside the Utilidor tunnels that run under the Magic Kingdom. While we can’t give too much away, being in this underground network was worth the wait! Seeing how the Disney magic all comes together in the Utilidors, gives such great insight into the planning that went into constructing the Magic Kingdom- both above and below the ground.
Ready for your own Keys to the Kingdom tour?! Here are a few things to note. Keys to the Kingdom is offered a few times during the day, with all tours starting in the morning since it is a 5-hour tour. The tour is available to guests ages 16 and over only since you may see some things backstage that would put a damper on the magic for younger guests. There is also quite a bit of walking and standing involved in the tour, however it is wheelchair accessible. You can reserve the tour up to 180 days in advance, and they do fill up early so as to keep the tour groups small. If you are interested in adding an experience like Keys to the Kingdom (or any of the other backstage options) to your next Walt Disney World vacation, let your LBAC Travel Dream Vacation Maker know and she can work with you to find the best Behind the Scenes tour for your itinerary.