Sunday, April 15, 2018

Earning the Keys to the Kingdom

  It was a different way to spend St. Paddy's Day...  awake before the sunrise, a quick stroll from the hotel, and a non-alcohol related tour in Walt Disney World.  This was the day we decided to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom, and it was MAGICAL!

  A little bit about the Keys to the Kingdom tour... it is a 5 hour walking tour.  It is primarily outdoors, so dress for the weather.  Tour-goers must be at least 16 years old.  A discount is available for Annual Passholders, DVC members, and Disney Chase Visa Cardmembers.  You may not use a camera, video equipment or a cell phone during the tour.  Yes, they know you will most likely have these things on your person while in the park.  Just do not have them out and in use during the tour.  Keep the cellphone in your pocket, or backpack, and you will be golden. 

  We started our day bright and early at the Contemporary Resort, with a little breakfast to gear us up for our day.  We utilized the walking path from the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom.  This is a fantastic benefit of staying at the Contemporary...a few minute walk from door to gate.  We were so early, the security checkpoint along the path was not yet open.  Perfect opportunity to grab some beautiful shots of the scenery.

  When we were able to continue on our path, we were able to proceed to the gates at the far left, bypassing the other park goers waiting to enter the park.  Those who have pre-park opening dining reservations and early tour reservations are let in through that specific gate when the all clear is given.  Yes, there is a list, and they verify that you are on it. 

 This was our view upon entering Main Street...  a clear line of sight occupied only by Photopass photographers. 

 That allowed us to get a fantastic shot with Cinderella Castle with barely a person in site!  Well, a person in site.  Disney fanatic achievement unlocked, nonetheless!!!

  After taking a few minutes to take advantage of the opportunity to catch the photographers along Main Street, we walked over to the Town Square Theater where we checked in, selected our lunch items from the menu provided, picked up our name tags and listening devices, and patiently waited for our tour guide, Caroline,  to gather us up to begin.  

The tour began just outside the Town Square Theater, with some information about Main Street itself.  I, as a Disnerd, have read quite a bit about Walt Disney World.  I knew some of the information our Tour Guide was sharing, but still learned so much more.  Plus, it was great to have someone point out the tidbits I had read and be able to see it in person.  Our tour went in a clockwise direction around the park with detours into backstage areas, including the Utilidors.  
The tour includes a ride on some attractions.  Our tour included Haunted Mansion and the Jungle Cruise.  The attractions the tour include vary per tour.  There is no guarantee what attraction a
particular tour will include.  We also enjoyed a nice lunch break at the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe.  As I mentioned we had preselected our lunch from the menu provided at check-in.  By the time we arrived at Pecos Bill's, our food was ready in a closed off area of the restaurant, reserved for the tour. 

As the tour concluded, we were brought back to Main Street via a backstage area just behind the Town Square Theater.  We discovered that Caroline had just completed her first ever solo tour, with her assessor/mentor acting as just another member of the tour. She passed with flying colors!  We all congratulated her on her newest accomplishment.

The Keys to the Kingdom tour was completely worth it!  If you are debating on booking this tour, DO IT!  It was a great way to spend part of the day at the Magic Kingdom.  Never did I feel that the magic was ruined.  In fact, I think it added to it.  This is definitely a must-do for any Disney fan.

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