Okay, So first I want to say that I am gonna give away some details of the tour, so if you are taking the tour and want it all to be a surprise you may not want to read on.. But if you want to know all about the Keys to the Kingdom tour here you go!
Kyle and I took the Keys to the Kingdom tour in June of 2013 for Kyle’s birthday. Our tour started at 9am so first we were able to go into Magic Kingdom 20 minutes before the park opened which we thought was really cool because how often do you get to see Main Street USA on a beautiful summer morning with like 20 people in the park!?
So as we are in the park we can hear the pre-opening show happening with the train and all the characters and the excitement of the guest waiting to storm the gates of Magic Kingdom which was really cool to watch from the inside of the park! As the show ends the characters all walk down the path directly next to where we met for our tour so it was cool being that close to them as well!
Then we began our tour. We were in a group of about 20 people and we first all introduced ourselves and talked about our favorite Disney movie or ride just to break the ice since we were spending the next 5 hours together! I wish I could remember our tour guides name, but for the life of me I can’t..but she told us another part of her job with Disney was being a celebrity liaison for the Cinderella Castle Suite! So of course we were swooning wanting to hear all about that!
We were told in the beginning of the tour as well that our guide would be willing to answer any question we had about Disney, but if we were “on stage” (in the park where guest’s can be) she would have to give us the “on stage” answer. The example we were given was if we asked “Where does Tinkerbell go when she flies off the castle?” the “on stage” answer is “She flies through Tomorrowland and back over to Neverland” but if we waiting to ask until we were backstage we were told the weight requirement to play the part and the zip line details of her flight…spoiler alert she literally lands on a mattress!
The first thing we did was walk down Main Street USA. We were told before we began our walk to note the statue of Minnie and Roy that are sitting on the bench outside of City Hall with a space between them. We then walked down Main Street and our guide explained while walking into Disney, the layout is meant to be like a play. The train station acts as the curtain, hiding Main Street and Cinderella’s Castle until you enter. Then when you look up at windows on Main Street there are names or doctors, attorneys, piano teachers and more! Well in true Disney fashion the names each have meanings and act like a scrolling reel of credits of people who were vital in the creation of Walt Disney World. The one that stuck out to me in memory, was Mr. M. T. Lott. M.T. Lott was a name the Walt himself used while purchasing the land to make Walt Disney World. M. T. Lott (Empty Lott, haha get it?) was just a funny twist and shows that Walt still was thinking creatively even when just buying the land. He couldn’t use his name, because if it got out he was purchasing the land the prices would skyrocket, which they eventually did. So the names on Main Street all lead to the final name you see which is Walter Disney. We were told the placement of Walt’s name has many different meanings. Walt’s name is on the Plaza Ice Cream Shop which may be because he loved sweets and ice cream, but the other meaning (which is the one I love) is that his name is placed where it is, so that even after Walt’s passing we would always be looking over all of the Magic Kingdom and all the magic he has created.
After that we are now at the end of Main Street and in front of the Castle where we see the statue of Walt and Mickey. Preview: when our tour guide told us this, I got the chills all over and almost teared up! So when looking at the Walt statue, Walt is talking to Mickey and pointing down Main Street right towards the statue of Roy and Minnie. Well one story we heard is the creator of the statue made them to mean that Walt is telling Mickey that it’s time for him to go join Roy and Minnie and that it’s Roy’s turn to lead the kingdom. The space on the bench with Minnie and Roy was the spot left for Mickey after his goodbye with Walt.
At the end of Main Street we were led to go to the left because in case you didn’t know, most people will start their day in Magic Kingdom by walking to the right towards Tomorrowland, but when you think of the lands they were laid out that you start on the left and work your way from past to future. Also whenever given the option in Disney to go left or right, ALWAYS go left! This tip was given to us by our guide because in training the CM are told to go left first. I especially notice this during the security checks! We were told in our walk to notice little things like the exact place where you begin to notice the changes in music between the lands. As we entered Adventure Land we went to The Jungle Cruise were we got on a ship only for the people of our tour group and were told behind the scenes secrets of the ride!
Then we headed over to the Pirates of the Caribbean for another behind the scenes learn all of the secrets kind of ride. Did I mention we got to skip the line on all of these, best fastpass ever. We learned little things like Walt being an intricate part in designing the ride and how the animatronics were the most advanced of their time. Can’t remember the exact number but there are over 50 chickens in Pirates of the Caribbean and each cost over 10,000 dollars!
After Pirates we headed over to Frontier Land for our first time going “backstage”! We walked down the pathway next to Splash Mountain and to an area full of warehouses and work trailers. It definitely was a little weird to see it at first but really cool! We walked back to the largest of the warehouses and went inside to see all the floats for the Magic Kingdom Parades! In there were the floats for Celebrate a Dream, Main Street Electrical Parade, and SpectroMagic. Seeing all the parade floats when they aren’t in a parade was another really cool and different experience! So another thing we got to see while we were back in the area were the pumps and filters that run Splash Mountain! You know it takes a lot of water to run that ride, but when you see it all in the tank it really is a crazy sight!
After about an hour backstage, it was time to head over to the Columbia Harbor House for some lunch. When we arrived we were escorted upstairs to the private room where our lunches were plated and waiting for us with a place card and a small envelope that had our special keepsake pin you can only get when you take the tour!
After lunch we were taken to Haunted Mansion where we entered through the CM hallway near the exit of the ride. We were told some fun facts about the ride just like on Jungle Cruise, and we hopped on and rode!
After Haunted Mansion the excitement was definitely growing because we knew the time was coming close to heading into the under ground Utilidor! So from Haunted Mansion we walked back through Liberty Square and over to Main Street where we walked behind the buildings through one of the “Cast Member Only” gates. We happened to get it timed perfectly so that when we walked back there the Mayor of Magic Kingdom was walking around back there! And since we were backstage he didn’t have to be in character, but he still kind of did and was sweet and friendly and took a moment to talk with all of us and ask if we had any backstage questions for him! This was also the same time the Celebrate a Dream parade was ending so something I’ll never forget that was special to our tour was watching the float with Minnie on it turn the corner to where she was considered backstage and she ripped her head off so fast and slouched down and took the deepest breath! (It was 4pm in the middle of June in Florida so no surprise she was SWEATING in there!!)
FINALLY it was time! We were heading from the backstage areas behind the stores of Main Street down a staircase to the famous secretive Disney Utilidor! Ok so in hindsight, I might say that going underground is the coolest, most awesome, but actually not that exciting thing in Disney. Let me explain! So any big Disney fan has heard all about this Utilidor so I don’t exactly know what I expected, but when you are down there you do get this feeling that is very surreal! But then in hindsight, it is just cement walls and floors and a bunch of rooms meant for breaks, training, costuming, and offices. So I mean it definitely was a bucket list thing for Kyle and I, but I would say not to expect the Utilidor to be this magical Disney place because although it is really cool to finally see something every big Disney fan has heard about for so long, it is more convenience place for the staff and not meant to be magical like everything else in Disney. After getting to walk the Utilidor for a while that quick our tour was over… We went back up the staircase that led behind the stores on Main Street and then we went back to the Chamber of Commerce and that was it!
This tour was a once in a lifetime tour full of so many fun facts and things even the biggest Disney fan didn’t know! If you love Disney this tour is a Must Do! It is one of Kyle and I’s greatest memories at Disney World and we always love telling our friends and family all the little tricks, secrets, and facts we learned that day! I think every Disney Fan should definitely take the time to really learn all about this company and what it came from because it has only made us love them even more!
If you have done or are planning on doing the Key’s to the Kingdom Tour or have any questions feel free to ask us!
Written By: Victoria Kinmonth
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