On my trip a couple of weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to do the Keys to the Kingdom Tour! Ever since age eleven or twelve I have dreamed of taking the tour, yet was sadly not able to due to the age restriction of 16. If you don’t already know, the Keys to the Kingdom Tour is a 5 hour official Disney tour that takes place in the Magic Kingdom. We had a pretty good-sized group of 21. Don’t be worried by that though, because they give everyone a sound pack with an earpiece. It was especially nice for when we were walking down Main Street with the Trolly Show going on. Check in was easy, we picked up name badges, ordered lunch, and were each given a water! I love that Disney cares for their guests.
Our tour guide was the fabulous Jordan from Buffalo NY. He has been with Disney for 4 years, and started out with the company in the College program in Mickey’s of Hollywood, then the Pirates League, and finally in guest relations for a certain amount of time until he could become a tour guide.
I won’t spoil everything and bore you with transcripts of my 9 pages of notes… so instead I’ll write out the highlights. Well what are we waiting for? Let’s get started with a few of the things I enjoyed/learned:
The Magic Kingdom itself is a show. The park is onstage and Ultildors/behind CM doors is offstage. (I’ll discuss this further in a future post.. check back soon!) Jordan explained that he might answer questions differently based on whether we were on or off stage. His example being “What is the rope on the castle?” The on stage answer might be “The Magic Kingdom was so full of magic and dreams that Cinderella was afraid that the castle might fly away, so she tied it down.” or “Cinderella uses it to hang her laundry on.” Offstage answers are very different like, “The rope is a zip line used for Tink to fly down in Wishes”
Do you know who is the most important man in Walt Disney World? The obvious answer is Walt Disney… Right? Well if that’s what you said you’re actually wrong. While WDW was Walt’s dream, the man who made it all happen was Roy O Disney. He gave up everything for his little brother. Left his banker job to help Walt in 1923 and later came out of retirement just to finish WDW. (Thing #1 that made me tear up…)
Now in Walt Disney World there are four keys in this order of importance.
Safety: The colors change when there is a curb, check bags at the gates, security
Courtesy: Birthday/anniversary/wedding/celebrating buttons, Cast Members name tag with the place they’re from, Main Street doors are open
Show: Cast Members costumes/character theme, details, landscaping, music
Efficiency: MagicBands (which is FIVE times faster than the previous system), FastPass+, and My Disney Experience (so that you don’t have to run around the parks to get a fastpass. Plan the day the way you want to spend your day while saving time)
Have you ever noticed the flags on top all the buildings on Main Street? Actually only one of the flags in Main Street USA is real. Because of the law that American flags must either have a spotlight or be lower/raised, the one on the flagpole in the center of Town Square is the only real flag. Florida is the national lighting strike capital, and these fake American flags are both for safety (lightning rods) and show (theme of Main Street)
After walking the rest of the way down Main Street, through the hub, and down to Adventureland, we walked through the exit of the Jungle Cruise and got onto our personal boat. Thanks to our awesome skipper Brandon for “driving” while Jordan took over the microphone and pointed out things to us. If you’re ever on the Jungle Cruise and notice the skipper not driving, don’t worry! The boat is actually on a track, and the only thing they control the boat’s speed.
Then we headed down past Pirates of the Caribbean to Splash Mountain and went back through the cast gate where the Festival of Fantasy Parade starts in the afternoon. (Remember this picture from my trip report? the gate is pulled out-of-the-way on the right) On the railroad, you’ll actually go past this entrance make sure and watch out for the tour groups!
After passing over the yellow sight line painting on the path, we were invisible and officially off stage.
It was quite surreal finally going back behind the scenes and seeing what Cast Members see daily. We talked briefly about the AVAX trash system before heading over to check out the parade floats building/storage. There were Cast Members cleaning the villains float from the Halloween Boo to You Parade (for the Villains pre parade at the 24 hour Rock Your Disney Side party this past weekend) and we had the opportunity to see many of the Main Street Electrical Parade floats up close. Disney Parks oftentimes reuses and repurpose floats If you saw the Toy Story Block Party Bash (California Adventure 2005-2008, Hollywood Studios 2008-2011), you might remember the giant traffic cones? Well in the warehouse, we saw that they added some white and yellow paint to make them candy corn for Boo to You. Quite interesting because our guide Jordan said that they use military grade parachutes to protect/cover floats. While in the parade floats building, we also got to talk to one of the Cast Members, Pace, about the parades and characters. He said that he used to be a character, and after years of being in the department, he moved on to parades to help show the ropes to younger characters Cast. Jordan told us that these kind of conversations are rarely happen on the tour.
On our way back to the “stage” Jordan took us over to the water tank for Splash Mountain. The 965,000 gallons of water has 6 pumps (4 of which are working at the same time.) It takes the ride 45 minutes to empty and 2 hours to fill back up.
Lunch was at the Columbia Harbour House. Since I don’t like sea food, I had the chicken nuggets which were just okay. I was so excited about everything, that I could barely eat during our 30 minute break 🙂
Next my favorite dark ride, Liberty Square, the famed Ultilidors, and more! Part 2 will be up in a couple of days. Follow me on Twitter (@mouseuniversity), Like Mouse University Online on Facebook, or subscribe with your email on the sidebar to make sure you don’t miss it. Thanks for joining me on this awesome tour report!