Saturday, March 23, 2013

Princess Half Marathon Weekend--Keys to the Kingdom Tour

On the Monday after the race, I decided to take advantage of the fact that we did not have the kids with us on this trip so we booked the Keys to the Kingdom Tour at the Magic Kingdom since you had to be 16 or older to go on this tour and that will be a long way off with the kids.

Now, I was unsure if this was a wise move but it was something Jeff really wanted to do so did I, plus with the DVC discount it was really reasonable.

When we got up in the morning it was super foggy. We could not even see the Magic Kingdom from our balcony. I was really hoping it would get better as the day went on.

Now to make it to the tour we had to get our luggage dropped off, our bags stored and out of the room by about 8am. That actually went really smoothly and while I was a little stiff as we first started out, I was fine by the time we made it to the Magic Kingdom. We got through the ticket lines and headed into the actual park through the ADR/Tour entrance. We checked in at City Hall and got our name badges and put in our orders for lunch at the Columbia Harbor House.

We had to wait a few minutes for the tour to gather and get going but it wasn't bad. I was able to go in and get stickers, buttons and maps for a surprise for the June trip. I also got to snap a couple empty park pictures. Jeff was not in the picture posing mode so we did not get any Photopass shots which I am sad about. I should have thrown my medal on and taken a few alone but I didn't even think of it.

Just after 8:30am, Steve our tour guide came over to show us around for our tour. The first thing he told us was that we could not take pictures while we were on the tour. He did say he would look the other way if we were not backstage but I never took my camera out because I was trying to follow the rules.

One of the first things he told us was about the statues in the center and then the one in front of the castle. The one in center past the flag pole is of Roy Disney while the one in front of the castle is the famous one of Walt and Mickey.

For the actual tour I am not going to give away too many things since it is special and magical and I do not want to take away from someone else'e experience but feel free to ask if you want to know more!

We started the tour on Main Street where we were told about the meanings of the writing on the windows. I have been down Main Street probably 20 times in the last 12 months and I never noticed this detail. Steve managed to position us perfectly about 1/2 way down so we could see the crowds rush in when they let them in. It was kind of funny, especially since he told us they had the ropes up so people would be slowed down for a few minutes before they could get to the rides.

We walked towards the castle and then left into Adventureland. The details here are so amazing and it is so neat how Disney makes sure you know when you are moving from one land to another. The first ride we went on was the Jungle Cruise. Now for some reason, I had it in my head that I HATED this ride. Well, I don't. I can't wait until June to take the kids one it. The ride was very interesting because Steve did all the talking and we did not hear the usual story but instead found out a lot about the ride and this history. Very neat.

We went into one of the restaurants for a break and got to see one of the Portals for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game and to learn some things about Pirates of the Caribbean. From here we headed backstage. Now this was cool because it was the same place we went backstage the day before during the race. We got to see where the floats were stored and it was cool to see it with no runners or water tables and to remember the run.

We strolled through Frontierland and into Liberty Square. One thing I will offer is sometime when you are walking through the Magic Kingdom look at the windows in the different areas.

From there it was time for lunch at Columbia Harbor House. I had the grilled chicken salad and Jeff had the shrimp. Yummy as always. We ate with a really nice couple from Kentucky. They had been given the tour as a gift from their kids and they were on an adults only trip too!!

After this break it was time for the 2nd half of the tour. We went to the Haunted Mansion which Jeff and I both love! It was really neat to hear the story about it and to ride it and to get to watch for details. Then it was time to head backstage again. We went into the utilidoors and got to even see the one stairwell the President got use when he was at the Magic Kingdom. The history of Disney is so awesome and it was just so neat.

Overall the tour was long at just over 5 hours but well worth it. I am so glad we did it.

The trip was awesome and wonderful and way too fast. We went back for a quick bite to eat at the Contemporary and then it was on the Magical Express and to the airport. Honestly I cannot wait to get back for another trip with more park time and another runDisney weekend!

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