Ever since the Imagineering Story came out on Disney+ I have become more and more fascinated with Disney history. This made me even more excited to go on the Keys to the Kingdom Tour during my trip. Disney describes this tour as an ‘in-depth, 5-hour look at the most iconic theme park at Walt Disney World Resort’. Read on to hear my review of Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour.
The trip is $99 a person and includes lunch. Disney Chase Visa Cardmembers, Annual Passholders, and DVC Members all get 15% off. Personally, I think this price is very reasonable for a 5-hour tour that includes lunch. It’s important to note that this tour is for ages 16 and up only. The tour goes backstage and discusses behind-the-magic-type things so Disney doesn’t want to spoil the magic for children. I think that makes it a great environment for an adults-only trip or for families with older children.
I don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone in this review. But I will give you a taste of what I experienced. You can decide if it’s something you want to do on your next trip (spoiler alert: you’re going to want to book this tour asap).
We had an early morning tour, 8:00am. The tour is usually offered at 5 times during the day (8:00, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30, and 10:00). We were there right before Christmas so there was only an 8:00am and 8:30am tour offered that day. If you’re interested in this tour, be sure to book it six months out. The 8:30am tour was already booked when I called, so an early morning it was for us. You are asked to arrive 15 minutes early, which made our arrival time 7:45am. Magic Kingdom opened at 7:00am that day so we just entered as regular guests. If your tour was before park opening, you would enter where pre-park-opening breakfast reservations enter.
We met at Town Square Theater where we checked-in, ordered lunch, and got our headphones. Our tour had around 15-20 people in it, so it wasn’t a large group but wasn’t super intimate either. The group consisted mainly of huge Disney fans. We even had someone who worked at Disneyland Paris in our group. But, it isn’t just for Disney junkies. Our tour guide said she once had a family who took this tour their very first time at Magic Kingdom. Even my non-Disney loving boyfriend came out of the tour saying how much he enjoyed learning about all-things Disney. This tour can be for everyone, but the big Disney fans will enjoy it the most.
We started out the tour on Main Street learning all about Walt and the start of Walt Disney World. We then made our way to Adventureland where we learned a bit more about the history and took a ride on the Jungle Cruise. Our tour guide was the skipper for this ride, so the ride included less corny jokes and more fun facts about the ride. After that we sat at some tables and learned about more Disney history and Magic Kingdom facts. I worried about having to stand the entire tour, since my boyfriend has back problems. But the tour guide made sure to give us plenty of time to sit throughout the tour.
Before lunch we also rode Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square and went backstage behind Splash Mountain. To be honest, the one thing I could have done without on the tour was riding Haunted Mansion. Unlike Jungle Cruise, our tour guide turned off her microphone during Haunted Mansion. She had pointed out a few things for us to look out for prior to the ride, but for the most part it was no different than a normal ride. This was my least favorite part of the tour.
We ate lunch in a reserved area at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn in Frontierland where our meals and a toppings bar were waiting for us. We had about 30 minutes for lunch, the perfect amount to eat but still have plenty of time left for the tour.
After lunch it was time for the part that everyone was most excited for, heading down into the utilidors. I read reviews of this tour prior to going on it and most had said that the utilidors were disappointing, but I didn’t think so. I was a supply chain major in school and I find operations extremely interesting. Seeing how the utilidor allowed for all of the necessary operations of the park to occur while still preserving the magic was one of my favorite parts. We spent a while in the utilidor looking at various pictures on the walls and learning more about the history of the park. By the time we knew it, it was time to go back up into the park and end the tour.
I cannot say enough how much I HIGHLY recommend this tour. If you have taken numerous trips to the parks are looking for something new to do, or if you just like learning new things then this tour is a must. I do think that Disney may have to start thinking of some new content to add to the tour now that the Imagineering Story has come out. The tour did discuss things that I had learned from watching the docu-series. But, I loved seeing backstage, experiencing how the park operates, and learning more about my favorite place in the world!