Day 13 – Keys to the Kingdom day

We are up very early and on the monorail by 0730! It’s my birthday present morning…the Keys to the Kingdom tour which I’ve waited forever to do as the minimum age is 16….and finally Natty is old enough for us all to do the tour together.

We meet Erik, our guide at 0745 and get badges, ear pieces/listening devices, bottles of ice cold water and order our lunch.

We are soon all introduced and off we go up Main Street, stopping along the way to hear great stories and facts. We sit in the shade down a little side street and hear more…Erik is lovely, enthusiastic, knowledgeable and good fun! Next we head over into Adventureland where we get great inside information on what’s in the plans going forward in WDW and then lots of details on the backstory of Jungle Cruise . Erik then arranges to take us down to exit where a boat awaits to take us on the Jungle Cruise but with a twist… factual narrative! Brilliant!

Once back on the dock, we regroup and head on towards Frontierland and another rest stop in the air conditioning to hear more history.
Next up, the much anticipated first visit ‘back stage’ to the left of Splash Mountain but no photos folks! Don’t want to spoil the magic! We walk down between Pirates and Splash towards huge buildings where we find the parade floats!!! We go inside and gets lots of facts about the parades, operations and floats. Bob the maintenance guy is a rockstar! Erik explains about the 3 fairies and how they float on their floats…cue Bob hopping on board and ‘floating’ and spinning around in front of us! Natty and I had been chatting to Frank previously about his ‘friendship’ with the green fairy…so we find it hilarious to think about Frank spinning in a hooped skirt!!

Once we’ve finished with the floats we go back on stage for more walking and talking and then it’s time for an early lunch at the Tomorrowland Terrace. It’s all ready and waiting in a reserved and roped off area.

It’s delicious! Mine is the Pulled Pork Banh Mi Sandwich – a Hoagie Roll filled with Asian Pulled Pork topped with Pickled Vegetables and a spicy Sriracha Aïoli served with House-made Chips. Will enjoys the Angus Cheeseburger topped with Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato served on a Pretzel Bun with House-made Chips. Natty has chosen the Breaded Chicken Strips dipped in Barbecue Sauce and served with House-made Chips. 

We are also given a gift to commemorate our tour…

Once lunch is finished we head back across in front of the castle and back to Liberty Square. More history then we are taken over to the Haunted Mansion for more insider information…before being taken in via a secret entrance for our own private ride at the Haunted Mansion.

Afterwards we walk through Fantasyland and enter the most exciting part …a trip down into the utilidors…these are the ‘tunnels’ used by cast members running under the magic kingdom! We descend a staircase and finally get to see what’s down here! It’s amazing! We explore and take a walk under the castle and moat, down Main St USA the way cast members and characters do! There’s people at work and rest, busy getting along with all the stuff that you’d see around any other theme park or shopping mall but it’s all hidden away down here. At one point we are passed by a dashing, tall young man…Natty and I turn to each other and whisper “Flynn!” We are sure he’s friends with Flynn Ryder from Tangled!

Erik then tells us all about the Cinderella Suite in the castle and then all about the Magic Kingdom inauguration ceremony conducted by Roy Disney in 1971…with pictures up on the wall. It’s such a moving story told with such immense pride and passion that Natty and we are in tears!

We finally have to ascend from the air conditioned loveliness back ‘on stage’ where we get more moving stories and history before the tour finally comes to an end…all 5 hours of it! What a fabulous time we’ve had!

We say goodbye to Erik after hugs and thanks…

It’s now turn the catch up with a couple of our favourite characters…Tinks is surprised at how tall Natty has become!

Then guess who gets this reaction…






Yes… it’s this guy…

We get to help Mickey try out his magic tricks…

Then share with him that it’s Maizie, my nieces, birthday and record a message to send to her…

It’s time to say goodbye to Mickey and hello to Andrea and the boys. We have a lovely (if not a trifle hot) afternoon which includes cake and refreshments, the Muppets Salute to all Nations…but mostly America, the Haunted Mansion, the Christmas Shoppe (where I expertly get baby R to fall into his afternoon nap) and visit with Peter Pan!

It’s time for a break from the heat, so we head out of the park on the monorail and just make it back to the Polynesian before a huge thunder storm arrives…Frank texts that he’s on his way (it’s his turn to join us for dinner) and when he arrives the storm is severe.

We catch up and have a drink whilst waiting for the storm to subside (the radar shows it will) and make the sensible decision to delay our dinner reservation at the Jungle Navigation Skipper Canteen.   The radar is correct and we are soon hearing back to the Magic Kingdom on the monorail. Once there, we are seated by our punny waiter, Alec. It’s hilarious (and apparently you’d love it Tyler…Natty was saying how much you love puns!)

I know they’re in the wrong order but I’m tired so you’ll have to figure it out! Will has the beef pasta dish (check out the menu photo), I have the chicken, Frank has the curry and Natty has the fish. Our server , Dani, notices that Natty isn’t enjoying the fish so offers to change it! Natty is grateful of  the offer and really enjoys the chicken replacement. We eat out desserts cruise style…all in all it’s been a great evening – excellent food, brilliant company, wonderful theming and top class service!

Our night in the Magic Kingdom ends with the last Jungle Cruise of the day…

…before a monorail journey back to the Poly for a very tired Carr clan!
Good night

Ps – I know I owe days 11 and 12…I have notes and will try to catch up tomorrow! I need to sleep now…the Will snoring soundtrack is quite soporific…apparently!

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