Earlier this month my husband took me on an amazing honeymoon stay and we visited Graceland. 🙂 We had a wonderful time, but only because we made it wonderful! The tour was not so good!
After purchasing our Platinum Tour tickets at a discounted price, we were instructed to stand at the door to board the next bus to the Mansion. The wait wasn’t long. Next we were ushered to a staging area for a Graceland souvenir picture and handed a set of headphones. After being seated on the bus, we were handed an iPad and instructed to log in. At first I thought, “wow, this is super cool!”.
When the bus started moving, the young lady at the front of the bus mechanically stood up and said:
“Place your headphones on your ears at this time. Press GO”. Then she sat back down. John Stamos began talking about the tour, the iPad, and such. While this was playing in my ears, I looked around at the other tourist. My husband’s iPad wasn’t English. It was Spanish. Several of the older tourist were having difficulty with the technology and had not even started the tour by the time we arrived at the mansion.
At the Mansion, a woman was talking at the door. I had no idea what she said. John Stamos was talking in my ear and evidently, while I was trying to read her lips …I missed several scenes on my iPad. My husband nudged me and motioned for me to remove the head set. Ah ha! That’s what the lady had yelled over & over. “Take the headset off!!!” There was an elderly couple of men in front of us that were hearing impaired. The hearing aid gave it away for me, but not for the lady yelling on the front steps of the mansion “TAKE YOUR HEADSET OFF!!!!!!!!”
It was all very unorganized, impersonal, and unprofessional.
On the inside of the mansion, there were cattle herders (employees) holding out their arms to prevent passage into different areas and pointing to where they wanted you to go. Everyone on the tour was bumping into one another as they were attempting to walk while looking down at their iPad. That was it for me. After seeing the stunned look on all the faces in there, I realized this was not excitement I saw, but confusion. People tried to do as instructed with the headphones and iPad, but most were not coordinated enough to not bump into someone else while doing so. I saw so many stumble and almost fall into a “display”.
I mean come on…really? Experience a tour of the iconic Home of Elvis Presley’s Graceland with eyes wide shut? That’s exactly what they did.
I didn’t want to be assimilated by this Borg, so I removed my headphones and hung the iPad from my neck to ignore it. I tried to hand it back to an employee, but they wouldn’t take it. Anyway, that is when the tour opened up and the excitement creeped in! My husband followed my lead after the next room and we thoroughly enjoyed the photo-ops! We took shameless selfies and had fun with the staff. Did you know the employees are actually people, like real humans? Yeah, surprised me too! The entire experience of a personal tour guide was removed from the Graceland tour back in August 2014 when the iPad tour was introduced. I assume this is a way to cut payroll substantially as there is obviously very little training required to work at the mansion now.
Anyway, when we took over our own personal experience of the tour, we had a blast. Several other patrons did the same after they saw my husband and I having so much fun 🙂 By the end of the tour, only 4 people still had the headphones on – their loss.
We of course, just had to do the archive tour. There was a short movie around Christmas time to see there and a Big Bird that Lisa Marie held onto that Elvis gave her. That’s it really. The Archive experience lasted 10 minutes from the time we unloaded the shuttle bus until we loaded back onto the shuttle bus.
When we were back in the parking lot of the admissions area, we were handed a photo as soon as we got off the bus. We were told these were $30.00 if we wanted to buy them. My husband bought them. We went through a gift shop to enter the Airplane area. We walked through the Lisa Marie and that was it.
There were 3 other planes/jets in that area, but they were “Closed”.
We went through another gift shop to enter the Car Museum. I loved the cars and props that were there. Fun-fun.
All in all, we had a spectacular time and gained some memories of a lifetime. My last trip to Graceland was 20 years in 1995 and oh goodness… technology has not made a positive impact on this place. Although…one thing that is totally different now is that the guards could care less if you touch the cars in the museum now. Shoot, there were even kids crawling around inside them while we were there! So, this might be nice for someone wanting a photo-op inside one of Elvis’ cars… I didn’t this time 😉
I would still recommend a visit though 🙂 Go, make your own fun and enjoy!
Your link is well worth the read. I suggest any reader with interest in Elvis’ life read this link too!
Thank you for sharing! 🙂
My parents knew Elvis during his Army years and wrote a book about it.
That is awesome!