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Graceland – 20 years later

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.

My husband taking a picture of himself in the hallway of a million mirrors. (Notice the Borg like iPad junk hanging around his neck?)

My husband taking a picture of himself in the hallway of a million mirrors. (Notice the Borg like iPad junk hanging around his neck?)

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.

Resist the Graceland Borg!! Headphones off and iJunk ignored!

Resist the Graceland Borg!! Headphones off and iJunk ignored!

Selfie with the Lisa Marie!

Selfie with the Lisa Marie!

My husband shooting a picture of the shooting area.

My husband shooting a picture of the shooting area. Notice the absence of headphones?

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.

Inside the Lisa Marie Airplane

Inside the Lisa Marie Airplane

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.

"Walking in Memphis" okay, not really...that's way too dangerous!

“Walking in Memphis” okay, not really…that’s way too dangerous!

We had so much fun at Graceland!

We had so much fun at Graceland!

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!

Love y’all,


Graceland, Lisa Marie, and the Guards

Graceland…So, I’m still in a reflective mode right now and feel like sharing another story. It’s celebration time, not mourning – so let the silly stories fly!

On our trip to Arkansas to see Patsy (mentioned in a previous post), Nick and Larry’s main purpose was to check on Patsy since some time had passed since she’d lost her husband to Cancer. Her husband was a mentor to Nick & Larry. His name was Bob from Billings Montana,man. Or, at least, that’s how they referred to him.
After surviving the tornado on the drive to her house, the guys sat up most of the night and talked to catch up with their dear friend. Coffee… we drank so much coffee that my eyes just wouldn’t close that night.
The next day, Patsy went to work, so Nick, Larry, and I went cruising around Jonesboro. There’s absolutely nothing in Jonesboro, AR. The land was flat. The city was not very citified either. After Patsy got home from work, we all went out. We stopped at a gas station to get cigarettes, pop, and other goodies. When we came back out of that store, Patsy’s car wouldn’t start. Patsy popped her hood and 2 guys that know nothing about cars started pushing and pulling on objects under the hood of Patsy’s Cadillac. (Elvis had a Cadillac) 🙂 Dumb luck prevailed, the car started, and we were mobile once more. By evening time, all were hungry and wanted to eat at “the best BBQ place around”. Uhm, I ate beans. They all appeared to love the BBQ meat though 🙂 Patsy smiled a lot that day and maybe even laughed harder than before too? One thing was for sure, Nick and Larry were hilarious together and they were good medicine for a good friend.

The next day, Patsy wanted to go to Graceland. Memphis? Did I hear Memphis? Elvis? Beale Street? Hell yeah!!
We hopped in Patsy’s car with Nick driving, and made Memphis in just a couple hours. We drove down Elvis Presley Blvd. We saw Graceland and I was in hunka hunka heaven! These guys didn’t know, but I had a major thing for Elvis and this trip meant the world to me! It was Oct 1995, and It could be yesterday in my mind all over again 🙂

First, we saw the Lisa Marie. This personal plane owned by Elvis was name after his daughter. Since we had the tour, I asked a billion questions, we took pictures, and I was flying high with thoughts of Elvis sitting in the seat I sat in on the plane.
We took the tour trolley across the street to Graceland, where we were wedged between several other out of town site seers. (Some of which forgot their deoderant.) Anyway, we finally made it inside. We saw the kitchen where the famous fried peanut butter & banana sandwiches were made, the jungle  room, several bedrooms, and guest area. Outside, the stables were lovely and full of Elvis’ collection of Guns and police badges. We stopped for a moment of silence at Elvis and his mother’s grave site (not really the actual graves), and waved goodbye to a legendary fairy tale.

Hoping back on the tour trolley, we came back across the street and checked out the Car Museum. Elvis had so many cars and motorcycles. I just had to touch one…so, Nick dared me to hop over the roped off area and lean on a Cadillac for a photo opp. I did. Alarms went off as soon as I touched it and I RAN!
Nick was busy pretending not to know me as I fled from the gaurds, ran inside the Lisa Marie and made like a tour guide 🙂 I don’t know if the security guards gave up or thought they’d lost me, but after I told those aboard the Lisa Marie what I could remember, I bowed out of the tour guide business and caught back up with Nick, Larry, and Patsy.

After we left Graceland, we went to Beale street. The music was so alluring. Blues blues blues…I desperately want to go back to Beale street!! (And that’s all I can share about that 😉

Graceland, Elvis, Memphis, and Beale Street Rocked!

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