Obviously I’m talking about young and relatively skinny Elvis, aka the only Elvis discussed and displayed at Graceland. I’m not a huge Elvis fan, but was adamant that we had to go to Graceland while in Memphis. I feel like quite the dork because the Graceland references that I could conjure up involved that TV show Full House. Remember how Uncle Jesse was a huge Elvis fan?
Anyways…the audio tour through the Graceland mansion and grounds was pricey ($32 for the cheap tour plus $10 to park), but fun and worth it. I am generally pro-audio tour, and this was an especially good one due to the obvious plethora of music that accompanied the tour.
Graceland tickets can be purchased ahead of time online here or at Graceland. Since we were due to be in Memphis on a Saturday, we got tickets online. We avoided a short line, but would have been fine either way. They do offer AAA discounts, so take advantage if you are a member. After buying tickets you can visit the MULTIPLE gift shops (it’s kinda like an Elvis strip mall around there, complete with an ice cream shop) before receiving your audio headset and hopping in the bus line.
A very short (like, two minutes) air conditioned bus trip takes you across the street to Graceland. While small by today’s mansion standards, Graceland is a cool place. Elvis did not design or name the place, but bought it pre-built and kept the name Graceland. Like every poor kid, Elvis had promised his parents that he would someday provide for them, and indeed they always had a room in Graceland.
Non-flash photograph is allowed (Obviously. I’m too scared to take illegal pictures), but visiting the upstairs private part of Graceland is not. The tour takes you through the living room, Elvis’s parent’s room, the carpeted kitchen and the jungle room (also carpeted…on the ceiling) before heading downstairs and outside.
The buildings surrounding the mansion contain tributes to his fame and musical career. There are videos of him talking about his deployment overseas (can you even image pop stars being in the service today?) and scenes from his movies and concerts. Some of his be-spectacled pantsuits are on display, surrounded by albums and awards. You can trace a timeline of his life and career through the displays and audio tour information, but there is NO mention of any negative aspects of Elvis’s life, although drugs were briefly mentioned when discussing Elvis’s untimely death. Outside the mansion the tour takes Graceland visitors past Elvis’s gravestone, where fans still bring a barrage of gifts and flowers.
The tour takes a little over two hours, although you are welcome to spend as much time as you’d like in Graceland. It was crowded, but people were never pushing you to move along or speed up. There was not a line visitors had to stay in. The audio tour had several sections wherein you could stay and hear optional information, so I would image that hard-core Elvis aficionados would probably stay longer than two hours.
After the tour a bus takes you back across the street so you can purchase Elvis souvenirs – pink Cadillac earring, anyone?