Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion and Exhibition Center is one of the most visited attractions in America. Even after 42 years of The King’s death- it attracts more than 700k visitors a year, the second most visited house in the country after the White House. It was opened to the public in 1982 and recently added a huge exhibition center this year in May’19.

The brand new Graceland Exhibition Center just opened this May 2019.

If you want to avoid lines and crowds, get a VIP experience tour. They have a couple to choose from. The Entourage VIP is a self-guided tour but you get to skip lines for shuttles and at the Mansion. It’s $99 pp and you get an iPad to guide you around, pretty nifty. The other option is the Ultimate VIP Tour which includes an expert guide who chaperones the guests and includes many extra perks. It’s cost is $174 pp and free for children under 2 years old.

We bought The Ultimate VIP Tour

INCLUDES
  • Graceland Mansion Tour with an Expert Guide For Each Small Group of up to 12 Guests 
  • Self-guided tour of Elvis’ Custom Jets
  • NEW – Full Access to Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment Complex, including:
    • Presley Motors Automobile Museum
    • Elvis: The Entertainer Career Museum
    • Self-guided tours of the Elvis Discovery Exhibits 
    • Exclusive VIP Exhibit 
PLUS
  • Access to Ultimate Lounge at Elvis Presley’s Memphis
  • Options to purchase special merchandise only available to our Ultimate guests
  • A  meal voucher at Vernon’s Smokehouse
  • Exclusive Photo Opportunity
  • Personal Graceland Archives Show and Tell Session
  • Keepsake Backstage pass

Our group only had 4 guests including us, which was great! The average tour time was 4 hours that included the meal. You can easily spend a full day with all the brand new exhibits the tour doesn’t have time to cover. The tour was super fun to get in the highlights. Our tour guide, Kandis, was hilarious and absolutely a huge fan of The Presley’s.

Graceland Mansion

Our first stop was Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion. It is still kept in his family and fully owned by his daughter Lisa Marie Presley.

Beautiful and hot day at Graceland Mansion

When you enter, you’ll see the staircase, formal living room and formal dining room.

Fun Fact

Elvis was a natural blonde and first dyed his hair black with shoe polish!

Graceland Mansion Staircase, Elvis was a natural blonde!
Formal Living Room
Formal Dining Room

There’s one bedroom on the main floor which Elvis gave to his parents. No one is allowed upstairs where Lisa Marie occasionally resides.

The only bedroom on the main floor that Elvis gave to his parents

Not sure why carpet in the kitchen was a thing during Elvis’s time? They haven’t changed a thing about it since Elvis passed.

Kitchen has carpet? Completely functional kitchen still preserved from Elvis’s time

Of course Elvis had a really cool bar and game rooms. His bar and house had tons of mirrors in it to appear bigger. Having 3 TV’s in a house was a big deal, having 3 TV’s in one room was baller status.

Elvis’s bar and man cave at Graceland Mansion. 3 TV’s in a room was baller status.
Billiards room at Graceland Mansion
Elvis had many mirrors installed throughout his home to make it appear larger.

In the back side of the house is where he and his family RIP, next to the meditation garden and pool.

Elvis and family RIP at Graceland Mansion in the Meditation Garden and Poolside
The Mediation Garden
The pool area looked so inviting on a very hot day.

Elvis had a racquetball court and horse stable on property.

Elvis’s racquetball court at Graceland Mansion
There are horse stables all around the groomed property
None of the horses were out today

His den had shag all up and down the ceilings and walls, totally rock star lifestyle!

“The Jungle Room” was the King’s den with shag from floor to ceiling

Fun Fact

Elvis was born in poverty in Tupelo, MS on January 8th, 1935. The house he was born in was no larger than 450 Sqft. It was these humble beginnings that instilled his work ethic and compassion for charity. What an incredible life he built for himself and his family.

Model home of Elvis’s birthplace at Graceland Mansion
Despite his humble beginnings, Elvis always knew he’d make an impact onto the world

Extended Home

Elvis extended his house that is now like a time capsule of his life. This was one of my favorite areas to see, as it really showed his personal life.

The actual wedding attire for Priscilla and Elvis!
His Family Tree
Several Halls of his own memories
Elvis HS Diploma
Many pictures from Elvis’s own family albums
Elvis’s driver’s license. He also liked guns.

Fun Fact

Elvis and the Memphis Police were pals. When he asked them to be a “Federal Agent At-Large,” they told him it had to be authorized by the President of the USA. Elvis took it seriously and wrote a 6 page letter to President Nixon requesting the license. Nixon thought it was a joke at first and then actually met with Elvis granting the request, ha!

Elvis and The Memphis Police who inadvertently helped him become a “Federal Agent At-Large

Elvis’s Graceland mansion has 20 rooms and there’s plenty more to see when you visit. After the Mansion tour, the guide took us to the new exhibits.

Presley Motors Automobile Museum

This was probably the most fun exhibit! Here you’ll see a dozen of Elvis’s rad automobiles.

His famous pink Cadillac
Love this convertible!
Amazingly, the dozen in this museum was only a small part of a collection that he owned. He loved cars!

Fun Fact

Elvis’s first car was used, but it was the most beautiful car he ever did see.

Elvis’s first car was used!

Not only did he love his cars but also his motor bikes.

His collection of motorcycles

The Entertainer Career Museum

Another great exhibit is The Entertainer Career Museum. This was a huge exhibit that displayed Elvis’s accolades, movie career, military service, costumes, his influence on other artists, charitable life, etc…

Elvis has walls of accolades!
Rooms of the King’s clothes perfectly preserved
A whole showroom of celebrities from many generations that were influenced by the King
Elvis was drafted and served in the Army
Elvis was a huge movie star and starred in 31 movies

FUN FACT

Did you know that Elvis was highly charitable? He donated tons of money to children in need including St. Jude Hospital and March of Dimes. No one knows how much he actually contributed because he did not deduct the gifts from his taxes! But there are frames of many of his signed checks in the exhibit.

Elvis was extremely charitable and gave large gifts to Children’s Charities and did NOT deduct them from his taxes

Exclusive VIP Exhibit

Included in the Ultimate VIP Tour package is an exclusive exhibit located behind the curtains in the Elvis VIP lounge.

It’s basically a private space where you can touch some of the King’s artifacts that he personally owned and used. The locked cabinet contained jewelry, personal items, and a personal microphone that Elvis always used for his shows. You have to wear gloves that they provide you to touch the items.

A duet! Elvis’s personal microphone in the VIP room.
Some of Elvis’s keepsakes that you can touch with given gloves in VIP room
Having fun with Elvis’s personal microphone in VIP room

Elvis VIP Lounge

After walking a few hours, we were tired. VIP’s get their own private lounge to rest and enjoy some relaxation. It’s rather large with stylish comfy furniture and complete with everything Elvis memorabilia. I also appreciated how the lounge has its own bathroom and no crowds.

I love this purple chaise and pic of Elvis
VIP lounge all to ourselves
The VIP exhibit is behind the black curtains. The lounge exclusively for VIP’s.

Vernon’s BBQ

The Ultimate VIP Tour package included a meal voucher to Vernon’s BBQ onsite. It was pretty good with plenty of food to satiate a large appetite. It included any entree with 2 sides, cornbread/rolls, drink, and dessert. We each chose the sampler platter which came with 5 cuts of BBQ: chicken, ribs, sausage, pulled pork. and brisket. The pulled pork was my fave! They have an array of sides and desserts to choose from too.

Ultimate VIP Tour included a full meal at Vernon’s BBQ
The Sampler Platter with 5 cuts of meat, 2 sides, cornbread, dessert, and drink

Hot Tips

  • Check out Things to Know Before You Go link for hours of operation, helpful visiting tips, and FAQ’s
  • The Mansion can close as early as 4pm depending on season and closed on major holidays.
  • Buy tickets online. VIP’s have their own check-in desks.
  • The Graceland Guest House is a new hotel next to the exhibition center for convenience.
  • There is a special period of time for free-admission walk-up visits to the Meditation Garden at Graceland, where the grave sites of Elvis and his family are located. Visitor walk-up times are daily from 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. All guests must enter the gates by 8:30 a.m. to walk up, and guests must leave the mansion grounds before Graceland tours start. There are no walk-ups on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. 
  • It’s super hot and humid during the summer, have some water with you along the tour.

My hubby and I have a special place in our hearts for Elvis Presley. His single, “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You,” is our wedding song and describes our whirlwind courtship. We were married within 7 months of meeting each other. Yes, we were fools who rushed in. And here we are, almost 9 years later at Elvis’s home. Life is so precious and precarious, it’s so important to live every moment. The King himself had a short life, but what a perpetual impact he left to us all!

The Last Great Moment of Elvis’ Career was this Chilling Performance of Unchained Melody

This was Elvis’s last performance ever and you can hear that he sang this song impromptu like it was his last moment. He played the piano and admitted he didn’t know all of the chords, yet he played it flawlessly. His health was so poor, Rolling Stone added, “He had an enlarged heart, an enlarged intestine, hypertension and incredibly painful bowel problems. He was barely sleeping and should have probably been in the hospital…” Elvis Presley died 2 months later after this performance on August 16, 1977.

The saddest and most beautiful last performance by The King 2 months before he passed.

Stay tuned for next week’s comprehensive post on Sun Studio, best BBQ and Eats in Memphis, where to stay, Beale Street and more!

If you liked this post please Subscribe and Follow, “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” was our wedding song!

Big fans of Elvis Presley

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