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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
When you enter, you’ll see the staircase, formal living room and formal dining room.
Elvis was a natural blonde and first dyed his hair black with shoe polish!
There’s one bedroom on the main floor which Elvis gave to his parents. No one is allowed upstairs where Lisa Marie occasionally resides.
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.
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.
In the back side of the house is where he and his family RIP, next to the meditation garden and pool.
Elvis had a racquetball court and horse stable on property.
His den had shag all up and down the ceilings and walls, totally rock star lifestyle!
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.
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.
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’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.
Elvis’s first car was used, but it was the most beautiful car he ever did see.
Not only did he love his cars but also his motor bikes.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.