Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Texas Trip Day 8 - Graceland

We spent the night in Memphis in Germantown and we were up bright and early, we wanted to be dressed, packed and at Graceland by 10:00 sharp when they opened.  We ended up driving through the parking lot gates at 10:00 am!  It is $10 to park and just a small walk over to the 'queue' building where they have you buy your tickets and line up to get on a bus that will take you across the street to Graceland.
 The kids were so excited.  They had fallen in love with Elvis's music, listening to it in the car.
 Once the bus drops you off at the front of Graceland, they have you stand across the driveway to wait for the bus load before you to clear the front door.  It was a very efficient system.
 They give everyone one of these headsets with a small, pre programed MP3 player type thing.  It's really wonderful, because you go at your own pace (or as much as you can go at your own pace with 3000 other people in there with you :-) and everyone can hear.  No need for us to push our kids to the front so they could hear the tour guide.  Awesome!
Eventually, they let you go across the driveway and into the home:
 It's a little crowded inside at first, with the first push of your bus full of people, plus the stragglers still in the room from the bus before you.
 But soon enough it clears out and you're able to see all the cool things they have preserved for the tours:

 Supposedly, everything looks just as it did when Elvis died.  We were told that Elvis's daughter owns Graceland and that his ex-wife runs everything.
 One thing I thought was so sweet - they don't allow anyone upstairs in the house.  They said that was Elvis's private space, that he always greeted guests downstairs, and they want it to remain private.  In this day and age of 'hang it all out there' I thought that was pretty touching!

 I knew that the home would be small compared to the houses of today's Rock Stars, but it was cool to see what was considered 'grand and outlandish' in the 1970's.

 I thought this was sweet.  His daughter's playground:

 I really enjoyed hearing about how giving and charitable Elvis was.  He evidently had a huge heart and never forgot his humble beginnings.

The pool area was beautiful:

There were tons of floral arrangements and tokens of 'love' that had been sent from around the world in honor of Elvis on display.  There was a sign at the end of the tour that said that they receive things like this daily and they try to display them all until the flowers fade or wilt or the items are damaged by weather and time.  Amazing!

I guess when Elvis died, they originally buried him in a public cemetery, but someone tried to exhume his body (can you imagine???) so they received special permission to rebury him at Graceland.

After the house tour, a bus took us back across the street and we toured the car museum:

There is a nice place to eat at the Graceland pavilion:
 And tons of shops!

We also toured a little exhibit that featured outfits and quotes from other famous rock stars on how Elvis had influenced them.  This was an outfit worn by Bono:

Then we toured the planes:

And then we were off!  It was time to head back home.
We had a wonderful trip to Texas and back, but we were glad to hit that Alabama state line!  Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!