By Jim Fox
Elvis may have left the building but interest in his life and times is a hot commodity in these days of virtual touring.
In fact, so successful and popular were the first-of-their-kind and sold-out virtual tours of Graceland, Elvis’ mansion and property in Memphis, Tennessee, that more opportunities are being offered.
After the first virtual tours, Graceland announced new dates for the initial tour and added three more options.
A youg Elvis outside his mansion, Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo: Elvis Presley Enterprises)
Each one of the guided tours lasts two hours and offers a behind-the-ropes look at various parts of the Graceland campus such as the Mansion, the Lisa Marie jet, Elvis Presley’s Memphis Entertainment and Exhibit Complex, and the top-secret Archives facility, where Elvis' personal items not on display to the public are stored.
“The response to the Graceland Virtual Live Tours exceeded our expectations,” said Debbie Miller, Chief Marketing Officer at Elvis Presley Enterprises.
“We had participants from 22 countries – many of whom received the tour as a gift from a friend or family member – and received rave reviews. We are happy to expand the Virtual Tour options to reach Elvis fans around the globe based on their feedback,” she added.
They are hosted by one of the world’s foremost experts on all-things Elvis Presley, Vice President of Graceland Archives and Exhibits Angie Marchese.
She is providing the virtual live tours giving guests a behind-the-scenes VIP experience with unique highlights and an in-depth look into Elvis’ life.
The artifacts spotlighted and stories told will vary from tour to tour, making each experience unique, and viewers will have the opportunity to ask Angie questions throughout the event.
The tours are presented live through a private, closed Facebook group and are archived for one week after the live event so guests can watch it again as many times as they would like.
The week-long window will accommodate guests in all time zones to enjoy the tour at their convenience.
Here’s a rundown on the four different tours offered along with added dates:
THE ARCHIVES VAULT Available April 12
This unique and intimate tour takes guests inside Graceland's Archives Building, the top-secret facility where Elvis' personal items not on display are stored. An extremely limited number of Graceland staff members are even allowed access into this facility.
The tour allows guests to see first-hand some of the thousands of artifacts that can only be seen through this virtual experience. During this unscripted tour Angie will provide stories and insights that cannot be heard or seen anywhere else.
Do you want to see what no other Graceland visitors can see? Join host Angie Marchese inside Graceland's top-secret facility where Elvis’ personal items are stored. Only about 10% of our collection is on display to visitors, and we're excited to open up the vault for our guests to see first-hand some of the thousands of artifacts that can only be seen through this virtual tour experience.
ELVIS' LIFE AND CAREER April 19
Curated to follow Elvis’ life journey, Angie guides an in-depth tour of the state-of-the-art Elvis Presley's Memphis Entertainment and Exhibit Complex, the most comprehensive Elvis museum in the world. This tour focuses on the things that Elvis loved and the history of events that inspired him.
It includes one-of-a-kind stories about artifacts currently on display from the extensive Graceland Archives, including Elvis' favorite cars and motorcycles, wardrobe and set pieces from his iconic '68 Special and Aloha From Hawaii concerts, his collection of gold and platinum records, his jumpsuits worn on tour, and memorabilia from his movies.
Guests will also get a unique insight into how Elvis has been a music pioneer that paved the way for many of today's celebrities, through Elvis-inspired items from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Dolly Parton, and others.
THE GRACELAND EXPERIENCE May 8
Our original virtual tour, this is recommended for first-time guests. Angie will conduct a behind-the-ropes look at the Mansion, a tour of the Lisa Marie jet and a walk through Elvis Presley’s Memphis entertainment and exhibit complex. During the live two-hour guided tour guests will see various artifacts, including Elvis’ cars, jumpsuits, gold records and movie memorabilia.
THE MANSION May 24
This tour goes behind-the-ropes with Angie on a deep dive into Graceland Mansion and grounds and explores the personal side of Elvis Presley through unique highlights of the world-famous home, and one-of-a-kind stories that give guests a closer look into Elvis’ life. This in-depth tour of Graceland Mansion begins at Graceland's front door and continues to Vernon Presley’s office, where his father managed the star's personal business and oversaw the management and staffing on the grounds of Graceland.
Next is a visit inside Elvis’ trophy building, which has been newly updated to tell the personal story of Elvis and his family. The tour continues to Elvis' recently restored racquetball building where guests will see Elvis' racquetball court and the luxurious lobby area complete with his pinball machine and piano. The tour will conclude at the Meditation Garden, where Elvis and members of his family have been laid to rest.
Tickets are $98.50 US a person at Graceland.com or by calling 800-238-2000 or 901-332-3322 for international callers.
“We are thrilled to now offer Graceland Virtual Live Tours to Elvis fans around the world,” said Debbie Miller, CMO, Elvis Presley Enterprises.
“In a typical year, Graceland hosts visitors from over 125 countries and from all 50 states. And, although Graceland remains open for limited capacity in-person tours, now, more than ever, people are looking for quality entertainment experiences they can enjoy from the comfort of their own home.
“For those who have always wanted to visit Graceland but never had the chance, to those who’ve been here many times and are looking for a bespoke Graceland experience, this tour is for them,” she said.
For more information on EPE and Graceland, visit www.graceland.com
To see my earlier syndicated newspaper/web feature on the tours:
About Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.
Elvis Presley’s Graceland, in Memphis, is music’s most important and beloved landmark, with hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world visiting the historic home each year. Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. (EPE) manages the operations of Graceland and its related properties, including Elvis Presley's Memphis, Graceland's entertainment and exhibition complex over 200,000 square feet in size; the new 80,000 square feet Graceland Exhibition Center featuring rotating exhibits; the AAA Four Diamond Guest House at Graceland 450-room resort hotel; and the Graceland Archives, featuring thousands of artifacts from Elvis’ home and career. EPE also produces and licenses Elvis-themed live events, tours, and attractions worldwide. Graceland Holdings LLC, led by managing partner Joel Weinshanker, is the majority owner of EPE. Graceland is the only attraction worldwide to ever receive eight USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards including “Best Holiday Historic Home Tour,” “Best Tennessee Attraction and Iconic Landmark,” “Best Musical Attraction,” “Best Historic Southern Attraction,” and the #1 “Iconic American Attraction.” The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards named Graceland the most popular attraction in Tennessee and one of the top 25 landmarks in the world and Rolling Stone named it one of 10 Great American Music Landmarks.