Day 6 of Miami to Alaska Family Road Trip: Elvis Presley’s Graceland Mansion

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Family Plankiando with Elvis: You ain't never seen this before at Graceland!

I recall I was watching TV with my late grandparents Manolo and Margarita on that fateful August day in 1977 when a network news anchor interrupted regular programming to declare that Elvis was dead at 42. Elvis’ passing was the first celebrity death I remember and it stunned my Cuban grandparents in particular because he was so young when he died.

Access to the second floor, which is where Elvis collapsed, is prohibited.


I don’t know exactly what it was that made Elvis one of my early childhood heroes but it was related to my grandparents admiring him, watching his movies with them on TV, listening to his music and, well, the fact that girls seemed to like him so much.  Even though I was a young boy I thought it was cool to that girls loved him so much.

As a grew up my fascination with him continued.  I read his ex-wife Priscilla Presley’s memoirs “Elvis & Me”, bought most of his music and even learned to imitate three of his songs: “I’m Counting on You,” “Love Me Tender” and “Fools Rush In”.

Graceland Highlights

Given how much I love Elvis  (yes, I even like some of his infamous B-movies) I thought it was only appropriate that I introduce my new PapiBlogger.TV segments with a show from Graceland.  My first shot at creating a Web TV segment features a very informative interview with Graceland’s Kevin Kearns.

When You Visit Graceland

If you’re planning to visit Graceland there are a couple of things you should know to make the most out of your visit:

– Even though Elvis’ home was large for its day, Graceland is tiny by today’s celebrity home standards so don’t expect to see an MTV-style “Crib”.  Graceland, originally built in 1939, is 17,000 square feet and sits on a property that is “just” 14 acres.  Elvis lived in Graceland from 1957, when he purchased it at the age of 22, until his death 30 years later.

The famous Jungle Room.

- The graves of Elvis, his mother, father, twin brother (who died at birth), and grandmother are located on the grounds of Graceland and can be visited as part of the basic Graceland visitor ticket.

– Graceland is the second most famous house in America with only the White House seeing more annual visitors.

– Dress comfortably as if you’re visiting a mini theme park.  Graceland gets more than 600,000 visitors a year and if you’re going there in the summer that is peak season.  It’s also heat season at Memphis (we got hit with 100F when we went) so go with shorts, short sleeves and don’t forget the sunscreen and patience.

– There are several ticket options depending on your level of interest on Elvis.  The best all access ticket gets you into Graceland, Elvis’ car collection and his plane exhibit.  If you get the all access pass, you should budget about four to five hours for your visit.  If you’re just visiting the mansion you will need to budget from two to three hours, including the waiting time you may encounter for the jitney bus that shuttles you from the visitors’ center to the property.

In addition to this plane, Elvis owned a charter jet not pictured here.

Elvis private jet bed included a seat belt per FAA regulations.

The Lisa Marie also featured a conference room.

– Bring your camera but leave the video.  Cameras are welcomed but you can’t shoot photos with flash and you can’t bring any video camera.

Disney Vacation Tip of the Day

Never underestimate the importance of being fully hydrated when visiting any parklands or even theme parks.  You should have one water bottle per person handy anywhere you go that involves walking and this advice is not just for the obvious large hikes, runs or climbs.

Where in the world is Papi?

July 10

193 miles from Winfield, Alabama to Memphis, Tennessee

States Traveled so far: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee


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