Graceland Mansion graceland airplaneWe recently went to Memphis and toured Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. We were there about 15 years ago and wanted to see the changes that were made. Well, not many changes have been made. It is like Niagara Falls and other U.S. Monuments, it just stays more or less the same. Graceland is the second most visited home in the country as only the White House draws more visitors. The main difference is that the White House tour is free and Graceland cost money. More than 600,000 people visit Graceland every year! When you first arrive in the area, you have to find a place to park which can be a bit tricky and expensive. Park a few blocks away on the street and park free otherwise parking lots charge $10 and up. Graceland dining roomThere is a main lobby building where you purchase your tickets or redeem them and then you go to a ‘waiting area’ where they take your photo (of course and then try to sell them to you afterwards. A shuttle bus then takes you directly across the street to Graceland and drops you off and then you are on your own and can go thru the mansion at your own speed. Most of the interior looks like early Kmart but that is the way he lived so deal with it. At least Liberace did it with class! graceland living roomThe upstairs of the mansion is off limits so you cannot see the bedroom where he died. Everything about Graceland is devoted to ‘early Elvis’. There are no photos of him in his later years when he got much heavier. After you finish viewing all you want to in the Mansion then you walk out the back door to the building in the back which houses the many gold records and hundreds of photos and souvenirs from his past. graceland graveWhen you have toured that then you follow the path to the side of the mansion where his grave is. He is buried next to his Mother and Father and his brother who died in childhood. There are always tons of flowers there from fans all over the world. Be ready to see people crying and sobbing and throwing themselves on the ground! Luckily it is fenced or else am sure that some of his fans would trample the grave. Then a shuttle bus comes along and takes you back across the street and drops you off right in front of the gift shop. Needless to say you can buy almost anything you want concerning Elvis…… refrigerator magnets, socks, shirts, caps, dolls, cards and about anything you can think of. While you are in Memphis, be sure and check out Beale Street in downtown where they have some of the greatest music bars around. There are four different tours and prices for Graceland. The Graceland Elvis VIP Tour plus the Airplanes tour runs $80.00 per person. The regular VIP Tour runs $75.00 per person. The Platinum plus airplanes tour runs $47.00. The regular Platinum tour runs $42.50 or just the Mansion Tour runs $38.50. There is a 10% discount for senior citizens. The different tours allows you to just tour the Mansion itself or to view his autos and his two airplanes which you actually get to walk thru. Before you go, be sure and check out their website, You can purchase tickets online so you do not have to stand IN LINE to get your tickets. Graceland is one of those places where you really should go to once just to say you have been there. We highly suggest that you do NOT visit Graceland during Elvis’s ‘Birth Week’ or ‘Death Week’ since his hard shell fans go back year after year for those weeks. Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at

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