Elvis Presley was definitely one of the most iconic entertainer of the 20th century. Even in Asia, when you mention “猫王” (literal translation – Cat King: Derived from the nick name “The Hillbilly Cat” and “King of Rock n Roll“), throngs of fans will be able to connect readily with his iconic hairstyle (known to our mums as “curry pok”) and of course those hips that don’t lie. Also, notice that we used “mums” instead of “dads”…
Thanks to the great folks at Graceland / Elvis Presley Enterprises and Memphis Travel, (big shout out to Libby, Jeff & Caroline), we were given an opportunity to visit the home of Elvis Presley – Graceland!
Why you should visit Graceland in Memphis
Graceland is probably the top attraction in Memphis and to fans of Elvis, a “must-visit” destination. Here at Graceland, you’ll be able to visit the actual home (Graceland Mansion) of Elvis Presley, the Meditation Garden (final resting grounds of Elvis and family), his collection of automobiles as well as many other memorabilia and exhibits.
But why was Graceland called “Graceland”? Turns out that Graceland was part of a 500 acre farm owned by the S.E Toof family and was simply named after one of the family’s relative knowned as Grace. The current mansion was built by Ruth Brown Moore (Grace’s niece) and her husband, Dr. Thomas Moore in 1939 and was bought by Elvis in 1957 at the young age of 22. He kept the name Graceland. Within Graceland, there was a spot that Elvis particularly loved, the Meditation Garden…
It was here that Elvis would spend his time to enjoy the peace and tranquility that the garden offers. It is also the reason why the Meditation Garden was chosen as the final resting grounds for Elvis and his family…
One of the cool thing that Graceland has done was to keep Meditation Garden free for visitors to visit daily between the times of 0730 to 0830. Fans from all over the world can still pay their respects to the King of Rock n Roll with a walk up to Meditation Garden. Do note that to enjoy the free walk up to Meditation Garden at Graceland, visitors must enter the gates by 0830 and leave before the start of the tours for the day.
At the site, you’ll also be able to see the graves of Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon, his grandmother Minnie Mae as well as his still-born twin brother Jesse Garon Presley.
It was a surreal feeling to be there and think about the impact that his music made and continues to make today.
Why you should visit the Elvis Presley Museum in Memphis
During our visit to Graceland, we got to see the interiors of the mansion where Elvis lived. The tour included an interactive ipad that allows you to view the premise at your own pace…
The tour included access to the living room, dining room, kitchen, Jungle room as well as the basement. What was really cool was how the mansion evolved with Elvis’ decoration. Our favourite room was definitely the pool room! Can you imagine using fabric to line the entire room? Even the ceiling?! How cool is that? As for the Jungle room, you’ll have to visit to find out why it’s called that…
Elvis entertained all guests on the first floor or basement. This meant that he made sure he had his privacy on the 2nd level of the mansion. Today, that privacy is also respected. Hence, the tour does not include the upper levels of the mansion.
As part of the entire Elvis experience, you’ll be able to see his collection of automobiles as well as custom jets. The special one? The Lisa Marie jet, named after his daughter. Bought at a staggering $250,000 in 1975 (not including the customization costs), the Lisa Marie took Elvis and his team to his performances world wide. Inside, we learnt that Elvis didn’t care much for alcohol, in fact, his favourite drinks were sodas such as Pepsi and Shasta Black Cherry.
In and around Graceland, you’ll also see the logo of TCB with a flash of lightning which was Elvis’ motto of “Taking Care of Business in a Flash”.
What to eat at Graceland and Elvis Presley Museum
A must visit restaurant at Graceland has got to be the Rockabilly’s Burger Shop. The restaurant is decorated in the style of the 1950s diner and furnished with Kate’s favourite tiffany blue colour. Plus, they serve a mean burger sandwich as well as Elvis’ favourite peanut butter and banana sandwich.
With the opening of the Elvis Presley Museum after 2nd of March 2017, you’ll be able to enjoy great steak and have a taste of Memphis’ signature BBQ at Vernon’s Smokehouse Restaurant.
Why you should visit the Elvis Presley Museum
With the grand opening of the Elvis Presley Museum (EPM) on 2nd March 2017, fans will be able to enjoy see and celebrate Elvis’ achievements with the brand new Presley Motors Automobile Museum, Elvis: The Entertainer Career Showcase Museum and Elvis Discovery Exhibits.
Fast Facts about the new Elvis Presley Museum
– Elvis Presley’s Memphis will open March 2nd, 2017 at Graceland.
– The 200,000 square foot expansion will feature a new Elvis Presley career muse-um, automobile museum, performance soundstage, restaurants and retail.
– The state-of-the-art facility will be five times the size of the current visitor center, and will present the life, career and legacy of the greatest entertainer like never before.
– The cornerstone of this new complex will be “Elvis: The Entertainer,” a 20,000-square-foot museum celebrating Elvis’ incredible music, movie and live touring ca-reer, featuring hundreds of artifacts from the extensive Graceland Archives.
– Permanent exhibition on Sun Records’ legendary founder Sam Phillips and his mu-sic legacy to be featured in new facility as Graceland partners with Phillips Family to showcase family archives.
– The $45 million visitor and entertainment complex is Phase II of the planned Graceland expansion.
– Combined with the $92 million Phase I project, The Guest House at Graceland re-sort hotel opening October 27, 2016, Elvis Presley Enterprises is investing a total of $137 million in the Whitehaven community to further enhance the Memphis and Graceland visitor experience.
If you’re a fan of Elvis Presley, Graceland and the Elvis Presley Museum (EPM) are definitely the “mecca” of everything Elvis. Even for us, although we were born after his time (nope, we’re not that old), we continue to hear his music and see his influence on our travels. Great to have known the life of the King of Rock n Roll and happy to learn of his positive attitude (many attempts that he made at Sun Studio to let his music be heard) and positive influence (love the Lord, love your family, love for music) he has on the next generation.
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If you’re visiting Graceland, do check out the Guest House at Graceland which has earned the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond Rating.
So glad to have finally visited Graceland in Memphis. With the opening of the new Elvis Presley Museum, Graceland, now more than ever, will be a “must-visit” destination in Memphis!