My husband and I both enjoyed our tour of the Moody Mansion. A few suggestions:
1) yes, you must pay for the tour. You cannot go in the house on your own, nor can you take photos.
2) if you plan to attend an afternoon tour on a busy day, stop by in the morning to buy tickets. When we arrived after lunch on Saturday, we were told that the tours were sold out for the rest of the day. We went back Sunday and were very glad we did.
3) ask for Claire! It takes a special docent to keep her guests genuinely interested, and Claire has a gift for it. Her extra stories made our day.
My sole disappointment was that we could only see two of the four floors of the house. These areas are off-limits due to hurricane damage and fire codes. This is unavoidable, of course, but I would have loved to be able to see the servants' area on the ground floor and the children's playroom on the top floor.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.