There are so many ways to experience Walt Disney World. I have heard it said that you could stay for an entire year, and still not see and do it all! As Vacation Specialists, we are constantly looking for ways that our clients can make the most out of their precious vacation time. At our last agency meeting, we decided to test out the VIP Tour and see what we thought.
VIP Tours are booked in advance either through your Vacation Specialist, or by calling the Tour line at Walt Disney World. It cannot be booked online. Rates vary by season, but we paid $400 per hour for the 7 hour minimum. The price has risen to $425 per hour. The tour accommodates up to 10 people. We booked for 10 people and split the cost which made it affordable (relatively speaking) for our group. The timer for the tour starts the minute you meet your guide. They will pick you up at your resort, or rental house off site etc. or meet you in the park. Valid park admission is required for the tour.
One of our agents, Amy Flanagan, took the lead on this and made all the arrangements with Disney. She polled us to find out our priorities first. We decided to try to go to all four parks. The guides estimated we could do about 10 attractions plus have lunch during our tour. We chose to meet our guide in EPCOT, since that park had morning Extra Magic Hours on our tour day.
We begin: EPCOT!
We met up with our guide, Aaron outside Guest Relations in EPCOT at about 8:30 a.m. Our goal was to ride Frozen Ever After, Test Track, Soarin' and go to the Character Spot for some photos. By using the Fast Pass queues and using backstage areas Aaron got us through all of these experiences in record time!
Next up! Hollywood Studios.
Aaron took us backstage to some waiting vans to drive us to Hollywood Studios. We were greeted by some other Guides who had cold water bottles and snacks for us! It was so refreshing!! At Hollywood, we decided to ride Rock n Roller Coaster, Toy Story Midway Mania and Tower of Terror. Again, by using the Fast Pass queues, Aaron got those all done really fast. It was just after noon! Back to the vans!!
On to Animal Kingdom
We knew we wanted to eat at the new Satu'li Canteen for lunch because the food there is amazing! By taking advantage of mobile ordering on My Disney Experience, we cut down on waiting and got our food quickly. Next up, Flight of Passage and Na'Vi River Journey. We were so fortunate to use the Fast Pass queues for these rides because the stand by times can exceed 200 minutes (3 hours) on any given day.
Magic Kingdom: We Made It!
By now, we were approaching the end of our reserved tour time. Aaron was determined to get us over to Magic Kingdom. To the vans!! Once again, we parked backstage (behind Tony's Town Square) and were handed water bottles and snacks. It was getting really hot, so we were very happy to have the water. Aaron walked us to the castle for some photos and then back to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which would be our only Magic Kingdom ride on the tour. We used the Fast Pass queue and rode. It was after 3:00 and our tour was coming to an end. Our party split up at that point. Some stayed in Magic Kingdom, others were driven by VIP guides back to their resorts.
All in all, we agreed the VIP Tour was a wonderful way to spend the day. Aaron was fun to be with, warm and engaging. We experienced the very best of Disney service that day and were sad for it to be over. This tour would be wonderful for any family with limited time. They can take you to all four parks, like we did. Or they can help you accomplish most of Magic Kingdom, if you focus just on that.
TIP: If you have a large group, like we did, I highly recommend wearing matching shirts. Having them made it much easier to find our group members and keep us all together.
Here are some observations by our Travel Agents who took the tour:
"I had VERY high hopes for this tour and I was so happy the actual tour surpassed anything I could have hoped for! The cost was intimidating but splitting the tour between 10 of us made it very affordable. In 7 hours we were able to not only ride so many of Disney’s best attractions in all 4 parks but we had lunch in their newest quick service location in Animal Kingdom park! While that was more than enough, we had the added bonus of benefiting from the knowledge that our tour guide, Aaron, had about The Disney Parks and that he shared with us. Added to all of that, getting to be backstage, even just in parking areas and the back entrances of the parks, was so much fun for a Disney geek like me.
Our VIP tour day really was, by far, one of my most magical Disney parks days ever!! I’m so grateful we were able to experience it together."
Chrissie Lograno-Weinstein, Senior Vacation Specialist
"The VIP Tour was amazing and worth every penny. Aaron our tour guide was so friendly, knowledgeable, and very accommodating. It was cool to be back stage and see a few “hidden” things. It was awesome to be able to get so many attractions in. We also got photopass pictures. It was so much fun to accomplish 4 Parks in one day. It was definitely the Best Day Ever!!! The best part was experiencing it with friends! I highly recommend it!!"
Robin Wright, Vacation Specialist