Everyone's welcome at Disney, but not everyone gets to skip the lines. If you want to do that, and do away with all the other minor niggles a trip to Disney World sometimes comes with, there's a way. It's not a cheap way and it's not for everyone, but for hardcore Disney fans who don't mind spending extra to make their trip to the "happiest place on earth" an even more joyous occasion, a VIP tour is definitely worth considering. But what exactly is it? And is it worth the staggering cost? Here's what you need to know about how Disney VIP tours work, and what you can expect if you book one.
What Is a Disney VIP tour?
As we3travel.com writes, in a Disney private VIP tour, you'll be allocated a personal guide who will work with you to draw up a custom touring plan. Once they've helped you plan out your day, they'll drive you around the resort from park to park, acting as your guide, concierge, and personal FastPass access ticket all rolled into one. Oh, and they're a cast member as well, so they'll have the inside scoop on exactly how the resort works and how to maximize your time there to the nth. According to thepointsguy.com, they've also got a magical ability to make bottles of water, rain ponchos and Mickey bars seemingly appear out of thin air... so, very much the kind of people you want on your side during a trip to Disney, then. The main selling point of the tour (other than the fact it lets you skip all those annoying lines) is that it's completely personalized, letting you focus on the parks and rides you most want to experience.
So, for example, if you're into adrenaline rushes, your guide will plot out an itinerary bristling with thrills. If you've got a thing for a certain Disney character, your tour will focus on meet and greets and experiences that feature that particular character. Each tour has a commitment of seven hours and can accommodate up to 10 guests per guide for the same hourly rate. If you're traveling with a bigger party, you can still take advantage of a VIP tour, but you'll need to pay for the privilege of extra guides. If you're happy to share the experience with people outside your immediate circle of friends or family, there's also the option to book a group VIP tour with a pre-set itinerary. The group tours are considerably cheaper than the private option but are only available at specific times during the week.
What's it Like To Go On a Disney VIP Tour?
So, what exactly can you expect of a personal Disney VIP Tour? Quite a lot, as it turns out... as guide4wdw.com explains, your day starts when your guide picks you at your hotel in something big, luxurious, and four-wheeled (the exact type of vehicle will depend on the size of your party). Once you're safely inside, they'll whisk you away to the first ride or attraction on your wish list. As the tour price includes access to exclusive VIP tour parking areas, you'll find moving from one location to another much easier and much less time-consuming than it would be otherwise. The tour isn't just about skipping lines and getting around the park faster though, It's an all-encompassing experience that will let you get an exclusive, 'behind the scenes' insight into the operation of the resort thanks to your accompanying cast member, who's really the main draw here.
Is a Disney VIP Tour Worth It?
No lines, no waiting, a personal service... sounds great, right? And it is. But it comes with a catch... or more specifically, a stonking big price tag. If you want the VIP treatment, you can expect to pay anything between $425 to $750 per hour, depending on the season. And that's just for the price of the tour - the price of admission is extra. Even at the lower end of the price scale, that means that a seven-hour tour for 10 people will set you back a mammoth $2975. In peak season, you'll be looking at $7500. Whichever way you play around with the numbers, it's expensive. But is it worth it? If you're going to have to raid the kids' college fund or spend the next decade surviving on bread and water to pay for it, probably not. But if you've got the cash to play with, it's definitely worth it when...
You're Short On Time
If you've only got a limited amount of time to spend in Disney and don't have the time to waste standing in line, a VIP tour makes a sound option. It'll cut back on the amount of time you spend between rides, and, thanks to the inside knowledge of your guide, ensure that the rides and parks you focus on are the kinds you'll enjoy the most.
You Hate Queuing
Queuing might be an inevitable part of life, but isn't Disney all about suspending reality and indulging in a bit of magic? If the thought of spending half your hard-earned vacation standing in line leaves you less than thrilled, the VIP tour could be your answer. It won't let you skip the lines completely, but it will let you slash the waiting time by giving you access to the Fast Pass line.
You Want to See Behind the Scenes
Ever wondered how cast members and characters seem to appear almost out of thin air? The secret is a hidden labyrinth of tunnels and entrances that, as a VIP guest, you'll get to use to get to the exact attraction you need to go to without any hanging around.
You Want to Be Spoiled
The Disney VIP tour isn't VIP in name only. You really will be treated like a very important person. If you lose something, your guide will make sure it's found. If you get thirsty, they'll magic a bottle of water out of their bag. If it starts raining, they'll be there with an umbrella and a raincoat. Obviously, you'll be paying through the nose for the privilege, but aren't vacations all about indulgence anyway?
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith