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We all know how much fun there is to be had on a Disney vacation, but did you know you could make that vacation even more spectacular by booking a VIP tour? (read more)
Now, I'm not talking about the VIP Tours you can book that are specific to a park, like Ultimate Day of Thrills (which covers Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios), or Ultimate Nights of Adventure (which covers Pandora and all the good rides at Animal Kingdom).
I have done those tours, and they're awesome, so read those posts later on.
For this post, I'm talking specifically about a tour that involves only you, up to nine more of your closest friends and family, and a Disney VIP Tour Guide who will cater to your every whim and act as your living, breathing, human Fast Pass all.day.long.
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HOW DOES IT WORK?
Disney VIP Tours can only be made over the phone. It's not something you can book online. If you have a Disney Travel Agent, they will be able to book it for you, no problem.
If you don't have an agent you can give Disney a call yourself and set it up.
There is a minimum of seven hours required per tour, but it can be any seven hours you want. So if you want to tour from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., you can. Or, if you wanted to see a park at night, you could easily go from "x" time all the way to closing.
With a VIP Tour, the world is your oyster.
Once you've chosen your touring hours, all you have to do is meet up with your tour guide in front of your hotel (he or she will send a text when they arrive) and enjoy the experience!
There's our tour guide, Carlos. He was AMAZING!!
Side note - If I weren't paying for a tour, I would definitely come prepared with a Touring Plan. Put in your rides, your meals, your breaks, even your walking speed, and it'll tell you the fastest way to get things done. You'll be the person riding rides, while everyone else is waiting in long lines.
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If you can't tell, Carlos knows all the Disney tricks, including where all of the cameras are, and how to get a billion points on Space Ranger Spin. Lucky us, he was willing to share the love.
It's a shame I never seemed to remember where he said to look.
There's my oldest looking terrified, me thinking I'm about to ham it up for a camera, and Carlos actually hamming it up for the camera.
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WHAT DO YOU DO ON YOUR TOUR?
Anything you want!
Carlos met us at Animal Kingdom Lodge at 10 a.m. We had tried to ride Expedition Everest the day before, but a huge rain storm (that didn't stop for hours) kept us from riding, so the first thing we asked him to do was take us there so we could get that out of the way.
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My youngest refused to ride a second time, but my oldest wanted to, so Carlos hooked us up. He even offered to stay with the youngest so my husband could ride as well, but Mike decided to stay back and hang with number two son.
Jack and I rode again. I loved it! He...well, he rode it, there's that.
Of course Carlos rode it with us because it's an awesome ride. The child beside him looks terrified, but it's because there's a Yeti, not because Carlos was scary.
Once Expedition Everest was out of the way, Carlos whisked us off through a back entrance near Dinosaur, and into our waiting vehicle (which was a very nice Chevrolet Tahoe). As luck would have it, we got to see Pandora before everyone else because we passed by all of the giant floating islands as they were being erected.
It was super cool!
We wanted to spend most of the day at Magic Kingdom just because that place is so big, and it's near impossible to do it all in one day, especially with two kids who aren't used to walking so much.
We entered Magic Kingdom through the back entrance near Space Mountain (I think) and hit up every ride we could think of. I believe Carlos just took us around the park and Fast Passed us through everything we said we'd like to ride.
You already saw our pictures from Space Mountain and Space Ranger Spin, but we did so much more!
Mine Train! See Carlos?
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We loved this ride, so we rode it again, and so did Carlos. :)
He did not ride Splash Mountain with us, but I think he rode everything else.
Any time we wanted to ride twice (we could have ridden as many times as we liked, but I stopped the kids at two) he just walked us through again.
The whole time we were with him he regaled us with behind the scenes stories about the park, hidden Mickeys, and even showed my oldest a picture of the time he did a private tour with DanTDM and his family.
I mean, DanTDM! My 8 year old was beside himself.
Basically, Carlos was a walking, talking Disney encyclopedia.
At lunch we stopped into Liberty Tree Tavern, which he recommended, and had a fantastic lunch. Lunch is not included in this tour, so you will have to purchase your own, but your tour guide has a little card he swipes for his, so you don't have to buy him lunch, though we would have!
After lunch we hit the rest of the park and got to back track to anything we loved and wanted to ride again.
At one point my oldest (who was then 8 years old) had a meltdown because he wanted to ride Aladdin's Carpets again and the rest of us wanted to move on. Carlos was so professional. It was an awkward situation to deal with, but Carlos simply stepped away while my husband and I handled it. I was so grateful for that, you have no idea!
Once we'd toured the whole park, we had a 5:00 p.m. reservation at Be Our Guest, but our kids were so exhausted by that point that we asked Carlos if he could cancel it, which he did, no problem.
We walked back to the super secret entrance, into the car, and Carlos whisked us back to our hotel, just like our Fairy Godmother.
It really was a perfect day!
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WHAT DOES IT COST?
The pricing has changed since we went almost four years ago, and it might change again, so be sure to check the site before you book. I'm positive Disney will tell you all you need to know prior to signing on the dotted line.
As I said, you book for a minimum of seven hours. Depending on the time of year, the price is currently anywhere from $425 to $625 per hour.
This does not include snacks or meals, and if you want to tip your guide, that is also not included. If you haven't decided whether or not to get the Disney Dining Plan, I've written a post about our experience. I hope it helps you out.
You will need park admission for everyone in the group, and park hoppers if you plan on going to more than one park during the day.
You can have a maximum of ten people in the group. So if you had a group of ten for seven hours, it would break down to about $300 per person in the off season, more during peak season.
Your tour guide will set up VIP viewing as well as Fast Passing you on to rides, so if there's a show you want to see, be sure to let your guide know.
If you can't make the tour, you have to cancel at least two days in advance or you'll pay a cancellation fee equal to two hours of the tour's time. That would be a minimum of $850 if you forget to cancel.
Really though, you won't want to cancel, it's awesome!
This would be perfect for a large family or a large group of friends, and works out to less money than you'd pay for The Ultimate Day Of Thrills.
If you're strapped on time and have the money for this splurge, I highly recommend it! All the rides, none of the waits, it really is the perfect day.
Not sure what to pack for your next Disney trip? I've put a list together on Amazon, feel free to check it out.
Wishing I were riding Space Mountain,
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