I am always looking for ways to make experiences even more magical. I knew how magical a Disney trip could be once I learned about the Disney Private VIP Tours. These tours are worth the money for me, but for some won't be. It is VERY expensive. On top of having a park hopper ticket ($250/ticket for 2023), you will pay for a minimum of 7 hours to have a private guide escort you through the parks. The hourly rate is typically between $560-$900/hour. We chose to do our tour on a Saturday in January so our tour came to a total of $800/hour or $5600 for the 7 hour tour. You are allowed to have up to 10 people in your group so if you all split it and need a park ticket, you are looking at spending $810/person. Like I said, for most that is extremely expensive...keep reading only if intrigued.
Personal Opinion: If you are going to Disney with your family for a week, and want the full experience:
Get 4 single park days and 1 park hopper day
On the park hopper day, do the VIP tour (if you want to go big)
Stay on property: you can find rooms for $250/night that sleeps 4 OR get an airbnb within a 15 minute drive of the parks...you can do uber this way or if you rent a car just realize that it costs $25/day unless you are a pass holder...then parking is free.
Bring your own food: pack lunches and bring a water bottle OR just ask for cups of water at any location that sells fountain drinks....they will give you an iced cold small cup of water for free.
I want to break down the pros and cons for doing this kind of tour, show the itinerary we did with a 1 year old, and an itinerary that I would do without kids. If you are interested in a personalized Disney itinerary for your trip, please get in touch with me through my contact page. I would be happy to make your Disney experience even more magical than it is. (I am not a Disney tour guide though, and I would still recommend working with a Disney Travel Agent before getting an itinerary from me.)
You get to skip all security/checkpoints when you are on your tour so no hassle with getting into the parks.
If you are not a celebrity and would cause a scene in public, you will be escorted through the lightning lane of any ride of your choosing. Some rides you get to enter through secret entrances like Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror.
Unlimited water and soda choices. We were greeted at Magic Kingdom with a snack tray with chips, bars, and other various items to choose from. (may vary per guide)
You can bring food and drinks on the shuttle. (We had our guide stop at our car to pick up a cooler of food and drinks we had packed for lunch and dinner. (saves you time and $)
You have your own private van/car that will take you in between each park. Locations where we came in and went out of by park: Animal Kingdom-Pandora near bathrooms closest to Navi'i River Ride. Magic Kingdom-next to Main Street USA/near Tomorrowland, Epcot-near Test Track/Guardians of Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Hollywood Studios-in between Rock n' Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. (There are multiple entrances/exits to get you closer to the rides you want)
If you are a huge Disney fan and a pin collector, they give you a VIP tour pin which is not something you can buy in a store.
Towards the end of the day, our guide gave everyone Mickey Ice Cream Bars or a frozen treat of choice.
VIP viewing of nighttime shows like fireworks at Magic Kingdom and Epcot as well as the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios
Your guide will give you insider knowledge about different rides and things around the parks that you may have not known before.
Not sure if this is universal, but we got stuck on It's a Small World so our guide gave us an additional 20 minutes which was nice since I was freaking out on the ride thinking we are losing precious time.
If you have a stroller/children, your guide will have your stroller ready to go for you when you get off rides. If you are comfortable with it, your guide can watch kids so anyone who wants to go on a ride can.
The cost. No matter how you look at it...it's a lot of money.
Sometimes Lightning Lane has a line too. (IE: Rise of the Resistance was down all down when we did our tour, but was running at night so we ended our tour after our guide scanned us in. Even with the park closing and us having lightning lane, we still waited 30 minutes.)
Everyone in your group should be on the same page about pace/have an idea of what people in the group expect like otherwise you will waste precious time talking about what to do next instead of doing it.
You can only ride certain rides once with your tour (Cosmic Rewind and Rise of the Resistance)
Clearly I had more pros to say than cons.
OUR VIP DAY FOR DEWEY'S BIRTHDAY
Before you read the itinerary, I want you to know a few things:
Every person was informed of how expensive and special this trip.
I tailored this itinerary around my nephew and his nap schedule as best I could.
Regardless of how fast you walk/group is, you must remember that things will never go exactly to plan. With that being said, do the MUST rides first. Things that can slow you down: bathroom breaks, diaper changes, feeding baby, crowds walking in between rides.
Many family texts and FaceTimes went into the creating of this itinerary...the italics are what actually happened versus what was planned
Have breakfast at the Airbnb together, and head to Animal Kingdom around 9 AM
While Dewey is awake: see animals, take wildlife train, tracer top spin, lion king show, finding nemo show, feathered friends in flight show, Kilimanjaro safari
Dewey fell asleep as soon as we got into Animal Kingdom at 10 AM so some stayed with Dewey, and the rest of us went on Dinosaur (35 min wait) and Everest (20 min wait in single rider line), got drinks near Everest and explored Pandora when Dewey woke up
Meet our VIP Tour Guide in front of Tiffins Restaurant at 1 PM: ride Navi'i River and Flight of Passage
Met our VIP Tour Guide Hannah at the location at 12:57 PM. She gave us all our VIP pins to wear, and since Dewey was awake we rode the Kilamanjaro Safari, Navi'i River, and someone stayed with Dewey while the rest of us went on Flight of Passage. We then exited Animal Kingdom from Pandora, loaded everything in the van, and headed to Magic Kingdom
Magic Kingdom rides to do: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, It's a Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Little Mermaid, Dumbo, Teacups, Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear
Arrived at Magic Kingdom greeted by another cast member who had snacks for us before heading into the park. We entered the park into between Main Street USA and Tomorrowland (Castle straight ahead). Dewey was asleep again so we rode Pirates, Thunder Mountain, and Haunted Mansion. He woke up (quick change/eat on his part) then rode Peter Pan and It's a Small World (got stuck for 20 minutes) - Hannah gave us each a penny to toss in the water to make a wish. We then walked to the front of the castle so Hannah could take our picture. By then it was 5:30, so I took a poll who would want to do Space Mountain or Seven Dwarfs Train...we went on Seven Dwarfs. Hannah handed us all waters/sodas when we got off the ride, and we were escorted back to our van.
Epcot rides to do: Ratatouille, Frozen, Nemo (spend time at the aquarium), Soarin', Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind
Hannah brought us straight to Cosmic Rewind and were in and out within 20 minutes. We decided as a group that some would continue the tour/get dropped off at Hollywood Studios while some took Dewey home.
Hollywood Studios rides to do: Rock n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Slinky Dog Coaster, Mickey's Railway, Star Wars Falcon and Rise of the Resistance, then end the night at Fantasmic!
Hannah dropped those who wanted to ride Rock n' Roller Coaster off first, then escorted those wanting to ride Tower of Terror off next. While we went on those rides, Hannah drove the rest of the group back to Animal Kingdom's parking lot right at their car. The Hollywood Studio crew met up on Sunset Boulevard (took 10 mins to get on/off rides) and we walked to Rise of the Resistance to meet Hannah there at 8 PM. She gave us the rest of our snacks/drinks, scanned us into Rise, and we said our goodbyes around 8:24 PM. We ended waiting 30 minutes for Rise due to the ride being closed all day so I'm glad it was our last ride of the night. We had the option to watch Fantasmic at 9:30 PM, but decided to take the bus back over to Animal Kingdom, walk to our car, and drive home.
In total, I walked 9.1 miles with being escorted in between parks.
VIP ITINERARY FOR THE DISNEY FANATICS WITH NO KIDS (my personal opinion again)
Get your park reservation for Animal Kingdom, and start there around 11 AM. This way, there is no lines getting into the park, and hopefully they park you closer. Wait for rides like Dinosaur, do single rider for Everest, grab a drink and wait in line for Kilimanjaro Safari. If there's time, enjoy a show like the Lion King around 2 PM.
Start your VIP tour at 2:30 PM at Tiffins
AK Ride: Flight of Passage (x2)
Drive to Hollywood Studios
HS: Rock n' Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Mickey's Railway, Slinky Dog, both Star Wars rides
Drive to Epcot
Epcot: Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Rewind, Test Track, Frozen, Ratatouille, Soarin'
Drive to Magic Kingdom
MK: Pirates, Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, Seven Dwarfs, Space Mountain
Watch MK Fireworks at 8:15 PM
Drive to Epcot
Watch Epcot Fireworks at 9 PM
Drive to Hollywood Studios
Watch Fantasmic! at 9:30 PM
DISCLAIMER: I walk extremely fast, and have done all four parks plus multiple firework shows without the help of a VIP tour in one day so I know if can be done.
Well, that's everything! I hope you enjoyed this entire post. January 14, 2023 was a dream come true. If it is also your dream to experience Disney as a VIP, I hope your dream comes true too! It truly is magical!