It’s not just about skipping lines in California or Florida. Here’s what to expect.
As someone who books private tours nearly every day for my clients, I have learned the ins and outs of all private tour options.
I get asked lots of questions. How do private tour companies differ from the official Disney tours? When are the services worth it? What is actually included?
Here’s my best effort at answering questions regarding Disney VIP tour guides you may be considering for your Disneyland or Disney World vacation, which is definitely the indulgent and desirable “Enchanted Extra” in Disney speak, or “Expensive Extra” in my speak.
Different Types of Disney VIP Tours
There are private tour services offered by Disney World and Disneyland, and there are companies offering tours that are not affiliated with the theme parks.
The exclusive option are the Disney Private Premium VIP Tours at Disney World or Disneyland.
Comparing apples to apples, Disneyland and Disney World Private Premium VIP Tours cost significantly more than the non-Disney VIP tour companies.
If you plan to use a non-Disney tour company, stick with a company that has been around a few years and check their Trip Advisor reviews. Be wary of any tour company that seems too good of a deal or whose promises include things like “Any ride you want” which indicates bending Disney’s rules or worse, exploiting Disney’s disability passes, the lowest of the low.
What are the prices of Disney VIP Tours? Minimum times? Maximum party size?
All Disney VIP tours are designed for parties of no more than 10 people. Both Disney and the non-Disney companies will require a second guide for parties larger than 10 (sometimes 8 with certain companies). Infants, unfortunately, are included in that headcount.
The official Disney World Private Premium VIP Tours vary from $425-$750 per hour with a seven-hour minimum. That brings the total cost between $2,975 to $5,250 for the experience, before gratuities.
What is the Disneyland VIP tour cost?
Just like a Disney World VIP tour, here’s what to expect at Disneyland. VIP tours cost between $425 and $600 per hour with a 7 hour minimum. You can bring up to 10 people, including infants.
Check out our review of Club Level at the Disneyland Hotel, too!
VIP Disney World Planning
Don’t stress, it’s a vacation. Luxe Recess plans stress-free VIP Disney vacations. We can plan everything from a family’s first vacation to a giant multi-gen family trip with private dinners inside the parks!
Read more about our services.
Non-Disney companies run from $150 to $250 per hour, typically with a six-hour minimum, bringing the total from $900 to $1,200. The cost per hour for all companies varies due to the demand of the season.
Tips for all guides should start at least $150 per day. The holiday week of Christmas and New Year’s Day is the busiest time of year. VIP services are most useful and in demand, so book early.
If those prices aren’t doable, but you still want an expert to take over the planning, we plan your Disney World vacations. I’ll share what VIP experiences are worth every penny and show you what to skip.
Disney’s Group VIP Tours
Disney Ultimate VIP Tours
There are a few variations on the Ultimate VIP Tour that follow a set itinerary around a theme. One is designed for families with young children (Ultimate Day for Young Families VIP Tour). Another focuses on thrill rides (Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour).
These tours have a per person cost between $249 and $299 and are group tours capped at 40 people, led by four tour guides on a set schedule. They currently run on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays only.
The Ultimate Disney classic VIP tour is to maximize rides curated around a specific age group. Lunch is included, though transportation to the parks is not, nor are Park Hopper tickets.
Everyone follows the same itinerary for the tour that covers multiple parks. Families have the option of not riding a ride and waiting, but it is not a tour with flexibility. Families cannot substitute rides for others during the tour. But they can book regular Fast Passes before the tour.
Ultimate Day Tours are not available during the peak season of the Christmas holidays. The peak season runs approximately from December 23rd through January 2nd.
Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour
The newest tour, the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour, focuses on Animal Kingdom’s newest rides. They experience both Pandora rides, a Kilimanjaro safari, and priority seating at Rivers of Light.
These tours run every day but Tuesday and Friday and last about 4 hours. Guests must be 44 inches tall, as that is the height restriction on many of the rides.
When are group Disney tours best?
Who should book these tours? I think this is the best for parties of two or three people who have one day at the parks.
If I were planning an all-out weekend for a family of three, I would stay on site, likely at the Epcot resort area so that I could easily access Epcot for dinner with booked Fast Passes for Soarin’ at the end of the day since it is the one park not included in either tour.
Although Ultimate Day tours are a less expensive per person, families of four or more should hire a private company. A private guide can customize the experience to make the experience feel more luxurious.
Disney’s Private VIP Tours FAQs
What exactly do Disney VIP guides do?
This is where the experience differs between the official Disney VIP Tours and the non-Disney companies. Disney’s Private Premium VIP Disney Tours only offers park advice during your tour.
On the other hand, the non-Disney companies might offer more services upfront in terms of helping manage the whole vacation.
Before our Disney VIP Tour
I received a call from our assigned guide a few days before our park visit to go over what we wanted to see. We arranged a plan where she picked us up from the Four Seasons Orlando, and we were off.
She chauffeured us to the park after introducing herself to our children with small little souvenirs. My son started out shy, but by the second ride, he kept standing up in his stroller to turn around and talk to her.
Our guide used her detailed knowledge of the rides, their duration, their wait time patterns, and their locations to maximize our time so that we saw as much as possible. She asked what we had never done and weighed in one rides we should try at least once.
During the Disney VIP Tour
In addition to a park plan, there are several concierge-type experiences that our guide offered. At each ride, she parked our strollers and waited for us with our stroller at the exit. She would go get waters, popcorn, or iced tea while we were on a ride and had them waiting for us.
Our guide took pictures of us with her phone, and she extracted my camera from around my neck a few times so that we now have proof that I was actually at Disney World with my family, a wonderful perk for me that lasts long after the tour.
Towards the lunch hour, she took our orders, set us on rides, and then we met her at the Columbia Harbor House where she waited for us with our plates of salmon and broccoli at the table. My husband thought this service was worth its weight in gold.
She had a way with kids, and my son, who is four, felt comfortable with her quickly. After we rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, my daughter asked to ride again. Our guide took her by the hand, and off they went.
I was waiting for them to come down the hill where I could photograph them. A few minutes later, I saw her in the front row with her arms up in the air.
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The perks of a true Disney World expert
They were, of course, many moments where our guide’s park knowledge surpassed my own, and I loved it. On the Buzz Lightyear ride, we’re playfully competitive shooting lasers at Zurg’s various targets.
She sat with me and showed me where to shoot my laser gun. By the time we had gone through the first room, she had maxed out the score at 999,999. Sit on the left side. Now I know. Lots of little insider tricks of hers made the rides more fun.
After we finished our day, we pulled into the Four Seasons Orlando, my daughter gave our a big hug, and I was so grateful to experience Magic Kingdom in a way that felt like a real vacation for me.
To experience the parks in a fun, relaxing way is what every family deserves on vacation.
What if you already know the Disney parks really well?
I can only share my own experience here. From my past Disney visits, I know enough about the crowds and Fast Pass system to avoid lines when we visit Magic Kingdom. But I know far less than many who know the parks inside and out, so I rely on my logistical planning skills.
I still found Disney VIP Tours different because I was able to enjoy the day without being the family navigator, planner, and boss. I could truly check out and not be in charge. This gave me the opportunity to let the experiences reach my own inner six-year-old much more easily. I smiled a lot more. Worth every penny.
Another benefit is how the dynamics shift when a neutral party is involved and in charge. If you are traveling in a group where more than one person wants to take charge, a tour guide smooths the tension. Especially for multi-generational trips where there may be too many cooks in the kitchen.
Which parks and attractions work best with Disney VIP guides?
Magic Kingdom’s number of rides puts it in its own league compared to the other Disney World parks. It has more Fast Pass experiences than any other park, and the layout is vast and can be overwhelming for newbies. The timing of all the attractions and crowd formations is not easy to learn if you’ve only been a few times.
If a family were planning on spending a day at each park, I would hire a VIP guide for a day at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios and visit the remaining parks on our own, if you had to choose two.
I think a lot of has to do with the age of the children. If you have young children who will have limits to how much they can do, stick with the first plan. If you have teenagers up for a more fast and furious experience, consider a park-hopping day with a Disney VIP guide who can quickly get you on all of the rollercoasters quickly.
So should you book Disney VIP Tours? And which ones should you book?
If I were organizing a multi-generational trip to Disney World, I would also use the services of a VIP tour. To assign the leadership to a knowledgeable nonmember of the family keeps everyone happy.
I would also book a tour if I dreaded the idea of going to Disney and wanted the “one and done” approach.
Warning: I thought I was going to be one of those people, but several thousand dollars later, Disney has the last laugh.
Club Level Fast Passes
These amazing perks have been suspended as the whole Fast Pass system has. But here’s how they work in case Disney brings them back.
Here’s an option to VIP yourself at Disney World. Disney World started club level fast passes for those who stay two nights or longer with 3-day tickets. Club level guests of the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Beach & Yacht Club, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk, Wilderness Lodge, and Contemporary are eligible. Also guests of the luxury DVC units like the Polynesian Bungalows, the Copper Creek Canyon Cabins, too.
These guests can book 3 extra Fast Passes that work for any park at a 90-day window before check-in. They can be at different parks. This means that in addition to the traditional 3 Fast Passes available to all, these extra VIP Fast Passes can confirm you can book the new hot rides like Toy Story Land or the Star Wars Land.
The cost is $50 per person per day, and parties are required to book these a minimum of three days. So a family of four will pay $600 for a minimum of 9 magical Fast Passes. You have to include the additional cost associated with booking club level rooms to compare with a tour.
I can help you choose your 6 FastPasses to make the most of this more affordable option when a tour guide doesn’t seem to fit. Let me plan your vacation!
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