Ever wonder how the Private VIP Tour treatment is at the Walt Disney World Resort? Settle in and read on!
As a perk of my position as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations to Travel, I recently got the amazing opportunity to take Walt Disney World’s Private VIP Tour with agency owner and my dear friend, Shannon Bonadurer. Together, we jetted around all four theme parks in style and luxury for seven glorious hours with our own private tour guide leading the way and enchanting us with his knowledge, park lore and history. Raymond, a.k.a. “Buddy”, was a “surprise and delight” (Disney speak for an unexpected experience) and not only took us anywhere we wanted to go, but mapped out a plan that made sense to get us the most from our time with him. This tour retails for a whopping $600 per hour, with a seven hour minimum. I bet you just did the quick math, yep, $4,200! You are probably wondering right off the bat if it was really worth it. Well, let me tell you more about it and you can decide for yourself.
When you book the tour, you have the option to select your start time and can book the guide anywhere from 7-10 hours per day, with a four day maximum. Staying at the Grand Floridian, we had an early 1900 Park Fare breakfast planned, so we chose our tour to begin at 9:30am. Promptly at 9:30, Raymond picked us up right at the front entrance of our resort in a private vehicle (not a Minnie Van-which I secretly hoped we would have) and asked us where we would like to begin. Being so close to the Magic Kingdom, we opted to begin there.
One of the coolest aspects of this tour (in my opinion) was how we entered each theme park…via “backstage” entrance points! As we hit the security booths at each location it was plain to see how respected and loved Raymond was as a fellow Cast Member. We knew we were in great hands. At the Magic Kingdom, we were greeted by several VIP Tour Guide Cast Members who could not have been happier to see us. Big smiles, water bottles, snacks and conversation upon our arrival set the tone off right as we entered the park to the left of the Plaza Restaurant and headed straight for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Well, we stopped for this selfie first. Oh and all the Cast Members we met LOVED our Tour Guide inspired ears!
As we approached Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, we entered the FastPass line. Our guide simply had to say how many people were going to ride, in this case 3 since he chose to ride with us, and off we went. The FastPass line was short here and we waited about 1 minute to ride. Being VIPs for the day, we said “let’s do that again!” So we did…we rode Mine Train twice in a row! Standby wait time was 60 minutes at this time. Our next stops were Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, the Walt Disney World Railroad, People Mover, Buzz Lightyear and a stop for a Frozen Coke and Mickey Pretzel of course. On most of these attractions, we simply got on the FastPass line, though in others, like the Haunted Mansion, we bypassed all of that and entered through a secret, Cast Members Only entrance which was pretty cool. On line for the train, we were taken off line and allowed to board before others. It’s a strange feeling to be offered preferential treatment like that I must admit. It’s one thing if it’s pixie dust, but when you are paying for the entitlement, I don’t know, it’s just different and this girl isn’t used to that so I felt a little bad believe it or not! Another perk though, besides quick access to the attractions are the tips from our guide. Thanks to Raymond we knew which train cars on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Big Thunder Mountain would give us the best experience and which seats on Splash would keep us driest. Cast Members were happy to seat us in his recommended seats. Here’s us totally dry AFTER Splash Mountain.
Following our snack, we decided to head over to Animal Kingdom for the sole purpose of riding Flight of Passage. Our backstage entrance brought us directly into Pandora, just next to the bathrooms. Once again we headed for the FastPass line, but THIS time, we took a secret Cast Members Only door and bypassed much of the line. When we approached the second FP check in point, we were waived ahead by the Cast Member and were quickly escorted to our group of fellow banshee riders. That was pretty cool and gave us all the VIP feels.
Ok, so we had TWO purposes at Animal Kingdom. We needed to find this disgusting creature for Shannon’s grandson. Mission accomplished and we were were outta there! Next stop, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
At Hollywood Studios, it’s another snack, meet and greet point for VIP Tourists. As we entered backstage adjacent to Rock n Roller Coaster, 3 Cast Members greeted us with the same excitement and snacks as our Magic Kingdom experience. We grabbed some water and treats and walked into the park like Rock Stars. Raymond shared some fun facts and trivia with us as we made our way to Toy Story Midway Mania, but I’ll tell you all about that next time!
Does a Private VIP Tour sound like something you want to do? Comment below and let us know!