Disney VIP Tour – Is It Worth It?

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Have you considered booking a VIP tour but wondered if it was worth the steep price? I just completed my second VIP tour since December, and I’ve put together a deep dive list of pros and cons.

Since much of the VIP tour is backstage, I didn’t take many photos. This was the super swanky VIP pin we got at the end of the tour.

For VIP tours, Disney charges $425 per hour, for a minimum of seven continuous hours, with a maximum of 10 guests. All guests must have valid park admission and infants are included in the guest count. As with any Disney pricing, this amount is seasonal and subject to change at any time.

Additionally, while we are aware of outside companies that provide private tours inside Walt Disney World parks, we will only be discussing official VIP tours booked through Disney.

Let’s start with the good stuff!

Pros

SPEEDY ACCESS TO EVERY ATTRACTION

With a VIP tour, you get FastPass or backstage access to any attraction – multiple times!

When arranging your tour, you submit a requested itinerary so that your guide can best plan the day. Standard height and medical restrictions for rides still apply during your tour and all other Disney rules and guidelines are still in effect.

For most attractions, your guide will act as a magical FastPass for your party. They will go to the front of the FastPass entrance and tell the cast member on duty how many people are in your party. Whether or not your guide goes on the attraction is totally up to them. In the event they don’t ride with you, they will meet you at the exit. There is no need to worry about trying to locate them; they do this all the time. Your guide will find you.

For rides that have the option, your guide may load you on to a ride through a backstage entrance. During my last tour, we went through the exit to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and got in our Space Cruiser as other guests were exiting. Other than the cool van transport (see below), this might have been the most VIP-like part of the tour.

A significant bonus of the VIP tour is being able to go on favorite rides as many times as your stomach can handle. If your team wants to ride Slinky Dog Dash four times and wind down on the Alien Swirling Saucers, may the force be with you! If Pandora is on your list, you can spend the entire day circling through Flight of Passage. You can get into the character greetings that always seem to have lengthy lines, shows that you can’t find a FastPass for, or just enjoy having an experienced hand direct you through the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN PARKS

Private van transportation between parks (aka air-conditioned transport) is included. Because you’re guaranteed seven consecutive hours with your guide, you will more than likely be able to visit multiple parks. You’ll be saving even more time by not having to bus/boat/monorail to your destination.

When it’s time to change locations, your guide will lead your party backstage to a waiting van. Car seats or boosters will be in the van if you request them.

SNACKS AND WATER

On both tours that I have taken in the last few months, there were cast members waiting at the van with cold water and a basket of snacks that included chips, cookies, applesauce pouches, and candy. On my most recent tour there were snacks at both the departing and arriving destinations. These are included in the price of your tour and you are encouraged to take more than one water and/or snack. All other food and beverage (like meals and in-park snacks) will be your responsibility during the duration of the tour. You do not need to worry about providing meals and snacks for your guide; Disney covers their expenses.

INSIDER TIPS ON POPULAR RIDES

Once we realized that our first tour guide was willing to share tips for Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story Mania, we fought over who was going to sit next to her on the 2nd and 3rd passes. The same applies for hidden Mickeys, interesting park trivia, and fun (but respectful) stories about celebrities. You have a subject matter expert with you for at least seven hours, so save up those trivia questions.

THE STRESS OF DISNEY TRIP PLANNING MELTS AWAY

With a VIP tour, much of the the usual stress and anxiety of planning a Disney trip is gone. It’s a very odd feeling to just stroll along in the parks without constantly being aware of that the lines for the rides are increasing with every passing moment (or am I the only one?!). If you decide to use some of your tour time to enjoy a sit-down dining experience, make your reservations in advance as usual. Your guide can assist you with same day reservations if they’re available, but they can’t create space where there isn’t any. In other words, they can’t bump existing reservations to get you into Be Our Guest because you’re paying for a VIP tour.

Cons

COST

You’re paying more than $3,000 for the tour and then an appropriate amount for gratuity. That’s A LOT of money!

Gratuities are not required, but they are accepted. We’ve had good experiences, so we decided to tip our guides.

THE GUIDE QUALITY VARIES

This probably doesn’t come as a shock, but every experience can be changed just by the personalities of the people around you. I’ve had two different guides and the experiences were vastly different. One guide was high energy and became a part of our group immediately. She was in on our coordinated ride photos and we ended the day with hugs and shared Instagram follows. My other guide had a professional and pleasant personality but was nothing like the first cast member. She reviewed our plans, asked if there were any changes, and marched us from ride to ride without ever looking back to see if we were following. We quickly learned to loudly alert her if some of our trio of little people needed a restroom or snack break. Both guides were knowledgeable, professional, and provided a wonderful experience, but they were very different.

You may make requests for specific guides, but since tours can be booked 180 days in advance, you aren’t guaranteed to receive your requested cast member. Disney promises the tours will be “fun-filled and efficient” and that is accurate based on my experience.

EVERYONE IN YOUR GROUP NEEDS TO BE ON BOARD WITH YOUR PLAN

Plan your itinerary with the entire group in mind. Your whole group really needs to agree on the entire itinerary or things get a little off kilter. Your guide can only be in one location at a time and several attractions have a double check-in process for FastPasses, which means your guide needs to stay with you until you’re almost ready to ride. Take this into account when booking for people with varying height, or medical restrictions, or certain ride aversions. Nobody wants to force a bunch of teenagers to ride Dumbo all day and the whole team will be unhappy if little ones are forced to hang around while the taller folks ride Everest.

IT’S EXHAUSTING

A VIP tour makes for a very busy day. You aren’t spending any time waiting in line so you’re either on a ride or walking to the next attraction. In our experience, it’s very easy to log eight miles of walking during a seven-hour tour that includes several snacks and a sit-down lunch. Both groups I toured with needed a recovery day after our VIP experiences, so my advice is to skip the cute sandals and grab the comfortable, orthopedic tennis shoes and moisture wicking socks.

Is a VIP tour on your bucket list? Would you do this for a milestone birthday? Have you already done a VIP tour and have thoughts you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

Christina Harrison

Christina worked for TouringPlans as a youngster and is back on the team now weighing cupcakes, stalking the Hello Kitty section of Mitsukoshi, and getting social media footage for our rad Instagram feed!

27 thoughts on “Disney VIP Tour – Is It Worth It?

  • June 8, 2019 at 11:31 am
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    I need to know more!! Did you travel between parks, how long was the process, were you transferred backstage? Does the guide eat sit down with you?

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    • June 8, 2019 at 4:17 pm
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      The first tour we did was all adults and we decided to to do all of the major rides in each park in the 7 hours. We hustled from ride to ride and ate a very quick lunch. The second tour included 3 children under the age of six and was much slower and only involved two parks. We did get to see a good deal of backstage in all of the parks but were asked not to take photos or video. Yes, the guide on the second tour had lunch with us at Be Our Guest.

      Thanks so much for all of the questions!

      Reply
  • June 8, 2019 at 6:22 pm
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    The VIP is still on my bucket list. I agree the guide can make or break a tour. I did EPCOT last year with an amazing guide. It could have easily become tedious with a less-enthused guide.
    Thanks for your info. Still on my list.

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  • June 8, 2019 at 8:52 pm
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    What kind of tip do you give?

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    • June 9, 2019 at 7:01 am
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      Tipping is appreciated but never expected or required. Some people do $20 per person and others a flat 15% or 20% but it’s absolutely your call.

      Reply
  • June 9, 2019 at 9:42 am
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    I would only do this if i knew I was dying…

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  • June 9, 2019 at 2:57 pm
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    Sounds like I want to win the lotto.

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  • July 24, 2019 at 9:13 pm
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    Do you have a “go to” touring plan for VIP Day??
    Trying to decide what to do is so hard!!!

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    • July 30, 2019 at 9:21 am
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      I would recommend the UG Dumbo-or-Die-in-a-Day Touring Plan for the Magic Kingdom if you’ve got little ones with you. If you’re all teens and adults, hitting all 4 parks and riding the major attractions at each is grueling but can be done. You’ll get in around 10 miles during your 7 hours but it will be one heck of a memory! Drop a note when you’ve done your tour – I’d love to know what you ended up doing!

      Reply
    • September 24, 2019 at 8:18 pm
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      Mom this is Braden I want to go to Disney for my birthday

      Reply
  • August 24, 2019 at 6:43 am
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    Hi there! Thank you thank you for all your info! In the baby stages of planning a Disney trip likely in January with my family of 5. I have heard wonderful things about VIP tours from friends but wonder if my small group at a supposedly “low crowd” time of year would still require/benefit? I imagine that aside from moving quickly through the park, there are many special experiences on the VIP?
    Also, my husband is not a super Disney/smiley/happy/amiable kind of guy, and he’s a little “weirded out” by a stranger spending the day with us, what are your thoughts??? I can’t wait and am so excited, but being that it’s my first trip to DisneyWorld I am nervous, excited, anxious, and want it to go over well!

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    • August 24, 2019 at 7:47 pm
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      Oh, wow! This is the best question! In my opinion you’re going to be much better just using the right Touring Plan for each day. This is especially true if your husband is uncomfortable with the idea of a stranger hanging with you all day. They seriously never leave your side unless you’re on a ride or running to the restroom alone. I never thought about this aspect so I’m very grateful for your comment. If the crowds aren’t terrible and you have a Touring Plan, you’re going to have a great time. You won’t get the backstage transportation and immediate access to all of the attractions, but you also don’t have to feel like your entertaining company the entire day.

      Please drop a note to let us know if you have questions or need help. We’d also love to know what plans you used and how everything works out. Thanks again for the question!

      Reply
      • August 24, 2019 at 10:19 pm
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        Thank you so much again for your detailed post, and reply to my question! Helps to know we will likely have a great experience without the company 😉

        Reply
  • September 11, 2019 at 8:57 am
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    Thanks for the info! I watched the YouTube video and was a little disappointed there wasn’t any of this type of logistical info or much about what was different with a VIP tour guide.

    We are doing this with a group of 10 adults and kids (the youngest three are eleven years old) when we go in a couple weeks. We are planning to ropes drop AK with the EEMH to do Flight of Passage and then have morning fast passes there. The thought is to then meet our guide at DHS at 1p so we can hit all the (now tier 1) attractions there, then go over to MK to knock out all those D/E-ticket attractions before wrapping up at the castle for Happily Ever After. As I understand it they can get you into a VIP area for that in front of the castle. The plan is to have a good lunch before the tour starts and just snack but not do any QS or sit down meal during the tour.

    Given your experiences, and taking into account we have a big group, does that sound feasible to accomplish in the time provided? We had not planned to try to do EPCOT and the E-tickets there because we didn’t think time would allow, but I’m curious if you have any other suggestions or things we should keep in mind.

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    • September 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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      Hi Matt! Sounds like you have a packed day planned! The amount you’ll be able to accomplish totally depends on the energy levels of everyone on the team because your guide will move at any pace you set. Smart idea to eat prior to the tour too! I understand that the VIP tour guides have designated viewing areas for the parades and fireworks but I have never used my time tour time that way – I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the value of the experience.

      Things to keep in mind: 1) you’re doing more walking and less standing than normal so make sure everyone is dressed appropriately, has tons of water, and a stroller for the little one is probably already (wisely) on your list. You aren’t waiting in line so you’re either on an attraction, or you’re marching to the next one. You can easily get 8 miles logged in one tour so plan for that. 2) Don’t forget those character meets. Most people zip straight to the popular attractions and forget the character photo ops. You’re probably pretty fond of the group you’re traveling with, so take the time to get some good pictures with your favorite characters. Cast Members working at the character meets are very accommodating when the VIP tours come through and it certainly felt like the characters spent a bit more time with us than usual. They will do individual and group shots worthy of any holiday card. 3
      Hope this helps a bit! Please let us know what you thought of your experience.

      Reply
  • September 12, 2019 at 7:30 pm
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    Sept ’19 is like a free VIP tour everyday! And most resort guests have Free Food too.

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  • September 17, 2019 at 8:08 pm
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    We have just booked our first vip tour for December and we are very excited. We are a group of 10. Can you give me a list of character experiences we can do with the vip guide. Is it only the fast pass ones? Our plan is to start in ak, hs, and finish in mk. Trying for a mix of rides, and characters. I dont think we will do shows. But thought maybe of enchanted tales with belle
    Thank you

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    • September 26, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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      The character experiences with FastPass access can be accessed by the VIP guides quickly. You’re welcome to do any other character greets you’d like while on your tour, but the guides can’t help you bypass the line for the non-FP characters.

      Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 4:42 pm
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    If we’re just a couple (husband and wife), can we join a tour with other people to make up a larger party, to bring the cost per person down?

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    • September 26, 2019 at 9:37 pm
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      You can certainly book a tour with a group, but you’d have to arrange the group yourself. There’s no “matchingmaking” service where Disney combines small parties to make a full tour.

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    • October 20, 2019 at 5:27 am
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      What are your WDW dates? We are looking to share our VIP Tour with one to four adults in July 2020.

      Reply
  • October 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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    Merging groups SEEMS like a good idea – economically. But then the personalized experience goes out the window since you will need to agree on a touring plan with more people….

    I thought bout this for our family of 4, but compromising the plan made it seem untenable.

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    • October 24, 2019 at 3:23 pm
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      You make a very good point, Paul. Still, if by some chance you find a group with similar interests/priorities…
      I imagine every group, no matter how small, has some difficulty agreeing on everything (or always feeling as though the past 10 minutes were worth $100!).

      Reply
  • November 4, 2019 at 11:30 am
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    I am going to Disney world in May with my whole family (19 people…8 adults and 10 kids ranging from 3-12). We have booked 2 VIP guides and are now trying to come up with an itinerary. We were thinking to do most of magic kingdom and then Hollywood studios for the toy story and Star Wars lands. Do you think this is doable? Should we have them pick us up at our resort or meet them there? Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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  • November 22, 2019 at 11:32 pm
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    Hi there, great article!

    Is that price ($425 per hour) per person or spread out over the 7-10 people?

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  • November 23, 2019 at 6:43 am
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    The hourly price is per “tour,” and you can have between 1-10 guests per tour. Also note that pricing starts at $425/hour for a tour, so it may cost more on your dates.

    Reply
  • December 12, 2019 at 10:18 am
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    I have a tour planned for my wife and I for February 2020. During the initial phone call to reserve the date and tour, the CM just asked what our plans were regarding the tour. As this is a Xmas gift for my wife I just said hit all the parks and rides. Do you ever actually fill out an itinerary or is it just communicated during the initial phone call. Thanks.
    Randy

    Reply

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