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    VIP Experiences

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VIP Tours

For the ultimate no-expenses-spared Universal Orlando experience, book a VIP tour of one or both parks. VIP guests are given the red-carpet treatment at both parks and never have to worry about waiting in line. And don’t worry if you aren’t a genuine VIP—or even a social media pseudo-celebrity—because at Universal, anyone can be treated like the rich and famous . . . for a price.

Universal offers two types of VIP tours: nonexclusive and private. On nonexclusive tours, your party of up to 6 guests will be paired with other guests to form a group of up to 12. Nonexclusive tours begin at 11 a.m. and last 5–7 hours. Your guide will expedite you onto a minimum of 8 attractions (10 if you take the two-park option) based on group consensus. On a nonexclusive tour, you’re at Universal’s mercy as to whom you might be paired up with, but you can indicate your interests to your guide upon arrival; if you are a party of thrill-seeking adults, and you’re matched with a family of small children, ask if you can swap before your group gets moving.

Private tours give you free reign to set your start time and make your own itinerary because the guide is dedicated to only your party for a full 8 hours. Private tours are mandatory if your party has seven or more members. You can even ride your favorite ride over and over all day, if you like.

Either way, your VIP experience begins with free valet parking and a complimentary Continental breakfast in the private guest services lounge. In addition to back dooring you into rides—bypassing even the Universal Express queues—and getting you reserved seating at shows, VIP tour guides are a font of trivia about the history and operations of the parks and can even grant backstage access to see how some of the magic is done, like a glimpse underneath Revenge of the Mummy’s ride track or inside Transformer’s high-tech control booth (not available during social distancing). VIP tours also include access to the American Express lounge in USF and a complimentary midday meal. Nonexclusive one-park tour guests each get a one-day Quick-Service Universal Dining Plan to use where they wish on an entrée and snacks, while two-park nonexclusive VIP tour guests get an exclusive lunch inside USF’s Cafe La Bamba, where chefs will prepare a sampling of signature dishes from restaurants around the resort. Private VIP tour guests receive two full-service meals inside the theme parks or at CityWalk, along with a three-day My Universal Photos package (valid starting on their first tour day). At the end of the tour, your souvenir VIP lanyard serves as an Express Unlimited Pass for the rest of the day and offers discounts on food and merchandise.

Perhaps most important, VIP tours are the quickest way to skip the queues at the headlining Harry Potter attractions during peak times, when even the Express entrances can be overwhelmed; during the height of Diagon Alley’s opening summer, when guests were waiting more than 4 hours just for Gringotts, Bob and Len were able to experience everything in both Wizarding Worlds (including lunch and ice cream) plus other park highlights in a little more than 5 hours. Currently, a VIP tour is the only way to cut the line at Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.

Of course, this kind of star treatment doesn’t come cheap. While VIP tours start at $189 on select dates during the slowest seasons, at most times, a one-day, one-park nonexclusive VIP tour of USF or IOA will run you $209–$219 per person. A one-day tour of both parks starts at $199 and is typically $219–$239. However, during peak pricing times (the weeks around Christmas and Easter), those rates jump as high as $429 for one park, and $449 for both.

Private-tour pricing approaches “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” territory, starting at $3,099 for a day in both parks; one-park exclusive tours are available during off-peak periods on special request, but you will only save a couple hundred dollars off the two-park price. That flat rate is good for one to five guests; additional guests (up to a total of 10) cost another $375 each for a two-park tour. During peak times (Christmas and spring break), those base prices increase to $3,999, plus $450 for each additional guest. Finally, if you splurge on the ultimate two-day, two-park private tour, you’ll be poorer by $4,899 ($6,699 during peak periods).

Before you break out your credit card, there’s one final catch: in addition to not including tax, the aforementioned prices are on top of admission, which is required and not included with any VIP tour.

Whether the VIP tours are worth it depends largely on your net worth and your tolerance for any type of wait. Having taken them many times over the years, we can say that the experience is a dream come true for theme park junkies (who will get their money’s worth in insider info alone), as well as anyone allergic to rubbing elbows with unwashed hordes. If you were already planning to pony up for Express Unlimited Passes, the extra couple hundred per person (depending on the season) could seem a bargain in the heat of summer. For most visitors, a stay at a luxury on-site hotel (with free Express Unlimited included) is probably a more economical investment, but no one we know who has taken a VIP tour has regretted it, even if it may forever ruin the regular park-going experience for you.

Non-exclusive tours can be booked online through an interactive calendar with availability and pricing on the Universal Orlando website, but private tours must be book by phone at 1-866-346-9350. If you want to take a VIP tour, order early, as they can fill up quickly at busier times.

Note that all of the above tours are only offered during regular daytime operating hours. Different VIP tours with their own pricing may be available during separately ticket special events like Halloween Horror Nights.

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