Ok, let’s start this off with a seemingly scary number… $425 per hour. Yup, that’s what a VIP Tour costs at a minimum and the price does vary seasonally and increases but does not decrease. Here’s the slight caveat to that scary number, it does accommodate up to 10 guests and includes some light snacks, transportation, and a foray of very very unique experiences throughout your day. But we’ll touch not hat more soon…
However, let’s take a step back and pause for a minute to share what a Disney VIP Tour really is. A truly VIP Tour experience at Disney is perhaps the most you can possibly be catered to as a theme park guest on Disney property. Some may fight me on that but it is a very true statement. Now, I also know that many guests hate the “pay to play” mentality of some tours on property, and I often do as well. At the same time, this one is a little different and here’s why.
To me, and the vast majority of guests, this is a prohibitively expensive tour. A full day for 10 guests is $425 per hour and the minimum amount of time you can book is 7 hours. It doesn’t take incredible math skills to figure this one out but that’s in the ballpark of $3,000. Plus, that’s assuming you’re not traveling during the peak seasons that accompany higher rates. Now, it’s also important to note that this experience does not include park tickets and they are required to partake in the tour. In my case, I had already bought an annual pass and that works just fine but not everyone does that.
In the case of full disclosure, I didn’t pay for the tour I was a part of. I was very blessed and invited by my travel agency affiliate Destinations to Travel to tag along on their incredible journey with a few people I’m lucky to call friends! If that weren’t the case, I would not have been able to try one of these tours out. I simply don’t have that kind of money and I guess that’s part of my point and why VIP Tours don’t really fall in the category of “pay to play” in my opinion. In fact, I actually kind of think they’re a really neat idea.
Essentially, when your day begins you’re picked up at a resort by your guide in a luxury transport vehicle (vehicle type depends on party size – up to 10 guests total). The guides are truly some of the best of the best cast members Disney has and it shows in a big way. They’re conversational, they’re friendly, they know the park like the back of their hand, and it’s worth noting that they’re also safe drivers that cart you around most of the day.
As your journey begins, you’ve pre chosen your itinerary or at least your “wish list” for the day and you can basically ride any attraction utilizing the fastpass+ queue. On top of that, you’re carted around to the parks in a vehicle and have access to exclusive VIP tour parking areas so that you can more effectively move from location to location (sometimes even within the same park) without losing any time.
For reference, we rode Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, Soarin, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, caught a snack, rode Smugglers Run (on opening day!), Slinky Dog Dash, and shared an all around incredible experience with things I’m surely forgetting, all in one day. I won’t lie to you, it was one of the most impressive experiences I’ve taken part in at Disney World in a very long time. At the same time though, often what I enjoyed the most wasn’t the attractions we rode but rather the all encompassing experience. You got to see “behind the scenes” as you moved from park to park, got to interact with an incredible cast member and hear their story throughout the day, and ultimately some aspects of this experience you can’t see any other way. That is the value you’re paying for, not necessarily front of line access.
If you read this site much (Thank you if you do!), you likely know that I’m not a huge attractions guy and ultimately I prefer the simpler aspects of being in the parks and just enjoy being there in the moment taking in the details. The level of detail on these tours is excellent. Is it different than a regular park day? Absolutely. Is it incredible, of course!
There is a caveat to all of this. There is no doubt it is a truly amazing experience and if you’re lucky enough to do it, jump on the chance to do so if it’s offered or if you can afford it. At the same time, there is no denying this is prohibitively expensive for 95% of Disney Parks guests and I’m not saying that to be rude, but rather to be real and authentic. Even if you break up the costs you’re looking at a $300 day per person before ticket costs. I mean that’s not an insane amount of money but you have to really really really want to do it to shell out that kind of money for a day of entertainment. Plus, you need to have 10 friends to group up with to make that $300 price point even possible.
In the end, here is how I see this. Is there $300 worth of entertainment in this tour? Yes, there certainly is and it’s a day you’ll never forget. Is it something I’d recommend to the average guest looking to enjoy the parks? No, not at all. This is definitely not the first time Disney experience you want and it should be viewed as a an offering for a very unique niche of die hard Disney fans or those trying to set up a perfect birthday or special occasion for a loved one.
There is one other thing to mention though. This isn’t that much higher in cost than other tours Disney offers and it is vastly customizable compared to other tours. If you can swing the cost, I highly recommend it. Don’t look at it as “pay to play” but rather as a tour to be a part of like the Keys to the Kingdom tours and other unique offerings.
As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you’re there, and we’ll keep the conversation going in the future. We’re not the largest Disney community, but we’re one that’s here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!
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Ready to Plan?
Last but certainly not least, if you’re starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2019. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2019 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2019 are a great place to begin!
Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2019 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You’ll probably even save money along the way!