Last month my teenage daughter and I used a Disney VIP tour guide to see how it would benefit our clients, especially those with older kids. We learned a lot and most applies to all age groups. I have shared a bit about our experience below. Please keep in mind, every experience will be different but this gives you a general idea of how it all works.
Save time and meet at the park
You have at least seven hours with your guide as they have a seven-hour minimum but use it wisely. Meet the guide at a park if possible. They will pick you up at the hotel but meeting them there gives you more park time. They’re very good about communicating a location ahead of time.
Save time and do not do sit-down dining
Try to plan your guide time around sit down dining experiences. This again, takes away from experience time. Make your dining reservations and then add the VIP tour guide around those.
Learn about the parks and fun facts.
Our guide told us fun facts like the Haunted Mansion was based off a mansion in Pennsylvania that is now a Bed and Breakfast and when Space Mountain was re-done, they had to slow down the last hill as they got too many complaints about how fast it was.
Transportation to and from the parks
To save time, if you are visiting more than one park during this time, you will be driven in a private vehicle between parks. A park hopper ticket is needed for this feature of the service. The vehicles do have car seats and they have everything from small SUVs to conversion vans for larger groups. They ask ahead of time how many strollers as well to insure they have enough room.
You are LITERALLY back doored at many of the attractions requested. We parked behind Mexico for Frozen Ever After and the meet n Greet. We parked behind Living with the Land ride for Soarin.
At some of the parks, there is a valet as parking is tight. So, another VIP guide meets you at the car, many times with water and snacks. There is also typically water in the car when you return as well.
The only downfall to this part of the experience is you see the back of the attractions and hallways you would typically not see. Although to many this is very cool, it is less magical than the “front of house” experience. For this reason, I would suggest saving the VIP experience for later in the trip when you have seen a lot of the front of the parks. We personally really enjoyed this feature. It also lets you experience attractions in a bit of a different way as well which is super fun!
Ride car preference
The VIP guides tell you where you want to be on each ride and request it to the cast members. Typically, you want the back car on many coasters with the exception of one of the fan favorites. On that one, it is the front. He requests these locations when arriving at the attraction to give the guest the very best ride experience possible.
For those in your group that are into Hidden mickeys, many guides are well-versed in where to find them. This is a fun past time going to and from each attraction throughout the day.
Attraction Suggestions and VIP Seating
My daughter and I have never done the Frozen sing-along. I know, crazy but we have just never gotten the opportunity. He suggested it and thought we would really like it due to the more adult humor. WE LOVED IT. Not only did we love it but he called ahead and let them know what show we would be making. They have saved seating and you literally walk in and get prime seating without the early arrival. When we got there, I heard the cast member at the entrance radio ahead and say “VIPS coming your way.” I felt like a celebrity!
Character Meet N Greet
Before riding Frozen Ever After in Epcot, we did the Anna and Elsa meet n greet to see how this would work with a guide. They clear the room! It is just you and the cast members with Anna and Elsa! It would be a magical experience for those kids who adore these characters.
Mixed ages groups
I asked how it works if you have two different age groups where the little guys can’t ride something due to height requirements. He said they typically put the younger kiddos on a close by attraction with an adult in their party and then go ride the other ride with the rest of the party. For example, if Seven Dwarfs Mine train is next, he would put the littles on the Winnie the Pooh ride with an adult (right across from Seven Dwarfs Mine Train) and then go on Seven Dwarfs with the rest of the group. This is not always that easy but he said it usually works and keeps everyone enjoying attractions while utilizing time the best.
There are many ways to spend time with a VIP Tour Guide. We will be testing an All Thrill Rides VIP Tour guide day next month with 5 teenagers and will let you know how that goes. We will do all thrill rides at all four parks! I can’t wait to experience this as well.
As I said, every experience will be different and every guide has their own flare to how they go about things but you will see attractions in a more efficient way, learn things you probably didn’t know, and make a new friend. I know many people that use the same guide trip after trip. Using the VIP tour guide is such a great use of your time and enhancing the Disney experience in such a way, you will not question the investment.
Please do not forget to tip your guide. It is not mandatory but appreciated. 20% is the customary tip for these guides.
Your travel agent can add an VIP Tour guide to your booking. Ask the for pricing and details.
Written by Amy Westerman
Chief Magic Officer, Ears of Experience