Everything you need to know about Disney VIP tours

Disney VIP Tour Pin sent to you when you take the private tour.
The collectors pin for taking a VIP Private Tour. (Danielle South)

If you have ever been to a Disney Park, you’ve probably seen those cast members in plaid walking around the park with a family, skipping you in line, and making you wonder how exactly they were able to do that. Well, that was a Disney VIP tour guide! Any family is able to purchase a Disney World VIP tour, allowing them their own personal park guide to traverse the parks, offer insights and history on the lands, and most importantly – SKIP ALL THE LINES!

Disney VIP tours are a great way to maximize your time at Disney World, since they are the only way to actually skip the lines in the parks. However, this perk can come at a rather steep cost. A Disney World VIP tour costs $425-$850 per hour, depending on the time of year. Busier times of the year, such as Christmastime, summer, and U.S holiday weekends, will be approaching the $850 mark, while slower seasons such as late winter/early spring and early fall will get you the lower price. Since a minimum of seven hours for a single day is required for your booking, you’ll be paying a minimum of $3,000, plus a tip and the cost of the park tickets which are NOT included in the price. Therefore, the maximum total price tag can exceed $10,000 for a single day in the park. If that price tag isn’t too hefty for you and your family, a Disney World private tour may be a good option for you! Below is a summary of the perks, answers to questions you may have, and some things to consider before you reserve your private tour.

How do I become a VIP in Disney World? What are the rules?

Skip the lines and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a VIP Tour.
Skip the lines and ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad with a VIP Tour. (Photo by Bayley Clark / Magical Guides)

Getting your own Disney private VIP tour is relatively simple. Much like any other reservation, you can go on Disney’s website and make a reservation for a VIP tour guide on any specific date that you’ll be vising. Note that you still need park tickets and a reservation, and keep in mind that like many of Disney’s most popular experiences, VIP tours can sell out or be unavailable on specific dates Be sure to check for reservation availability as soon as you can! Normally, Disney will let you book reservations 60 days in advance. Reservations can easily be made via Disney’s website or by phone. As long as your desired tour day is available and you have valid park tickets for your whole group, you’re good to go! For the VIP tour, you are allowed 10 total guests – including infants. It is somewhat common for a couple of families to team up to mitigate some of the costs of the experience, since the price for the tour is NOT per person – it’s the same whether you have a family of 3 of a group of 10!

What are the perks of a VIP tour?

EPCOT Ball contains Spaceship Earth, which you can skip the lines with a VIP Tour.
EPCOT Ball contains Spaceship Earth, which you can skip the lines with a VIP Tour. (Photo by Bayley Clark / Magical Guides)

The biggest perk of a Disney World VIP tour is that your group will be able to skip the line on every attraction you want. Want to ride every ride in Magic Kingdom back to back? Easy. Want to hit all of the best rides at two parks in a single day? Done. You’ll be able to walk right up to the front of the line – sometimes through Lightning Lane and sometimes through special backstage entrances. Note that a couple of the rides are not unlimited. For example, a VIP tour would allow you to ride Rise of the Resistance or Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind without having to go through the trouble of reserving a boarding group, but you will usually only be allowed to ride once. Most other attractions you could do over and over again if you desire!

Another perk is that Disney will offer some basic planning for your trip and can answer any lingering questions about how you will want to spend your time in the parks. You won’t have to worry about getting to the parks early or hiking around in the hot Florida sun because your tour will allow you to skip right past all of the stress! They will lay out a general itinerary for your visit, but you are totally in control and get to call all the shots, so just let them know what you want!

In addition to the being the only real way to skip the lines at Disney, the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable on park history, secrets, and fun facts. If you’re a huge Disney fan, you can get a lot of value by asking questions and asking for secrets as you walk around the park. As you’re walking around the parks, be sure to walk with the guide to ask questions and have them point out cool facts! Did you know the gravestone for Mr. Toad is at the exit of the haunted mansion? Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was a former attraction in Fantasyland which was taken over by Winnie the Pooh – you can also see a picture in the ride of Mr. Toad giving Owl the deed to the property!

Your VIP tour guide will also help your group out by fetching drinks and snacks (like ice cream Mickey Bars!). For example, while you’re taking a bathroom break, your guide can wander off to grab some drinks for you and meet with your party after! The same can happen while you’re riding a ride, as tour guides normally will simply wait for you at the exit of the ride. If someone in your group wants to wait out a ride (maybe roller coasters aren’t for them!), the tour guide can keep them company. Effectively, your VIP tour guide will help you out with whatever your family needs! Though this is seemingly a minor perk, those $5 a bottle drinks and ice creams can really add up for a large group, so don’t be afraid to ask for more of what you want! Note that this does not include most food or dining – it’s more of snack types of refreshment or other items which don’t cost Disney all that much to procure (such as ponchos if it starts to rain). I have seen kids make a best friend out of their tour guide, with the tour guide pushing them around in stroller and generally creating magical memories for young visitors.

Lastly, VIP tour guides can grant you access to a few behind-the-scenes things in the parks, taking you into areas usually unseen by guests. For example, you may be allowed to park directly behind Main Street at Magic Kingdom! There, you’d meet up with your VIP tour guide, get your special VIP lanyards, and head off into the park to start your day. Normally, you’ll walk around on stage from ride to ride, but you can also step backstage in some areas. If you have your guide up to fireworks time, you can also get special viewing for Disney’s nighttime shows. You’ll also obtain a special VIP Tour pin which you can’t buy elsewhere, so it can be a truly unique addition to your pin collection!

Is a Disney VIP Tour worth it?

That depends on how much money you’re willing to spend and how much time you have in the parks! The biggest question you should ask yourself is “is my time so limited that I need to get EVERYTHING done as fast as possible?” If the answer is no, I recommend that you simply take more time on your vacation to enjoy the parks. Take two days to go to Magic Kingdom instead of one, buy a Genie+ and individual lightning lanes every day, and visit all of the parks. You can also spend your extra budget on a nicer resort experience, fine dining, or something else. The total cost of your holiday will still likely be cheaper than the total cost of the VIP tour. A 7-day vacation with 2 Magic Kingdom days will still ensure you’re able to ride everything you wanted! Sure, you’ll have to wait in a few lines, but you will have more time to slow down and truly enjoy the parks. You can have park days, relaxation days, and days off to explore the rest of Florida.

On the other hand, if you’re flying in for Disney, only have 1 or 2 days on your visit, want to do EVERY ride, and enjoy being pampered, the VIP tour could be worth it for your family. It can really take all of the stress and planning away in a snap. If you break all the money down by what you get for the value, you will (depending on many factors) end up paying around $25-$40 per ride for a day at Magic Kingdom.

Another reason that the tour may be a good idea for your group is if you’re visiting the parks at a ridiculously busy time of the year. Since the COVID pandemic, Disney has kept attendance limits on the parks, so nothing has been as crazy at it used to be (Magic Kingdom capped at about 90,000 people!). However, if you’re visiting right around Christmas, the parks WILL BE BUSY, so even if you purchase Genie+ and Lightning Lane, you may struggle to experience every attraction in a couple of days. At the end of the day, if that few thousand dollars is burning a hole in your pocket and you want a completely unforgettable experience, go for it!

If you think a VIP tour may be for you, but are worried about the total cost, you may be able to find another group of 4 or 5 (to get your total near 10) to split the cost with. There are also social media groups for this exact reason. Keep in mind that this means you might be spending an entire day with a family you don’t know, which has the potential to really dampen your trip. At the end of the day, even if you’re able to skip lines and get way more done, the whole point of your trip should be to create memories with your family.

FAQ’s on VIP Tours

What will my day look like? You’ll start your day by following Disney’s instructions to park in a special spot and typically enter the park through a backstage area. Then, your VIP tour guide will introduce themselves, give you your special lanyard, and lead you into the park. From there, you get to call all the shots. You can let them know where you want to go and what you want to do, ask them any questions, and generally do whatever you want. On your way to attractions, you are allowed to walk in some backstage areas to see certain things most normal guests don’t get to see, such as the Utilidors under Magic Kingdom. You can stay with your guide as long as you want. If you want them to stay around all day into the night, they can help get you special seating for the nighttime spectaculars at the parks. When you wrap up, your guide will say goodbye and give you the special VIP tour pin.

Will a VIP tour get me into Club 33?

No. Club 33 is a member only access (unless you make friends with someone who is a member and enter as their guest!). If you don’t already know, Club 33 is an exclusive club Walt set up for himself and special guests in Disneyland above New Orleans square. As of a couple of years ago, Disney World now also has a club 33 in each of its parks!

Are there any other types of special tours?

Yes! Disney offers backstage tours of their parks (such as the popular Keys to the Kingdom tour which) which take guests backstage and around the park, giving them all sorts of neat Disney knowledge. If you’re a Disney lover looking to have more appreciation for the parks, these tours may be a better option for you than a VIP tour. The cost is much cheaper, will take about half your day, and still give you a special experience.

What do I need to bring on my VIP Disney tour?

Sundries that you can purchase at the Dolphin hotel in case you forget something you might need.
Sundries that you can purchase at the Dolphin hotel in case you forget something you might need. ( Photo by Bayley Clark / MagicalGuides)

Treat your tour day like any other park day. You’ll still need sunscreen, diapers, strollers (though a VIP tour guide can get you a rental), and anything else you’d be taking to the park, so keep that in mind. The only items you might leave at the resort for your tour day would be snacks since your tour guide can usually help with that!

How do I get the most out of my Disney VIP tour?

To get the most value out of your tour, you’ll want to focus on rides. If you’re spending a lot of time wandering around the park, eating lunch and dinner, you’re not making the most of the time with your VIP guide. If you go straight from ride to ride, you’ll be able to do everything very quickly! Most people tour Magic Kingdom because it has the most attractions, and therefore the most bang for your buck. You can also start your day at Magic Kingdom, then hop to another park and clear out the rides there too! You could even go to all 4 parks in a single day if you wanted.

Do I need to tip my Disney VIP tour guide? Yes, VIP tour guides are some of the only tipped cast members at Disney world. You will be expected to tip 10-20% of the total cost of your experience. You are allowed to tip with value other than cash (if you’re averse to carrying a lot on your trip), though this is generally frowned upon.

If my plans fall through, can I cancel a VIP Tour reservation? Yes, you can cancel your reservation without being charged if you cancel before your trip. If you’re trying to cancel within 48 hours of your scheduled time, you’ll be charged a fee of 2 hours per the rate you booked the tour.

Do I get free food? For the most part, no. Tour guides will be able to get you all sorts of basic snacks and drinks, but don’t expect them to pick up the tab at a restaurant. Also keep in mind that if you are wanting to sit down for a nice meal during your park visit, you’ll still be paying for that time with your VIP tour guide.

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