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View Full Version : IOA/Universal VIP Tour Review


bean bunny
09-08-2011, 10:02 PM
My husband and I recently had the opportunity to experience the exclusive 1 Day/2 Park VIP tour at Universal/IOA. I had trouble finding many reviews of the tour so I thought I'd share my thoughts for anyone looking in the future!

Our day began at 9:30 a.m. when we reported to the VIP tour check in just outside the gates of Islands of Adventure. Inside this small area there are team members to greet you and there is a nice seating area with water, coffee, and restrooms while you wait for your tour to begin. The tour cost doesn't include park admission but when you check in someone will take your tickets and activate them for the day. We received VIP lanyards and shortly before 10:00 we met our tour guide and set out for our day.

He showed us interesting details just inside the park that we'd never noticed even with many trips over the years. He explained his role in our day and asked a couple of questions about what we'd like to experience and our preferences and we were off!

We began our morning at the Amazing Adventures of Spiderman where we were able to go backstage and see the maintenance bay which was quite interesting! They showed us how the car works and it really added to the enjoyment of the ride later. We then went in through a back entrance and were put in the front seat on the next car. (This was a fun perk of the VIP tour, you are always put in the front of the ride vehicle and it's even faster than the front of the line access because you are put on the very next vehicle so you have no wait.) Our guide rode this ride with us and pointed out a couple of things we hadn't noticed before.

Next my husband rode Dr. Doom and our guide already knew that I wasn't a big fan of roller coasters - I find it mostly fun just to be there and enjoy the atmosphere and theming. I have a newer DSLR and I'm still very new to getting good photos but our guide put me in just the right spot to get fantastic photos of my husband on the ride. He came out and told me exactly where he would be and the pictures turned out great!

Next up was the Hulk and we went up the exit ramp of the ride (and we got very good at staying right as we swam upstream throughout the day) I was taken to the Child Swap area to wait in the nice air conditioning while my husband was put on the front seat again to ride.

While my husband was on the Hulk our guide arranged for us to have lunch at Mythos later which we hadn't been to in years!

We walked over to Seuss Landing where we rode Cat in the Hat (I'm just not a fan of this ride - it's so jerky and rough!) He then took us to the Zax Bypass behind Green Eggs and Ham which has a really wonderful story about the creation of the park and was instrumental in getting the approval of Dr. Seuss' wife in agreeing to be part of IOA.

Next up was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. He walked us into Zonkos and pointed out lots of great things inside the store and in windows throughout this area of the park. He toured us through Three Broomsticks and Hogshead Brew, pointing out great connections to the movie. Next up was a leisurely tour of the castle before my husband rode Forbidden Journey. In this ride as well I waited in the child swap area where they had a Harry Potter movie playing.

We had never ridden Flight of the Hippogriff and he put us right on and we LOVED it. Very fun for a chicken like me :)

We walked through the Owlery and then onto Dragon Challenge. He pointed out a great spot for photos of Hogwarts. We walked through the queue and he pointed out the tapestries that line one room that are virtually unseen until you take a photo with a flash! People in line were in awe as well when they became visible with the light of the camera. My husband was then able to ride on each side but he opted for just one today.

Lunch at Mythos was great. There was a line but we were taken right to a table with a great view. This is a great break in the day! The food was really good - we had forgotten how much we enjoyed it so many years before.

Our guide also took a break during this time and we met up one hour later. He took us through a back entrance in Seuss Landing, we crossed a street and magically we were in Universal! I wished we could always use this path to get between the two parks!

Our guide took us into the DAVE School of Engineering. This isn't always an option but on this particular day the School was open and we got a great tour of the classes in session and the stages used for filming. Just earlier that day a show had been filmed for the Golf channel. It was neat seeing how the sets are arranged to look like a house but it's really just a small area! As we were leaving a staff member gave us a DVD of student created films and 3D glasses to watch them. It was great to experience!

Next up was Shrek 4D which I'd never done for some reason and really loved! My husband then rode Rip Ride Rock It and the Mummy which our guide also rode with him. They took a great photo which we had to purchase as a remembrance of our day with a fantastic guide!

We visited the Horror Makeup Show which we'd also never done before. This was really great! I didn't expect it to be so funny and we enjoyed front row seats and were able to go in the theatre 15 minutes before the show started to hear a little more about the show from our guide. I "appeared" in the show a bit which I think our guide had something to do with. It was really a fun time.

Next up was ET where our guide shared interesting things about the ride and the naming process. We rode MIB next and we had a special locker in a back room to keep our things along with a "briefing" on how we might get our best ever score. After the ride we were able to go into the area of the queue with the desks (cant' think of the name of the office in the movie) with the aliens at the reception desk. We couldn't touch anything of course but we could walk around everywhere and look at everything. It was kind of odd being down there with people in the queue line looking down at us wondering what we were doing but definitely a unique opportunity that we'll never have again!

Jaws was our next ride and we had a great tour guide and this was a fun experience. We concluded our tour with Disaster where my husband appeared as a "star" in the movie which was very fun. Our tour guide offered to take us back to IOA for the water rides but we are always able to get on anything we need to over there with the front of the line pass so we saved him the extra trip back over. He walked us out and we thanked him profusely for a great day.

This isn't an inexpensive tour but they really treat you like a VIP! You are taken in through the backstage of every ride. We never waited in a line the entire day. We were able to choose what seat we wanted in each ride and learned lots of details about the parks. It was a great experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone!! Please let me know if you have any questions!

lauralong81
09-08-2011, 11:10 PM
This sounds absolutely wonderful!!! Would love to see all the pics you got that us normal minions don't get!! :lmao:

Sounds great, and thanks so much for sharing!
-Laura

Bluer101
09-09-2011, 08:23 AM
Was this the private VIP (just your family) or group VIP (shared with a few others)?

Either way is sounds nice.

bean bunny
09-09-2011, 10:01 AM
This sounds absolutely wonderful!!! Would love to see all the pics you got that us normal minions don't get!! :lmao:

Sounds great, and thanks so much for sharing!
-Laura

I didn't end up taking many pictures after the Dr. Doom ride! I was so involved in everything we were doing I really slacked on the photography!

Was this the private VIP (just your family) or group VIP (shared with a few others)?

Either way is sounds nice.

It was the private VIP tour so just the two of us. My understanding is the group VIP you decide as a group what you are going to visit so if there are lots of children your tour might have more kid friendly things.

Bluer101
09-09-2011, 12:24 PM
I just looked up the price, $2500.:scared1:

DiNap44
09-09-2011, 01:26 PM
I just looked up the price, $2500.:scared1:

And you still need to buy the park tickets! :eek: Here's info on the 1 Day-2 Park Group VIP tour:

1 Day/2 Park Tour

This tour departs daily at 10:00 AM eastern from the Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. You and/or your party, along with other VIP Tour guests, will enjoy a guided walking tour of both Universal Studios Florida AND Universal's Islands of Adventure. You will receive priority entrance into at least eight (8) major rides/attractions as your guide escorts you throughout the park.

Tour groups do not exceed 12 guests and the duration of the tour is approximately 7 hours.

Price: $275.00 per person+ tax

NOTE: Tour prices do not include park admission. Anyone under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

A little cheaper :lmao: but your group could be a big as 12 guests. Ouch.

Thanks for your review bean bunny. I always wondered about the VIP tours. It would be great to heard from someone who did the group one.

Metro West
09-09-2011, 02:03 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience.

Even though this is technically a TR, I'm going to leave it on this board for a while.

Bluer101
09-09-2011, 02:20 PM
And you still need to buy the park tickets! :eek: Here's info on the 1 Day-2 Park Group VIP tour:

1 Day/2 Park Tour

This tour departs daily at 10:00 AM eastern from the Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park. You and/or your party, along with other VIP Tour guests, will enjoy a guided walking tour of both Universal Studios Florida AND Universal's Islands of Adventure. You will receive priority entrance into at least eight (8) major rides/attractions as your guide escorts you throughout the park.

Tour groups do not exceed 12 guests and the duration of the tour is approximately 7 hours.

Price: $275.00 per person+ tax

NOTE: Tour prices do not include park admission. Anyone under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult.

A little cheaper :lmao: but your group could be a big as 12 guests. Ouch.

Thanks for your review bean bunny. I always wondered about the VIP tours. It would be great to heard from someone who did the group one.


Well we don't need the park tickets since we are AP holders.;)

I just thought it would be nice for the extra knowledge and some of the behind the scenes. I guess its not worth it also since we always stay onsite.

macraven
09-09-2011, 06:59 PM
I just looked up the price, $2500.:scared1:

it looks like a lot but it is worth it for a private tour.
you can do backstage stuff that guests normally never get to do or see.

i book the private rip hhn tours.
that runs $2000. plus park tickets. plus tip.
well worth it or i wouldn't be booking it all these years.

bean bunny, i'm so glad you came back and gave us your review.
very interesting isn't it...

i love how those tours get you in the front row of the rides all the time.
sounds like you had a great tour guide!