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Old 12-30-2012, 05:15 PM   #1
EK4636
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WDW VIP Tour - our experience

When we first read about the VIP tour, we debated for a month or so when we were planning our vacation mostly due to the cost of the tour. We decided to do it since it was our splurge trip, and boy, are we glad we did!

Once we've confirmed with the VIP tour office, we received a call from our assigned tour coordinator a couple of hours later to ask for our rough plans. At that point, we have done a lot of our planning including ADRs, so I said that we'll get back to him on the things we would like to do. I later sent to him a list of rides that we like to go on along with the parades we would like to see. We also let him know that we'll be at the park 6 days prior to the tour so we may have some additions of "must-do-agains" with our guide. His response was, "No problem. We'll work all this out."

The awesome part about this tour service is that it started even before our arrival in Orlando. Prior to our arrival, we talked to our coordinator about our plans once because we wanted to see Fantasmic! and the Electrical Parade and he was concerned about our dinner plans. Other than that, everything was, "Send me a list, and I'll make it work." Talk about relieving stress!

When we had to change ADRs as our plans changed prior to the trip, it only took an email to our coordinator stating, "We will be at MK on Saturday, and need a place for dinner, everything is booked," and he replied with, "Where would you like to eat?" He then got us in to Crystal Palace at the time we want - it wasn't even on the day of our tour! (There were some limitations - "Be Our Guest" was not an option as it was so new. We also can't ask him to reserve a seat at CP because the VIP Office does not have pulls on seasonal events.)

On the day of the tour, our guide met us at noon at Katsura Grill in Epcot. He was amazingly friendly and connected with us right away. I think our group of 2 adults were very easy for him compare to a family with young children. He reviewed the plans for the day with us by simply asking, "I have everything you've sent to us before your trip, would you like to add or change anything?" We told him that we really liked Dinosaur and EE (which weren't on our original plans since neither of us had been to AK), he said no problem and then off we went to enjoy our day.

We left the Katsura Grill and walked behind Japan to get into our Suburban and the guide drove us to Soarin'. On the way, we got to see all of the Food and Wine Festival booths that they kept behind the scene. We parked right behind Soarin', walked into the Land, and got into the Fastpass line with our guide. Once we got done with Soarin', we headed over to Test Track. Again, using the Fastpass line we rode Test Track. When we were done, we walked out and right back into the Fastpass line to go again. After 3 Test Track runs, we headed back to our car and drove over to AK while our guide tells us a bit more about the parks and some of his stories about hosting other VIPs (without mentioning any names, of course).

When we got to AK, we parked right behind Dinosaur and jumped into the Fastpass line. A cool little benefit with a guide is he knew where all the cameras and when exactly to pose for a picture so our photos came out awesome.

After Dinosaur we went out to Kali River Rapids and rode it twice. Our guide did not go with us as Kali is the only ride they are not allowed to go on as their spiffy uniform may (will) get wet, so he waited outside and held our stuff. After Kali, we headed over to EE, and rode that twice before heading back to our car and drove over to DHS.

At DHS, we parked behind Rock n' Roller Coaster and rode that a couple of times before we went through TSM 3 times in a row. After TSM, we went for a quick dinner. Your guide's meal is on Mickey's tab. After dinner, we headed over to Fantasmic! where we had our own reserved section in the Mickey section at the top of the bowl with fantastic view. When Fantasmic! was over, we stopped by TOT, rode it twice, and drove to MK.

We parked behind Buzz Lightyear and went to the Haunted Mansion (no FP line, but we were told that if the line is too long, they have some pull). We learned a few secrets including where to stand in the stretching room so we can be the first one out the door to board the doombuggy. After that we went to view the Electrical Parade at a reserve seating section which is located between Liberty Square and Cinderella Castle. The view was amazing as no one was allowed in that area except for VIP guests and other selected guests. We were pretty much face-to-face with all the characters. Right after the parade, we went to the Plaza Restaurant for the fireworks right next to the water under the yellow and white umbrellas - again, roped off to other guests. After the fireworks are done, we headed off to meet Mickey at Town Square theater and finished off MK at Buzz Lightyear (2x) before being drove back to our resort at 11pm.

It was an amazing day, and we truly enjoyed it. A few points about this tour:

(1) The cost. As I've said, it is a lot of money, especially now that they are no longer doing 2 versions of the tour (standard vs premium). We were told that the majority of the tours booked are premium anyway so they eliminated the standard version. If you can afford it (or if it's a splurge), I would say go ahead and do it. I wouldn't do it everyday, but I think we made the right decision to do it on our last day after we've explored the parks on our own. Partly because then we know what we'd like to do again and can hit all major attractions in 4 parks in 8 hours and partly because after the VIP treatment, you just can't top that.

(2) The guide. The VIP guide is just awesome, period. They can adapt to your plan, handle last minute changes based on your preference, and act as your scheduler. We didn't have to remember when the parades were and where they were. They will take care of your entrance into the park (not admission tickets, those are not included) and you won't have to wait in line and go through security.

(3) The transportation. It was very nice to be able to go from park to park without having to wait for bus, ferries, or monorail. The ability to drive up right behind the attractions was great, but there's a downside: You get to see the behind-the-scene stuff. For us, we just wanted to get from place to place quickly, it was fine, but I would imagine that some of the magic would be taken away for kids to see cast members (and characters) in the "offstage" environment.

(4) The wait. This tour DOES NOT give you front of the line access, just simply access to the FP line. You will still need to wait in line just like any FP guests (except if you are a REAL VIP). However, it is a convenient feature to have when you want to go on a ride multiple times in a row. Yes, you will still have to get off the ride, come back out, and get back in the FP line.

Would we do it again? Yes, absolutely. Of the two of us, I was the planner and my partner was a thrill junky so it worked out very well for us. Do we need it? No. You can enjoy the parks just fine without VIP guide if you are on top of FPs and know your way around and are willing to wait in line for the other stuff (parades, shows, etc.).

If you have the means, by all means, try it. Just be aware that you may get spoiled!
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:33 PM   #2
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How much does it cost for 2 adults? Is it per person? Would an 8 year old be allowed? How early do you have to book?
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:40 PM   #3
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Ours was $315 an hour with a 6 hour minimum- we had an 8 hour tour. We were staying onsite so it looks like the rates have changed. Maybe though it was because we had the premium tour when they were still offering 2 types.
It was great because my daughter and her friends were able to ride all of their favorites a few times that day.

These are the rates on Disney's site:
Guest Type

Hourly Rate per Guide (regular)
Resort Hotel $275
Non-Resort Hotel 295
Hourly Rate per Guide (holiday)
Resort Hotel $295
Non-Resort Hotel $315
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:41 PM   #4
EK4636
Earning My Ears
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arcticdisneylovers
How much does it cost for 2 adults? Is it per person? Would an 8 year old be allowed? How early do you have to book?
It isa flat rate of $295 per hour with minimum of 6 hours. You can have up to 10 people, any age. I'd recommend booking at least 30 days in advance (the official word is 90 days in advance). The sooner you do the more help they can give you with planning.
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2006, 2005, 2002 - WDW - Off site, 2005 - WDW - Off site, 2000 - WDW - Off site, 1998 - WDW - Grad Nite, 1996, 1994 - WDW - Off site
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