Anyone done the Disney Studios Tour through Disney Movie Rewards?

DisEye

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Hello! I have enough DMR points to claim the Disney Studios gold tour. Has anyone done this? :confused: I'm wondering how easy it is to set up a date.
My daughter is a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton and we are going to visit her in about 3 weeks. I would love to do the tour while we are there but I don't want to claim it and then not be able to get a tour scheduled. It says that you have a year to use them, but I'm not sure we'll be able to get there again in that time frame. She may not be there in 6 months so I'm hesitant to use my points. I've been saving them for many years!

Any information on this experience would be appreciated. Thanks! :)
 

cwguy

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
I'm also curious about peoples experience with this... I only have just over 6000 points right now, but 12,000 seems doable in the future if I saved. It looks like there is also an avenue to a studio tour through joining D23 (for less than half the points to join d23 family gold). The major differences that I see are that the D23 tours are only on specific weekend dates and are 2.5 hours, whereas the rewards points tour is during the week during normal working hours, are 2 hours and may be less crowded, and dates may be more flexible?
 

Kurayamino

Earning My Ears
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
I have done the Disney Studio lot tour twice (and I live on the East Coast).

- The D23 Paid Tour
- The Walt Disney Studios Platinum Private VIP Tour For Up To 4 for 25,200 points

The tours NEVER take place during the August D23 Expo dates. I've tried twice. There are few differences between the 2 logistically. I'll start with the paid one.

D23 Paid Tour
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The D23 tour was done on Saturday, November 5 @ 9:00am. I'm sure it's changed a little bit since then but the tour was only $80.00 per person (limit 2), Walt's Office was just finished and added to the tour, and it was a tour group of roughly around 30 people. From what I saw, the 2019 tours were once a month, $99.00 a person (limit 2), and still sold out in seconds. It looks like the 2020 tours dropped back down to $80.00, but happen much more frequently.

The D23 tours used to only be on the weekend, but now look like they take place on Saturday as well as Monday. After you purchase your ticket, no interaction between you and Disney takes place other than a few e-mail reminders. The tour was slated for 9:00am and there were only 3 or 4 tours that day. They give you the address on where to enter. We each had to show our IDs at the security gate, and I had my D23 membership card on hand (like stated in the e-mails) but I don't remember having to show it. You get your badge for the day and head on in. On Saturdays, the parking lot was empty except for the other tour guests all going to the same location so there wasn't much confusion.

From here you all gather in the building right outside the gym and Disney Store. Everyone sits around talking and looking at the things hung on the wall (such as old guest lists with some very famous celebrities signing in on them) until it begins. This 3 hour tour is extremely structured and looks like it'll be even more so next year with start times every 30 minutes for what looks like the first 4 hours of the day. You watch a small video, get a pamphlet, and the walking portion begins.

I don't want to spoil anything on the tour, but it's very cool and the 3 hours flies by. Because it was Saturday it wasn't terribly busy, and almost dead at times. If you've done the Sony, Paramount, or Warner Bros. tours (all recommended) it's a bit different because there's not as many sound stages to visit or go through. You walk a LOT of the studio lot outside in the sun and enter just portions of a couple buildings. Being a group of 20-30 or so, there are some areas where they break you up and you just go in smaller groups of 5-10 at a time. This alone eats up a bunch of time because not only do they have to get everyone on your group through, but they're tight on time because there's a tour group right behind you that started 30 minutes later. I think the price is worth it (especially since it's the only easiest way to get onto the lot).

At the end you get a (rather large) pin, and time to shop in the Disney Store. There are currently 2 stores there: the Disney Store and the Employee store. When we went, only the Disney store was open. Note that this is just that: a Disney store. Most of the stuff you can get at any Disney Store or ShopDisney.com so I suggest looking it up on your phone as you shop if you're low on luggage space or want to wait for a sale. A corner of the store is merchandise exclusive to that store and that's where all the good stuff is. Most of it is "Walt Disney Animation" shirts, hoodies, polos, etc. You will want to peruse this stuff and not worry about the rest of the store unless they're carrying something that you never see in stock. There's a good chance they'll have it. You leave pretty much on time give or take 15-20 minutes.



Disney Movie Rewards / Disney Movie Insiders Points Tour
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The points tour used to come in 3 flavors... this is from memory because I can't find anything on Google about the old descriptions
Silver was 12,500 points for up to 4 people
Gold was 17,500 points for up to 8 people
Platinum was 25,200 points for up to 4 people.

Now it looks like they got rid of the Silver tour completely and Gold was reduced to the old Silver price of 12,500 points for 8 people. Platinum has stayed the same. From the old wording, the up to 8 people could have been a private tour of 2 groups who redeemed, or up to 8 from your own party. The wording has changed so you might want to e-mail them to verify if it will just be your group alone (which is definitely what you want... I can't stress that enough). I contemplated on saving a ton of points by just doing the Gold tour because it's a huge jump in point redemption, but I'm am very glad I opted the 25,200 Platinum Tour. We opted in right before Disney Movie Rewards became Disney Movie Insiders but I don't really think it affected anything.

I recommend you e-mail questions to DMR/DMI before you redeem this. They can answer some questions for you, but not all of them until you actually spend the point. I also recommend you have an idea of the time you want to go if you're coming from out of state. Remember you cannot go during D23 Expo months.

You redeem the tour like a normal DMR reward. You'll get an e-mail confirmation that you redeemed the award, it gives you a reference number, and tells you to call a number to get things setup. The tour dates are kind of flexible but require a lot of planning on your party

- The private tours were only available Monday through Thursday (NO WEEKENDS)
- They ask you when you're looking to go and will give you THREE dates that you can opt in for and they'll see if they can accommodate you
- You need to leave at least SIX weeks before the earliest date you choose. This means no spur of the moment planning. We were going for Blizzcon & Dapper Day and this just happened to line up with our dates. We chose Monday - November 4, 2019. This was our only available date while we were there and we told them this on the phone. They said I had to apply for it and they'll get back to me. If it didn't work out we still had 12 months to redeem the tour, but luckily it worked out.

After discussing this, they will send you a follow up e-mail with a Microsoft Word document attached that you need to provide the following

- Your name
- Your DMI/DMR e-mail
- Your reward shipping address
- Your contact phone number
- 3 of the dates they informed you of from the pool of dates you discussed over the phone. Be mindful of how you enter them because these dates are prioritized in the order you put them.
- The first and last names of the 1 to 4 people going with you. This part seems pretty concrete. Make sure you know who is going because I don't think you can change it. Everyone needs an ID as well (I'm not how kids work since it was 3 adults), and the name needs to match the ID. They will check.

After you e-mail it back, the turn around time is pretty quick. I only entered the one November 4 date in the list of 3 dates and we got it. Please know that your mileage may vary with the date so be early, be certain, and be flexible. You get a congratulations e-mail and an attached itinerary in PDF format with the itinerary on it including

- Start Time
- GPS Address for parking
- Attire (which is really whatever you would wear in the theme park... just be comfortable, especially with shoes)
- Guest List (make sure all of the names are 100% correct and match the ID they will be using at the security checkpoint)

From here on there is no other interaction with Disney other than a few reminder e-mails all the way up until a few days before the trip. From here the actual tour guide will e-mail you with confirmation, more information, and answer any questions you have if you reply to the e-mail in time.



Day of the Tour Platinum Tour
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We were staying at the Grand Californian and took a Lyft from Anaheim to Burbank. This is like an hour drive and very far. That means it's about $50.00 each way before tip, but it was still cheaper than renting a car. Being a weekday meant we also left around 7:30am for a 10:00am tour start. You want to be there much earlier than later due to California traffic, and the confusing nature of a work day on a studio lot. It's better to be early and wait than rejected because you're late.

We ended up getting there around 9:00am. When pulling into the entrance indicated on the itinerary, we were greeted by security. All of us showed our IDs (I think even our Lyft driver even though he indicated that he was just dropping us off). He gave us 3 badges, and an extra badge to leave on our dashboard in case he did want to park for a little bit. He instructed us to turn around, and go use a different entrance... which ended up being the same entrance we used during the Paid D23 tour.

Our tour coincided with 2 things: 1 week before the launch of Disney+, and 2 days before The Little Mermaid Live! taping that was being filmed on location that coming Wednesday. Needless to say with those 2 events, and it being a working lot day, it was a crazy busy lot. We sat outside on the benched for about 40 minutes watching Little Mermaid Live! celebrities do interviews on the step and repeat no less than 50 feet away up until our tour guide found us and we went to the Commissary.

This is where your mileage may vary and where it differs the most compared to the paid D23 tour. The D23 tour is scheduled for roughly 3 hours. They abide by this schedule due to the amount of people, and the structure of the multiple tours going through. The Platinum tour is actually scheduled for 2.5 hours. The 30 minute deduction is probably because there's far less people in the tour group. Well our guide threw all of that out the window when he asked us if we were pressed for time... i.e. if it was ok that we went over the 2.5 hours. We said take as much time as you're willing to give us. Well that meant talking and getting to know each other for an entire hour. He asked us questions, like what our favorite Disney movies are, what parks we've been to, and notably how long it took to obtain 25,200 DMR points. Apparently the average is 6-8 years. He was training someone as well so we had an additional guide who shadowed him and answered any questions we had as well.

Our private group of 4 vs the large group of 30 meant we could ask any question we wanted with as long of an answer that we were willing to listen to. We could ask to go in certain places and they'd usually oblige if it was possible. Examples include the Marketing floor, some break rooms, etc. For 25,200 points you get FREEDOM and a very 'wing it' kind of tour instead if it's in the books. We informed him that we took the D23 tour and he tried to venture away from most of the stuff we'd see on that tour other than the big stuff.

I don't want to spoil this tour either, but just know that we went to a LOT of places that we did not get to go to on the D23 one. We also spent as much time in Walt's Office as we wanted to until all of our questions were answered... or they were done telling us the multitude of information coming from there. Our guide just kept extending our tour asking us if we were sure we weren't pressed for time and adding new places to show us up until we realized it had been 4 hours and we didn't eat yet. He invited us to eat at the commissary with them (something normally NOT included on the tour), in which we gladly purchased lunch for the both of them. (The food is actually pretty good there by the way).

SIX AND A HALF hours later it was time for the tour to end. We got to shop in the Disney Store once again for new Walt Disney Studio exclusive apparel. I didn't see any of the stuff from 2016. Also, the brand new employee store was open and it had a TON of employee (Walt Disney Company) exclusives. We bought so much stuff from there because it's exclusive to there and only there. You won't even get that stuff at a Mickey's of Glendale sale. I'll try to include some pictures later if I remember to take them.

After that, we all took a group photo, and he supplied us with an exclusive pin. The pin was exclusive to the DMR tour, but I'm not sure it was exclusive to the Platinum tour itself. It is a completely different pin from the D23 Paid tour.

After that we took a Lyft back (and it was rush hour at that time so it was a 1.5 hour drive).

I have to repeat, please note here that your mileage may also very. The studio itself could be on extremely busy or on lock down during a work day and you may very well only get the 2.5 hours indicated. There are a lot of factors involved including the schedule of your tour guide themselves. But having taken a structured 3 hour tour, and then a very unstructured 6.5 hour tour... just know that there is a LOT to see at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, CA. You will never get to see all of it. We do a decent amount of Disney (Premier Passholders, gone to Disneyland Paris, D23 Expo 4 years), and I still learned a lot from these 2 tours.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I don't frequent the boards often, but hopefully the notifications are intact.
 
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DisEye

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 6, 2006
Wow! Thank you so much for the detailed description! It sounds like the Platinum tour is the way to go if I can save up the points. Right now I have almost 16000 so I have a ways to go, but I don't have any plans to be in California for a while so I have some time.

I may have questions later but for now you've answered my initial questions. Thanks again for taking the time to write this and for all the information!
 

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