Vip private tour....pro/con

hookem91

Earning My Ears
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
So we were thinking of saying what the “heck”....I called and a vip private tour for 3 is $4700 for 8 hours..but they said you only get to ride Velocicoaster 1 time (if operational). Ugh...the express passes for the rest of the day thrown in as a benefit are a waste since we are already staying at the Portofino. Has anyone had experience with the vip tours? Trying to justify saying “carpe diem” and spend last year’s vaca money doing something crazy. You also get 3 days of photopass but if you do the tour the first day after you fly in, you risk not being able to cancel (48 hour rule) for full refund in case your flight has a major snafu. Not sure they “prorate” the photopass to 2days prior plus the day of the tour. Wondering if the unlimited EP they throw in can be negotiated to Volcano Bay instread. And perhaps booking day of or day prior is a better idea....just in case the flight in gets messed up. Any advice would be great.
 
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macraven

Proud Redhead
Moderator
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Those private day tours do fill up
If this is your first time to do the UO parks , you will be spoiled for life as your tour guide handles the schedule for your group
Last I heard, meals were included for that price

contact guest services if they are flexible to include volcano bay and leave off one of the parks for your 8 hour tour for the day

I do not know if that’s possible
to substitute one event
And then leave out one of the regular planned pleases

Guest services would
Know it that is possible

contact them
The worse thing that could happen is to tell you no
 

Andysol

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
So we were thinking of saying what the “heck”....I called and a vip private tour for 3 is $4700 for 8 hours..but they said you only get to ride Velocicoaster 1 time (if operational). Ugh...the express passes for the rest of the day thrown in as a benefit are a waste since we are already staying at the Portofino. Has anyone had experience with the vip tours? Trying to justify saying “carpe diem” and spend last year’s vaca money doing something crazy. You also get 3 days of photopass but if you do the tour the first day after you fly in, you risk not being able to cancel (48 hour rule) for full refund in case your flight has a major snafu. Not sure they “prorate” the photopass to 2days prior plus the day of the tour. Wondering if the unlimited EP they throw in can be negotiated to Volcano Bay instread. And perhaps booking day of or day prior is a better idea....just in case the flight in gets messed up. Any advice would be great.
That’s an absurd amount of money for 3 people when you already have express passes at Portofino.

Is that price for “up to x guests”? Because if that’s the case- maybe see about splitting the cost with another family (possibly even on here)?

Everybody’s finances are different. But I’d save that stimmy money, personally.
 

Eeyore1220

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
I can give you my perspective - we did one in August of 2018. It is a crazy amount of money (we split the cost with my parents and had a seven-person tour - myself, DH, DD 4, DS 8, Grandma and Grandpa and our babysitter/dear friend. We were going for one day in August, and my parents felt really strongly that they couldn't handle the lines in the heat. The express pass purchases for 7 of us were very expensive, and the tour at the time (not sure post covid) included three full meals and stroller rental, so the meals would have been costly for 7 of us. Is it "worth" it? That is an individual question that depends on so many factors. For us, it was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience and I loved every minute of it, but I'm going back to Universal in June and we're definitely not doing it again (mostly because my husband would divorce me, lol). We were pre-covid, pre-velocicoaster, and pre-Hagrid's, so my info might not be the most helpful, but I thought I'd share. Here are a few notes that made it such a great day for us:
- the meals were excellent. We had breakfast and lunch as the only party or one of two parties in a private restaurant. Breakfast was yummy and lunch was an amazing sampler of all of the Universal restaurants. For dinner we were able to pick any restaurant we wanted and the meal was covered - we chose a really good Italian place on City Walk, unfortunately I can't remember the name.
- it's truly front of the line service. I've never done Disney VIP but I've heard that's just fastpass lanes. This is walk ahead of EVERYONE or go in a back entrance service. It was actually awkward a couple of times, and we definitely got some "who ARE these people" looks. But it's really a "do whatever you want tour." We were curious about the best seats for Gringott's, so our guide told us to try it twice in a row from the front and from the back. We went on Forbidden Journey through the gift shop somehow - no line at all. Lots of back entrances. The only reason we didn't get to do absolutely everything we wanted was a big rain storm (August, Florida, of course).
- Our tour guide was amazing. She had so many great stories about the park. I mentioned to her how obsessed my daughter was with Trolls and Dora. She took us to a spot for a parade where Dora went by, and Dora and Diego "somehow" picked her out of the crowd to come say hi. Then she led us to a quiet area and "randomly" Poppy from Trolls came out and said hi to my daughter. Obviously I saw our guide chatting on her phone right before both of those "random" moments that made my daughter's day.

It did seem like the perks were set, so I don't know if they will exchange one for another. Never hurts to ask.

Again, YMMV now that we're in the post-covid era, but I did think that Universal went out of their way to make this day feel incredibly special. I thought our guide earned every bit of the tip we gave her. We are not in a financial position to make this a habit, or probably to do it ever again, but I know I will feel a little bit sad in June when we walk past the VIP office at the gate where the tours start, lol. I hope this helps!
 

TheGatekeeper

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 24, 2020
I don't understand why there is such an astronomical price tag. If you already have express passes, then I have no idea what you would need the almost 5K tour.
I agree. I got to do a VIP tour of IoA many years ago when it first opened, it was not private...perhaps 8 others totaling 10 people in all. It included more of a continental breakfast (I think, it was a long time ago) so not the fancy food options but it was front of the line for the rides. I do not see the value in this at all unless I had nearly unlimited funds. There are so many better and more luxurious ways of splurging. I do not see that much of an increased benefit over EPs to justify even half that cost.
So my advice is if you have to ask if it's worth it, then it's not worth it.
 

cfoxga

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
We were scheduled for a non-VIP tour in March 2020 before Covid stopped our trip. While we had been several times to UO, my parents had not and my dad doesn't like waiting in lines at all. I explained that with EPs (we were booked at HRH), most of the lines would be very short but we decided to do it since it would likely be their only trip to UO. The non-private VIP tour was not nearly as pricey (around $300 pp), so it was much more "reasonable" than the private tour. But as others said, if you already have EPs, it really isn't necessary.

If I were staying offsite and wanted to go to UO for a single day, then the non-VIP tour seems like a good option if the price is palatable...
 
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