VIP tour or GCH & Genie+ for 9 teens and me?

smiles33

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2011
I was ready to splurge on a VIP tour for a post-pandemic/post-surgery celebration for our first trip since 2019 later this summer in August. We have never done a VIP tour before. However, after reading a ton of threads about VIP tour and LL wait times, I'm torn. Now I'm considering canceling it to stay on-site and use Genie+ instead.

WWYD? Our goals are to maximize our time on the E-ticket rides. Space Mountain, GOTG, and Incredicoaster are our favorites, but we haven't been since 2019 so we haven't been to the new rides at Avengers Campus and Star Wars Launch Bay. I believe our top choices all have LL access so technically we can use Genie+ to get the same access since VIP tours can't skip to the front. However, VIPs can ride multiple times per day. That's the biggest reason I'm hesitating on canceling my VIP tour.

The other benefits of doing a VIP are not relevant to us. Since we're focused on thrill rides, we won't be doing dark rides, any shows, or any of the sit-down restaurants that don't have outdoor seating (we're still super cautious with COVID and not eating indoors so there won't be visits to Blue Bayou, Napa Rose, or Carthay Circle this trip).

Other details:

- The group of visitors include me, 2 DDs (13 and 16) and 7 of my older DD's friends (e.g. her boyfriend + other guys and girls). Since it's a big group and we need 3 rooms, the plan was to stay off-site at the Desert Inn and Suites. We're all rope drop to closing people, so I figured we'll only use the room to sleep. I'm fine staying in a motel but obviously would prefer nicer accommodations. FYI DH dislikes DLR so he's staying home. Other than touring together for the VIP tour, the older teens would go off on their own before/after the tour. If I cancel the VIP tour, I probably won't see my older DD at all until we're ready to head back to the airport. This might mean there's a small advantage to doing the VIP tour as then I'll get some fun ride photos of the entire group. I might even rope her into taking a photo with the Photopass photographer by the RSR billboard for old times' sake.
- We are only there for the weekend, as we fly in on the last flight on Friday night in August after older DD's last day of work at her summer job and fly home Sunday night. Younger DD has already started school by then so we have to return Sunday night. Thus, I want to maximize our time. We're buying 2 day park-hoppers and the current plan is starting in DL first. VIP tour would be Saturday (our only full day in the park) and we'd use Genie+ on Sunday before leaving on the last flight home (which means exiting the park by 5:30 pm or so).
- If we cancel the VIP tour (which is almost $5K during the high season plus an additional tip--do people tip 20%? That's $1,000!), I'd move us on-site to GCH. I checked and 3 standard rooms for 2 nights will cost about $5700. I'd just cover it as the teen friends are paying for the rest of their expenses (airfare and parkhoppers) from their summer job earnings and I know they can't afford GCH. I loved our GCH stay on our last trip as it was so convenient but the room is small and only okay. The premium is the location since we are rope drop to closing people. With that said, we always took an afternoon pool break. If we stay off-site, it's not worth going back to a motel room pool. I was planning to have a leisurely outdoor lunch in DTD with my younger DD after we maximized our morning rope drop time. If we stay on-site, then it's possible I'd go back for a nap in the room or sit by the pool (which it sounds like is crazy busy at all on-site hotels this summer). I liked DLH's bigger rooms and pool area, but that walk felt too long to me given the price. Yes, I agree that going through DTD is a nicer walk than going down Harbor but it's still crowded.
- EMH at the on-site hotels starts AFTER we leave so we don't benefit from that, otherwise I would be even more likely to cancel the VIP tour.

I think those are all the relevant details. I would love to hear your thoughts, DisBoard friends!
 
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starlite_

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Well what do you want most? Closer/nicer hotel and pool for a break or to ride thrill rides multiple times? Do you wanna be wrangling 9 teenagers for 7 hrs? Have you asked them what they would prefer? Maybe they don't care about the pool and would prefer the tour or maybe they want the opposite. :confused3 I say ask them and do what would make everyone happier. The picture thing is kinda moot imo, just take your family pic first thing in the morning before rope drop.
 

cinabc

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 1, 2012
I was debating this when I took DS18 and his friends in March. I kept the tour and they had a blast. I even got a hug from my son at the end of the night! I don't remember the last time I got one from him without asking.

We stayed at the Camelot and the boys were hung out in the room the other days in the afternoon. I think teens don't care about the room as much as the rides. I would keep the tour.
 

evilmommie

Disneyland CM Alumna 80's-90's
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
I agree with @katyringo. Normally, I’d vote GCH all day long. IMO it’s always better to stay in the Disney bubble. With that said and having raised 4 teens, they will probably soak up the VIP experience. Let us know how they vote!
 

PirateBrigade

Yarrrr
Joined
May 25, 2021
I'd also vote for the VIP tour, since your top goal is hitting all the E-tickets. There really won't be a need to go back to the hotel with that age group, and you hit the perfect number maximum number for group size.

Save GCH for another trip!
 

smiles33

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2011
Thanks all! My gut was saying to stick with the VIP tour, but I kept thinking we aren't making the "most" of it since we're only targeting thrill rides and just going in the LL. I know the teens would prefer the VIP tour. They can sleep anywhere. I'm the one who is thinking about how great GCH was compared to past visits elsewhere (HoJo, BWPPI, and DLH). LOL.

starlite: Yeah, I know we can take a quick family photo anywhere before rope drop but our favorite spot was always the RSR/Carsland billboard. Plus we plan to start at DL both days and park hop at 1 pm into DCA so if we don't do the VIP tour, she'd have to drag her friends there to meet me.

I'll confirm later tonight when they're home from work but I think we'll stick with the VIP tour then. Thanks all!
 

starlite_

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 4, 2021
Thanks all! My gut was saying to stick with the VIP tour, but I kept thinking we aren't making the "most" of it since we're only targeting thrill rides and just going in the LL. I know the teens would prefer the VIP tour. They can sleep anywhere. I'm the one who is thinking about how great GCH was compared to past visits elsewhere (HoJo, BWPPI, and DLH). LOL.

starlite: Yeah, I know we can take a quick family photo anywhere before rope drop but our favorite spot was always the RSR/Carsland billboard. Plus we plan to start at DL both days and park hop at 1 pm into DCA so if we don't do the VIP tour, she'd have to drag her friends there to meet me.

I'll confirm later tonight when they're home from work but I think we'll stick with the VIP tour then. Thanks all!
I mean, you are paying for a VIP tour or GCH stay plus taking them all to DLR. The bare minimum they can do is agree to your one request for a picture with your daughters imo, it's not a crazy request and it won't take hrs of their time either. Those consistent family photos are the best, don't miss out because you don't want to "inconvenience" them. And I say this as the friend who was taken to DLR by friends' parents (even tho we never did VIP haha)... plus they can take the opportunity to take pictures themselves as a friend group, it's a win-win.
 

MouseOfCards

Finally jumped in . . .
Joined
Feb 11, 2016
VIP tour is one of those bucket list items for us. Really difficult to justify the cost. Looking forward to trying it one day, though.

Not sure how long to wait to try it since the little ones are growing fast!
 

Nonsuch

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
I am a GCH fan (Superfan!) and frequently take VIP tours. Considering all the details you have shared, a VIP tour is much better than GCH.
My sister-in-law and family are visiting, and although they are experienced park guests we are having a VIP tour. The tour allows (forces) us to have a "group" park visit, rather than everyone just scattering and only re-grouping for meals. Coincidentally, our tour is the same day as yours.
VIP tour, hands down.
A few things to consider to optimize your tour day:
  • VIP Tours currently use the same Lighting Lane entrances as Genie Plus, so it can be an advantage to start the tour close to park opening (before LL backs up). You could easily ride all the DCA attractions in a couple hours, then hop to Disneyland (VIP tours do not need to wait for 1PM)
  • Preferred viewing for night shows is available, even after your tour ends. You may book multiple shows, but overlapping schedules essentially makes the limit 2. Park hopping to see World of Color is possible, but I don't recommend it. Seating is limited, so reserve NOW.
  • VIP tour guide tipping is expected. I have heard of guests tipping anywhere from $20 per person up to 20% of the tour cost. I usually tip $300 -- my guests often contribute to the tip, just as I would contribute as a guest on someone else's tour.
 

smiles33

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 4, 2011
Thank you so much, nonsuch! This is so helpful.

I had been thinking I’d rope drop in the standby lines with my younger DD and then schedule the tour for 11-6 or 1-8 when the park will be super crowded on a Saturday. But you’re right, the LLs will be most crowded then. I guess I could always buy genie+ for after the tour so I can ride RSR and Incredicoaster at night. Although we could single rider those at night! I hadn’t even considered an early morning VIP tour like 9-4 or 10-5. If you wanted to maximize the E ticket rides, do you think early morning makes the most sense? I assume we could just go back into the LL if we wanted consecutive rides?

I wasn’t planning to watch any shows as I thought we would try to single rider when folks are watching.

Yes, I would definitely tip the guide. I just wasn’t sure if 20% is standard as that is $1,000! $300 is only $30/person which is far more budget friendly. I’ll bring cash for the tip.
 

twodogs

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
If you want consecutive rides, you just go right back into the LL. Sometimes they do a few short cuts, but I have heard many of those options are gone now. No rerides on ROTR, even on VIP, but when I called to book ours for October, she said that may be changing soon (take that with the usual grain of salt!).

Since the VIP viewing for the nighttime shows/fireworks/WOC/Fantasmic is included, I would go ahead and reserve any that any in the group might like. That way you are on the list if you or any of the kids decide you’d like to sit and watch one. No extra cost to the cost you are already paying!
 

FeistyDisneyMom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2019
Thank you so much, nonsuch! This is so helpful.

I had been thinking I’d rope drop in the standby lines with my younger DD and then schedule the tour for 11-6 or 1-8 when the park will be super crowded on a Saturday. But you’re right, the LLs will be most crowded then. I guess I could always buy genie+ for after the tour so I can ride RSR and Incredicoaster at night. Although we could single rider those at night! I hadn’t even considered an early morning VIP tour like 9-4 or 10-5. If you wanted to maximize the E ticket rides, do you think early morning makes the most sense? I assume we could just go back into the LL if we wanted consecutive rides?

I wasn’t planning to watch any shows as I thought we would try to single rider when folks are watching.

Yes, I would definitely tip the guide. I just wasn’t sure if 20% is standard as that is $1,000! $300 is only $30/person which is far more budget friendly. I’ll bring cash for the tip.
Keep in mind RSR is not part of G+. You have to buy it separately even if you have G+, but single rider is a good option.
 

Nonsuch

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 16, 2009
...I hadn’t even considered an early morning VIP tour like 9-4 or 10-5. If you wanted to maximize the E ticket rides, do you think early morning makes the most sense? I assume we could just go back into the LL if we wanted consecutive rides?
An earlier start will help maximize E-ticket rides. I have seen VIP groups repeatedly riding Incredicoaster.

...I wasn’t planning to watch any shows as I thought we would try to single rider when folks are watching.
Lines are much shorter during the night shows, Galaxy's Edge in particular is very empty.
However, seated viewing of Fantasmic (or WOC) is a great way see the show and take a break.
 

RoseColored97

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 2, 2022
That is wonderful that you are taking your kids and their friends. That will be an unforgettable day for them!
 










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