Disney World VIP Tour Review

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer

Last month our family was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a Disney World VIP Tour. Disney VIP Tours are an experience I had heard about and had dreamed of doing for years. So when a Disney World Wedding booked for the same weekend as my daughter Madelyn’s 4th birthday it was the perfect opportunity to experience this together! Today I’m going to share about our Disney VIP Tour: every park, attraction, and character meet we did, some tips on making the most of your tour, and my overall thoughts on if Disney World VIP Tours are worth it. Let’s dive in!

Magic Kingdom Train Station

A little general info first, though. Disney VIP Tours are a premium Disney experience. They are a minimum of 7 hours long and pricing starts anywhere from $3150-$6300 depending on the season. Additional time is $450-$900 per hour. This does NOT include park admission so you will need a park pass (with park hopper if you plan to do multiple parks- which of course you do) and park reservation for each member of your group. You can bring up to 10 people on your tour. Meals are not included but snacks like Mickey Bars, popcorn, and pretzels are.

Photography note: all images in this post were shot on a mix of either Contax 645 Medium Format with Fuji400h, or a kodak disposable camera with 35mm film, an iPhone, and one was even taken by Madelyn on her point and shoot digital camera! Trying to raise a little photographer here haha, I’ll let you know which one is Maddie’s!

Cinderella's Castle on overcast day

Our Disney World VIP Tour Day

For our tour, we had 7 guests- myself, David, Madelyn, my mom and sister, and two of David’s best friends. We stuck with the base of 7 hours. Although we originally planned to do 2 parks, when we realized Madelyn was now tall enough for some of the thrill rides we added in a third.

We did 3 parks, 12 rides, and met 8 characters on our seven hour Disney World VIP Tour.

three generations of girls walking hand and hand into Magic Kingdom

Our day started in Magic Kingdom. We set our tour to begin at 9:30 but arrived to the park at 8:00. We spent that first hour taking pictures on Main Street and at the Castle, grabbing coffees, and rode the carousel, it’s one of Madelyn’s favorites! David and his friends also rode Big Thunder. This time was a perfect buffer to help us go into the tour feeling relaxed rather than rushed.

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer
This is what Maddie took while I was taking pictures of her! What do you think, do I have a little associate shooter in the making? 🙂

I came into this with a DETAILED plan and I can’t stress how valuable this was enough! I’ll talk more about that later but for now let’s just say the moment the tour started I knew just where we were headed… To Mine Train of course! We were surprised Madelyn could ride this one but I’ll just have to accept that she’s not a toddler anymore. It only took about 10 minutes from entering the line to Madelyn and I sitting in the front row. She LOVED it and was so excited and happy. That was until we went into the mine, then she was scared of the dwarves. It was a big parenting moment for David and I, though, and absolutely a core memory.

We decided not to ride Mine Train again with the dwarf debacle. Instead David and his friends ran off to get Cinna-loaf from Gaston’s while Madelyn and my mom and sister and I went to meet princesses. In a span of 15 minutes we had met Rapunzel, Tiana, Cinderella, and Elena, Madelyn was so shy but when I asked after she said she LOVED it and was so happy.

Then we headed off to Storybook Circus to meet Daisy and Minnie (I think twirling with Minnie was probably the highlight of the day for Madelyn, she’s very much in her Minnie era). After that we rode Dumbo then headed to Space Mountain. Only David, my sister, and I rode this one. The wait time was under 10 minutes meaning we spent more time walking the line than waiting haha! Meanwhile, my mom took Madelyn to get her face painted. Our guide surprised us with popcorns, Mickey Bars, and waters before escorting us through backstage to the van waiting to take us to Hollywood Studios. I was so impressed that the van was on and ready for us, AC running, with a carseat already installed for Madelyn!

We entered Hollywood Studios through backstage near Rockin’ Roller Coaster and headed straight over to Toy Story Land to ride Slinky Dog Dash. This was our second longest wait of the day at about 15-20 minutes and Madelyn and I once again got to ride in the front row. Madelyn loved Slinky Dog so much! I think it was her favorite ride of the day! It totally unlocked a new mom fear, though haha! I forgot how high and twisty Slinky gets but when we got to the pause in the middle and I asked Maddie if she was scared or wanted to keep riding and she enthusiastically said she wanted to ride more. Lucky for her the “puppy ride” took off then!

At this point my mom, sister, and David’s friends went to get food while David, Madelyn, and myself rode Alien Swirling Saucers with no wait at all. Madelyn was a big fan of this one as well. Then Madelyn took a break with my mom while the rest of us got in a round of Toy Story Mania with about 5 minutes of a wait.

On the way out of the park we rode Mickey’s Runaway Railway (which had a surprisingly long wait of 10-15 minutes). We thought Madelyn would love this since she loves the Mickey Mouse shorts on Disney+ so much but she said it was took dark and scary. I think next year she’d like it more though.

After another round of Mickey Bars and waters, and yes somewhere along the way Madelyn picked up a bubble wand, we headed back to the van to go to Epcot

I’m sure you all can guess where we went when we got there- Guardians of the Galaxy! We had vehemently avoided all spoilers for this ride so we had no idea what we were getting into. This was of course our longest wait of the day but I had anticipated that in our plans. Madelyn and my mom (who if you can’t tell doesn’t love rides but loves to be with all of us) went to Connections Cafe while we rode Guardians twice back to back. IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE. Words fail, this ride was unbelievable and unlike anything else I’ve ever ridden. Our faces when we got off the first time were utter disbelief, just amazing.

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer

After Guardians we walked over to Norway to ride Frozen Ever After. Madelyn forgave dark rides so she could see the “let it go princess” and we only waited 8 minutes. We of course had to meet Elsa and Anna afterwards too.

Finally our guide drove us around backstage to the France pavilion so we could do a ride on Ratatouille.

After the tour we had dinner reservations for Tutto Italia where we had a very much needed rest and a delicious meal together reminiscing on all we had done. We intended to go back to Magic Kingdom after dinner to see the fireworks but opted instead to head back to the hotel to unwind with late night drinks by the pool.

How to Make the Most of Your Disney VIP Tour

TIP ONE : Go In with a Plan

The possibilities on a Disney VIP Tour are positively endless but your time is not. This tour honestly is not worth it at all if you don’t go in with some amount of planning for how to use your time. I started by making a list of every ride we wanted to do. Then I put them in order geographically on the park maps to strategize our timeline. The biggest reason to do a Disney World VIP Tour is to be able to do many experiences without the wait times- if you spend that wait time talking about what you want to do next you’re not really getting much out of your day.

While you certainly don’t need to do as much as we did, I do strongly advise anyone doing this tour to take the time to prepare for it. Our planning allowed us to have all the experiences we wanted and even a few bonus experiences I didn’t think we could get to.

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer

TIP TWO : Mobile Order Meals on the Go

Have a big breakfast, plan for a big dinner, but full stopping for lunch is taking up time that is truly so precious. We had some members of our group mobile order and get food along the way which worked fine because the rest of us kept riding, they did missed two attractions because of it but timed it so those were attractions they didn’t want to do anyway. The tour does provide unlimited snack credit items (within reason) but there’s definitely a point in the day where a Mickey Bar sadly won’t cut it. Mobile ordering allowed us to keep the day going without losing tour time while also keeping the group energized and happy.

TIP THREE : Start Your Tour Inside the Park

So many people start their tour at the park entrance but you don’t need to! In Magic Kingdom you can also choose to start your tour at the Castle (I don’t know all the locations for other parks, so inquire if you’re starting elsewhere what your options are). This saved us all the time we would have spent walking down Main Street and let us set our own pace for the morning before starting our tour ready to go.

TIP FOUR : Plan for time before and after your tour in the parks

We specifically set our tour to start well after we entered Magic Kingdom so we could enjoy the lower crowd time on our own. This allowed us to have the best use out of the tour because we didn’t waste line-hopping time on things we can do without a guide like pictures on Main Street or exploring the Castle. We also planned to end in Epcot because I knew we’d want to get dinner there and to walk around the gorgeous Flower and Garden Festival. Starting and ending with intention really just expanded our tour day and let us do even more of the experiences we wanted for less paid time.

Is a Disney World VIP Tour Worth It?

Simple answer: yes. There’s three things that truly make a Disney VIP Tour worth it to me- the amount of attractions we did, the incredibly low wait time, and the overall experience we had as a family.

If you’re up for doing the planning to make the most of your time then yes, 1000%, I think Disney VIP Tours are worth the cost without question. The amount of experiences we were able to do would have taken a week on our own. We spent years living just 12 minutes behind Magic Kingdom and did more attractions this day than in all of 2018 combined! On past Disney days, it’s always been a question of “is it really worth an hour to ride this thing I’ve done so many times before.” On a VIP tour, though, the only question is “do I want to do this ride.”

That leads to the second value of a Disney World VIP Tour which is how doing everything without the long wait times made the whole day so much more magical. Not only was it the practicality of doing so many rides, it was also just the experience of it. We really felt like the park was ours, there was no getting tired of waiting, no “ugh that line is halfway to Fantasyland.” The day reminded me very much of growing up in the 90’s with extra magic hours and how my Dad and I would truly just hop from ride to ride. This tour had a lot of the magic that had been missing for me the last ten years as the parks have gotten more and more busy.

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer

And finally, doing so much and such a special day as a family added tremendous value for us. This was our only park day and we felt like we had so thoroughly done everything and could just relax the other days. We also found a lot of value in the VIP Tour because it was Madelyn’s first time tall enough to ride attractions. It really helped us to know what she liked and didn’t like. Even though I’m sure this will evolve over her life, it was such fantastic insight for us as we think about future Disney trips and what those should look like so she (and we!) have the best time. It was a learning day and so incredibly special to watch this new side of her emerge.

I also have to add that our guide pushed Madelyn’s stroller the entire day. I had seen guides do this before but didn’t understand until it was happening just how much easier and freer that made the entire day. Like- David and I could actually hold hands and we could both be so much more present to everyone we were with. This is a HUGE bonus and we were so thankful!

Side note- our guide Liza was literally the kindest, sweetest cast member ever! Even when our energy flagged hers never did. She was wonderful company, in such a happy, calm mood all day. She made the entire experience next level magical and encouraged us throughout the day.

Ultimately, if you want to have a let’s just be together and do whatever day, a VIP Tour is probably not for you. Those days are wonderful too! However, I think the value in a VIP Tour comes from utilizing it well and to how it frees up the rest of your time.

Closing Thoughts

We were so thankful we were able to do this tour together and for the core memories we made. Under the right circumstances I would absolutely do a Disney World VIP Tour again and I would highly recommend them. While they are a huge expense, especially with the park tickets and tip, they create an experience you truly can’t get otherwise and are really the pinnacle of Disney magic. I think it gives you the freedom to do the best of everything: the best of Disney parks, but also the best of relaxing at your hotel and having some actual vacation in your vacation.

If you have any questions about Disney VIP Tours let me know! I truly hope this post was helpful and that you have an opportunity to do a Disney VIP Tour too!

Disney World VIP Tour Review and Tips by Disney Wedding Photographer Katie Trauffer