Everyone wants to make their Walt Disney World vacation a magical one where you are the star of the show. Did you know you can find amazing one-of-a-kind VIP experiences that can fit most budgets? We’re talking VIP Disney experiences, behind-the-scenes tours, backstage passes, hands-on experiences, and more! We have dug up the most affordable memory-making experiences to be had at Walt Disney World that we bet you haven’t even heard of!
Before we go into the experiences that won’t break the bank, let’s take a look at the amazing opportunities available if budget isn’t an option. Hey! You never know, the Powerball Jackpot has been over $1 billion, or you might just bump into Elon Musk one of these days and become besties. You should know everything available so you can keep your options open…
Rent out the Park!
Could you imagine renting out a whole Disney park for you and your friends?! Well, don’t get your hopes up just yet. Currently, you can’t exactly rent out a park, but you can rent out a section after the park has closed.
Back in 2016, Walt Disney World introduced Fairy Tale Weddings where you can rent out areas of Walt Disney World for your wedding. Here’s the catch, it’s either around midnight or right before the crack of dawn. Oh, and it starts at $180,000. We sure hope coffee is included. And bottomless.
Disney has hinted that in 2023 they are going to open up the possibility of renting out the parks in non-peak times. How much, you say? Well, Animal Kingdom will start around $2,000,000 per day, and Magic Kingdom will start around $5,000,000.
Think about it – On a typical Magic Kingdom day there are 57,000 people. There’s a reason why it feels crowded. It’s because it is. Even the After Hours parties sell up to 30,000 tickets, so imagine if the entire park had only 10,000 people… That’s $500 per person and the park would feel empty!
Grab 10 of your closest friends and get ready for the best day ever! You can make arrangements for a VIP Tour Guide around one or more parks in a day and they will plan it all for you. Tell them what rides and attractions you want and you will be escorted to the front of the line every time like royalty, all while learning Disney fun facts every step of the way! Grab lunch and do Disney like a star without waiting in lines or wasting precious Disney park time!
Cost: Between $4,500 – $9,000
Keys to the Kingdom Tour
You may think you know everything there is to know about Walt Disney World and the man behind the mouse, but you haven’t seen nothin’ yet! The Keys Behind the Kingdom tour is a 5-hour walking tour that takes you backstage and underground into the famed utilidors. You will learn everything there is to know about the dream and the man who started it all. Lunch is even included! There is one major rule, however. Absolutely, unequivocally no photography is allowed anywhere backstage.
The price tag on this excursion is very reasonable, and the perfect experience for the fan that has visited Disney World many times. We highly suggest binge-watching all episodes of Imagineering on Disney+ to gather any and all questions beforehand.
Cost: $114 per person
Time to come down off that mountain top, but never fear! We’ve come to the list of unique experiences that the average joe can do, and there’s something for everyone!
Are you a big fan of the Living with Land attraction in EPCOT? If you leave that ride wanting to know more about how Disney is leading the way in unique horticulture sciences, then you need to try the Behind the Seeds Tour. This tour takes a walk through the Land Pavilion to take an up-close look into 4 greenhouses and the fish farm with a horticulture specialist dishing out all of the details. You can read our full tour review here.
Cost: $35 per person
Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Have you always dreamed of taking a private African safari at night? There’s no need to venture all the way to Africa, you can book the Starlight Safari Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. This trek will put you in an open safari vehicle with night vision devices to watch animals like zebras, ostriches, and over 20 other species, all without the threat of predators. It’s all fun with no danger. Plus, it’s totally affordable!
Cost: $75 – $89 per person
Amorette’s Patisserie Cake Decorating Experience
It’s not a Disney vacation unless you enjoy at least one Mickey dome cake, but what about making a Mickey dome cake? Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs is offering cake decorating classes to create that iconic treat. You will not only have the cake you make, but you will also receive a treat from Amorette’s, plus free coffee, tea, and select alcoholic beverages. The price includes 2 people, so bring a friend!
Cost: $199 for up to 2 people
Caring for Giants
This 60-minute up close look at elephants will take you behind the scenes in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to learn more about nature’s majestic beasts. You will come up close in their habitats and care centers, all while spending time with the elephant’s caretakers. Read our Caring for Giants review here.
Cost: $35 per person
EPCOT Seas Adventures – DiveQuest
Venture through clear water to view more than 2,000 sea creatures in a way like no other. On this tour, you will get a backstage look into the nation’s second largest aquarium and then jump into a 40-minute SCUBA dive. You will see sea turtles, stingrays, reef fish, and even sharks. (Don’t worry, they’re well-fed, so they won’t bother you.) Guests must be SCUBA certified to participate.
Cost: $219 per person
EPCOT Seas Adventures – Dolphins in Depth
Who hasn’t dreamed of becoming a Marine Biologist to work with dolphins? You can live the dream for 2 hours with this private dolphin encounter where you get right in the water with them and learn more than you could imagine. Learn all about the dolphin care program at Disney and well as their initiative to save the dolphins. Get ready to be splashed and get wet, so bring a bathing suit!
Cost: $119 per person
Savor the Savannah
Savor the Savannah is a private tour where you will discover different lands, animals, and yes, food! While you “visit” and learn about the different regions in Africa, sample African-inspired premium eats, drinks, and regional beer and wine. You will see the safari in a private open safari vehicle and quickly forget that you are still in Walt Disney World.
Cost: $174 per person
Colors of Coronado Painting Experience
Love the wine and paint experiences that you can enjoy back in your hometown? Now you can create Disney-themed paintings led by master artists over in Disney’s Coronado Resort. Enjoy the gorgeous backdrop and the touches of Disney without all of the over stimulation of the parks. This is a great experience idea for your non-park resort day.
Cost: $35 per person
Up Close with Rhinos
Did you know that rhinos are the Earth’s second largest creatures, but also gentle giants? You will learn fun facts like these while enjoying the rhinos in a special viewing area during your Up Close with Rhinos Tour. This is a 60-minute guided tour where you will see the rhinos backstage and have all of your rhino questions answered by Disney’s knowledgeable staff.
Cost: $45 per person
Wild Africa Trek
Combine your love of animals and adrenaline with the Wild Africa Trek tour through Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Walk along the sky-high paths over the animal exhibits in this 3-hour tour to see the animals as the birds do. There are multiple types of terrain involved with this tour, so pack your adventure pants! You will start in the grasslands, then cross the high rope bridges, and finish with the safari vehicles. On this adventure, you will see animals like hippos, giraffes, rhinos, crocodiles, and more!
While this tour is one of the more expensive “affordable” tours, you will also receive VIP extras. A Disney photographer will follow you along your trek capturing real-time photos of this once-in-a-lifetime moment that you will all receive for free at the end of the day. Also, at the end of this adventure, you will have worked up an appetite. Finish your day with African-inspired snacks and treats like chicken curry, hummus pitas, and smoked salmon. Read our full review of Wild Africa Trek here.
Cost: $199 per person
Whether it’s an engagement, a birth announcement, or even just your family Christmas card photo, Walt Disney World is the perfect backdrop for your good news.
Capture Your Moment
Capture Your Moment is a new service from Disney where you can book a private 20-minute session with a Disney Photographer. If you have purchased Memory Maker, the photos from these sessions are included! You can choose any of the 4 parks for your session, and even the location within the parks. Whatever makes your moment perfect!
It’s no secret that Walt Disney World is THE place to go for magic and joy. That’s why it’s so crowded. Did you know that you can purchase a ticket for an After Hours event at select parks on select days instead of a regular park ticket to enjoy lower crowds, low wait times, exclusive entertainment, and free goodies! The only catch is that you need to be a real night owl. These parties take place after the park closes and go until 1:00 AM in the morning.
Grab some coffee and let’s talk After Hours!
After Hours Events
Regular (non-themed) After Hours Parties happen in the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. You can enjoy all of the rides with almost no wait with these tickets, and the evening included FREE UNLIMITED popcorn, Mickey Premium Bars, Mickey ice cream sandwiches, and soda. You can stop at a snack kiosk after every ride if you want. Live your best life!
These After Hours events will make you feel like you won the lottery and booked the place for yourself, it’s so empty!
Cost: $99 – $159 per person
Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Get dressed up and ready to trick or treat down Main Street USA for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party! This event is perfect for littles and not-so-littles to enjoy Halloween without the horror and gore. There is an exclusive party parade, stage show, treats, and of course, merchandise to purchase.
More than 20 attractions stay open for this party, and some even include (slightly) spooky overlays for more fun! You can check our full guide to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party here.
Cost: $109 – $139 per person
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party
Christmas starts very early in Disney World, November to be exact. Enjoy the holidays and the magic of Disney all together for a special Christmas party that includes an exclusive parade, stage shows, exclusive treats, Santa Claus, and even snow on Main Street! Experience even more Christmas with special ride overlays at the Jingle Cruise, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Space Mountain. Party tickets also include unlimited free cookies and hot cocoa. Read our full guide to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party here.
Cost: $149 – $199
Villains After Hours
It’s not often that Disney embraces the dark side, but Walt Disney World used to play host to a special Villains After Hours event where it was hosted by Hades and featured all of our favorite bad guys. While this event has not returned since 2019, we can’t help but notice that it is still on Disney’s website…
H20 Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon
If you haven’t seen the Pixar Short, Partysaurus Rex, you’re missing out. And you’re missing the theme of the H20 Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon. Typhoon Lagoon is one of 2 water parks in Walt Disney World. This wet and wild After Hours jams out with a DJ and tons and tons of glow sticks. You can enjoy the water, waves, and slides, or can boogie down all night with complimentary snacks and drinks. Just like the After Hours events in the main parks, this water park After Hours event has significantly lower crowds than the daytime hours.
Cost: $75 per person, full review of H2O Glow Nights here.
Are you looking for a little extra for your upcoming Disney trip? Something small but mighty to create a real core memory? Disney is all about the details, and they can help bring little extras to your trip to make it truly special and memorable.
Disney Floral & Gifts
Disney Floral & Gifts is a fully operational florist that can create custom surprises for every occasion. Send floral arrangements to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Celebrate first trips with character themed gift baskets that include things like balloons, plushies, snacks, ear hats and more! Just get engaged or are you visiting for your honeymoon? They have gift baskets for that, too, that include Mickey-shaped candles, flowers, and champagne. Whatever your occasion is, Disney Floral & Gifts can help you celebrate it!
Whenever you make a dining reservation for a restaurant in Disney World you will always get a pop up asking if you want to enhance your evening with a celebration cake. The celebration cake is none other than a classic Mickey dome cake in either milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate. These are not your typical Mickey dome cakes, these things are huge! Disney says that they feed 2, and we disagree. These cakes easily feed 4!
If you choose to purchase one to go along with your meal you can let Cast Members know what the occasion is and they can write out a message in chocolate on the plate!
Chef’s Table Seating
You can make a fancy evening out feel a whole lot more exclusive by arranging your reservation to be seated at the coveted chef’s table. The chef’s table is located right in the kitchen, close enough to the chef to have conversations and watch the magic unfold.
Victoria & Albert’s
Victoria & Albert’s is Walt Disney World’s most exclusive restaurant in the Grand Floridian hotel, complete with dress and age requirements. Meals here do not come cheap, the prix-fixe menu begins at $295.00 per Guest. Optional wine pairings start at $150.00 per Guest. Zero-proof pairings start at $110.00 per Guest.
EPCOT is not all quick service restaurants and festival booths. Tucked in the Japanese pavilion is the table service restaurant Takumi Tei which features fine Japanese dining. The meal here is a prix fixe 9-course meal that starts at $180 per person.
Currently, we are still waiting on this dining location to reopen.
The Flying Fish is a signature dining restaurant featuring fresh seafood on Disney’s Boardwalk. The open kitchen makes for some fun entertainment while you dine. The best dishes here are the potato-wrapped fish and the strip steak. This restaurant also features a dress code: no cut offs, swimwear, etc.
Jiko means the cooking place, and in this Disney restaurant, cooking is on full display with an open window kitchen. You can have the best seat in the house with a seat right at the counter leading to the kitchen while experiencing a full fine dining experience.
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.
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