You always feel like a VIP when visiting Walt Disney World, but did you know that you can actually take tours that bring you behind the scenes of the magic? There are 8 VIP Disney tours available at the parks and today, I’m going to cover all of them.
Let’s jump right into the magic!
What is a Disney VIP Tour?
But first – what is a Disney VIP tour? Walt Disney World’s website describes them as “…adventure(s) that include door-to-door service and an array of personalized perks.”
Well that’s pretty vague, right? Believe it or not, that’s kind of the point. Disney likes to keep their VIP tours pretty close to the vest because they don’t want to spoil any of the magic. That’s why many of the tours don’t allow photography or videography (much to every Disney influencer’s chagrin).
Despite Disney’s preference for keeping things pretty vague, a Disney VIP tour is one that basically takes you to places around the parks that aren’t generally accessible to the average guests.
For example, even though you can see a great deal from Epcot’s Living With the Land, you get a whole new perspective when you’re actually walking through the ride on their Behind the Seeds Tour. This includes things like sampling different food, being able to actually look down into their aquaponics farms, and asking questions to a tour guide so you learn something that may not be readily offered through the ride’s pre-recorded audio.
This is just one example, though. But it gives you an idea of Disney’s VIP tours and their unique offerings. In simple terms, a Disney VIP tour allows you to break the fourth wall of Disney magic.
What Does the VIP Tour at Disney Include?
To answer this, we have to first acknowledge that there are several different types of Disney VIP tours. The available Disney tours include the following:
- Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour
- Behind the Seeds
- Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
- Savor the Savanna
- Caring for Giants
- Up Close with Rhinos
- Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney Private VIP Tours
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour
Out of all the tours on this list, Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour is one of my favorites! This is a 5-hour walking tour around Magic Kingdom that gives you backstage access to the famous Utilidors, where Cast Members get ready and access different areas of the parks. While you won’t have free reign in this area, it’s pretty cool to experience.
In addition to seeing the Utilidors, you’ll learn insider secrets and trivia of the park, eat lunch, and discover overlooked details of the park, as well as some of the more harder-to-notice Hidden Mickeys. When the tour is over, you’ll receive an exclusive keepsake to remember your cherished memories.
Behind the Seeds
Heading over to Epcot, you can experience the behind-the-seeds magic of the famous Living with the Land ride.
Another one of my personal favorites, this tour takes you backstage of the ride so you can see how the plants are grown through the area’s hydroponic system – aka how plants are grown without soil.
You’ll also be able to get up close and personal with their aquaponics farm, which features freshwater shrimp, tilapia, and catfish. You’ll even be given some fruit to try – but I’ll leave what fruit it is as a surprise because it’s worth experiencing for yourself with no spoilers.
Read more: A Review of Epcot’s Behind the Seeds Tour
Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
Have you been wanting to ride a Segway? If so, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what you’ll get to do on this fun, outdoor Wilderness Back Trail Adventure!
Located at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, this experience takes you on a 2-hour Segway tour on woodland trails that wrap around Bay Lake and Tri-Circle-D Ranch. If you’ve never been on a Segway before, no worries, because you’ll receive a 30-minute training, along with time to practice.
Because Segways are being used and have weight limits, interested guests must weigh between 100-250 pounds in order to partake in this tour.
Read more: 10 Weird Disney World Things to Do
Savor the Savanna
This is one of the more costly experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, but one that offers breathtaking views you won’t find anywhere else on property.
The tour starts at the Harambe Wildlife Reserve in the Africa section of the park. From there, you’ll get a chance to learn more about the wildlife in the area from a knowledgeable tour guide. During this tour, you’ll be able to sample regional wine and beer offerings and African-inspired food.
Like the Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Savor the Savanna tour does require you to get into a safari vehicle and travel over rugged terrain, so guests are expected to be in good health.
Caring for Giants
This is a relatively short experience, but worth it if you or anyone in your party loves elephants. Caring for Giants is a 60-minute experience that will offer you and your party insight into how the animals are cared for.
While you won’t be able to get so close to the elephants that you can touch them, you’ll be able to stand as little as 80 feet away, giving you a great view of these majestic creatures. Even though this isn’t a tour in the traditional sense, it’s a magical extra that can add great memories to your trip.
Up Close with Rhinos
Like Caring for Giants, Up Close with Rhinos is another 60-minute experience that gives you insight into these creatures.
This insight includes everything from how they act, their biology, and the different challenges facing these animals in the wild. Because they’re trying to protect the animals, no photography or videography is allowed on this tour.
Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
This is one of the more unique tours offered at Walt Disney World and it’s only available to guests 8 years old and up. During this tour, you’ll be given night vision goggles to see what your favorite animals, such as zebras, antelopes, and giraffes are up to after the sun goes down. This unique tour takes you across the savannas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It lasts approximately one hour.
Just like on Kilimanjaro Safaris, those who have heart disease, motion sickness, and back/neck problems, should not partake in this experience as you will be driving over some pretty rough terrain.
Disney Private VIP Tour
If you’re interested in booking a private VIP tour, the first thing you should know is that it doesn’t come with a list of standard services and/or experiences, which is what makes this such a unique tour.
Rather than having a specified list of things to check off, a private VIP tour allows you and up to 10 guests to customize your day. Want to skip “it’s a small world”? Just let your tour guide know and they’ll whisk you off to another ride.
These private VIP tours allow you to ride pretty much every ride there is in Walt Disney World. You’ll be able to visit more than one park per day (with the purchase of a ParkHopper ticket), get insight into the history of the parks (and even on some rides), and transportation that allows you to skip the public areas.
When you book a Disney private VIP tour, your tour guide will pick you and your party up in a private vehicle. Once at the parks, you’ll also be able to have reserved seating for all the shows, including the Festival of Fantasy parade and end-of-the-night fireworks. If you opt for this magical tour, keep in mind that you must book at least a 7-hour tour.
Do Disney Tours Require a Park Ticket and/or Reservation?
Yes. Do not book your Disney tour unless you already have a valid theme park ticket and park reservation. These are required for all tours given at the Disney theme parks.
Is Photography/Videography Allowed on a Disney Tour?
It depends on the tour. Photography and videography are strictly prohibited in certain parts of a Disney VIP tour, as well as many other tours mentioned on this list, including inside the Utilidors on the Keys to the Kingdom tour. This rule strictly applies to any “backstage” areas.
For example, you cannot take photos or record video while on the Up Close with Rhinos tour because it’s all considered “backstage.” However, you will be able to snap a few photos in the non-backstage areas of the Caring for Giants tour.
If you have questions about whether or not you can take photos in a specific spot, it’s recommended that you ask your tour guide. However, they will be pretty on top of telling you when you can and can’t snap photos.
How Much Does a VIP Disney Ticket Cost?
The cost of a Disney VIP ticket varies on the type of tour it is. For a private VIP tour, it’ll cost you anywhere from $450-$900 an hour, per person.
Here’s a breakdown of how much each Disney VIP tour ticket costs. Keep in mind that none of these prices include tax:
- Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour: $114/per person
- Behind the Seeds: $35/per person
- Wilderness Back Trail Adventure: $90/per person
- Savor the Savanna: $147.90 – $174/per person
- Caring for Giants: $35/per person
- Up Close with Rhinos: $45/per person
- Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: $75.65 – $89/per person
How Far in Advance Should I Book a Disney VIP Tour?
Ideally, you’ll want to book a Disney VIP tour at the same time you’re booking all your other dining and park passes, as slots do fill up just as quickly as park reservations. However, depending on when you are making these reservations, it may not be feasible to book. Reservations for Disney tours open up 60 days prior to your scheduled arrival. It’s recommended that you make your reservation as soon as this window opens up.
Of course, just like with anything at Disney, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find some availability 60 days or less out from your scheduled trip, but it will lower the availability the longer you wait to book.
How Hard is it to Book a Disney VIP Tour?
Not very hard! Booking your tour experience varies on what kind of tour you’re looking to book.
The only tour that really requires you to call in place of booking a reservation through Disney’s website is a private VIP tour because you’ll need to speak to a tour guide to customize your experience. As such, to book a private VIP tour, you’ll have to call (407) 560-4033 to make a reservation.
Everything else you can conveniently book online. However, like passes to Mickey’s-Not-So-Scary Halloween-Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you’ll have to pay in full at checkout. This isn’t like booking a park and resort package that allows you to make payments. All magical extras need to be paid for in advance to secure a spot.
How Much to Tip Your Disney VIP Tour Guide
Generally speaking, you’ll want to tip your Disney VIP tour guide 20% of your total costs. Of course, you can feel free to tip them more for great service, but you shouldn’t go any lower than this tip percentage.
Read more: Cash Needed for Tipping at Disney World
Are Disney Private VIP Tours Worth It?
In my opinion, yes, Disney private VIP tours are worth it, especially if you’ve been visiting the parks a lot. These tours allow you to get a glimpse of what goes on “behind the magic,” allowing you to experience something you ordinarily wouldn’t be able to if you were just visiting the parks like any other guest.
Furthermore, even though they can be expensive, they’re a great way to see and do everything you want to do on your trip with little to no wait. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, it’s very likely that you can complete all the rides and stage shows you want at two parks on the same day – and that’s just not something that’s usually possible without this VIP experience.
If you’re looking to try something new, giving these tours a try is highly recommended.
Going on a tour at Disney World is a great way to add another layer to your magical vacation. Have you ever been on one of these VIP Disney tours? If not, let us know in the comments which one you’d love to try!
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As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.
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