Recently, I had an amazing opportunity to have a VIP guide for a day at Walt Disney World.
Full disclosure: I earned this experience from a sales incentive with MEI-Travel that included the guide for 7 hours and 1 day park hopper tickets. The gratuity for the guide was at my expense.
The guide group can accommodate up to 10 guests. For my day, it was myself, my husband, my sister and a friend. We discussed in advance what we would like to do with the guide, as the VIP services team speaks to you in advance to get a starting point and a tentative plan. At first we talked about doing all 4 parks in one day, but then decided we didn’t want to be that ambitious so we decided to start in the Magic Kingdom for half a day and then move to Hollywood Studios for the other half of the day.
We also decided that we didn’t want to use time with the guide for a sit down meal. We made a reservation for breakfast at Steakhouse 71 before our start time so we were ready to go and then dinner reservation for Roundup Rodeo BBQ for after our tour. I made those reservations myself – they did not go through the VIP services department.
After enjoying our breakfast, we walked over to meet our guide in the Magic Kingdom. We were a few minutes early and waited outside the meeting location. Charlie, our guide, came right over to us to introduce himself and get basic idea of what our plan was for the day – including “must do” attractions in each park.
He also had a gift of a VIP tour pin for each of us.
After discussing our plan for the day, we were off to Tron. As we walked, Charlie was great at asking questions to get a better sense of what we wanted to do in terms of food stops and attractions. He said that Mickey would be treating for snacks along the way so to let him know any time we wanted something.
As luck would have it, just as we were walking up to Tron, it went down. No worries, we were off to our next “must do” of Mine Train. Charlie said he would monitor Tron and we would just work our way around the park and loop back when it was up and running.
With a VIP guide, you use the Lightning Lane entrance. Charlie would tap us in at the touch point and then go with us up to the loading area (in most cases, especially if there was a second touch point). He would always ask us if we had a preference for a row we would like to sit in as well and he would make those requests to the cast members in the loading area.
After Mine Train, we started working our way around Fantasyland. When we got to Haunted Mansion, Charlie said that with a guide is the only way you can go into the ride from the exit. We had our choice between starting with the stretching room or going straight onto the ride. We picked going directly to the ride, so in a back door we went and came our right at the loading area.
We rode everything that we wanted through Frontierland and Adventureland and then Charlie said Tron was up and running so we went back there.
As a side note – Charlie said that he does not usually ride with guests unless we want him to do so. With a party of 4 we had the perfect number so it wasn’t necessary for him to keep anyone company and we were totally fine with that.
As we got to Tron, Charlie said he would hold any of our bags so that we didn’t have to use the locker system. He grabbed our stuff and put us in the Lightning Lane and we were good to go.
As we exited, Charlie was waiting for us and asked what else we wanted to do in Magic Kingdom as we seemed to be finishing up. I always like a ride on the People Mover so that was my request. As we walked over, we saw that the line was pretty long – a 45 min wait – and there is no Lightning Lane. Charlie actually gave us a look like "Wow that is a long line." I thought we may not be able to ride, but instead he walked us around to the front and the cast member stopped the line to let us on. I will admit, I felt a little bad about that one! 😊
That was it for Magic Kingdom! It was a pretty warm day so we decided to get some drinks before we moved over to Hollywood Studios. Charlie said he was getting us a round of bottled water and a few of us got a soda.
He also was our photographer for a quick castle picture.
We then walked with Charlie to a backstage area and hopped in private car to go over to Studios. It was a good opportunity to chat with him. He has been with Disney since his college program and is coming up on doing his 2000th private tour. He has been with the company for 19 years (including internships) and he loves it. He said that he doesn’t really need to do rides anymore but he enjoys going to Epcot to walk around the festivals or going to Typhoon Lagoon to relax.
When we arrived backstage at Studios, there were VIP cast members waiting with a basket of snacks – chips, candy bars, granola bars and even Mickey .Rice Krispie treats. We could help ourselves as we went into our next park.
As we walked into Studios, he said there was something else that only VIP guests can do – mobile order from Starbucks. He took our order and a payment method (we gave him a credit card but you can use your Starbucks app) and then he put us in the Lightning Lane for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. We came off the ride and there was Charlie with our Starbucks! It was a little thing – but fun – and our cups said “VIP” on them.
We made a plan for our time at Studios. We wanted to do everything in Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. Hoping also to see Mandalorian and Grogu – Charlie knew the area they would normal be located. We also did Tower of Terror. We had some bad luck again with Rise of the Resistance being down once and a second time it went down when we were just past the Stormtrooper room – which actually gave us each a free Lightning Lane to use after the tour.
But we did get to see these guys!
We did Toy Story Mania and Charlie had some good playing tips that we didn’t know about. We actually ended up riding it 3 times and it was fun to try new things each time. We also had a popcorn snack on Mickey to hold us over to dinner.
Charlie was great with planning out the day. As someone who often is the person managing plans for each day, it was nice to be able to relax and let someone else be in charge. Around midday, he asked us if we were interested in seeing the Indiana Jones show. Our tour was scheduled to end at 4 pm. The show started at 4:30 pm. He said he could put is in the VIP seats and end for the day there. As that time approached, he walked us over there and told the cast member for us to have the reserved seats. We said our goodbye and then we were walked down to the very front row!
In the end – over 7 hours, we did 16 attractions, one show and walked a total of over 7 miles. Charlie was great! He was fun and great to talk with about Disney things but he was also happy to just lead us and let us talk amongst ourselves. Any time we asked to do a ride or sit in a certain spot, he would say “done!”
All 4 of us have been to Walt Disney World many times but experiencing it with a VIP guide was a totally different experience. It was a great day!
If you would like to add a VIP tour to your Walt Disney vacation, I would be happy to help! The cost is $450 - $900 per hour (depending on the season) with a 7 hour minimum. Park admission is required and not included. While the cost is not inexpensive, the tour can accommodate up to 10 guests so getting friends / family together to share the cost is always an option.
I am always happy to answer questions or assist with reservations at Walt Disney World (even without a guide :) ) - firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been a huge Disney and travel fan since childhood. I love going to new places and, of course, heading to Disney as often as I can.