If you asked me whether Disney VIP is worth it, I’d fall over laughing, pick myself up, wipe away my tears and then begin laughing again. Is breathing worth it? Okay, then! You have your answer! :p So if you’re considering Disney VIP, you already know that the cost is substantial for most vacationers, but can be offset if you go in a large group. Remember that you can have up to 10 members in your VIP group and that hourly rate can be split among all the adults.
When I had the opportunity to be a VIP for the Disneyland 60th Diamond Celebration – well, I said yes before I even got the time off approved. Ha!
Accompanying me were some of my favorite people that weekend: my mom, sister, two nephews and friend’s Troy & Ray! You can read about what to expect with Disney VIP from other blogs, but the truth is — your day will be unique, special and none of us can tell you what it’s truly like. That’s because your VIP guide can be as personal and magical as you wish.
Are you looking for someone to show you around, hold open doors and shelter you from the sun? Ok! Are you looking for someone to run around and grab things while you ride all the things? Sure!
If you’re like me, you want someone who will blend right into your family. Who will spend the entire day going on all the rides; chatting about whose cuter – Captain America or Thor; and eating meals with you. You want someone who fits so well into your group, that your nephew, upon visiting Disneyland for the first time, and meeting your guide for the first time immediately grabs their hand and decides that “Sheila” is their new best friend.
And so it was, that on the 24 hour day, we were picked up at the Disneyland Hotel by Sheila, whom Keahi dubbed his BFF and who we all thought of as our awesome sister with the major connections! Prior to meeting Sheila, I had been helped by Disney’s Special Activities team via email who planned our dining reservations and made all the VIP seating arrangements for the Paint the Night parade, Disneyland Forever fireworks and Fantasmic. So when we actually met up, Sheila got a copy of all the reservations we had and then got a list of all the things we wanted to do.
AND THIS is where it diverges for everyone. VIP is not just backdoor through rides (and yes, some rides we were able to go on from the exit, some we used the FP lanes and some we just walked right up the middle), it’s being able to ride the Lily Belle when it’s in service without waiting at the Train Depot as soon as the park opens. It’s getting cool trivia answered about the parks, its hidden secrets and visiting spots not normally open to guests.
You can pretty much do whatever your heart desires, as long as it’s available, you have time and it doesn’t interfere with other guests. Our plans changed throughout the day as our priorities shifted. We weren’t subject to park closures (yes, it did hit capacity a few times) and for the most part we remained pretty low key throughout the entire day. We moved in and out of attractions and never caused a scene so while most people were laughing and talking, we just quietly slipped in and out of line. The only time I believe it was noticeable was during the parade & fireworks when we had special seating in front of the Walt & Mickey statue.
In the first hour from the time Sheila picked us up, we
- Walked out the hotel, looking for Troy & Ray
- Walked back to the hotel, looking for Troy & Ray (haha, the first one was my fault!)
- Caught the monorail to Tomorrowland
- Rode Finding Nemo
- Had some hilarious moments with Captain America and Thor
- Got our PhotoPass+ card
- Rode Space Mountain
- Rode Star Tours
- Rode Astro Blasters
- Ate a Mickey-shaped pretzel
- Rode Matterhorn
Now take that, times by 9 hours, throw in a leisurely 2 hour lunch & dinner and you’ll get a sense of the magic Disney had in store for us. So if you’re thinking of getting a VIP guide, here are two tips to help you make the most of your time.
- Utilize Disney Special Activities to help maximize your time with your VIP Guide.
Before you meet your guide, you’ll be emailing with your point of contact at Disney’s Special Activities office. This person can track down requests and help you with all kinds of questions and not just about your VIP day.
I made sure to relay birthdays, special occasions, allergies and wish lists. As more information became available, my specialist would email me and let me know, providing me with their own advice and knowledge of the advance schedule. Our agenda changed so many times as new things were announced and throughout it all, the specialist was patient and excited.
They told me all the what/where/how/when so I could be armed with as much information as possible to make our VIP day, super magical. Doing research online is great, but your specialist is the one who really knows what’s going on.
This is also the person to speak with should you have a specific guide request or want to be sure you’re paired up with someone that will vibe with your group.
- Have a list of priority attractions or events you really want to see.
Your guide acts as your Fast Pass, so you can assume you’ll get onto any ride you want, pretty quickly. Knowing which rides are most important in which park is key, but don’t forget the attractions and events!
This is the perfect time to ask about visiting the pet cemetery at the Haunted Mansion, taking a ride on the Lily Belle or checking out Walt’s apartment above the Fire Station. VIP doesn’t just have to be about the rides it can be educational, learning more about the parks and asking about rumors. Some of which they may not reveal :p – but I was tickled to know that the half-basketball court at the top of the Matterhorn is still there.
Nothing is guaranteed, but you can always ask! We came prepared with questions, lists and wishes and had almost everything crossed off and fulfilled. It may have been a different story if they never knew because we never asked.
Our day was amazing and I saw other groups with their guides all interacting differently. That’s the beauty of the program in that your day is customized to fit your needs exactly.
It makes no difference who you are. Anything you heart desires, the VIP guides will try to make come true.