Is the Disney VIP Classics Tour Worth It?

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Around the same time that I fell in love with the idea of taking the girls to Disney World this summer, I also learned about a relatively new VIP tour option in the Magic Kingdom that sounded perfect for our trip goals, stamina, and timeframe. If you aren’t familiar, Disney World offers a variety of special tours ranging from full blown private VIP tours that are $400 – $600 per hour with a seven hour minimum to one hour $30 tours that show you how they care for the animals at Animal Kingdom. In other words, there is a wide variety of ‘extras’ you can add to your Disney days if you are so inclined.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

While a full blown private Disney VIP tour would be amazing, we didn’t have thousands of dollars to add to our budget to bring that dream to life. However, because our trip was so short, and our kids are still pretty little, we decided to pull the trigger on the Disney Classics VIP Tour both to enjoy it ourselves, and to hopefully help others determine if it might be the right fit for their family.

First, here are the official details about the tour that I am sure are subject to change. The Disney Classics VIP tour rings in at $199 per person for those ages 3+, and that does not include the cost of theme park admission. Thankfully, our still under three-year-old toddler was free both when getting into the park and on this tour. In fact, most families on our tour had an under three-year-old with them. The tour currently takes place on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at both 8:30AM and 1:30PM in the Magic Kingdom.

They advertise that you will receive special access into up to 10 classic Magic Kingdom attractions, which may include:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Peter Pan’s Flight

All of the attractions that you ride are free of height restrictions, so it is the perfect match for families with small children. Once we committed to spending the money for the tour, I got really excited since I had never done anything like that at Disney. I also really loved the idea that we didn’t have to plan anything for that morning other than to just show up. It also meant that I got to use all of our FastPasses for ride reservations later that day without spending any of them on the ‘classic’ attractions in the morning.

Inside the Disney VIP Classics Tour

Excited for our tour to start!

On the day of the tour, after taking the monorail from The Polynesian, we entered Magic Kingdom and checked in a little before 8:30AM at a desk set-up just outside of the Town Square Theater. Once we checked in for the tour we were told we still had 20 minutes or so to wander around Main Street, take pictures in front of the castle, and hit up Starbucks. Thank goodness!

Time for coffee and a quick picture in front of the castle before the tour

Check-in for the Disney Classics VIP Tour

Around 9AM everyone gathered back together at the tour check-in area, did our introductions, and we started our magical day. Not surprisingly, the three official tour guides, one coordinator, and one coordinator-in-training, were all insanely friendly, personable, and patient. That is not surprising given the level of customer service you can find in the Disney Parks, but what was surprising was that even after four hours in the July heat (when I looked and felt like a dying rat), none of them looked at all sweaty or rundown. This includes the one fabulous guide who was literally 9 months pregnant. I honestly have no idea how they pulled that off, but it was impressive. Disney magic, I guess.

Our morning introductions and welcome

Once our group of about 15 got started, the pace didn’t stop. We began by watching the opening show in front of the castle. This is something I normally would skip in favor of riding attractions, but my toddler nearly lost her mind with joy at all of the princesses and characters coming out at once, so I’m actually really thankful they had us watch it.

Watching the opening show at Cinderella’s Castle

When the brief opening show concluded, we beelined for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh that already had a 20 minute wait at just after 9AM. Of course, with this tour you do not wait in the normal line. You enter generally enter into the FastPass line, though on some rides we didn’t enter in the FastPass line but instead had “secret entrances” we got to utilize.

Little S made a new friend!

Next up was riding the teacups of the Mad Tea Party, then Dumbo the Flying Elephant, followed by Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid. At the time of day we rode some of the rides they had virtually no wait anyway, but regardless of the wait (or lack there of), we essentially waltzed right on every single one and had finished all of that before 10AM. It didn’t take long for my oldest daughter to realize that on some of the rides the Disney guides would ride with her if she desired. She immediately became “best friends” with the guides and wanted to ride with them way more than she did with us!

The fast pace of the tour was great for getting things done, but became a bit of a problem as there was no time for a diaper change during the first four rides. Let’s just say the little one drank too much liquid that morning for the physics of that equation to work out very well. My mom took her for an emergency clothing swap while the rest of us rode The Little Mermaid. Thankfully, after that ride we all headed into Gaston’s Tavern where a private table and treats of cinnamon rolls and frozen LeFou’s Brew awaited. It was fantastic to have a seat and (included) snacks in the air conditioning!

That break lasted about 15 minutes, and during that time my youngest daughter passed out cold.

Maybe this is why small children are free…

We had her sleep in the stroller while I watched her, and the rest of the group moved on to It’s a Small World. Probably because of how hot it was outside, her nap was short lived, and she was awake in time for us to join the group to ride on Peter Pan’s Flight. By this point the normal wait for this ride was well over an hour if you didn’t have a FastPass or weren’t on a tour.

Hanging with the sleeping tour member

I will add that the tour guides offered to sit with her while I went on rides, and they were generally at the ready to do anything within reason to help you enjoy the rides. They tagged all the strollers on the tour with gold stars and they would sometimes even have them positioned ready at the rides’ exits in order to save time and conserve energy.

After enjoying Peter Pan’s Flight, we walked the short distance to Haunted Mansion where we entered via the ‘servants’ back entrance, which was pretty cool. I do want to mention that my seven-year-old was scared out of her creative mind on this ride, though my toddler did just fine.

Partly because of the heat, and partly because of the tears we endured on Haunted Mansion, we started to poop out a bit at this point. However, the tour still had two more rides to go, and for them we had to head over to Adventureland. There was an optional quick bathroom stop as we crossed the park to Adventureland, but when nobody took them up on the offer to stop, we headed directly to the next ride.

If I were to give some feedback on this tour, I would say that this is probably a really good time for a ‘mandatory’ second short break. Nobody wanted to be the one to make the group stop, but since almost everyone in the group had a young child in diapers, it wouldn’t have been the worst idea to have a 5-10 minute break near the Baby Care Center so everyone could take care of various needs without missing out or stalling the others. Better yet, if they also had a bottle of cool water ready for each person on the tour on this short break, it would have also been appreciated as the bottles we packed from the hotel were already drained by 11:15AM.

None the less, we continued on slightly dehydrated and in need of a bathroom break to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, and then finally Jungle Cruise. It was close to noon at this point and scorchingly hot. Both of these rides were both at about an hour wait by this point if you didn’t have a tour or FastPass. After we rode Jungle Cruise, I was sad our time on the tour was over, but also grateful to slow down the pace, rehydrate, and take a break.

Enjoying the final tour ride, Jungle Cruise

From 9AM – 12PM we had gone on nine rides, had a snack in Gaston’s Tavern, learned all sorts of fun facts from the guides, and watching the morning opening at Cinderella’s Castle. At the formal conclusion of the tour we all said our goodbyes and then our family bee-lined it to the air conditioned Baby Care Center where we ran into some of the other families from the tour.

Is the Disney VIP Classics Tour Worth It?

So, was the Disney Classics Tour worth it? Not surprisingly, the answer is that it all depends. At $199 per person, it will be out of range for some families to even consider on top of all the other Disney expenses, and I totally understand that 100%. However, if you are considering adding another $199 per person ages 3+ to your day at the Magic Kingdom, I think the Disney Classics VIP Tour is a great and very low-stress way to experience up to 10 of the classic rides all before lunch, or after lunch if you chose the afternoon tour.

Now you could recreate at least 80% of this schedule by strategically using FastPasses and being thoughtful about your ride order, but then you would be out of pre-scheduled FastPasses for the rest of the day. But the tour wasn’t just about not waiting in line. For me, what made the tour memorable and worth it for us was that someone else did all the planning and was there to make everything run smoothly. If you are the one in your family that typically fulfills that role, you may enjoy having someone else hold the reigns for a bit. It was also great for my older daughter to have the guides to talk with, and it was fun for all of us to learn some new and “hidden” facts about the rides.

While it was our fault for not changing the toddler right before the tour started, I do think that a short scheduled second break, complete with bottled water, before the final two rides would have been extraordinarily helpful, especially in the summer heat. If I were in charge of things, at the end of the tour it might be neat to include a parting gift, perhaps a tour specific Mickey pin, to bring a little magic to the conclusion and goodbyes.

Those are relatively minor things, and I do recommend the Disney Classics VIP Tour to families with young children who aren’t going to have multiple days in the Magic Kingdom. With this tour you can experience most of the classic attractions in the morning, and still have the whole afternoon and evening to use your FastPasses for rides like Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, character meet and greets, and more. We only had that one day in the Magic Kingdom on our trip, and thanks to the tour we were still able to do pretty much everything we wanted while still taking an afternoon nap back at the hotel.

A final warning if you do take a tour like this one and you have FastPasses loaded on your Magic Bands. If you are on a Disney tour and you scan your Magic Band for a ride with an eligible FastPass loaded, it will be used even if you are on a tour. An unnamed child of mine wasted her anytime-use FastPasses we had from taking the Disney Vacation Club tour while on this tour because she was scanning her Magic Band at every opportunity without anyone noticing until the final ride. Thankfully, we had already used one of her three anytime FastPasses before the tour started, but the remaining two she should have had available went poof like Cinderella’s coach at midnight because she was scanning her band for fun on this tour. Oops.

Unnamed child

While I can’t foresee a need for us to take the Disney Classics Tour again, I could see us potentially doing the similar Day of Thrills Tour that focuses on roller coaster type rides in three parks when the girls are older. I also learned that a similar half-day Animal Kingdom-specific tour may be in the works, so keep an eye open for that.

Have you taken the Disney Classics VIP tour, or any other Disney VIP tour? What did you think? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. Next time that happens go see a Conciergo or Guest Services and they can credit you back the fast pass. We even explained one day the kids hadn’t see Mickey and the lines were so long the hotel gave us an extra pass for everyone in and it was one of the most magical moments having Mickey Mouse talk to my kids and get them to roar like lions. They totally thought he was real. I still recommend doing a VIP tour with an outside company. I think we spent about $200/hr and we got to ride anything we wanted. They also got us water, snacks, pushed the double stroller, had it waiting at every ride, showed us short cuts and secret bathrooms (I was 7 mo pregnant), and even rode with the kids when we couldn’t ride Buzz Lightyear one. more. time.
    Glad you had fun!

  2. Crazy amount of money. Wonder what Walt Disney would say about all this – everything priced out range for the lower class.

    • It is a lot of money. It can be cheaper than staying another night and having another day in the parks on a short trip, but it is absolutely expensive. Of course, it also is certainly not required to have a great time at Disney.

  3. We did the sum of all thrills tour which was closer to 8 hours and included lunch. That hits 3 parks and does the big thrill rides. I believe it was $299 but we got a discount for dvc/annual pass. It was well worth the cost and definitely great way to see a lot in a little time.

    While I do agree some Disney VIP/extras are pricier than some/most can afford, I do think Disney has done a good job of making its core experience available to all who go to the parks. If all you buy is a basic ticket, you still can have an amazing experience.

  4. I’m normally a Mommy Points cheerleader, but you could have EASILY accomplished these rides (and a lot more) doing this on your own in the morning. There are multiple free or low cost touring plans available online. An hour of research and planning would have saved you $600, AND you would have gotten a lot more done. I’m a big fan of the easywdw.com cheat sheets (free), but a lot of people like touring plans (about $15 a year for a subscription).

    I understand that you are still dealing with the nap time issue, but this tour would only slightly make sense if you did it at the 1:30pm time slot when there are much larger crowds. Also, I completely disagree with waiting to use the FP’s for the afternoon. At MK and HS in particular, it makes much more sense to utilize the FP’s earlier so you can get more FP’s.

    We were there around the same time as you. We spent July 9th in MK and going from memory, this is what we were able to accomplish before a 1pm lunch reservation: opening show right in front of the castle (everyone gets into the park now at 8:30am…not unique to tours), Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel, Dumbo, Barnstormer, Haunted Mansion, Mine Train (with a FP), Speedway (with a FP), It’s a Small World, Big Thunder Mountain RR (with a FP), Pirates (4th FP), Tiki Birds, Aladdin (5th FP), and Jungle Cruise (6th FP). After lunch, we did a couple of low wait attractions in Tomorrowland (People Mover and Carousel of Progress) before utilizing the Express Transportation (this was a great add on if you are planning more than one park a day) to park hop to Epcot where we walked onto Spaceship Earth and had a FP for Soarin. We were back at our hotel by 5:30-6pm that night.

    Some of the tours that Disney offers are very interesting. I can’t wait to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour when my kids are a little older. If I were going to spent $200 a person for a tour (on top of theme park admission), I would be spending it on something like the Wild Africia Trek in AK where you get a unique experience that isn’t offered with regular theme park admission.

    • Hi there! I don’t think there is any chance we could have done more than morning as we were beyond pooped at the end of this tour. That isn’t to say someone else couldn’t have, but with our pace and energy level this was max capacity…and then some. However, I totally agree with you that you don’t have to take this tour to get a ton done if you are willing to use some planning and strategy. Part of the reason I took the tour (and wrote about it) was so people could get a little more info in determining if it was worth it or not for them. In some cases, probably many cases, the answer will be no, and that is just as valuable as learning it is a yes. I would not wait to use FP in the afternoon if we hadn’t had a tour that morning, but in our case it made the most sense.

      I do want to take the behind the scenes style tours too when my girls are older, but this was the perfect trip to give this one a spin. So glad you had a great Disney experience!

    • I’m glad you mentioned Express Transportation. I saw the info about that on my latest email. It sounds great to me for a reasonable price. We arrive this Sunday and I think we will add that. Thanks

      • That does sound awesome for Park Hoppers! I think that Pizza in Motion used it recently, too…or talked about it. Either way, sounds like by far the best way to Park Hop efficiently.

      • I think it’s too pricey if you do the one day option, but the week long option was really worth it if you plan to park hop. Not having to go through security again was worth it alone! If they continue with it, I wouldn’t hesitate to add this option on again.

  5. One more thing I wanted to point out for clarity purposes. You make it seem like you watched the opening show in lieu of an attraction. The park does not open until the opening show concludes. Everyone is held in the castle hub at various entrances until the show is over.

    We discovered when we were there in June (yes, we’ve made two 7+ day trips to WDW this summer) that there is really no disadvantage (except for the draining full sun) to watch the show in front of the castle. The castmembers walk everyone slowly into Fantasyland on the sides and through the castle and don’t let people go until all entrance groups meet. We don’t rope drop Mine Train, but I think the group that enters near the Mad Tea Party going for Mine Train might be handled differently.

    • AMJ, sorry to be confusing. The park was actually open at 8AM that day for Extra Magic Hours, so folks were indeed riding rides already. If we hadn’t been on the tour we would have already been riding rides instead of waiting in front of the castle for the show. And OMG yes to the sun issue!

      • Ah yes, that makes sense. Taking the tour on an EMH day makes more sense too. We typically avoid them, but we did a 4 park challenge on my daughter’s birthday last week starting with MK EMH (we were staying at BLT) and OMG the crowds that thing brings in! It was nuts compared to the other mornings we rope dropped. It reiterated our anti-EMH position!

  6. I am glad you wrote this review. Its definitely something to consider spending the extra money on this verses an extra day in the park, or when you only have a 1 day stop. Just got to budget for it. Its probably hit and miss too when its valuable as we are at Disney Saturday morning over memorial day and rode over 10 rides by 10am (some rides 203x as there was no lines)

  7. Wow trup, never knew you could hit the same ride that many times! Never would ride personally more than 202 times before moving on to other things though. 🙂

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