Is a Disneyland VIP Tour worth the price?
Updated: Apr 5
How familiar am I with the park? Will I be spending an excessive amount of my precious and expensive vacation time looking at a map, wandering aimlessly, deciding what to do next, or just waiting?
Am I willing to wait in long lines? Do I see waiting in long lines as inevitable at a theme park?
Am I willing to spend the 100’s of hours required to figure out how to make the most of my Disneyland day?
Do I not mind crowds and following the crowds wherever they go?
If you’re not familiar with Disneyland, then I assure you there are 3 options available to you:
go “blind” and spend your day in 1-3 hour lines, getting only a few things done each day, fighting the crowds, and likely experiencing frustration and stress;
educate yourself by spending hours (100+ hours) on the forums asking questions figuring out how to avoid the lines and crowds and hope the crowds aren't acting unusual on your day; or
paying for a VIP tour guide.
Only you can decide what’s important to you. During a recent VIP tour I had on a 10/10 crowd level day, my guests happened to run into cousins of theirs. These cousins had arrived at the same time we had—at park opening, and at 3:00 in the afternoon, when they ran into them, these cousins, who were negotiating the park on their own, had done 5 rides. Five rides in 7 hours. My guests didn’t want to “rub it in” by telling them that with me as their guide, they had done 12 rides, met 5 characters, and seen 3 shows, had a leisurely lunch, went shopping, and dressed their daughter in a princess costume in the same amount of time. How much is 19 attractions plus lunch and shopping in 7 hours compared to 5 rides worth to you?
Maybe you think you can avoid the crowds by going during the off-season, when the lines are short. This may be true. The problem is that, especially in the last couple years, the off-season has been as busy if not busier than some peak season times. Disneyland is incredibly difficult to predict, even for Disney, as far as crowds go. One big reason is the large number of local Annual Passholders. It’s estimated that Disneyland has over 1 million Annual Passholders (AP), with over 80% of them being local Southern Californians, who live within a couple hours of the park. Many of these passholders are “day users”, those who go for no more than a few hours to a full day, do not stay overnight at a hotel, and often go just for a special event, and are often willing to wait an inordinately long time for that event. All it takes is 3-5% of the estimated 800K+ local AP’s to wake up and say, “I think this would be a great day to go to Disneyland.” And that 3/10 estimated crowd level can expand to a 6/10 and because Disney only staffed it for a 3/10, with fewer boats, trains, cast members working, that can then feel like an 8 or 9/10. Without familiarity with the parks, you could find yourself in huge crowds on a day that was touted as a 2/10 crowd level (not many of those exist anymore).
Over the last couple of years the “estimated” crowd levels and the “actual” crowd levels have been way off. So many people now plan their trip for low season, based on these "low crowd predictions", to only find themselves in long lines and big crowds, because so many others are attempting the same thing. I was talking to a travel agent earlier this year who admitted their bookings for off season have increased exponentially the last couple year with guests taking advantage of lower costs and the hopes of low crowds.
How much is it worth it to you to spend 10 minutes in most lines instead of 40-80? How much is it worth it to you to get through 30-40 attractions each day versus 10-15? I see groups all the time, who have hired an official Disney CM (a plaid, they’re called) for a VIP Tour. These guests are willing to spend a minimum of $3500-$5600, depending on the time of year, to avoid the lines and crowds for 7 hours, not the whole day, mind you, but 7 hours. These same groups are standing right in front or back of me, in the same line I’m in with my group that is spending 1/4th for the same line, the same wait.
At Universal Studios Hollywood, guests can pay $179-269 per person for an Express Pass that includes admission (about $70-140 more than a one-day ticket) that gets their guests “front of the line” access once for every attraction or they can spring for a VIP tour experience for $349-409 per person that includes park admission (about $240-280 more per person), a behinds the scenes backlot tour, and exclusive lunch, but it is not private, and is done with other guests. It’s not customized to your desires but follows a prescribed tour. If one doesn’t want to stand in lines and/or wants to see things behind the scenes, these are great options. This is one of the reasons I don’t do VIP tours to Universal. I have a tried and true plan, that gets one through the park with reasonable (not less than 10 minutes, but not 1-2 hours) waits on most days, that I give to my guests For the really busy days, I just recommend the Express Pass. If they want the behind the scenes backlot tour, then I recommend the VIP Experience.
So is an official Cast Member led Disney VIP tour worth it? At $450-800/hour it would not be for me, especially when I know their guides are only making the normal $15-18/hour. I’m actually surprised at the number of groups I see on a VIP tour each day, especially as I’m standing in the very same exact line with them. They’re paying thousands of dollars to wait as long as my guests do, but mine are paying much less. If this was your only option for avoiding those lines, it may very well be worth it, but it’s not the only option. Magical Mouse Tours can give you an amazing VIP experience without that $5000 price tag.
For a complete run down of the differences, comparing and contrasting, between a VIP Tour with Magical Mouse Tours versus with an official Disneyland Cast Member click Here
To get the most of your Disneyland day, book a VIP Tour with Magical Mouse Tours. LEARN MORE