Walt Disney World® Resort is the iconic theme park that inspires childlike wonder, spontaneous laughter and pure delight in visitors aged 1 to 100. Walt Disney World is the flagship resort of the company’s international holdings and draws 52 million visitors annually. Since Walt Disney World® Resort opened in Orlando, Florida in 1971, a visit there has been a rite of passage for generations of children and families. The end of the Baby Boomer age group made their first visit as wide-eyed children, then took their own Millennial kids to experience the magic years later, and are now returning once again with their Gen Z grandkids. If you haven’t been to Disney World in a while, things have changed – but not to worry, it just keeps getting better! Before you go, brush up with our insider tips on how to do Walt Disney World like a VIP.
Improve Your Disney Vacation with Technology
Leave it to Disney to utilize technology to improve your vacation. You might remember the original A to E Attraction tickets, but technology has made the whole Disney experience seamless. Now you can use the Magic Band, a colorful wristband that acts as your park tickets, hotel room key, and charge card for food and merchandise so you can travel lighter throughout your vacation.
Use the FastPass+ to secure your arrival times up to 60 days in advance for rides, entertainment, and character greetings. Reserve up to three FastPass+ selections per day in advance online or same day at an in-park kiosk. Travel Maestro tip: After you use your three selections in one day, you can still make an additional choice at an in-park kiosk.
With the My Disney Experience mobile app, you can explore the park with an interactive, GPS-enabled map, find character greeting locations, browse restaurant menus, make dining reservations, get show times and wait times.
Dine at Walt Disney World® Resort Like a VIP
A word to the wise: Dining at Disney is expensive, so consider purchasing a Disney Dining Plan. Various plans that include table service meals, quick service meals and snacks are available. Ask your travel agent about any Disney dining special being offered. Travel Maestro tip: Every restaurant is going to have a significant wait for walk-ups during prime dining hours. Don’t risk a “hangry” melt down – If you haven’t already done so, make dinner reservations each morning before you start your day so you can plan snacks accordingly. The most popular restaurants and character dining will need reservations up to six months in advance.
VIP Experiences at Walt Disney World® Resort
Specialty Fireworks Voyages – Several cruise options allow you to skip the crowds and get a special view of the evening fireworks spectacular.
- The Ferrytale Wishes Dessert Cruise includes desserts and beverages while watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks with the music piped through the boat’s sound system ($99 for adults, $69 for ages 3-9).
- The Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage has a Peter Pan theme, complete with a greeting by Captain Hook and Mr. Smee and onboard storytelling by “Patch” the pirate. After watching the Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes” and “Electrical Water Pageant” from the Seven Seas Lagoon, the boat returns to the dock and is met by none other than Peter Pan himself ($57.50 ages 10 and up; $33.01 ages 3 – 9).
- Private cruises are also available. Groups of up to 10 passengers can hire a pontoon boat to see Magic Kingdom Wishes (from $292.88) or Illuminations (from $325). The cruise includes a driver, water, soda and snacks and private dining can be delivered to the boat (additional cost).
Backstage Magic – This 7-hour, resort-wide tour offers exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the wizardry that makes Walt Disney World® Resort attractions so spellbinding. Learn the inner workings of popular attractions at all four parks, visit the “utilidor” tunnels that characters use to move from place to place unseen, and have lunch at the Whispering Canyon Café ($255 per person).
VIP Tour Services – See and do what you like during a customized day of fun. Enjoy door-to-door transportation, front row seating at shows and parades, and front of the line access to FastPass+ attractions. VIP Services can be customized for families with young children, culinary adventure at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, an ultimate day of thrill rides, or private tours (from $299 per person).
Victoria & Albert’s Chef’s Table Dinner – This elegant restaurant is Walt Disney World’s premier dining establishment and a 15-year recipient of the prestigious AAA Five Diamond award. For an exclusive fine dining experience, you can dine like royalty in the kitchen and interact with the head chef and team as they prepare a 10-course degustation menu tailored for you. Only one party of two to ten members is seated per night for the three-hour experience (Prix Fixe from $250 per person; wine pairings from $105 per person).
No, this is not the Walt Disney World that amazed and delighted you as a child – it’s a constantly evolving resort with new attractions like Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Hollywood Studios, Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom (spring 2016) and a Frozen-inspired attraction in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot (spring 2016). But one thing hasn’t changed: when you introduce the next generation to this rite of passage, they too will be enchanted with the magic of Disney. When you’re ready to plan your trip, contact Covington’s Authorized Disney Vacation Planners and do Walt Disney World® Resort like a VIP.
Disclaimer: Covington Travel is pleased to recognize Walt Disney World Travel as a valued partner
and sponsor of this post.