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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour

When researching for our trip to Walt Disney World to celebrate my BIG Birthday, I came across the VIP tours.  There were two VIP tours that were NOT the hourly fee--one the Ultimate Day of Thrills and the other the Ultimate Day for Young Families.  I knew then, which one we wanted.  I called 180 days prior to our stay and booked our tour.  Here's the link to the Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour on the Walt Disney World website. 

The tour is offered on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays during non-peak times in the parks.  We booked our for Sunday.  The tour begins at Magic Kingdom and guests are asked to check in at the Tomorrowland Terrace by 8:15 am.  Magic Kingdom had a 9:00 am opening that day so we inquired at the Concierge desk at Pop Century about the buses and what time they would begin running.  We were told the first bus for the Magic Kingdom is at Pop Century at 6:45 am.  While we didn't need to be on that bus, we were reassured that Disney transportation would be able to get us where we needed to be, as when I had called for the tour reservation, it was suggested that we take a taxi to the Contemporary and walk over.

We made it to Magic Kingdom in plenty of time and moved to the line to the left which was for people with early dining reservations and tour reservations.  I had our tour confirmation number with us, which was a good thing as when we told the Cast Member just inside the gate our name and tour, when she flipped the page, there were no names listed next to the VIP tour.  She took our confirmation number and told us to go to Town Square Theater--she said all tours meet there.  I told her that we were supposed to go to Tomorrowland Terrace.  She just shrugged her shoulders and waved us on.

Once inside Magic Kingdom, there were very few guests milling about and we made our way down Main Street and just prior to turning right to Tomorrowland Terrace, we found a Photopass photographer taking photos and we jumped right in.  Then, it was time to check-in for our tour.

We were greeted immediately just outside Tomorrowland Terrace and directed up the ramp and to the right.  We were checked in and given lanyards, name tags, and offered snacks and drinks. 

The menu for lunch was available and we were asked to place our lunch order for the Hollywood Brown Derby located in Disney's Hollywood Studios. 

Both of the Ultimate VIP tours Thrills/Young Families were checking in at the same time and location.  And, of course, our guides had thought of everything from sunscreen to celebration buttons.  The boy wanted to know if we were going to get a commemorative trading pin for the tour and we were told "no."
After waiting for everyone to arrive and the park to open, it was soon time for us to make our way across the Hub to our first attraction.
Up first--Pirates of the Caribbean.  The park had just opened and we actually had to pause a bit for the attraction itself to open.  We used the Fastpass + entrance for this as well as all of the other attractions in the tour.
Splash Mountain was next.  All of the people in the ride photo were on the tour, too.  Want to stay "dryer" on Splash Mountain?  Sit on the left.
Big Thunder Mountain was next.  Our group of 18 took up a train car.
Next was Haunted Mansion.  Our guides made it so it was mostly the tour group in the room--you know which room I mean!

After we exited Haunted Mansion, we made our way through Fantasyland to Gaston's Tavern where we took a break--bathrooms and drinks/snacks at Gaston's or the vendors nearby.  During the break, I was confronted with the reality of the real Magic Kingdom, as there were lines--lines to get into Gaston's, lines for the bathroom, and lines to meet Gaston.  It was the first time, that day, that I had experienced lines. 

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Coaster was the next attraction after our break. 
Space Mountain was next and our last attraction in the Magic Kingdom.  The boy decided he didn't want to ride and our tour guides helped him find a spot to wait for us.  I was a bit scared to ride, too, but so glad I did.  Yes, we rode the one on the left, which seems to have the reputation of being a bit more jerky but knowing that your maximum speed is 27 mph helps.

It was time of us to leave Magic Kingdom and make our way to Disney's Hollywood Studios.  We exited Magic Kingdom through a "back door" near Buzz Lightyear.  And, since we were backstage, we were asked not to take photos.  We obliged.  The group was divided into two vans.  We were offered cold water to drink during our trek.  The guides allowed us to ask questions during the ride. 

Once we arrived at Hollywood Studios, we went in a back door near Rock-n-Roller Coaster so that is what we rode first.  Again, the boy chose not to ride (and there were others in our tour that did the same) and he met us at the exit.  Note:  He has ridden all of these rides previously, and for some reason, had attractions he did not want to ride this trip.
I didn't mean to capture the light behind the husband's head to make him look like he had extra hair!

Since we were in the area, Tower of Terror was next.

It was time for lunch!  We walked into Hollywood Brown Derby to find table settings with our names.  The lunches that we ordered soon arrived.

I was even surprised by a little Birthday treat!
We had never dined at Hollywood Brown Derby before so this was an added bonus to an already fantastic day.  Everyone took a bathroom break and we were ready to move on.
Toy Story Midway Mania was our first stop after lunch.  (I ended up with the highest score in the car--stunning some of the other tour members.)
Star Tours--The Adventure Continues was our next destination.  I'll note that Star Tours had taken out some of the guide rail between the Fastpass and not Fastpass queue causing confusion and delay at the top of the ramp. 

Sometime, while we were off playing, the vans had been moved to an area behind Toy Story and we left the park through another back door.  It was now time to go to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  While we made our way to an area just behind Dinosaur, we caught glimpses of the new Rivers of Light floats/boats. 

When we got out of the van, one of the guides asked me to put out my hand.  I did.  She then slipped me two trading pins as she had overheard the boy asking about that earlier in the day.  I put them in my pocket without looking, but smiled and said "thank you."  The boy didn't know about the pins until later in the day.

We walked up the stairs and found ourselves in the DINOSAUR gift shop.  We headed to Expedition Everest and encountered a glitch.  Everest was down.  So, we turned around and walked back to DINOSAUR.
We've ridden this ride multiple times and it is very different depending on which row of seats you ride in.
Since Everest was still down, we made an unexpected stop to ride Primeval Whirl.  The boy rode, but not with us.  He ended up in another ride vehicle with other guests on the tour.  He had a blast!
We got the good news!  Everest was back up and running so the tour group headed there.

After Everest, the tour group gathered to determine everyone's plan for departure.  Some of the group was staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom for the remainder of the day.  We were headed to EPCOT, so we walked back to DINOSAUR and exited through the gift shop to the van.
After a photo with one of our guides, we were taken to the Ticket and Transportation Center where we caught a monorail to EPCOT.  Another option was to return to Magic Kingdom.

The In's and Out's of the Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour:
  • The cost is $299 per person and includes lunch (and lunch tip).  Discounts are available when using Disney Rewards Visa--which we took advantage of!
  • The tour lasts 7 to 7.5 hours.  That sounds like a long time, but it is also fast paced.
  • We were told to wear closed toe and heel shoes, meaning no sandals.  There were other guests on the tour in sandals, which wasn't a problem.
  • We were also told, when we called to make the tour reservation, that a Park Hopper ticket was required.  So, we had one, BUT the ticket/MagicBand was only scanned at Magic Kingdom.  We did not have to scan our bands for entry into any other park.
  • It was fun to visit with other guests on the tour and our guides.  There were people from Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin on our tour.  The guides said they either get Disney veterans or first-timers on the tour.  I guess we fall into the "veteran" category.
  • Be sure to have Memory Maker attached to your MagicBand.  You are riding all of these incredible attractions with ride photos and video in one day.  You'll want the photos!
  • All ages were represented.  The tour doesn't suggest an age limit.  There was a boy who was 7 or 8 also along for the tour. I would hope parents check height requirements of the attractions included in the tour prior to booking.
  • Another guest turned to me to ask about tipping our guides.  I relied on our knowledge and experience of other tours and told him that tipping would not be expected--that the guides would most likely have to refuse the tip.  
  • Our guides handled non-scheduled bathroom requests with ease, were happy to hold bags while we rode attractions--this in itself was an incredible service, and provided background information about the rides and attractions.
Would we do this tour again?  YES!  Would we recommend this tour?  YES!


  1. I am so glad to find your blog. My brother found it and sent me link since we are going on this tour in Oct 2016 and we wanted more info on what to expect. THANK YOU!!!

  2. I am so glad to find your blog. My brother found it and sent me link since we are going on this tour in Oct 2016 and we wanted more info on what to expect. THANK YOU!!!