We just returned from a fantastic trip to Southern California where my family enjoyed a relaxing week on the beach! One of the highlights of our trip was taking a VIP Tour of Disneyland.
A lot of people asked about our Disney day, so I’m sharing what we did!
What’s a Disneyland VIP Tour?
In short, a VIP tour guide helps you get through Disneyland efficiently so that you can see and do more than your average Disney guest. Our guide planned our visit in advance, but was also able to alter the plan on the fly when needed.
How does a Disneyland VIP Tour work?
Our tour guides worked with us in advance of our trip so they could plan our day for us. They talked to me about our kids and their ages, heights, what Disney movies they like, their fears, and what kind of pace they’d prefer. She suggested some restaurants and sent me the menus in advance so we could choose where to eat. Before we arrived, she had planned our entire itinerary and sent it to me to review.
When we got to the park, our guides Christine and Ed whisked us away to our first ride. They were both great to be around – easy to talk to and extremely kind to our kids. Typically, one of them would stay with our stroller and bags while we went on a ride and the other one ran ahead to get us registered for the next ride.
The pre-planning was very helpful, but the extra hands proved to be the best part of this experience. My husband and I were able to enjoy the rides with our kids without worrying about our things or running ahead to get a fast pass. Ride wait times were typically 80-90 minutes each, but we were never subject to these waits – ours were limited to no more than a few minutes.
Our guides were also very knowledgeable about how to get around the park, which proved beneficial when the main areas started getting crowded. Additionally, we realized after a few rides that our boys were not good with dark or spooky attractions, and Christine was able to promptly alter the plan to something more suitable to their moods – which all moms know can change from day to day!
We spent 6 hours with our guides and in that time we were able to experience 13 rides, eat lunch, grab a snack, and sign up for jedi training. We could not have managed all of that on our own – in fact, after our time was over, we managed only two more rides.
What company did you use?
We worked with Southern California Private Tours. www.socalprivatetours.com
We will definitely work with them again!
Is a Disneyland VIP Tour worth the cost?
I have to admit that I was a little unsure about this when we booked it. The cost of Disneyland tickets alone was expensive, and adding a tour guide on top seemed a bit frivolous. However, with little kids and limited time, it seemed worth a shot.
We were beyond happy with our experience. I noticed Christine and Ed were constantly keeping an eye on the kids, and the extra help made me feel so much more at ease as we navigated crowded areas. The boys, at ages 4 and 5, are not able to sit still or wait for long and using a guide made it so that they didn’t have to.
I noticed that they don’t mention this on their website, but SoCal Private Tours uses a program that helps them plan your experience based on your profile. When they casually asked the kids for feedback after a ride, or talked to us about our interests, they’d put it into a database to build our profile so every experience got better. You’d never notice them doing this because you don’t see the guides get out a phone, but they have a hidden earpiece they talk into when you’re not looking! It was amazing.
Bottom line, unless you can go regularly, a trip to Disney is an investment. For families who want to make the most out of their investment, I recommend a VIP Tour. Again, we used www.socalprivatetours.com.
What to wear to Disneyland
The temperature in Southern California is usually wonderful, but the sun gets hot and the blacktop at Disneyland makes it even warmer. We all wore shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes. Here are some other thoughts:
- Costumes are not allowed on most days, but cute Disney outfits are everywhere. My kids wore Mickey shirts and red athletic shorts, which worked perfectly. I ordered t-shirts for my kids with their names on it. This was a great choice as all the characters and employees greeted them by name!
- Dress comfortably – quick dry, pockets, and movable clothing were key for us.
- Good, closed toed walking shoes that you’ve already broken in. We walked 10 miles that day, and I think I carried a kid for about 7 of those miles.
- A hat to block the sun from your face.
- Avoid dangling things or anything that might get caught in the ride equipment.
- A small backpack that you can pull to the front will be easy to take on rides. I used a waterproof backpack, which was helpful in keeping our items dry on water rides.
- Write your cell phone number on your child somewhere in case you get separated. I used a Sharpie and put it on their forearm, inside shirt collar, and shoes.
What to take to Disneyland
We took a backpack to carry a few necessities into the park and to store our hats and sunglasses in while we were on rides. Here’s what we brought with us:
- Sunblock – we used the spray kind and the stick kind
- Granola Bars or other easy to pack snacks – the kids were extra hungry with all the walking, and it was easier to grab something out of the bag while walking than to stop and buy something. I’m not sure if I’m proud or embarrassed to say they ate ten protein bars that day.)
- A light jacket – it was chilly in the morning and evening, so a light jacket kept us going. It was also nice to put on when the sun was shining too bright.
- Candy and gum – I know we’re at Disney for the kids, but sometimes they need a little motivation to wait patiently or try something new. A bag full of Dum Dums and Double Bubble proved to be a great idea.
- Water bottles – we used insulated water bottles, which kept our drinks cooler and more refreshing throughout the day.
At the end of every ride is a souvenir shop where you can buy any variety of Mickey ears and plush Disney character you can imagine. No one wants to carry that stuff around the park, let alone pay premium prices for it!
Thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Andrea, we planned ahead for this one. We explained to the kids that we would not be buying anything in those shops, but that if they had good behavior, Mickey would send a gift to their hotel room. Each time we walked past a shop, we reminded them that Mickey was watching and would leave something special for them at the end of the day.
Before we left for our trip, I ordered Mickey Mouse souvenirs on Amazon and snuck them into my suitcase. When we left for the day, I pretended to forget something and ran back into the hotel room and left the toys on the boys’ beds.
This solution worked like a charm and the boys rarely asked to buy anything. When we got back to the hotel, they were so excited to see that Mickey left them Mickey toys!
Wishing you sweet Disney adventures!