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Let's Talk Magical Secrets and Extras

In honor of my Disney World trip this month I'm dedicating November to all things Disney.

Today I want to share some things that you may or may not know that can be done at Disney World - some may add a bit of magic for an additional cost, and some may add a bit of magic in the way of savings. So, let's jump in!

1) VIP Park Tours

If a day at Magic Kingdom or any of the Disney World parks are exciting to you, but the lines and the people and the stress is not, well, there may be a solution. Granted, it'll cost a pretty penny, but it may just be worth it.

Each Disney World park has VIP Tours. For every park. For different reasons.

What's a VIP Tour?

Disney VIP Tours originally began with the Disneyland Resort Ambassador program—started by Walt Disney himself to make your trip truly unforgettable. Upgrade your park experience and tour Walt Disney World Resort like never before.

  • Receive a pre-determined touring plan or customize your own itinerary for your group with enough time to explore the attractions and sights.

  • Enjoy expedited access to attractions via FastPass+ for everyone in your party.

  • Learn from our Disney VIP Tour Guides who have been hand-picked and expertly trained to plan the perfect itinerary for you and your family.

  • All Private VIP Tours have a minimum duration of 7 continuous hours, and your party may include up to 10 Guests.

If that weren't enough, you could spice it up with the specialty VIP tours such as:

Ultimate Disney Classic VIP Tour at Magic Kingdom

Forget about scoring FastPass+ for the classic and popular rides. During this tour, you’ll receive special access to select attractions at Magic Kingdom park, which may include:

  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant

  • Haunted Mansion

  • “It’s a Small World”

  • Jungle Cruise

  • Mad Tea Party

  • Peter Pan’s Flight

  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid

Cost: $249 per person plus tax, lunch included (valid admission to Magic Kingdom park is also required, and is not included in the price of this tour).

Ultimate Nights of Adventure at Animal Kingdom:

On this 4 hour, guided group tour you basically get to bypass all the lines at the major attractions in Animal Kingdom. "Embark on an expedition through the icy peaks of the Himalayas." (Expedition Everest) "Ride in an open-air vehicle on the lush African savanna." (Kilimanjaro Safari) "Journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest on a river boat." (Na'Vi River Journey) "And behold a brilliant fusion of water, sound and light unlike anything you’ve seen before!" (Rivers of Light Night Time Spectacular) Plus you'll get on Avatar Flight of Passage and Dinosaur, and take a break from the fun with signature snacks and a specialty beverage (nonalcoholic or alcoholic for Guests 21 and older). The cost of this tour is $249 per person. In addition, valid admission to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is required and is not included the price of the tour.

Taste of Magic Kingdom at Magic Kingdom:

Food is an essential part of the Walt Disney World vacation experience. On this tour, you'll hear stories from brilliant chefs that bring creative and delicious meals to life at the Magic Kingdom. You'll go behind the scenes and access backstage kitchens and see what goes into feeding millions of people every day. You'll delight in delicious tastings (Yup! Snacks along the way!), and you'll even help Disney culinary artists create the next generation of Magic Kingdom park food by sampling an item that is still in development. $99 per person, plus tax, plus park ticket admission.

Ultimate Day of Thrills at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.

Yup, you read that right: it's a Park Hopper VIP Tour!

"The day begins at Magic Kingdom park, where you’ll brave the excitement of select such attractions as:

  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  • Splash Mountain

  • Space Mountain

  • Haunted Mansion

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

A little later in the day, you’ll refuel with a scrumptious lunch at a quick-service restaurant—included with the cost of your VIP Tour.

Then, delight in the adventurous spirit of Epcot where you’ll take flight to view breathtaking wonders on Soarin’!

Finally, brace yourself—this adrenaline rush continues with gusto! At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be amazed by such incredible attractions as:

  • Slinky Dog Dash

  • Toy Story Mania!

  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

Tours are $349 per person, plus tax. (Valid admission is required for eachpark and not included in the price of this tour.)

Perhaps you're looking for something special but a little less expensive?

In Animal Kingdom, you can do some 60-minute Nature Experiences:

Caring for Giants - Elephant Animal Experts discuss caring for these beautiful animals, conservation efforts, and you'll be able to observe them from 80-100 feet away.

Cost: $30 per person.

Up Close with Rhinos - In this 60-minute guided adventure, the rhinos’ keepers will take you backstage to meet these massive creatures as few people ever do. $40.

Dine with an Animal Specialist - Learn about the animals roaming just outside the windows of Sanaa as you savor an African-inspired feast. At your reserved private table, discover fun and fascinating facts about wildlife care, current field research and The Walt Disney Company’s role in conservation as you dine with an Animal Specialist! This experience is available exclusively to Guests 8 years of age or older and limited to 12 people. Cost: $35-$59.99

P.S.: you can also dine with a Disney Imagineer!

2) FREE Culinary Tour

Yup, that's right, I said FREE FOOD! Over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge you can get a free 30-minute tour of Boma and Jiko restaurants with a few free samples included. Both restaurant tours include information of the African influence on the decor of the restaurants as well as the food. You do not need to be a resort guest; you simply need to show up a little before 4pm. A great way to get out of that Florida heat, grab a snack, and try something new.

3) In Room Celebrations

As if Disney wasn't magical enough, you can up the magic factor by adding an In-Room Celebration package for a birthday, wedding, or simply for your Disney trip. Imagine having your door decorated, an awesome gift package waiting for you, and snacks! Disney Floral & Gifts have 13 In-room celebration packages to choose from. Prices range from $275 up to $550 with different characters and themes.

4) Ala Carte - Pay for What You Order

As you may know, a Disney Vacation offers a couple of Dining Plan options for your package or you can skip the plan and pay for your meals as you have them. Do the math. Every table service, character meal, and quick service menu is on the Disney website. Take a look through them, see what you may be interested in, and do the math. For most, unless you are planning on having a steak for every meal, the dining plan may not be worth it. If you find that's the case for you then you'll be paying for each meal as you go. Again, Disney is expensive! There's no denying that, and the food is no exception. Yes, there are GREAT snacks for under $5. Yes, you can feed yourself all day in the park for under $20 if you plan really, really well and have amazing self-control. That's not me. What helps me is knowing that if I order a cheeseburger and I don't want the fries I can say, "I don't want the fries can you please take them off" and 99% of the time your price will reflect you're not getting fries. If there is part of a meal that's included but you don't want it, tell your cast member that is taking your order that you don't want it and they can reflect that in your bill. Don't pay for what you're not going to eat.

5) Service Your Way

Ya'll, this is my favorite! You know how sometimes you're like, "I don't need new sheets and towels every day. I don't do this at home, so what's the point when I'm on vacation?". Instead of simply putting out a Do Not Disturb sign, Disney has a Service Your Way program. Upon checking into your resort as about the program. If you do not need housekeeping during your stay they will GIVE YOU MONEY. That's right. They will reimburse you in the form of a gift card that can be used in the parks, dining, and gift shops.

So, what exactly does declining housekeeping mean? It means your room won't be vacuumed, your garbage won't be emptied, your sheets won't be changed, your bed won't be made, you won't get clean towels, and you won't get new toiletries. HOWEVER: you can simply ASK for new towels, new toiletries, even new sheets, but you'll be doing it yourself.

Not every resort has this option - it is mainly the value and moderate resorts that do. There are a few restrictions such as: you must be staying longer than one night and your trip cannot be booked at part of a convention or group.

You will receive your gift card electronically, so open your email on your phone and use the barcode to redeem.

How much will you receive? Well, there's a little math involved. Very little, I promise.

Multiply the nights of your stay by 10. Then subtract 10. So, a 5-night stay would be $40.

Is it a massive amount? No. But will it help - of course! For something so simple I'll happily put that amount towards a day at Food and Wine Festival in Epcot....which I plan on doing!

There are 5 Magical Extras you may or may not have known about in Disney.

I hope they come in handy for your next trip.

Do you have any Disney tips or tricks? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Until next time!

P.S.: If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 simply click on the links!

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