As part of our Orlando holiday, we had four days of Disney World tickets. You have absolutely no idea how exciting that was as we had never been to Disney before… ever! There is a lot of information on Disney and endless amounts of guides you can read to help your experience run as smoothly as possible. But this all seemed so daunting to us.
After experiencing a Universal Orlando Resort tour, we wondered if Disney offered the same sort of thing. The answer is yes they do, kind of. It’s expensive costing $425 per hour for a private tour. They have the ability to help you arrange your day, get you in VIP viewing areas for parades, select stage shows and nighttime spectaculars and help you enjoy your day efficiently. However, unlike the Universal VIP tours, Disney VIP tours don’t get you to the front of the queues.
So we did some research on other options and it turns out there are many other companies who offer pretty much the same service, only much cheaper. Michael’s VIPs is one of those and I can’t tell you how relieved we felt when the team at Michael’s VIPs kindly offered us a tour guide experience for all four of our Disney days.
So a little bit about Michael’s VIPs, although they are not a travel agency, they are there to give you the Ultimate Vacation Experience. This means they are there from the word go to help you plan your Florida holiday. We needed someone purely for our Disney days and so we had been booked for the VIP Tours. I wanted to share our own experience in this blog post.
Michael’s VIPs charge $150 per hour and they ask for a minimum of six hours per day. So significantly cheaper than the “official” Disney guides. They also don’t have the ability to get you to the front of the queues but do have the knowledge to efficiently get you riding all your favourite rides and make the most out of your day.
So initially, we sent an email with all of our requirements. Our ages, abilities and what rides we desperately wanted to do or characters we really wanted to see. This allowed them to match us with the correct tour guide and for them to understand our group ahead of meeting.
As part of the organising, we gave access to our Disney account to Michael’s VIPs. This allows them to book your Disney FastPasses and plan your days based on them. It was a really surreal feeling for me to hand over the planning duties considering I had planned our entire Orlando trip by myself.
Closer to the first Disney day, our tour guide got in touch via email. We then shared whatsapp contact details so that we could get in contact easier on the day. Our tour guide was Brooke and all of the photos in this blog post feature her to show you exactly what Michael’s VIPs offer. As I’ve said, I will be posting more in depth blog posts about our Disney days but this is focusing on Michael’s VIPs.
The tour guides at Michael’s are fully knowledgeable, passionate theme park and Orlando people. In fact Brooke is a native Orlando lady so has been visiting Disney for her entire life. The night before our first day, Brooke sent us a selfie so we knew who to look out for, we sent back a cheesy family selfie shot and arranged to meet near the Magic Kingdom park. This was a really nice personal touch and the girls got really excited about meeting her the next morning.
Michael’s VIPs can help to advise the best transport options and places to park etc, each day we had decided to travel by Uber so Brooke arranged various locations for us to meet usually within walking distance of the parks or actually inside the park. This was easiest for us but you can meet your guide wherever. During the four days, Brooke was always where she said she’d be at the correct time.
Instantly, Brooke took control of the stroller and asked to carry our bags. This was the weirdest feeling, as a parent there’s always something you are doing for your children especially on days out and Brooke took on one of those duties. I sort of felt like I’d lost a limb. Brooke advised that it’s part of her role to allow us to be fully submerged in having fun with the kids and during our day rather than worrying about the stroller.
As you can see from the photo collage, each photo is from each of the Disney parks. Having Brooke push the stroller enabled me to be able to freely take photos, to look around in awe of Disney and enjoy chatting to the girls. Whenever one of the girls asked for something (Elsa regularly asked for snacks and of course we all needed drinks) she’d stop and sort the girls out. Honestly, it was the oddest experience but so wonderful too.
One thing I will be forever grateful for, was Brooke’s ability to make Freya feel at ease. For those who don’t know, Freya is autistic and one of the things she struggles with most on days out is the unknown. At each ride Brooke would stop and explain every little details of the ride to her, including any spins or bumps or water. This really helped Freya and she did the biggest variety of rides I’ve ever known her to do.
Brooke was also able to join us on some rides which Eva really loved. Eva easily makes friends and having a fellow person who loves rides, was great for her. It was also nice to experience Disney with Brooke as she became part of our family each of the days. I think this also helped the girls to feel at ease with her and form a friendship.
Obviously the huge part of Brooke’s role was to get us to each ride. Michael’s VIPs guides know the parks like the back of their hands. This meant that we could efficiently get to each ride. I must admit that Brooke was a fast walker just like Hubby, I think my Mum and Freya had a hard time keeping up but it was all to make sure we got the most out of our days.
The entire day Brooke was working her magic with our Disney account to get us on the rides at the right times. Although we had much greater flexibility with FastPasses due to the extra magic that Disney had kindly gifted to us, Brooke managed to get us on pretty much all of the rides. I honestly have no idea how she managed it all but she made sure that we was not waiting in the infamous queues for any longer than 10 minutes. That alone is an achievement.
One of the best things about our time with Brooke is how she made sure everyone was doing something at all times. So for example when Hubby, Eva and I was riding a rollercoaster, she would take Freya, my Mum and Elsa on to a calmer ride or off to see something fun. Whenever Brooke was alone with the kids she would send me photos and videos of what they were getting up to.
Her bag was full of things to keep children occupied like a piece of cloth that she used to teach Freya a few moves. The girls also really loved Brooke doing their hair for them. To the point that I wasn’t allowed to do it in the morning as they wanted Brooke to do it.
All the Michael’s VIPs know the best place to be at the best time, no matter when you are travelling. Brooke made sure we had the best spots for the parades and the best places to see the shows. I loved how on the ball she was at always making sure we was ok, not once did we feel like we needed to ask her for anything because she had already thought of it.
For example, there’s not a lot of shade when you stand to watch the parades at Magic Kingdom, Brooke kept us topped up with water and even went to get a few umbrellas to shade us from the direct sunlight. She had various bits of fabric for the girls to sit on the scorching pavement as we waited.
It felt very weird to say goodbye on our fourth day. Once she had left us it honestly felt like we’d lost a limb. We’d had four full days of someone else helping us with our three daughters, leading us to the rides and controlling our lives so that we could experience the best possible Disney.
For us as first time Disney visitors, having the help and guidance of a Michael’s VIPs made our trip even more magical that it would have been if we was left to our own devices. There was no time wasted looking at maps trying to find our way around the parks. We got to do every single ride we wanted to, which was pretty much every ride in each of the parks over the four days.
Our days were stress free. All six of us were entertained the entire day. We got to truly be submerged in the magic of Disney and I owe our happiness to Brooke over those four days. The only way I can describe her is a super nanny. She was an incredible help to our family. We learnt new tips and tricks to take with us for our future Disney trips.
I would highly recommend looking in to Michael’s VIPs for your next Orlando trip as they also cover all of the main attractions in Orlando like Universal, Legoland, SeaWorld and of course Disney. It was such an awesome experience and we feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.