Walt Disney World Bucket List: Exclusive Experiences in the World

by
Joan Feder

Feature Article
This article appeared in the June 9, 2020 (#1082) edition of ALL EARS®

Editor’s Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.

Cinderella Castle and Fantasyland

As you probably know by now, Disney World will be reopening soon. If you are anything like me, that has you thinking — no dreaming — about your next Disney vacation. After a few warm thoughts about Dole Whip and plastic cheese, I decided to break out of my rut and dream big. REALLY BIG. Here is my list of three of the most exclusive (and expensive) things I would love to do at Disney World.

VICTORIA & ALBERT’S CHEF’S TABLE

The multi-award-winning Victoria & Albert’s restaurant is located at Disney’s Grand Floridian. It features modern American cuisine made with incredible ingredients from around the world. Among its many accolades are the AAA’s Five Diamond Award (every year since 2000), and the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award. Even their wine cellar has been given special recognition for its extraordinary collection of over 700 selections!

The restaurant is intimate, expensive and the perfect place for a special occasion. Victoria & Albert’s offers several dining choices. The most exclusive option, located in the heart of Victoria & Albert’s kitchen, is the Chef’s Table. Only one party per evening is seated. The table can accommodate up to eight guests, but reservations may be made for parties as small as two. It is a front row seat overlooking the action in the open kitchen.

This night to remember starts with a champagne toast. A feast of up to 11 courses is then presented over the next three hours. Diners not only watch the meal prep; they get to banter with the chefs and sommelier.

If you are considering eating at Victoria & Albert’s, you need to know a couple of things. All guests must be ten years of age or older. Also, there is a dress code. Men must wear jackets, nice pants, and shoes; ties are optional. Women should wear nice dresses, fancy pant suits or a skirt with a blouse. Jeans, shorts, capris, sandals, flip-flops, and tennis shoes are not allowed.

The price for the Chef’s Table begins at a whopping $250 per guest. This is scheduled to increase on August 30th to $350 a person. The wine pairing starts at $150 each. Note that this does not include tax or tip, but valet parking is available at no additional cost.

DISNEY VIP TOURS

Did you know that you can hire a Disney tour guide to take you around the parks? If you book a Disney VIP Tour they take care of everything for you. The plans are made, standby lines are skipped, and your tour guide is a fount of Disney knowledge. It is a great way to plus your Disney vacation.

Each tour requires park admission which is not included. Some have height restrictions and are aimed at different age groups. Whichever you choose, you must make a reservation.

The first type of tours are “Ultimate” VIP tours. These are group (not private) tours capped at 40 guests. They have a predetermined schedule and are a bit more affordable.

Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour

This tour is aimed at Disney’s adventurous guests. Due to the nature of the rides, and their height restrictions, this one may not be suitable for younger kids. It includes several exciting attractions at three of the theme parks.

Mornings are spent at the Magic Kingdom enjoying Big Thunder, Splash and Space Mountains, the Haunted Mansion and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. After lunch at a quick-service restaurant, the next stop is Soarin’ at Epcot. The tour ends at Hollywood Studios with Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania!, the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Star Tours.

This tour is offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. It starts at 8:30 am and lasts about 7 hours. The price is $349 per person plus tax and includes lunch.

Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour

This tour has no height requirements and is great for any age. It has all the fun of the Magic Kingdom’s essentials with none of the wait.

Attractions include Dumbo, Haunted Mansion, Small World, Jungle Cruise, Mad Tea Party, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Journey of the Little Mermaid.

The tour takes place on most Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. It starts at 10am and lasts about four hours. It costs $249 per person plus tax, and lunch is included.

Ultimate Nights of Adventure Tour

If you love the Animal Kingdom this tour is for you. It covers all of the hottest attractions. This itinerary does include several thrill rides, so there are some height restrictions.

Rides include Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey and DINOSAUR. Also included is a viewing of Rivers of Light.

This tour is usually offered seven days a week and lasts about 4 hours. The cost is $249 per person, plus tax, and includes snacks and a specialty beverage (nonalcoholic or alcoholic for guests 21 and older).

Tastes of the Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour

This behind the scenes tour is for guests 16 years of age and older. Backstage kitchens and other never shared working areas are part of this experience.

You get to talk to the chefs and Cast Members that create the food at the Magic Kingdom. Guests sample some of the park’s favorite menu items. They also get to “Taste the Future” by trying an item that is still in development.

The tour lasts 3 hours, and is offered on most Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It costs $99 per person plus tax.

Private VIP Tours

Private VIP tours are more expensive than the group tours above but are much more personalized. The team at Disney VIP tour services plans a customized itinerary for your group of up to 10 guests. They will take you to any or all the theme parks. Just let them know what you want to see, and they will make it happen.

Guests are picked up from their Central Florida accommodation by private vehicle at a time they choose. Having a tour guide allows you to skip the standby lines to make the most of your park time. Guides also go the extra mile, like parking and retrieving strollers at each ride, or getting lunch for guests while they enjoy the attractions.

The cost of this tour ranges from $425 to $750 per hour depending on the season. It must be booked for a minimum of seven continuous hours, with no more than ten guests per guide.

CINDERELLA CASTLE SUITE

I saved the most ridiculously extravagant and out of reach dream for last. This one is so exclusive that it is literally priceless. It has never been available to purchase. Rumor has it that Disney has declined offers of $40,000 for a one-night stay!

Located on the third floor of the Castle, Cinderella’s Suite was originally going to be Walt Disney’s apartment for whenever he visited. Sadly, he died before Disney World opened. For the next several decades, the suite was used as storage space, and even as a call center for Disney World phone operators.

The Suite was reclaimed and refurbished in 2006. Cinderella’s Suite debuted as the grand prize for the “Year of a Million Dreams” promotional campaign. After that, stays were available by invitation (offered to celebrities like Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey). For the rest of us, the only way to stay overnight is through a special promotion or winning a contest.

Lucky guests take a brief elevator ride to the 650 square foot suite. Inspired by a 17th century chateau, it is small but elegant.

The foyer features a magnificent tile mosaic of Cinderella’s coach. It took four months for four craftsmen to put the 30,000 tiles in place. A crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling and Cinderella’s glass slipper is on display.

The parlor has six stained glass windows that tell Cinderella’s story. The first three show her father’s house, her invitation to the Royal Ball, and the clock striking midnight. The next set depicts her slipper, her pals Jacques and Gus-Gus, and the Castle. The parlor also has some hidden secrets. The mirror is actually a television and the sofa is a pull out bed that sleeps two.

The bedroom boasts an antique fireplace that is rigged with fiber optics. Guests can enjoy the glow of a “fire” or a fireworks display. Over the mantle, there is a picture of Cinderella that is really a flat-screen television. The two queen size beds have canopies, and the headboards are emblazoned with Cinderella’s royal crest. The desk is an antique that Imagineers purchased in Europe.

Even with all these other amenities, it is the bathroom that stands out. The spa tub is surrounded by more handcrafted mosaics. The tub has a waterfall faucet and Jacuzzi jets. Even the ceiling is extraordinary; it becomes a starry sky when the lights are dimmed.

Other perks of staying in the suite include a VIP viewing of the Magic Kingdom fireworks. Guests also have 24-hour access to the Castle Concierge, whose job is to ensure the entire stay is magical.

Well, that’s it…my big three Disney bucket list experiences. Which would you choose?