My friend Mike is what I’d call a true Disneyland expert! He’s been there many times and plumbed the park for all kinds of fun experiences. I recently asked him, “What are some things you think most people haven’t done at Disneyland?” In less than a week, he came up with this list of items. And now, he’s back at it with a list of even more things! With that, here’s Mike:
Last time, we looked at things most folks have yet to do at Disneyland for free while in the park. This time, we will look at equally rare opportunities, but have a price tag that goes along with their exclusivity. So here are 5 more things the average Disney fan has yet to do at Disneyland.
Experience #1: Walk in Walt’s Footstep Tour
The one of a kind experience is offered inside the Disneyland theme park. With your own private tour guide, you walk through the park learning some of the history and legacy of the man behind the magic, Walt Disney. They highlight parts of the park that you may have never noticed before. You will also learn about the real history of both Walt and how he was inspired to create certain attractions. It even includes a few opportunities to get in some rides without the lines. At the end of it all, you get a meal and keepsake pin to remind you of the day.
The tour gets updated from time to time. Previous incarnations have included a sneak peak into the lobby of the legendary Club 33, a visit to Walt’s Apartment above the firehouse, and even a look at the Dream Suite tucked above “Pirates of the Caribbean.” So be sure to ask what things might be featured when you book. Price is $109 for adults and you can a discount if you’re an Annual Passholder.
Experience #2: VIP Tour
This is less of a tour, and more of a personal Disney escort through the park. Need a last minute reservation at the Blue Bayou, your tour guide (or plaid vest as they are nicknamed) can get you that. Want to ride Toy Story Midway Mania without standing in line? Boom! Right this way, as you bypass the regular guests and get seated. And if you feel the desire to go on a few times in a row, there’s nothing stopping you.
Sounds amazing right? Something to note, not every ride gets this special treatment. This is out of functionality of the lines more than anything else. But that is the one drawback. In addition to the amazing access, your personal plaid vest guide is its own perk. Filled with behind the scenes stories, and concierge service, these are the best of the best when it comes to Disney cast member (who are already legendary). Price of this amazingness? Just a mere $400 to $550 per hour depending on the season. You can have a group of 10, so if you split that up, it’s actually not a bad proposition.
Experience #3: Big Thunder Suite
Have you ever said to yourself, “I want to stay at Disneyland, but I really want to make it special.” And by special, I mean, super exclusive and ultra themed.
Well, Disney has you covered. Inside the already beautiful Disneyland Hotel are a couple Signature Suites. Exquisitely themed, they offer a jungle cruise inspired Adventureland Suite, a Pirates of the Caribbean Suite, a Fairy Tale Suite for the prince or princess in you and of course, a Mickey Mouse Penthouse.
But my favorite is the Big Thunder Suite. Themed to the attraction of the same name, it comes with special sound effects throughout, 3 bedrooms, a master bath (a giant copper basin) and many other themed features. It can fit 6 and starts at $2972 per night. Not having rented one (yet), I don’t want to use photos without permission. But google “Diseyland Signature Suites” and drool!
Experience #4: Backstage Magic
Few are aware that the Disney Company has their our own world travel tour branch called Adventures by Disney. They offer tours all over the world and do it with the special Disney service and exclusivity that you’ve come to expect. They come with two amazing guides that are Disney cast members and various “hop-on” local guides. Once you’re in their capable hands, you’ll stay in some of the best hotels (or castle, you know whatever), never worry about transporting luggage, or standing in pesky lines for places like the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre.
Not surprisingly, they offer the best behind the scenes tour of Disneyland and Southern California on a tour named “Backstage Magic.” Starting with places in Hollywood and continuing on to exclusive locations like the Jim Henson’s studios and Disney’s Imagineering. Everywhere you go is filled with once in a lifetime opportunities for Disney fans. Whether you are seeing things you can’t talk about because they haven’t yet been released or getting to shop at the Imagineer exclusive shop Mickey’s at Glendale.
You end the trip with time inside Disneyland and California Adventure, seeing those behind the scene areas most guest never get to enjoy. Of course you get to stay at the Grand Californian Hotel while in the parks, and get plenty of front of the line access to attractions. The best part, everyone who does these trips end up with new friends. The tour group really pulls a bunch of strangers together and by the end, a few tears might be shed as you say good-bye. And how can you put a price tag on that? Well, they did. Value season prices go for $2889 per adult (double occupancy).
Experience #5: Club 33
Yes, previously mentioned Club 33 has to top the list of things the average Disney fan has yet to do at Disneyland. But have hope, it can be done. Just apply for a membership. Currently, it only takes about 12 years to get the invitation to become a member. But once you do that, just pay the start up membership cost of about $2500 and then of course there is the $1200 annual dues (but that was just the last time I heard a few years ago, prices have probably risen).
But now you’re a member. And membership has its perks. You get access to Club 33 in Disneyland and the 1901 Club in California Adventure.
Of course now you can feel free to make reservations for the secret restaurant located on the second floor throughout most of New Orleans Square. For those who haven’t seen it before, it’s hidden in plain sight. Just go past the Blue Bayou entrance, heading deeper into shopping area and you’ll see a door with a “33” for the address label.
As you might expect, the food is awesome. I recommend the Chateaubriand with a side of Truffled Mac & Cheese. Price of the meals vary, but think around $100 per guest. And of course, this is the only location inside Disneyland where you can get an alcoholic beverage. The really tough part is picking out when to go. Dinner, lunch or my favorite, Sunday Brunch!
So there you have it.. have you gotten the pleasure of experiencing any of these amazing offerings? Which do you want to try first?
Mike Rinehart is an independent travel agent affiliated with MEI & Mouse Fan Travel. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MikesTravelThoughts/ View more of this travel thoughts at mike-rinehart-e3x2.squarespace.com Or request your free no obligation quote on your next Disneyland, Disney World, Aulani, Disney Cruise (and any other cruise line) vacation by emailing him at Mike.Rinehart@mei-travel.com. Mention “The Coupon Project” and receive a free gift with your completed booking.
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