You’ve been saving up all year to take the kids to Walt Disney World, and truth be known, you’re just as excited as they are. Since this is the first trip, you’ve relied on brochures and pamphlets to carefully map out the adventure, highlighting what you are going to do and in which order. There is so much to see and do it’s almost exhausting.
Guess what? There are a few more extras that you’re just gonna have to try. Sure, they’re beyond your planned budget, but, hey, this is maybe a once in a lifetime experience.
Here are some of the best extras, addons and tours at Walt Disney World to make your family vacation the best trip ever.
1 Up Close with Rhinos
It’s one thing to see Rhinos from the comfort and safety of a train car as it chugs along a track. Binoculars advisable. It’s quite another thing to stare one in the eyes as it curiously wonders why you are there on its home turf. After all. They are the world’s second largest land animal. Then there’s that sharp horn and all…
Since no one has ever been injured on this special tour, you may wish to consider this 60-minute up close and personal type tour. Unless you would rather fly to Africa that is.
Your guided tour is an expert in white rhinos and will explain everything there is to know. You’ll learn about their habitats, eating habits, some biology, and the challenges they face in the wilds today.
2 African Safaris
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is comes alive as the sun goes down. Or comes up.
There are several tours heading out from the Animal Kingdom lodge that let you see the animals from the vantage point of a rugged safari vehicle with a small group. The Sense of Adventure tour starts you off with an early morning African-themed breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa and continues with up-close and personal encounters with your favorite animals of the savanna. Guests on the Starlight Safari will be equipped with night vision devices to tour the savanna after dark. The Wanyama Safari allows guests to explore the savanna with a private tour guide and feast on African-inspired cuisine at Jiko – The Cooking Place.
Here’s the cool part. You don’t have to fork out the theme park admission price to take a safari for the ones at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. And they’re some of the best.
3 Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!
How does a decadent treat-filled holiday dessert party? Imagine crepes, pastries, cakes, candies, pies, and, and, and… The best part you ask? Someone else messing up their kitchen instead of yours. And not just anybody. World-renowned bakers and chefs.
Once your energy level has been boosted into high gear from the sugar, you’ll be treated to special reserved seating to watch a very special Santa-sized Christmas spectacular. Of course, this is followed up with something Disney does quite well. Fireworks. Oh yeah – Gingerbread Martinis are served.
4 Backstage Magic
Who doesn’t wonder what Disney is like behind the scenes where all of the action takes place. How does such a huge place run like clockwork day in and day out? Where are all of the delivery trucks that must come and go like an endless stream?
There is but one way, short of working there, to find out what keeps Disney ticking. It’s called the Backstage Magic Tour and it’s a full seven hours of going where the everyday visitor doesn’t go. See the secret passageways running between point A and all other destinations. Watch the professionals designing costumes. See the set designers at work. By the end of the day, you’ll be a Disney expert.
5 Star Wars Guided Tour
No Star Wars fan can possibly pass this tour by and still be able to live with themselves. It’s a jet-packed adventure. Age four through 12 can enjoy Jedi training and launching into hyperspace aboard a Starspeeder 1000.
A Star Wars inspired meal is served after restoring peace to the galaxy and after a face-to-face meeting with the one and only Chewbacca. You’ll score a spot in the reserved viewing area for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular nighttime fireworks event and take home a special souvenir.
6 Behind the Seeds
This is a one-hour tour of Disney’s fish farm and four of their greenhouses. You’ll watch the maddened frenzy as the fish are fed and you’ll view some of the largest fruits and vegetables from around the world.
Plant growing techniques are explained including hydroponics which is growing without soil. At the end of the tour guests are given a handout to help them out with their own backyard garden back home.
7 Caring for Giants
You’ll never forget this wonderful experience of spending an hour with the largest critter at Disney, elephants. The handlers will explain everything having to do with their life and you’ll watch them as they are being fed.
African cultural specialists assist in telling guests what Disney is doing in terms of elephant conservation. The elephants are roughly 80 to 100 feet away so you’ll be up close, just not close enough to cause any danger.
8 Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour
This is an in-depth five-hour walking tour that takes visitors behind the scenes. You’ll learn about Disney’s history starting with a few small rides and how it developed into what it is today. You’ll learn little-known facts and trivia as you explore the tunnels connecting various areas.
This is not to be missed by anyone wishing to be a Disney aficionado. Lunch is included and all guests will take home a very special souvenir.
9 Epcot Sea Adventures – Aqua Tour
Explore the 5.7 million gallons manmade saltwater ocean at Caribbean Coral Reef as you snorkel your way around the many species of fish and underwater plant life. There is a scuba assisted lifeline which pumps fresh air down below for anyone needing a quick breath.
There is a video presentation included where guests will learn everything they always wanted to know about underwater life. Certified trainers are on board for anyone needing a lesson prior to going under.
10 VIP All the Way
There are several VIP tours available, from the 4 hour Ultimate Disney Classic, hitting all the classic Magic Kingdom rides that have no height restrictions, to the 7 hour Ultimate Day of Thrills, covering the most exciting rides in the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios parks, with lunch included.
But the biggest, baddest of them all is the Private VIP Tour. Up to 10 people will be picked up by private car (at whatever time you want to roll out of bed) to be ushered around one or more parks of your choice, following an itinerary designed by YOU. Enjoy special VIP seating for shows, parades, and nighttime spectaculars. You must sign up for a minimum of 7 hours at between $425 and $625 per hour, depending on season. Have more than 10 guests in your party? Double that because you’ll have to pop for a second VIP tour guide.
These are but some of the many tours and add-ons that are available, and they are the perfect ways to experience the trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World. Ready for that splurge?