As we predicted last year, 2017 looks like it is shaping up to be the year of the upcharge experience at Walt Disney World. Though the resort has already debuted a number of exorbitant new experiences for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom, in recent weeks even more options have been announced for guests who are willing to spend some extra cash during a visit to Walt Disney World. And while some are pretty reasonable, the first two newly-confirmed upcharge experiences are definitely for big spenders only…
1. The Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour at the Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney World has announced a new four-hour long tour that allows guests to experience up to 10 of the most beloved Magic Kingdom Park attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and Peter Pan’s Flight, all with no wait. Interestingly, this new tour does not include any attractions with height restrictions, so if you are wanting to experience the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain, this is not the tour you are looking for.
Essentially, the idea behind this new offering is to give guests the chance to pay for a shortcut to experience some of the most popular attractions at the Magic Kingdom in four hours without having to worry about dealing with wait times or making FastPass+ reservations in advance. However, though this sounds like a good way to do the Magic Kingdom in speed mode, if you want to take the Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour, you’ll have to pay some big bucks for the privilege, as this offering costs $199 plus tax per person, which works out to $50 an hour. And no, that does not include park admission.
This upcharge experience is currently offered Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, beginning next week, and has availability through the summer. While this experience certainly sounds interesting, it you’re not visiting during “peak” guest season, you probably won’t save a bunch of time with this upcharge experience, as you can easily experience 10 attractions in half a day at the Magic Kingdom with a little advance planning and a little help from FastPass+.
However, if you thought $200 for four hours was outrageous, Disney has announced an even more expensive option for shop-a-holics at Disney Springs.
2. A personal shopping experience at Disney Springs
Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort is now offering a new personal shopping upcharge experience that allows guests to shop side by side with fashion expert Melanie Pace. Included in this special premium experience are:
- Personalized, one-on-one consultation with a proven fashion advisor
- Fashion recommendations to suit your unique style for everyday wear or a special occasion
- Beauty advice including make-up and skincare tips
- Special access to Disney Springs retailers
And now for the cost: these personal shopping sessions are $250 per hour, making this one of the most expensive upcharges we’ve ever seen at Walt Disney World, save for the Private Premium VIP Tour, which has a varying cost between $400 and $600 per hour.
3. Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival dining package
One of the big changes for this year’s Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is the expansion of the Garden Rocks concert series, which will now take place four days each week during the festival, with three concerts each Friday through Monday. Here’s the current lineup:
- March 3-4 – Jon Secada – “Just Another Day”
- March 5-6 – Dennis DeYoung – The Music of STYX – “Grand Illusion”
- March 10-13 – Pointer Sisters – “I’m So Excited”
- March 17-18 – Simple Plan – “Welcome to My Life” – NEW
- March 19-20 – Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah”
- March 24-27 – Night Ranger – “Sister Christian“
- March 31-April 3 – Little River Band – “Reminiscing”
- April 7-10 – Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice – “Spinning Wheel”
- April 14-17 – Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy”
- April 21-24 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO – “Evil Woman”
- April 28-29 – Exposé – “Point of No Return” – NEW
- April 30-May 1 – Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – “Take My Breath Away” – NEW
- May 5-8 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City”
- May 12-15 – The Guess Who – “American Woman”
- May 19-22 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “I’m Henry VIII, I Am”
- May 26-29 – The Spinners – “Working My Way Back To You”
This year’s lineup is pretty strong, and in an effort to give guests who want to see these concerts as many options as possible, Disney has announced that for the first time in the history of the Flower and Garden Festival, it will be offering dining packages that include reserved seating for these concerts.
Guests can choose either breakfast, lunch, or dinner for their package, and the prices for these meals break down as following:
- Breakfast packages start at $39 plus tax (for adults) and $23 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9)
- Lunch Packages start at $39 plus tax (for adults) and $15.50 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9)
- Dinner Packages start at $53 plus tax (for adults) and $17.50 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9)
Interestingly, these packages can not be booked online, and guests wishing to take advantage of this new upcharge offering can do so by calling 407-WDW-DINE.
While the previous two experiences certainly seem a little bit more on the outrageous side of the upcharge spectrum, this new dining package actually seems quite reasonable, and is very similar in price to the Epcot Festival of the Arts Dining Package, which has been surprisingly popular over the past few weeks.
Are you interested in any of these upcharge experiences at Walt Disney World? And thinking more broadly, how do you feel about the introduction of so many upcharges this year? Is Disney simply providing guests with more ways to customize their vacation, or is this a ploy to attract a higher class of Disney guest? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
-Original published in Theme Park Tourist By Amanda Kondolojy, Saturday, February 4, 2017 04:00
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