There are so many ways to make your Disney vacation memorable when you’re visiting the Walt Disney World Resort. But, perhaps the best way to enjoy the Disney theme parks is by booking your family a behind-the-scenes tour!
The Walt Disney Company offers a number of tours in the Disney Parks everyday, and they’re definitely worth doing if you’re willing to splurge a little for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
So, whether you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift idea, a way to make your 50th visit to Disney a bit more special, or just want to know what all the hype is about, here’s an overview of all the best Disney tours at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida!
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MAGIC KINGDOM TOURS
DISNEY’S KEYS TO THE KINGDOM TOUR
Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour is probably the most popular tour among fans. It takes place in the Magic Kingdom and includes one of the most exclusive behind-the-scenes looks at the Disney Park operations. Not only will you learn the fascinating history of Magic Kingdom park, but you’ll also get to see “behind the curtain” where only Cast Members are allowed!
One of the most exciting parts of the backstage tours here is that you’ll actually get to see what it’s like under the Magic Kingdom in the “utilidors.” These service tunnels are not normally a public place, but you’ll get to walk in them during a portion of your tour! It’s so exclusive that video equipment isn’t even permitted.
Along with this, you’ll also learn more about how Disney creates an atmosphere where fantasy reigns in Magic Kingdom and learn all about your favorite Disney attractions. Plus, you might even get to skip the line and ride some of the most beloved rides like “it’s a small world.” This is one tour that is certainly a must for any Disney buff!
Logistics: The Keys to the Kingdom tour is a five-hour walking tour where Cast Members will detail the hidden secrets of classic attractions and you’ll explore legendary hidden areas of the park. The tour costs $114 per person and includes a delicious lunch and an exclusive gift to take home. Just note that all guests must be at least 16 years old and you will need to purchase valid theme park admission and have a Park Pass Reservation for the day of your tour separately.
Read More: 9 Tips for Flying to Walt Disney World
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BEHIND THE SEEDS
Over in EPCOT, Behind The Seeds is one of the fan-favorite tours that you’ll hear about. Why? Well, you get backstage access to one of the most interesting attractions in the park — Living with the Land!
If you’ve ever been on Living with the Land, then you know that Disney actually produces a lot of their own food in greenhouses at EPCOT. Well, this tour will give you all the details on how it’s actually done! You’ll get to see Disney’s innovative growing techniques, learn about the hybrid fish they’re breeding, and more behind the scenes. So, if you’re looking for one of the following tours that won’t cost you a ton of time and money but still offer a unique experience, check this one out!
Logistics: The Behind The Seeds tour costs $35 per person and is a one-hour tour of the greenhouses and fish farm that encompasses The Land Pavilion in the theme park. The tour starts at the lower level of The Land Pavilion near the exit to Living with the Land. Reservations are available online and all guests will need to purchase park admission separately.
EPCOT SEAS ADVENTURE DOLPHINS IN DEPTH
Did you know that you can actually meet dolphins at Disney World? It’s true! During the EPCOT Seas Adventure Dolphins in Depth tour, you’ll learn all about the dolphins that Disney cares for in their aquarium from dedicated animal specialists and even get to interact with the dolphins yourself! And, of course, you’ll be doing it all in backstage areas of the park that no one else has access to!
What makes this one of the most unique behind-the-scenes tours is that you get to go where only Cast Members are usually permitted in EPCOT and see the inner workings of one of Florida’s largest aquariums. Plus, you won’t need any special certifications to get to meet the friendly dolphins (who will likely splash you while you’re visiting!). It’s a great tour to add to your day at EPCOT after exploring all the other sea life in the aquarium.
Logistics: The EPCOT Seas Adventure Dolphins in Depth tour is a two-hour experience, with 30 minutes dedicated to interacting with dolphins in waist-deep water. Guests participating must be 44” tall and will need to bring their own bathing suit (though towels, shampoo, and hair dryers will be provided). The tour costs $199 per person and you’ll want to note that expectant mothers cannot participate.
EPCOT SEAS ADVENTURE – DIVEQUEST
You could probably easily write a book about how amazing your Disney World tour was no matter which one you choose, but for a rare opportunity that very few guests get to experience, book the EPCOT Seas Adventure – DiveQuest tour. This tour will not only take you behind the scenes at The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, but it will also take you on a deep dive inside the 5.7-million-gallon seawater aquarium! That’s right, you’ll get to swim with over 2,000 sea creatures that Disney cares for including sea turtles, reef fish, stingrays, and sharks.
Keep in mind that several safety measures are in place to ensure that you have the very best experience during this behind-the-scenes tour, so no additional guests are permitted. But, any family and friends that you may have with you who won’t be diving, can watch from the giant windows in The Seas pavilion. This is also a great way to get some photos of your once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Logistics: The guided tour lasts two hours, with approximately 40 minutes dedicated to the actual dive. All guests need to be SCUBA-certified to participate and must be at least 10 years or older. Disney does provide all diving equipment for the experience, though you will need to bring your own bathing suit. The tour is $219 per person over and above the cost of park entrance and only takes place on select dates, so be sure that you make an advanced reservation online.
DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM TOURS
WILD AFRICA TREK
Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is home to several guided tours, with the most adventurous being the Wild Africa Trek tour. Not only does this tour take you behind the scenes to learn more about Disney’s conservation efforts, but you’ll be doing it all up close with animals on the open savanna! You’ll walk a grassland path, cross a swinging rope bridge, ride in a safari vehicle, and more as you encounter wild animals including giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and crocodiles. But, the thing that really makes this tour extra special is the extremely knowledgeable and kind Cast Members.
Of course, you can see many of the wild animals on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride in the Animal Kingdom for free, but this tour is certainly worth it if you can swing the extra cost. On the ride, you’ll only stop briefly to see the wild animals, and you may not be all that close to them. But, during the Wild Africa Trek tour, you’ll be able to take your time, ask the people who take care of the animals any questions that you have, and you’ll have the rare opportunity to see wild animals up close. Plus, you’ll even walk away with a complimentary souvenir and photos from Disney’s trained photographers.
Logistics: The Wild Africa Trek tour lasts three-hours and costs $199 per person on top of the cost of your park ticket. Some physical stamina, comfort with heights, and ability to navigate hills, foliage, and unsteady rope bridges are required to participate, but you can contact Disney if you have any special needs. For the best tour experience, be sure that you show up in comfortable clothing like pants or shorts and a comfortable shirt. Close-toe shoes or hiking boots are required.
UP CLOSE WITH RHINOS
If you’ve got a big animal fan traveling with you, then the Up Close With Rhinos private tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a must-do. There aren’t many people who can say that they’ve met white rhinos, but if you participate in this tour, you’ll do just that! Plus, you’ll actually go backstage in the park to areas that most guests never get to see.
During the tour, you’ll go back to the white rhino enclosure with the rhino’s keepers. You’ll learn fascinating insights about the planet’s second-largest land animal from the keepers as they discuss the white rhino’s behaviors, biology, and more. It’s an experience that very few people get to have and is sure to be the highlight of your Disney vacation!
Logistics: Up Close With Rhinos is a 60-minute tour that can easily be added on to your day at the park. It costs $45 per person in addition to your park ticket and has one of the youngest age limits of all Disney tours. Guests must be 4 years old to participate, though note that any guests under 18 years of age must have a participating adult with them. The tour does take you behind the scenes, so keep in mind that video equipment, cameras, and cell phones cannot be used for the duration of the tour.
SAVOR THE SAVANNA
What’s better than getting to see African wildlife in their natural habitat on an open savanna? Getting to enjoy some of the best eats and drinks while you do it, of course! The Savor the Savanna guided tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom pairs a sampling of African-inspired cuisine, like tapas, and a selection of regional beer and wine offerings with a private viewing area of the savanna where wild animals roam. You’ll also get special access to an animal specialist who will tell tales of the animals that live on the reserve.
All of Disney World’s private tours are well worth the cost, but this premium tour is unlike all the rest! You’ll truly feel like a VIP guest as your private guide takes you in a rugged safari vehicle to the viewing deck with breathtaking views of Disney’s immersive animal reserve. The food and drinks are absolutely delicious and you’ll get nearly one-on-one attention from the highly knowledgeable Cast Members.
Logistics: This guided tour is a 2-hour tour that is typically offered two times every day. You’ll meet your group across from the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction entrance at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk. It costs between $147 to $174 per person (in addition to your park ticket) and all guests must be at least 8 years old to participate.
CARING FOR GIANTS
The final tour that is currently available in Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Caring For Giants. During your tour, your guide will take you to an exclusive viewing area of Disney’s African elephant reserve. Here you’ll learn about the day-to-day care of the gentle giants, Disney’s conservation efforts, and the inner workings of the African elephant herd. Plus, you’ll be doing it all only 80 to 100 feet away from the elephants – not something that many people get to do in their lifetime!
Disney is heavily dedicated to the preservation of wild elephant populations, so this tour is more than just your average elephant encounter. Most guests only get to see one elephant in the enclosure during the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride if they’re lucky, but this tour gives you a closer look at the entire herd along with a guide who is dedicated to making sure you have the very best time. No other in-park experience offers this!
Logistics: Caring For Giants is a 60-minute tour that takes place three to four times per day. The cost is $35 per person in addition to your park ticket and all guests must be 4 years or older to book the experience. You’ll check in at the Curiosity Animal Tours kiosk across from the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris, but be sure that you don’t arrive late as you may not be able to participate.
DISNEY RESORT TOURS
STARLIGHT SAFARI AT DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE
If you’d prefer not to purchase a Disney theme park ticket but still want to experience something outside of what every guest can do at Disney World, check out the Starlight Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Much like Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Animal Kingdom Lodge also has its own African savanna filled with roaming wildlife, and this tour gives you a closer look at some of the animals that live there. But, what makes this tour even more unique is that it takes place at night, so you’ll likely see even more animals than you would during the day!
To see the animals at night, you’ll be given night vision glasses and taken out onto the savanna in an open-sided safari vehicle. You can expect to see up to 30 different species of wildlife including zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, antelopes, and even ostriches. The knowledgeable guide will be there through it all to teach you everything you need to know about each animal, point them out, and answer any questions that you may have. This tour operator truly makes the experience even more special!
Logistics: This guided tour takes place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, so you’ll need to account for the travel time it will take you to get to the hotel (allow up to 1.5 hours). The tour itself is roughly one hour long and costs $75.65–$89 per person. Don’t forget that you won’t need a park ticket to experience this tour, though all guests must be 8 years or older. Check-in takes place at the porte-cochere and reservations must be made in advance either online or through the My Disney Experience app.
WILDERNESS BACK TRAIL ADVENTURE AT DISNEY’S FORT WILDERNESS RESORT
A visit to Disney World can involve a lot of walking, but the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort lets you explore the resort on a Segway instead! The tour is super fun for families and takes you on an exploration of Florida’s countryside through paved paths, woodland trails, and even a stop at Disney’s horse stables! A Cast Member will be with you along the way to guide you while also dropping in some fun stories, trivia games, and providing directions.
The Wilderness Back Trail Adventure is definitely a hidden gem in Disney World and something that can easily be added to the start of the trip or the end. Not many people know about it, so you may even have a private tour without having to pay a premium if you’re the only family booked for the day!
Logistics: The guided Segway tour costs $90 per person and takes place once every day. When you first arrive, you’ll spend about 30 minutes learning how to ride the Segway and getting in some practice. After that, you’re off! Just note that guests must be 16 years or older to participate and weigh between 100 to 250 pounds due to Segway specifications.
OTHER DISNEY WORLD TOURS
DISNEY PRIVATE VIP TOURS
Disney World’s most exclusive and premier tours are the Private VIP Tours. These private tours are different from all the others offered in the parks and resorts because you’ll actually receive your very own VIP guide who will take you around the parks during a fully customized experience. You’ll be able to skip the long lines at every attraction, try the best food in the parks, and you won’t even have to deal with Disney transportation. Needless to say, this is a huge bucket list item for most Disney fans and the best way to visit the parks!
The length of your Disney World VIP tour can vary, though they must be booked for a minimum of 7 continuous hours. At the time that you designate the beginning of your tour, you’ll be picked up from your Disney hotel in a private vehicle and meet your VIP tour guide. This Cast Member will take into account everything that you’d like to do that day and create a completely customized itinerary for you and your party of up to 10 people. Want to ride a roller coaster 5 times in a row? They can make that happen!
Not many people get to experience a Private VIP Tour in their entire lifetime, so you’ll be among Disney royalty if you do!
Logistics: A Disney VIP Tour is customized to your needs and the price of the tour ranges from $425 to $850 per hour, depending on when you’re visiting. Park admission is not included in the cost and VIP tours must be booked in advance with a credit card. In addition to the guided tour on the day of your choice, you’ll also receive pre-arrival planning, enjoy a flexible start time, have the ability to skip the long line at any Disney attraction and learn tons of hidden Disney details and little-known history from your knowledgeable guide.
CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE TOURS IN DISNEY WORLD
Well, that’s all the tours that are currently available at the Walt Disney World theme parks. But, there are more that have yet to return (hopefully in the new year)! Here’s a full list of the tours that have been available in the past but do not have a return date just yet:
- Marceline to Magic Kingdom at Magic Kingdom
- Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour at Magic Kingdom
- Family Magic Tour at Magic Kingdom
- Taste of Magic Kingdom Park VIP Tour at Magic Kingdom
- Holiday D-Lights Tour at Magic Kingdom and EPCOT
- Gardens of the World at EPCOT
- Undiscovered Future World at EPCOT
- World Showcase: Destinations Discovered at EPCOT
- Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Star Wars Guided Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Backstage Magic Tour at 3 Disney World Parks
- Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour at multiple parks
- Sense of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Wanyama Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Yuletide Fantasy at select Disney Parks and Hotels
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO DISNEY
- YOUR THEME PARK VACATION
- STAR WARS DISNEY WORLD: 13 Amazing Things Star Wars Fans Will Love At Disney
- CHARACTER DINING: Dining With Disney Characters: 14 Spots You’ll Love
- DISNEY TIPS: 80 Best Disney World Tips For A Magical Vacation
- PIN TRADING: 21 Revealing Disney Pin Trading Tricks For Your Next Fairydust Adventure
WHERE TO STAY IN DISNEY WORLD
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