It seems like these past couple of months, I have been visiting a ton of amusement parks. Just in November when I was in Florida, there was Harry Potter World, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Then, my friend Anna invited me along on a day to Disneyland in Anaheim with her family.
But it wouldn’t be just a day in Disneyland. Oh no, it would be a day in Disneyland accompanied by an official park tour guide!
When Anna told me this, I was totally confuddled. What the heck is a tour guide? I didn’t know there was even such a thing!
One of Anna’s family-friend is someone who is a member of Club 33. One of the perks of being part of this Club is that they are given a certain amount of days each year where they can request a visit to the park accompanied by a tour guide. Or they can pass on this perk to friends and family. This is how our group was able to attain a guide.
Our appointment with the guide began at 10am and ends at 6pm. We pulled into Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa and met our guide Ronnie at the lobby of the hotel. She looked cool, spiffy and official in her charcoal-colored trenchcoat and greeted us warmly. She then explained the process of what the day will look like.
When I asked Ronnie how one is able to get a Disneyland tour guide, she said there are a few ways. One, you are someone in the Disney family (star in a Disney show/movie); two, you are a member of Club 33 (which is how we were able to get one that day); three, you book a guide yourself.
Yes, it turns out ordinary people can book a tour guide. How cool is that?!
So what’s the cost? $360-$500 per hour, with a minimum of 6 hours.
And if you have more than 10 people in your group, you’re going to need more than one tour guide.
Basically, her role is to guide us around Disneyland and/or California Adventures and take us to whatever ride we want. If the ride has Fast Pass access, we can just go with her and immediately get in that line without having to go to the regular route of obtaining Fast Pass (usually you go to a Fast Pass booth for their respective ride and wait until the time given to go on the ride).
Sometimes when there IS no Fast Pass line, like in Pirates of the Caribbean, we went through the ‘Exit’ sign and was able to get on the next ride out. This was a pretty ridiculously awesome perk.
The longest we had to wait in line was for Radiator Springs Racers in Carsland, and the wait was only 20 minutes.
Another perk to having a tour guide is she knew the lay of the land. Initially we told her some of the rides that we wanted to go on, and she ended up taking us to all of the major rides of the park. And instead of fiddling with the map and wondering what the nearest ride would be, she just led us from ride-to-ride. With such a big group, this was greatly appreciated. We had a leader, she knew what she was doing, and so no one complained or fussed.
Ultimately, this definitely helped create a stress-free day.
Something else that you should try if you are somewhat hungry are the Turkey Legs sold in the food carts around the park. For $10, you get a HUGE turkey leg that is sooo tender and tasty, it’s seriously finger-licking good. Anna bought one and it filled five of us over until we could have dinner a few hours later.
Included if you get a tour guide is special seatings for certain attractions, one of them being Mickey and the Magical Map. Normally, you line up and get ushered in, and you try and get the best metal seats you can. With us, we were directed to a roped off area where the two benches were padded on top. It might not seem much, but now that I’m thinking back on it, I remember no discomfort when we had to wait 20 minutes for the show to start, or when the show did start.
By the way, Mickey and the Magical Map is a short live musical show that involves Mickey being taken to several parts of the world, while characters from those parts of the world come onstage and sing songs, haha. It was hard not to sing-along as your favorite Disney songs are being sung.
After 6pm, Ronnie’s shift with us ended and we had to peruse Disneyland by ourselves. Boy, was there such a difference in the atmosephere. No one knew where to go, and everyone kept splitting up and getting lost that it became hard to make a unanimous decision on things. What once was a cohesive group became several cliques that just did their own thing.
One ride that I really enjoyed on this trip in particular was oddly the Mad Tea Party ride, where you just spin around and around in a teacup. *TIP* Go on this ride at night, when the lanterns are all lit. It makes for such a more beautiful scenery when you’re spinning out of your mind and about to throw up.
In addition to getting special seatings to Mickey and the Magical Map, we got special seating for the watershow at the Rivers of America as well as the end-of-the-night fireworks. Usually, we would have to get to the Rivers of America at least 45 minutes before the watershow starts to get some kind of territory. Even then, you could get your view blocked off by a taller person in front and then just have to rubberneck around the guy to see the show.
Instead, we were led to another roped-off area where padded fold-able chairs were situated. It was awesome. We didn’t have to get there super early, we were comfortable, and we had a great view.
Overall, I am TOTALLY spoiled by having a Disneyland tour guide there. The perks were so amazing, in my opinion. It was a stress-free day and I don’t remember a single instance where I was upset or annoyed. She was fun to have around, was really patient with our group, and answered any questions we had.
Thank so much to my friend Anna who invited me along for a blissful day in the Happiest Place on Earth!