If you’ve ever wanted to know how it feels to be a star at Universal Studios Florida, you have to sign up for the VIP Experience tour. Learn exactly what is the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience, the secrets you’ll learn on the tour and most importantly why this is a tour that all families need to experience at least once.

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On the VIP Tour Experience, families take private entrance into even the newest rides like Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Photo by Melinda Johnson of Melinda Jae Photography

Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience

When we signed up for the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience, I knew that we were going to have an extraordinary experience. But I wasn’t expecting just how much more enjoyable it would make our visit.

For a family like mine who is more likely to spend a long weekend at a park rather than a week-long visit, it’s a way to maximize your time in the parks. We loved it so much that my husband has declared that it will be something we do each time at Universal Studios, if only for at least the first day.

Traveling Mom TIP: If you’re not traveling with your family like Tara VIP TravelingMom did for her review of Diagon Alley, it’s still worth splurging for the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience. It might be even more worth it since it really will be ALL about what you want to do. 

What is the VIP Experience?

The VIP Experience is a private guided tour of Universal Studios when you’re actually treated as a VIP. Your guide walks you to the front of the line for any ride (even those that do not have a fast pass). Your guide can also arrange for you to have preferred seating at shows, private meet and greets with characters. Basically anything that would make you feel like a VIP, they do their best to arrange.

The Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience can be booked as a group experience, where you’ll take the Universal Studios VIP tour with other parks guests who you may not know, or as a private experience, one with only your group.

My family of four was grouped with another family of 5 for our VIP Experience. My sons (4 and 8) were a similar age to their son (age 8). This grouping made our day easier to plan since our children were able to ride most of the same things.

Even from the beginning of your day, you feel like a VIP. There's a special entrance to the park just for Univeral Studios Florida VIP experience.

Even from the beginning of your day, you feel like a VIP. There’s a special entrance to the park just for you Universal Studios Florida VIPs. Source: Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend TravelingMom

We met our VIP Experience guide, Adrialis, just outside of the park. She took a few minutes as we walked in to ask questions about what rides we had been on previously, our must-do rides and gave us an outline of the day. This conversation was one of the first clues that this was going to be a special day. While all the VIP Experience guides follow a general tour route, they will adjust it for your family to ensure that your experience is the perfect one for your family.

Traveling MOM Tip: The VIP Experience is an 8-hour long tour, so plan in advance for what your plan of action will be and what are the must dos. It can be difficult to evaluate and plan if you don’t know all the rides available in the park.

Secrets from the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience

Over the course of day, Adrialis guided us through the park AND offered insider’s secrets to Universal Studios Florida.  She gave us advice on where to sit for the best view of the parade (in New York because they do a dance routine there); park updates (i.e. the Twister ride was taken down to make room for the new Jimmy Fallon Race through New York ride coming in 2017); and trivia about the park. Our guide provided us with the small details and the backstory of the rides that you might miss as you walk through unless you’re a regular parks visitor. She explained on one Harry Potter ride that the talking portraits were the founders of Hogwarts.

One of the newest rides at Universal Studios. Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Posted wait times with 105 minutes but our Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience time: 5 minutes.

One of the newest rides at Universal Studios. Skull Island: Reign of Kong. Posted wait times with 105 minutes but our Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience time: 5 minutes. Source: Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend TravelingMom

With the VIP Experience, you’ll also have the option to go behind the scenes to actually see the rides. We visited the shop area of the park favorite rides and she told us all about how much the investment was for the ride and we were even able to see the movements of the car on track and learn how the screen adjusts for the ride movements. We weren’t able to take pictures during this time but it was a great memory.

A benefit of the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience is private entrances and paths to avoid the crowds.

During the Universal Studios Experience VIP experience, you’ll visit private areas of the park where you can capture the perfect picture. But it doesn’t mean that your family will participate. Source: Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend TravelingMom

We even took secret pathways more than once. There are two public ways to go between the parks if you have park-to-park tickets. The first is walking outside the front gates of either and just walking to the other. The other is taking the train between Diagon Alley in Universal Studios Florida and Hogsmede in Universal Islands of Adventure. Adrialis took us through a back door path to show a third way. This isn’t a public route but for a tired family, this was a priceless part of the tour.

Traveling MOM Tip: Ask your guide all the questions you want to know about the parks. Ask about the ride creation, the hidden details on rides, what they recommend and what they like to do. Our guide was able to answer every question we asked and gave her opinion when we requested.

Why Every Family Should Experience the VIP Experience Tour

Visiting Universal Studios Florida is a rare treat but like most parents say, traveling with your children is a trip, not a vacation. The VIP Experience actually gives you a true vacation day. The guide provides enough assistance that you can relax. They are in charge of directing where you’ll go next and you don’t have to pull out the map to try and find your way. You don’t have to worry about bringing ponchos into the park in case of rain; they’ll provide them for your group (for FREE!) if it rains. They hold everyone’s bags so you can all go the ride together. They’ll take the pictures of you without having to bother a stranger. There is even a special reserved VIP lunch area (included in your VIP Experience fee) where you can sit down in a quiet place and taste all the foods available in the park.

One of the amazing tour guides for the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience. Source: Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend TravelingMom

One of the amazing tour guides for the Universal Studios Florida VIP Experience. Source: Kendra Pierson, Long Weekend TravelingMom

More Things You Know About the VIP Experience Tour

Overall, I can’t rave enough about the VIP tours but here are a few other details that you should know to help you decide it’s worth it. Please let me know if you go and just how wonderful your experience is.

  • You have to purchase Universal  tickets before signing up for the VIP Experience. The VIP Experience is an additional fee. As of September 2016, the prices began at $189 per person.
  • The VIP Experience offers guests a continental breakfast and complimentary valet parking.
  • The VIP Experience is offered during the standard Universal Studios Florida hours. During special events, the tour is offered in the evening as well.
  • If you have special requests (i.e. a guide to ride with your children or languages), they will TRY to honor these requests but there is no guarantee.
  • During the day of your VIP Experience Tour, you receive a 10% discount on any purchases you make. You’ll also receive Express Pass entrance to all rides for the remainder of your day after the tour ends.

If the VIP tour isn’t quite your style, then it’s still more than worth a visit. Check out this post from Marina, Gringa TravelingMom about her review of the park. Hint: She wasn’t the biggest fan before, see what she thinks now.

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