I was provided tour guide services to facilitate this review. All opinions are entirely my own.
Want to know what one of my favorite things about vacations is? The memories – whether they’re good, bad, hilarious or down-right embarrassing! And yes, I have plenty of those 🙂 One of my least favorite things, on the other hand, is the stress and hassle involved. That’s one of several Reasons to Choose Michael’s VIPs Tour Guides for your next Orlando vacation! (originally shared March 2017)
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If you’ve been on a family trip in Orlando, I bet you can remember seeing the people who were just DONE with their ‘magical vacation’. The grumpy group arguing over everything, or the family that’s shoving through crowds to get to the next ride first. That’s NOT the best way to spend a vacation – and yes, I’ve been there and done that. After experiencing an absolutely amazing trip last year, though, I’m now convinced that my family needs a tour guide for all our future trips – for our own sanity and happy-memory-making sakes! And I know who I’m calling every time – Michael’s VIPs offers so much more than just showing you around. Here’s TEN reasons they’re my go-to Orlando Tour Guide service…
#1: Saves Time, Saves Money
Time is money, or that’s what everyone says. Vacations are expensive enough, so why would you add the cost of a tour guide? Because it not only saves you the stress, but also can SAVE YOU MONEY overall! With their expertise, you get so much more done in a day, meaning you can go for less days. That’s fewer park tickets and hotel nights, less food and snacks you have to buy, less missed work or school. They’re able to get you places faster in the parks because they have it memorized. They know which ways to walk during what times of day due to traffic, which rides get busiest at what times, and when dining fits into the schedule to miss less actual park time. Time = Money, and these guys can save you a LOT of it!
#2: More Affordable than Other Groups
Yes, another one that comes down to money – because I’m sure that’s likely the top reason most people are hesitant to hire a tour guide. The prices for a private guide directly from places like Walt Disney World cost you between $400-$600 an hour, while Universal Orlando is about $2,800-$3,200 per day. Ouch! Michael’s VIPs is only $125-$150 an hour depending on the time of year.
So they’re not only saving you a TON of money in that fee, but you get all these other perks that you may or may not get with the other guys…
#3: Planning Help from Beginning to End
Whether it’s help with hotel or dining reservations, transportation from place to place, getting tickets, or fast passes, Michael’s VIPs handles all of that for you – before you even get there! I loved not having to wake up super early to nab my desired dining times when they opened 180 days before our Disney World trip, because they took care of it for me. We discussed ahead of time what we wanted from our trip – where we wanted to eat, things we wanted to do, the types of rides we were most eager to try – and they took care of all the reservations. They helped us figure out which transportation worked best for different days or situations, which saved us a LOT of time. They even texted (yes, I had their actual cell phone numbers to text before, during and after our trip) to see how we enjoyed our trip!
#4: Goes Beyond the Parks
I loved that for our whole trip – that included Walt Disney World AND Universal Orlando – we could use the same company and guides. We didn’t have to switch when we went to a new place, making it much easier for them to really get to know us and our likes or dislikes as far our vacation. If we had wanted to go try something else in Orlando, they’ve got you covered for that, too! They go beyond the parks, so whether you need a fun shopping venture, or a fancy evening out for business, they know the place and can guide you where you need to go.
#5: Honest Input & Recommendations
If you hire a private guide directly from the parks, they kind of HAVE to promote their own company’s stuff. Even if a restaurant outside the park is better, they’re likely to encourage you to eat inside the park because it helps their bottom line. With Michael’s VIPs, they cover everything and have nothing extra to gain from promoting certain things or places over others – so you know they’re going to give completely honest input or recommendations for your trip.
#6: The ‘Little’ Extras
Everyone know that the little things can make or break a great vacation, right? Well these guys want you to have the best experience possible, and the guides have fun ways of ensuring that. Take Renee for example – she brings little fake jewels to ‘toss’ to the kids during certain Little Mermaid shows or rides! Chris made sure to bring us ponchos for Kali River Rapids, and new right where to take our picture from the bridge. And Rob had learned enough about us to know my love of Star Wars, so he made sure to wear a Millennial Falcon shirt. It’s the little things, guys, that can make a world of difference and let you know that they really care about YOU!
#7: More Photos with Your Group
How many of us moms do a great job getting photos of the kiddos while on vacation, but often overlook getting ourselves in the photos? It’s super nice having a guide there to take photos of your whole family (or just you – because, why not?!) and really catch those fun memories. And yes, they’re happy to nab some with their phone and email or text it to you if you don’t want to shove your phone or camera at them constantly 🙂
#8: Extra Set of Hands – help with kids or bags
If you have multiple kiddos, you know that having another adult around can be a life-saver. They can help keep them safe and close to the group, and even keep them happy skipping along so you and hubby can enjoy walking holding hands with each other for a change! Another thing is trying to figure out seating on rides – there’s another ‘big person’ to help the younger ones. Or if you want to sit off a ride, the guides are happy to go with the kids for a second round – or third or fourth or…. (yes, my kids do this on rides like Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal). And Jason was awesome helping us with our MANY bags from Universal that day – and they were HEAVY bags!
#9: They KNOW All The Things
If you’re like me, you don’t want to just randomly pick a bathroom and hope it’s a decently clean one at busy public places. Luckily, Michael’s VIPs know where the bathrooms are located and which are the best (and check whenever you’re near, in case someone needs to stop). They know where the entrances are to all the rides, and where to head for the best seats for performances.
At Universal, we suddenly really wanted Pumpkin Juice – but wanted to try the carbonated version – and Jason took us right over to the correct place to get that. They also know which rides have the best ques for entertaining kids who may be getting restless – although you won’t wait in many lines with this skilled crew! When kids need to get rid of some of their energy, they know right where to go for the play areas in the parks.
And they know the RIDES super well, like where the camera is if there’s a photo, and also how to score the best on Buzz Lightyear – check out my score following their trick!!!
The only thing they DIDN’T know and were unable to find out for me, was why at Magical Express at the airport arrival there were lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 – where did line 7 go?!
#10: They Work While You Rest
Some rides the guide had us go on while they went and took care of other work pieces, like scheduling more fast passes. We also enjoyed watching a short bit of Jedi Training Academy while resting in chairs in the shade, while Rob went and grabbed some waters. While we were enjoying lunch, even when they joined us because we LOVED their company, the guides would still be working – reorganizing the schedule on their phone to make up for a random ride closure (Hogwarts Express – so sad!) or seeing about switching up dining reservations because you changed your mind on what type of food you want. Guys, they work HARD – but make it all look like all fun and play!
I seriously can’t WAIT to go back to Orlando again, because I know Michael’s VIPs will make it a wonderfully fun, stress-free vacation for my whole family!
Our goal is fall-ish 2018 taking EVERYONE in my family – when are YOU going to go and give these tour guides a try?
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