Disney by Design: A VIP Luxury Experience
Forty-seven years after the Magic Kingdom landed central Florida a shining star on the global tourist map, Walt Disney World® Orlando is finally penning a “Once Upon A Time” for luxury travelers. From world-class hotels, villas, and club-level lounges to VIP park services, private theme parks, and upscale restaurants, below is XOJET’s guide to an out-of-the-ordinary Disney experience.
Arrive in Style
XOJET gives you seamless access to a wide variety of airports within a 50-mile radius of the city; we recommend Orlando Executive Airport (~35 minutes from Downtown Disney), Kissimmee Gateway Airport (~30 minutes from Downtown Disney), or Orlando International Airport (~25 minutes from Downtown Disney). Contact your personal Aviation Advisor or visit xojet.com to plan your trip.
Choose from a Number of Top-Tier Resorts
The past five years have ushered in a new era of five-star Disney accommodations. The grand, residential-style villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa debuted in 2014, quickly followed by a head-to-toe renovation of The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Since then, Disney’s Polynesian Resort has introduced Bora Bora-inspired overwater bungalows, each with two bedrooms and a private plunge pool and private deck with perfect views of the Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks. Additionally, all eight of Walt Disney World’s deluxe resorts—a list that includes Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Contemporary Resort—now house a Club Level lounge with several, complimentary food-and-drink presentations throughout the day (our favorite of which is the early evening appetizers and wine hour).
Experience the Parks as a VIP
Choose from Disney’s official VIP Tour Services, depending on your theme park goals. For door-to-door service between your hotel and all four theme parks and access to premium viewing areas at live stage shows, parades, and nighttime spectacles, opt for a “Private VIP Tour”—your personal VIP escort facilitates a seamless day.
Families who love the rides but don’t like the lines should go for “The Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour,” which includes seven hours of expedited access to Disney’s best attractions via the parks’ FastPass+ program. On the four-hour, group-guided “Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour,” breeze through Disney’s Animal Kingdom via FastPass+, skirting even the insane lines within new fantasy land, Pandora – The World of Avatar. For reservations for the Private VIP Tour, call 407-560-4033; for Ultimate Tours, 407-939-PLAY.
Rent the Wave Pool at Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
At Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, the heated, 2.75-million-gallon wave pool—the largest in North America—is available for private rental outside of normal park hours. Surfboards, which are normally prohibited, are permitted during private rentals, and proper surf lessons can also be arranged. For reservations, call 407-939-7873.
Sail the Seven Seas Lagoon by Yacht
Spend an evening cruising the Seven Seas Lagoon (the principal body of water within Walt Disney World) on the 52-foot, Grand 1 Yacht, sipping a glass of bubbly while watching fireworks illuminate the sky. Stock the yacht to your liking (from just champagne to a five-course meal with butler service) and bring up to 16 friends for the ride. For reservations, call 407-824-2682.
Raise the Roof—Top
Even the trend of rooftop bars has now made its way to Walt Disney World. Welcome to Capa Bar, a Spanish cocktail lounge on the 17th floor of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, with ample outdoor space for viewing the nightly glow over the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Try one of the delicious sangrias or go for something spicier like the “Buena Vista,” made with jalapeño-infused barrel select Patron Reposado Tequila, citrus, and peppercorn. For reservations, call 407-313-7777.
*Photo courtesy of Capa Bar Orlando.
With more than 400 sommeliers and 248 culinary managers, Walt Disney World has drastically upped its food and wine offerings. Nowhere is this more palpable than Victoria & Albert’s, the AAA Five Diamond fine-dining restaurant at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Book in advance for the Chef’s Table and watch Chef de Cuisine, Scott Hunnel, in action as he prepares a ten-course, wine-paired dinner (a recent meal included courses of Galilee Osetra caviar, Scottish langoustine with nage crema, and Australian Kobe-style beef with Comte potato gnocchi.) For reservations, call 407-939-3862.
*Featured photo courtesy of Christian Lambert. All others courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.
By Paul Rubio
Travel journalist Paul Rubio is a Miami native who has lived in nine countries and traveled to 110 (and counting). Rubio’s writing appears in Condé Nast Traveler, LUXURY, Robb Report, Private Clubs, and ultratravel.