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Treat Yourself to a VIP Day at the Disney Parks (For Less Than $12,000!)

The perk: Backstage access.

Cast Member sign at the Magic Kingdom

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

The moderate VIP option: Take a tour… or run a half-marathon. Thankfully, this doesn’t appear to be an experience that Disney insists on reserving for its more exclusive customers. In fact, there are plenty of decently-priced tours available for those who want to dive a bit deeper on their next visit to the parks. Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, priced at $99/adult (admission not included), runs five hours and includes a tour of the underground Utilidor tunnels and a complimentary lunch at the Magic Kingdom. The seven-hour, $275/person Backstage Magic Tour, meanwhile, takes parkgoers behind-the-scenes at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, with pit stops in a couple of the company’s core departments. Of course, it’s difficult to say exactly how this will differ from the experience offered to World of Dreams tour participants, but it’s as informational and comprehensive as you could hope for otherwise.

Alternatively, you can sign up for a runDisney half-marathon and count on catching some backstage sights while huffing and puffing through Epcot in the early morning. If it’s the VIP experience you’re after, though, this wouldn’t be our top recommendation. It’s a unique experience better embraced for what it really is: a scenic backdrop for a grueling race.

The affordable VIP option: None. Sorry, but this is one experience Disney doesn’t dole out for free. That said, you don’t necessarily have to pay top-dollar to get a behind-the-scenes look at the parks. The above-mentioned tours barely scratch the surface of the add-on experiences Disney offers, among them Animal Kingdom's $40/person Up Close with Rhinos encounter and $30/person Caring for Giants opportunity. For obvious reasons, these are also some of Disney’s most popular tours, so advanced reservations are both recommended and required.

The perk: Access to Cinderella Castle Suite.

Cinderella Castle Suite

Image: Disney

The moderate VIP option: None.

The affordable VIP option: None.

For now, it looks like any future visits to the jaw-dropping Cinderella Castle Suite will require curious parties to fork over a hefty entrance fee. Since Disney has made it all but impossible to rent their princess's decked-out room, even for the rich and famous, it'll take a stroke of fairy godmother-level luck to score any kind of VIP night in the castle. Still want to feel like royalty? Check out some of the most luxurious, wallet-depleting suites you can book at Walt Disney World.

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The World of Dreams VIP Tour may be out of reach for most travelers heading to Orlando this year, and for understandable reasons, but that doesn’t mean that the average Disney fan has to miss out on some of its best perks, from shorter lines to comfortable seating and backstage access.

What DIY tips have you found useful for crafting your VIP day at Walt Disney World?

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