Everyone knows about the attractions, restaurants, and characters at the four Walt Disney World theme parks, but did you know that there are also Walt Disney World tours that you can book? Offered on a regular basis, these tours are the perfect way to add an extra special touch to your family vacation. Some of these are very specialized, so they are a fantastic opportunity to learn more about an aspect of the Walt Disney Company or Walt Disney World Resort that you are most interested in.
Planning Your Disney World Tours
To book these tours, you’ll need to call (407) WDW-TOUR well in advance of your vacation dates. Some of the tours operate select days and times, so you’ll want to have an idea of how the tour will fit into your vacation before you call.
When planning for your tour, it’s important that you understand the specifics and restrictions of the various tours. In some cases, you’ll need closed-toed shoes or other apparel/items. For many tours, you’ll meet inside the park and will be required to have valid park admission for the park you are visiting (i.e, you’ll need to purchase a ticket in addition to the tour). If you don’t have the park hopper option on your ticket, you’ll want to make sure that you are already planning on visiting that park that day, especially for those shorter tours.
Disclosure: I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on some complimentary press trips at Walt Disney World, but all opinions are my own. I’ve been able to experience some of these tours on those trips. This post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us.
Walt Disney World Tours You Can Book for an Extra Special Vacation
This seven-hour tour is the ultimate for those who are looking for a truly magical experience. During the Backstage Magic tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit and learn about the American Adventure in Epcot’s World Showcase and the utilidor tunnels under the Magic Kingdom. Guests also learn about costumes, the sets around the parks, and other backstage operations. Lunch is served at the Wilderness Lodge in the popular Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Magic Kingdom Tours
There are several tours that will take you through parts of the Magic Kingdom park. These include:
Disney’s Family Magic Tour
In this tour, you’ll be able to explore the parks while going on a guided scavenger hunt. It’s most appropriate for kids aged 4-10 and you will need to do lots of walking. This is probably the best tour if you’ve got younger kids who love the Magic Kingdom.
Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom Tour
Interested in the history of Walt Disney and the parks? This three hour tour through the Magic Kingdom talks about Walt Disney’s childhood in Marceline through his development of the Magic Kingdom. It’s a walking tour, and because of the historical aspect, may be less appropriate for younger kids (it is open to kids 12 and up).
Disney Keys to the Kingdom Tour
The ultimate Magic Kingdom tour, the Keys to the Kingdom tour runs for five hours. During the tour, you’ll learn about some of the secrets of the various attractions in the park, tour the utilidor underground tunnels, hear Disney trivia, and have lunch. This tour is for those aged 16 or older. I was able to get a small sample of this tour years ago, and I loved learning some of the backstage stories of the attractions.
Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour
Got train obsessed kids? This three-hour tour is open to those aged 10 and up. It takes place early in the morning, before park opening, and includes a ride on the steam train as well as backstage access to where the trains are stored. When my son was younger, he loved trains, and I think he really would have enjoyed this tour.
Behind the Seeds Tour
I’ve always loved the Living With the Land attraction in the Land pavilion at Epcot. Even so many years ago when I first visited, the technology used to grow food in the Land was revolutionary. Even though I’ve been to Walt Disney World dozens of times, I still have to visit that Epcot attraction every time I go to the parks.
The Behind the Seeds Tour is an hour-long tour that’s appropriate for kids as well as adults. It includes a walk through the greenhouses and the fish farm as you learn about how food is grown there.
Epcot Seas Adventures
There are three different Epcot Seas Adventures offered in the Seas pavilion at Epcot. The Aqua Tour is a two and a half tour appropriate for those aged 8 and older. During the tour, you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel in the Caribbean Coral Reef right in the Seas pavilion. In addition to the snorkel time, you will be able to see an educational video, learn about the facility, and get your questions answered about the animals in the habitat.
If you are SCUBA certified, you may be more interested in the Epcot DiveQuest. This tour lets you dive into the Caribbean Coral Reef for about 40 minutes. The tour itself runs for about 3 hours. If you’ve ever been in the Seas pavilion, you’ve probably seen the divers in the tank. It looks like such a fun experience.
The final experience is called the Dolphins in Depth. With this tour, you can interact with Epcot’s bottlenose dolphins in shallow water. The tour is 3 hours and you’ll be in the water for about 30 minutes. Bring along a swimsuit (or wear it under your clothes and bring dry undergarments) so you can enjoy the rest of the day in the park in dry clothes.
Of the three Epcot Seas Adventures, I think the Aqua Tour would be the most unique experience, unless you are SCUBA certified.
The unDISCOVERed Future World
This four-hour tour goes behind the scenes in Future World at Epcot. It’s open to those aged 16 and older, and includes backstage tours of some parts of Epcot that guests often can’t see. I am not as familiar with this tour, but I think it would be great for people who are interested in Disney’s original vision for EPCOT Center.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Tours
Star Wars Guided Tour
This tour is the ultimate experience for the Star Wars fan in your family. It includes VIP reserved viewing for several of the Star Wars themed shows at the park, character greetings, lunch, participation in Jedi Training (for kids aged 4-12), among other experiences. It’s popular, so be sure to book early. My kids always loved Jedi Training, so I think they would have really enjoyed this tour when they were younger.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tours
Wild Africa Trek
One of my favorite experiences at Walt Disney World was the Wild Africa Trek, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This behind the scenes tour runs for about three hours and includes a snack break on the beautiful savannah. During the trip, you’ll be able to walk over crocodiles on a rickety bridge (while strapped in for safety, of course), get close to rhinos, and ride in one of the safari vehicles to get an up-close view of the animals there.
If you have kids who love animals, it’s definitely an exciting experience, and is something you couldn’t easily replicate elsewhere. The Wild Africa Trek is appropriate for kids age 8 and over, but make sure your kids are old enough to really appreciate it. I still have great memories of the tour, and would definitely do it again.
Caring for Giants
Another fun and popular tour for animal-loving kids is the Caring for Giants tour. This 60 minute tour gets you up close to the elephants at Animal Kingdom, where you can learn about their care. Kids have to be four years or older, so it’s a good option for families with younger kids who may not want the intensity of the Wild Africa Trek trip.
Animal Kingdom also offers other behind the scenes safari tours, including a nighttime safari experience.
If you want to feel like a VIP for the day, you may consider booking a VIP tour for part or all of your Disney family vacation. You can follow a specific tour itinerary (including the The Ultimate Day of Thrills VIP Tour, the Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour, and the Ultimate Disney Classics VIP Tour) or get a private VIP tour guide for your family.
With the private VIP tour guide, you’ll have limited waits for the rides and will have VIP access/viewing areas for the shows. You can visit whichever of the parks you want, so the whole experience is customized to your interests.
Adventures by Disney Tours
In the past, Adventures by Disney has offered a fantastic short adventure at the Walt Disney World resort. While there not currently one on the schedule, there is one at Disneyland. There’s always the chance it will return in Florida in the future.
During select times of the year, there are a variety of tours that are offered for a limited time. These include the Gardens of the World Tour (during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival), the Holiday D-Lights tour, and Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy.
Have you been on a Disney World tour?