NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

June 21, 2013

See a theme park like a VIP with no waits, hassles

(Continued)

“I hate to leave her sitting while I’m waiting in line for an hour,” he said.

The other benefit is that their personal guide is always willing to take photos, he said.

“You don’t end up with a bunch of pictures of just one of you,” he said.

While nearly all of theme park VIP tours allow guests to skip the lines entirely, the ones at Disney don’t — they still must use the Fastpass lines that are available to everyone.

What they do get is a personal concierge who can monitor wait times across the parks; make dining reservations; arrange for the best seats at shows; and make sure everyone in the group can get autographs and photos of Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins and all their other favorites.

Guides tailor the tours to whatever the guests want to see, whether it’s the princesses or the big ticket rides.

“They’re looking for a carefree visit without all of the planning,” said Chris Wojcik, who’s been a Disney tour guide the past 17 years.

He also acts as a mediator to make sure everyone gets to see what’s on their wish list and can find an air-conditioned attraction when they get overheated.

Some families request the same guide year after year and plan their vacations around when they are available, said Marvin Smith, who oversees the VIP tours at Disney World.

What makes Universal Studios Hollywood’s “VIP Experience” unique is that it includes an up-close tour of the movie and television production studio where scenes in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” ‘‘The Sting” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” were filmed.

Sometimes, those on the tour can get a glimpse of stars walking along the back lot, see the sound editing process or step onto a set just after shooting is finished.

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