Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 3, 2013
By Clark Howard
What would you pay to skip the lines at a Disney park?
The Los Angeles Times reports the amusement parks are now offering various programs where you step out of line for a hefty price.
A ticket to Universal Studios at retail goes for around $80. But if you want the ultimate VIP experience with an escort, front of the line access, and more, you can pay $300 per person per day. In a similar way, SeaWorld charges a flat rate of $1,200 for your group, plus the cost of your admission tickets.
Disney has new program where your pay $355 per hour for a personal tour guide, customized itinerary, front row seating at shows and parades, front of the line access to rides, and valet parking. That doesn't include the price of your admission.
(Of course, you can get access to very short wait times for rides at Disney parks by using the free FastPass option!)
If you're going to Disney, I recommend that you buy The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World as a starting point. They'll tell you all kinds of money and time-saving tips that the parks don't want you to know. That's the key to getting the best value out of a trip.
For example, it's so important to know how to navigate the parks: What order to go to things, where to go first when you arrive, what time of day to arrive. Knowing that makes a trip so much more enjoyable.
For my money, I say make sure you take ponchos from the dollar store with you for afternoon and evening thundershowers instead of buying overpriced ones for $10 at the park. Sure, they won't have cute characters on them, but they'll help you keep more of those other kinds of "characters" in your wallet.
Two other websites you need to know about too: MouseSavers.com also features a lot of info on how to save on the experience. And if you want to stay on the property, try renting a timeshare. MouseOwners.com has resources for both owners and potential renters.