How Disney Travel Agent Plans Vacations for Celebrities and the Ultra-Wealthy

  • Greg Antonelle has booked thousands of Disney vacations for people through his company MickeyTravels.
  • Since the company was founded, he has planned trips for royals, actors, musicians and athletes.
  • Trips often involve VIP tour guides that cost upwards of $29,750 for a five-day trip.

Greg Antonelle told Insider he never planned on working with ultra-rich clients when he and his wife started MickeyTravels, a Disney vacation planning company, in 2011.

But as the company grew to 250 travel agents, its list of connections to the world of professional sports and the entertainment industry also grew, said Antonelle, chief executive of MickeyTravels. Since its inception, the agency has planned Disney vacations for royalty, musicians, athletes and actors, Antonelle added.

Today, Antonelle estimates that a third of her customers plan luxury trips to Disney parks. These trips often involve suites at the finest Disney resorts and VIP tour guides that cost $850 per hour.

Planning a trip starts with defining the desired experience

A view of Oga's Cantina, a bar in Black Spire Outpost at the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

A view of Oga’s Cantina, a bar in Black Spire Outpost at the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service/Getty Images

As long as a guest plans to stay at a Disney property, Antonelle and her team will book their trip. In 2021, he said his team had booked more than 10,000 Disney trips.

“The demographics can range from a young couple on their honeymoon at a resort to 25 people for a family reunion where they’re staying at the Grand Floridian,” Antonelle said, referring to Disney World’s most expensive resort.

Antonelle said her wealthiest customers often know exactly what they want from their Disney experience, like reservations at popular and expensive restaurants like Oga’s Cantina in Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios and Space 220 Restaurant at Epcot.

When it comes to Walt Disney World parks, Hollywood Studios is by far the most popular among its customers, followed by Magic Kingdom, Antonelle said.

Once Antonelle’s team knows what his customers are looking for, he said his travel agents start locking in details like VIP tour guides and reservations at Disney Villas.

Antonelle’s wealthy clients often request the $850/hour VIP tour

Andrew "Dr" Johnson from the TV show "Blackish" and his family take a VIP tour of Walt Disney World.

Andre “Dre” Johnson of the TV show “Black-ish” and his family take a VIP tour of Walt Disney World.

Todd Anderson/Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images

An upgrade to the traditional park experience, VIP tours — which are operated by Disney — assign guests their own Disney cast member and give them access to private areas. Plus, they can avoid lines at rides and quick-service restaurants, and park-skipping rules don’t apply, Antonelle said. Typically, visitors can’t travel between parks before 2 p.m. each day, but on a VIP tour, guests can go anywhere, anytime, Antonelle said.

Beyond the perks, VIP tour guides know “the ins and outs of every square inch of the parks,” Antonelle said. They provide history, stories and unusual facts about Disney throughout their tours.

Depending on the season, a VIP guide costs between $650 and $850 an hour, he said. This does not include park admission and there is a seven hour minimum per day. A single day with a VIP guide can range between $4,550 and $5,950, and some Antonelle clients will book a VIP guide for an entire week, he said, at a cost of over $29,750.

The ultra-rich follies of the best Disney hotels, suites and villas

Many luxury travelers book the best suites at Disney resorts, but Antonelle said that’s not always the case.

“We’ve booked some clients that you’d think would go all out and spend unbelievable amounts of money,” he said. “But they don’t.”

For example, Antonelle said her team helped arrange a vacation last December for a well-known singer and actor who had no special accommodations. Instead, they booked a more basic room at a Disney World hotel.

However, most high-spending travelers splurge on luxury suites and villas and typically stay at Magic Kingdom monorail resorts so they can easily get to and from their resort, Antonelle said.

The top three resorts are Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where the finest suite costs $4,800 per night during peak season, according to Inside the Magic; Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, where the price for a night in the Vice Presidential Ambassadors Suite ranges between $2,500 and $4,000, according to Touring Plans; and Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where a two-bedroom suite costs between $2,500 and $4,700 a night, according to Touring Plans.

Antonelle said he had a wealthy client who visited Disney World every year and booked an entire floor at the Grand Floridian for 10 nights. For reference, a single night in a standard room at the Grand Floridian costs $750, according to Disney’s website.

Reservation agents go to Disney to serve as assistants to their wealthy clients

Drew Barrymore poses with Minnie Mouse during a family vacation to Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort.

Drew Barrymore poses with Minnie Mouse during a family vacation to Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort.

Abigail Nilsson/Walt Disney Resorts/Getty Images

Antonelle said her wealthier clients are used to a certain standard of living. They expect this standard throughout their journey at Disney.

To ensure this is accomplished, Antonelle said her agency will send Disney’s travel booking agent to assist clients in person.

“They will almost act as their assistant for the week,” Antonelle said, adding that they will check in to the hotel on the guest’s behalf, handle restaurant reservations and be available on FaceTime if anything goes wrong. inside the park.

Also, privacy is an important thing for many of her celebrity clients.

Antonelle said avoiding crowds is a tough promise to make, but he added that VIP tours’ access to private areas helps keep his customers as behind the scenes as possible.

Antonelle added that Florida wardrobe necessities — sunglasses and a hat — double as basic disguise.

Ultimately, Antonelle said her clients have the same goal as everyone else: they want to experience the magic of Disney.

“When celebrities are here, they just want to be like everyone else,” he said. “They’re just looking to have fun.”

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