If crawling in and out of roller coasters and carrying a Mickey Mouse-shaped balloon all day strikes you as the opposite of a luxury vacation, well, a lot of people would agree.
Hit the Walt Disney Co parks in Anaheim on your own, and it’s hard not to feel like giving up somewhere between lunchtime and Splash Mountain’s 90-minute wait. But there’s a much better way to conquer Mickey’s kingdom—one with secret passageways to bypass queues and personal attendants to hand you ice-cold bottles of water as soon as the sunshine creeps up over Main Street, US.
A new, three-night offering (from $2,129 per person) by group travel outfitter Adventures by Disney is the latest way to open up the gates of the Happiest Place on Earth. (The company typically takes families to such global locations as Italy or Japan, rather than to the parks themselves.) It debuted just now with a slew of long-standing VIP opportunities—skip the line , tour guides—as well as never-seen-before amenities. Most notable among them: unprecedented access to “backstage” locations, such as Walt Disney’s apartment and Walt Disney Imagineering. Being granted entry to Walt Disney Imagineering—the studios in which all the rides and experiences for the company’s global theme parks are created—has typically been the Disney equivalent of earning top-level clearance at the Pentagon. Even Imagineers need special “camera” passes to take photographs with their phones in certain areas of the building that Adventures by Disney is opening up to its groups.
On a recent trip, the highlight was a conversation with artists working on the forthcoming Frozen-themed land that will open by 2023 at Hong Kong Disneyland—and possibly in Paris after that. No design details or attractions have been publicly announced for that project, but travellers were able to see scale models that hinted at a traditional Nordic village and a Frozen-themed confectionary.