Ian Jones

Fort Lauderdale, Florida


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Ian Jones, Owner of Magic VIP Tours, a travel consulting and concierge service for theme parks in Orlando such as Disney and Universal Studios, was indoctrinated into the world of entrepreneurship at a very young age – five to be exact. His grandfather, Arthur Jones, was the founder of Nautilus and inventor of Nautilus exercise machines. Jones recalls putting together sales packets and learning more about business than most kids twice his age. His own entrepreneurial spirit and keen business sense eventually made its debut while Jones was a law student at Barry University. That was soon followed by other successful businesses, including his newest venture.

“Around 2005, a friend and I started an online dating company,” Jones said. “We built a site that was basically an affiliate or a back-end to dating sites like Match, E-Harmony, Friend Finder and others. Using the pay per click (PPC) model, we’d generate traffic and direct it towards these other sites. As one of the top affiliate companies in operation at the time, we pumped a lot of traffic their way. That was from about 2005 through 2010.”

Jones continued, “In 2010, I honed in on the mobile app craze and started a company called Meet.com. We had a hard time growing that with Tinder and other companies coming out at the same time. It basically operated as a breakeven type company.”

A few years later, Jones started a Washington D.C. based law firm. As a Managing Partner, his job is to focus on lead generation and the strategic direction of the firm. While building out that business, Jones took some clients to Disney and identified an opportunity to provide a much needed service for individuals looking for a true VIP experience at theme parks like Disney.

“We were so frustrated with waiting in lines,” he said. “I looked into hiring a guide to help expedite things, but it was too late. That’s when I came up with the idea to start Magic VIP Tours. Our first employee was a girl I was dating that worked at Disney. We launched the business in April 2017.”

Jones added, “There were a few competitors but they weren’t offering the same service. Also, their service wasn’t very optimized. They didn’t really offer a comprehensive package to take away the stress and frustration. Bottom line – no one was doing it well. We came up with a way to differentiate our experience and service. We hire clean cut people that are very outgoing and often have experience working at Disney. Our guides carry hand sanitizer, Excedrin and unlimited Starbucks cards. We go out of our way to give the guest a great experience.”

Using Google Ads, pay per click and by building relationships with local upscale hotels and concierges, Jones quickly scaled the business. Magic VIP Tours grew to 40 employees and, in 2019, provided over 1,000 guided VIP tours of theme parks. They understand the flow of traffic at the parks and when and where to go. As such, they’ve attracted high profile clients including professional football players, NBA players, head coaches and even one of Bill Gates’ partners. For Jones, the entire process and the outcome has been a great experience.

“Our experienced tour guides are able to provide a private VIP theme park experience handling everything from the dining reservations to assistance with transportation along with any special occasions or last minute impossible to reserve reservations,” Jones said. “This includes venues such as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique or dining reservations on property at restaurants such as Cinderella‘s Castle, Be Our Guest, along with dining reservations at hard to book places such as Chef Mickey’s, California Grill and many other restaurants located nearby.”

The families on Our tours save time waiting in lines and don’t have to Worry about all the hassles of theme park navigation, what the best times to wait in line are and the best parades to see. Our families are also safer and less exposed on a tour than families without a guide. Our guides always navigate around the masses of people ensuring our guests minimal to no wait times in lines. In addition to minimal exposure to large groups of people, the families on our Disney and Universal VIP tours also get to see and learn Disney secrets such as hidden Mickeys and secret pathways along with other behind the scenes sneak peaks that most other theme park visitors never see.”

Magic VIP Tours save families money, time and headaches. According to Jones, it takes an average family about three days to see everything at Magic Kingdom. On their Magic Kingdom VIP tour, most families see and do everything they want, including time to re-ride everyone’s favorite rides, in under eight hours.

“If you think about it, you save money on day two and day three with a tour guide,” Jones said. “There is no need to buy tickets for that park again plus you save on food costs. You also have two extra days of free time to spend relaxing at the hotels, seeing the other theme parks, shopping or whatever the family wishes to do.”

Jones continued, “The price of visiting theme parks continues to go up each year. It only makes sense to have someone come in and maximize your time and money. We get many referrals from families that go on a tour with us and recommend our services. Having such a loyal following and group of families really makes us proud. However, one of the best things is to see a family that has never experienced a VIP tour before and watch them go through the first ride and watch them pass by all the other people that are waiting in line. The kid’s eyes light up as they start to realize that they don’t have to wait very long in lines to see their favorite characters or ride rides.”

Looking ahead, Jones, who recently relocated to Ft. Lauderdale to be closer to the beach, is focused on expanding Magic VIP Tours charitable services division and entering other markets such as Disney Tokyo and Disney Europe. The charity arm is focused on taking kids with permanent disabilities, and their families, on VIP Disney trips with little to no cost for the family.

“It feels great to help a family out,” Jones said. “There’s nothing we want in return. For a lot of people that have sick kids, the families are so focused on the treatment and the hospital that things like trips to Disney are an afterthought. However, I’ve seen the mental state of kids and their parents completely change when we take them for a tour. I believe if you’re in good spirits, you’ll have a better chance at recovery. We’ll likely start an official 501(c)(3) in the very near future.”

What advice does Jones have for aspiring entrepreneurs? “Never give up,” he said. “Always keep going and just know that at the last moment when something needs to happen, it almost always will. Don’t lose hope. Keep balance. Promote your passion and have faith in your product or service.”


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