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When I go on a trip, I’m a planner. I remember the first Disney vacation I ever took with my (future) husband. I was eighteen. I bought a few books about Walt Disney World and went to town. I had everything planned, from where we would eat each meal at what time to avoid the longest waits, and the order we would do the rides in.
The trip was awesome, and we avoided a lot of trouble and waiting because of my planning. And my husband and I are still together, so I guess my uber-panning couldn’t have annoyed him too much.
But here’s the the thing: I don’t actually like doing the planning. I just need it to happen, and I’m the only one in my life who can do it in the anal-retentive, obsessive way that I require.
Adventures By Disney Does It All For You
The idea of going on an Adventures By Disney trip is so tantalizing, because they plan everything. And they take care of everything. Leaving you to simply enjoy your vacation and have the best time of your life.
It’s not just the planning that gets me excited, it’s the access. Adventures By Disney gets you into places you couldn’t get into on your own, or with another travel company. Nighttime tour of the Vatican? Check. Access to Lucasfilm, which doesn’t offer public tours? Check check.
It’s All About The Story
I had the opportunity recently to speak with some of the people behind Adventures By Disney, including Karl Holz, the President of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations (or “everything without a castle,” as he put it). I was really impressed. Their passion was almost tangible. Their excitement about travel and adventure was infectious.
One of the things that makes Adventures By Disney trips different is their commitment to introducing you to a community. When you visit a place with them, you don’t just see an airport, a hotel, a few restaurants, and some landmarks. You meet the people who make that community special. Disney works with characters who are authentic to the locale, whether that’s a rice farmer in Laos or a local celebrity in Harlem.
Disney is known for its storytelling, and these trips are no exception. You don’t go on a bike ride or white water rafting or horseback riding just for the sake of doing an activity, it’s a part of telling the story of where you are. You blend your own wine and learn about the history of winemaking in Napa Valley. You mush dogs in Wyoming. You try your hand at archery in Scotland. You learn dance steps in a working dance studio in NYC.
And you craft a lot of your souvenirs yourself, learning even more about a community in the process. That sure beats grabbing a souvenir in the airport.
So Many Destinations!
The elephant in the room, of course, is cost. These trips are not cheap. But they are not overpriced for what you get either. Each tour has two fantastic guides, chosen from thousands of applicants. They take care of your schedule, your comfort, your bags, everything. Your accommodations are fantastic and the food is wonderful.
And if you have some special needs, don’t worry. According to Hanneke, one of the enthusiastic guides I spoke with, “We really cater to the family, no matter what the family looks like. We’ve seen it all.”
The guides also make sure to look through the lens of all of the different ages on the trips. Whether it’s a grandmother who is unsure about ziplining or a child who needs some extra attention, the guides are there for you.
There are even Junior Adventure nights, when the kids go off to do their own thing and the adults get to hang out and party together.
New, Shorter Trips
A new thing this year for Adventures By Disney is a couple of shorter trips, three-night tours in NYC and San Francisco/Napa Valley. These are great for people who maybe don’t have time for a longer trip, or aren’t quite sure about the whole “group tour” thing and want to try it out with a smaller commitment.
All of these trips look amazing. My husband and daughter want to take the China tour, to walk the Great Wall and meet Pandas during a private tour of a panda breeding facility. I would have an almost impossible time choosing, but I think I’d pick a destination that I would have a harder time planning myself, like the Galapagos or South Africa. No matter what we chose, though, I don’t think we’d be disappointed.