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Old 03-24-2012, 11:15 AM   #1
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Southwest Splendors Question

We would like to do a helicopter tour into the Grand Canyon. We are also interested in the ATV tour in Utah. What are the best companies to use for this? What day/time should we book it for? Thanks!
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:02 PM   #2
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We didn't do a helicopter tour, but we did the ATV and Hummer tours in Moab. The guides booked both tours for us. They also booked a rappelling activity for some of the other guests. They just passed around a list of activities on the bus before we arrived in Moab and we checked off what we wanted and they took care of the rest. There was only one family on our trip that booked a helicopter tour at the Grand Canyon and I believe the guides booked that for them, as well. Unfortunately, it was windy that day and it was cancelled.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:39 PM   #3
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I did the helicopter tour at the Grand Canyon with a couple of other people on the ABD. Chris, our Guide, booked it for us (and, in fact, Cheryl, the other Guide, joined us!) The company we used was actually called Grand Canyon Helicopters.

http://www.grandcanyonhelicoptersaz....=60&lang=en-US

I can't compare them to any other company; it's the only helicopter ride I've ever done, but the ride was enjoyable, the copter was comfortable, and had huge windows. I can't imagine Chris booking us with them if they weren't reputable & reliable.

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Old 03-25-2012, 04:04 PM   #4
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When we did SWS (a few years after Sayhello) the guides were no longer allowed to book the helicopter tours for us, but they did recommend a company at the airport. We had a fine time, but it took up a whole afternoon (our main free time at the Grand Canyon), and one passenger threw up which almost triggered a domino effect in the whole helicopter. In hindsight, I would have rather stayed at the Grand Canyon itself instead of traveling out to the airport (by bus), walking to the company's location, waiting for our turn, taking the ride, waiting for the bus back, etc., and just enjoyed the sights close up and personal. You could easily hike a short distance down into the Canyon (say, take 1/2 hour to walk into it, and plan on a longer time coming up, with plenty of water and staying on the trails), and have a wonderful experience. Just my two cents.

The company itself was fine - they took a nice picture of us, which of course I bought. But unfortunately I can't remember the name of the company!
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
When we did SWS (a few years after Sayhello) the guides were no longer allowed to book the helicopter tours for us, but they did recommend a company at the airport. We had a fine time, but it took up a whole afternoon (our main free time at the Grand Canyon), and one passenger threw up which almost triggered a domino effect in the whole helicopter. In hindsight, I would have rather stayed at the Grand Canyon itself instead of traveling out to the airport (by bus), walking to the company's location, waiting for our turn, taking the ride, waiting for the bus back, etc., and just enjoyed the sights close up and personal. You could easily hike a short distance down into the Canyon (say, take 1/2 hour to walk into it, and plan on a longer time coming up, with plenty of water and staying on the trails), and have a wonderful experience. Just my two cents.

The company itself was fine - they took a nice picture of us, which of course I bought. But unfortunately I can't remember the name of the company!
Oh! I didn't realize they'd made that policy change about the Guides booking things. Interesting. Do you know why? Is it just a liability thing?

Ours didn't take as long as what you are describing. But then again, we were there in May, and it had snowed that morning, so there weren't that many people. I think the whole day was scheduled differently back then, since we were staying in Tusayan, outside the Park. I had time to do the helicopter ride, *and* hike down into the canyon. Best of both worlds.

While I'm glad I did the helicopter ride, it was not as fabulous as I thought it would be. For one thing, they are not allowed to fly actually into the Canyon, so you're seeing it from above, but not as intimately as I thought we would. It's worth doing once, but if it's a choice between the helicopter ride or hiking down the Bright Angel trail part way into the Canyon, I'd choose the hike, definitely.

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Old 03-25-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
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Thank you so much for your replies. It sounds like hiking will be the best option for our family. Thanks for saving me more money!
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2006- WDW CR (DD's 1st trip & my parents came) 2007- WDW SSR (1st trip 'home' & suprise trip for DD) 2008- WDW SSR (surprised DD w/her aunt) 2009- WDW SSR (inlaws) 2010- Our 1st ABD (Spirit of America) 2011- WDW SSR & BLT and our 1st Cruise (Disney Dream) 2012- WDW BLT (DD's surprise birthday trip); ABD Southwest Splendors 2013- DL GCV (Our 1st DL trip); Disney's Vero Beach; Disney Fantasy 2014- ABD Costa Rica
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:08 PM   #7
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Sayhello - yes, they changed it for liability reasons. Which is also why it took so long to get there - they didn't use the Disney coach/bus to take us, we had to arrange for transportation ourselves, which meant catching a park services bus or taking a taxi.

And I agree completely in that since they had to just fly above the Canyon, it wasn't as spectacular as I had imagined. Next time, we'd hike!
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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Oh, I didn't know the guides couldn't book the helicopter tours. They were still booking the excursions at Moab (ATV, etc.) last summer when were there.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:01 AM   #9
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Hijack in progress...

Reading this thread because I'm considering it for next year. Anybody got a suggestion as to the "best" time of year to do this adventure? I just retired so I'm very flexible in scheduling.
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Old 03-26-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by OKW Lover View Post
Reading this thread because I'm considering it for next year. Anybody got a suggestion as to the "best" time of year to do this adventure? I just retired so I'm very flexible in scheduling.
I went in May, and the weather was gorgeous (although a bit windy at times). The biggest concern weather-wise is the hike to Delicate Arch, as it's *totally* exposed. Personally, I can't *IMAGINE* doing it in July or August, although people do it.

Jeff, you are totally going to love this trip. I've loved all my ABD's, but Southwest Splendors holds a special place in my heart, and I still think it's one of ABD's best itineraries. It's a great mix of activities, and the American Southwest is just *so* spectacular! I never knew there were so many different kinds of deserts! Have you been to any of the places on this trip before?

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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 03-26-2012, 12:33 PM   #11
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We went this past summer with the tour starting on July 5. We came a day early and it was hot in Phoenix. It was 107 the day we arrived, but it only felt really hot when we were in the sun. Dry air really does make a difference. Once we left Phoenix, it was surprisingly comfortable for the rest of the trip. I was afraid we would be miserable, but it wasn't bad at all. It was funny because all the locals were complaining about how humid it was due to monsoon season coming early last year. It was around 20% humidity. I am from Tennessee where the humidity in summer is 90%+ so I thought the air was very dry.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:08 AM   #12
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Thanks for the reports from prior years about the temperatures. I'll keep that in mind when looking at this.
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