Adventures by Disney forums

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Adventures By Disney
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 10-06-2012, 08:43 AM   #1
jnsma
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 325

DVC Gold Member
Paid DVC Rent/Trade
Gold Membership

Justifying ABD

I am starting to look at family vacations for next summer and am considering ABD but the cost is holding me back. Care to convince me or suggest an alternative?

We have 2 kids, twins 9 years old. They are on the spoiled side, like to be busy but not all that adventuresome. Our vacations up to this point have been geared towards them (beach, amusement parks, nice swimming pools) with single location or cruise. Before kids, we did quite a bit of traveling but not high adventure, mostly sightseeing around Europe (5 trips in a row). All was done by my own planning and on our own.

I’m considering a tour to try and get the kids exposed to a wider variety of things. This past summer we went to Williamsburg and tried to mix the history with fun and it was a struggle at times. I figured a pre-planned itinerary that included family centric activities would work out better.
As a first attempt, I was thinking of the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion parks, so the Canyons and Cowboys tour with ABD. Much as I would love to go back to Europe, I think that would be too much to throw them into on the first tour and it also costs more.

We do enjoy Disney and know they “do it right”. We’ve done 5 DCL cruises…. I wouldn’t say that I’m tied to DCL but everyone always has such a good time that we default to them and pay the increase over the other lines. So you could say that I have gotten to the point of justifying the price increase for DCL but not there yet for ABD.

On this trip, I’m considering a tour to help aid the picking up and moving each day (or every other). I can see that getting old if doing it ourselves. I’ve considered renting an RV and think that would be a completely different option and experience but DW is not quite on board yet. Full disclosure: as a kid I did 2 cross country family trips in a station wagon and tent trailer.

Sorry for all the background, but hopefully gives some perspective. So onto the questions….
Is ABD worth the extra cost?
What other tour groups do nice US family tours? I’ve done a bit of checking into Tauck, Collette, Globus, and a half a dozen others that I’ve found here. Given that I haven’t done a tour, I’m not sure what to look for.
Are there any good local companies that specialize in the western US?
Has anyone that has done an ABD tour done a similar thing planned on their own? If we just did it ourselves, I’m sure we wouldn’t do all the really cool things and/or stay at places as nice. This really makes it hard to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

Any insights or suggestions to help justify the additional cost would be much appreciated.
Thanks, Jeff.
jnsma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2012, 09:21 AM   #2
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,292
DISboards Moderator

Well, I'm going to start this answer with a question you didn't ask. When I was a kid, we did fabulous trips that my father loved, and us kids really enjoyed. He'd hook a 5th wheel onto the Suburban, and off we'd go for a week or so, seeing America. However, these were never vacations for my Mother. In retrospect, she still had to clean, cook, do laundry, referee, entertain, etc. There was nothing vacation-like about it except that she had to do it in a smaller space, without her things, in really cool places. PLEASE don't make your wife do an RV trip unless that's the only way you can afford to do a vacation! OK, I've said that. Now on to ABD...

I don't have kids, so I can't comment on that aspect (although I'm sure others here who do have kids will chime in). I find that having ABD do all the planning (choosing places, getting entrance tickets, getting front-of-the-line entrance, arranging for and vetting the best of the best in local guides), magically move you and your luggage from place to place, get you into places and events you'd never be able to arrange on your own, is totally worth it. And then, on top of that, you add the Adventure Guides. The Adventure Guides are amazing, and are experts on drawing your kids into the places you go & the things you see and do. They handle emergencies, entertain, work the logistics, and make it all seem seamless. Yes, ABD is more expensive than a lot of tour companies (although they are, by no means, the most expensive in their class). But I have never regretted the money I spent on an ABD (4 so far) or felt "I shouldn't have spent the money because I could have done this cheaper myself." I like to be on VACATION when I'm on vacation, and I really feel that way when I do an ABD.

Oh, and the Cowboys & Canyons trip (used to be called Southwest Splendors) was the first ABD I did, and still ranks as one of my favorites. It's no secret here that I think it's a fabulous itinerary, and one of ABD's best. I *highly* recommend the trip! If you want to have an idea of what it's like, check out my Trip Report in my Signature. There are also several Trip Reports for this trip in the Sticky at the top of this Forum.

Hope that helps!
Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 10-06-2012, 11:32 AM   #3
carpenta
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: grand isle, Vermont USA
Posts: 1,142

We are a family of Dad, Mom and a daughter 11yrs. I own an RV and we do travel quite a bit with it.We have travel through out Europe (not in the R.V.)as well as the U.S and Canada. We have done 2 ABD trips so far and have another for next summer. Saying that it is a pleasure where you can travel and look out the windows and relax when someone else is driving. The kids are entertained with the video on the bus and more important with the new "friends" they meet on the ABD trip.For the kids it seems they really bond and enhance the journey when they are grouped together and let you as adults enjoy the sights at a different level knowing the kids are safe and secure in their group. As UPS advertizes "Logistics" and that is what ABD does so well. Most meals are planned on the trip so no worrys as well as hotel rooms ( usually the rooms with the best views) Bags are picked up and delivered at all stops. The tourist parts of the trip are focused both on adults as well as the kids. There is always food available for the most picky eater.
We just did a Tauck Bridges tour this past June/July and they cannot compare to the attention to detail in the kids' department IMHO. There is a different feel of the travelers and the experience as a whole lacks the enthusiasm as ABD. There is something about the energy that the tour guides bring to the ABD that cannot be overstated enough. We kept saying "boy this sure isn't ABD". We had reserved another Tauck trip for next year but when we returned we cancelled and shifted our vacation time to book with ABD.
I agree it is expensive but compared to other group companies it is in the ball park. Usually the ABD group sizes are smaller and younger with some extended families. We have met some of the nicest families in our trips which also helps you remember fondly of the times you shared. We did the Alaska trip (wonderful) and the Montana/ Banff trip (just as wonderful) and we are booked for the South west Splendours next year. Do the research and good luck with your trip no matter with whom you travel.

Last edited by carpenta; 10-06-2012 at 11:33 AM. Reason: add
carpenta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2012, 08:12 PM   #4
glassslipper2004
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,212

I have to echo the previous posters on so many points! First off, as the chief planner and organizer of many family vacations, I loved being able to just relax on our two ABD's. Even if something isn't quite perfect, it isn't my fault! And not having to constantly decide what to do next, and then doubt my choices and second guess whether we did the right thing - it's priceless.

We did Southwest Splendors as our second ABD, and it was awesome. I'm not a nature person, and pretty much picked this trip for DH, but it was great. You will have a wonderful time, and can get lots of great tips from the disboards.

The funny thing about writing this post is that right now I'm trying to decide whether to do the three night Barcelona ABD before our Med cruise next summer. Although no matter how I price it, it is much more expensive to do those three nights with ABD than on our own, I really, really want to do it. Yes, if we are on our own, we might pick some better things, and we might cut down a little on the time it takes to travel as a group, but chances are I'm not going to pick the better things - or if I do, I will be worried that we paid too much or made the wrong choice. Plus we have met some really great people on these trips, and it definitely enhances the experience to be able to share it with others. My kids who are now 13 and 14 were treated so well on our ABD trips - they are dying to do another one.

Anyway, I'm rambling - but I don't think you can beat the quality and great experience of an ABD. It is definitely more expensive, but if you can swing it, you will have a great time.
__________________
1980; 1990 - WDW - college graduation; 1993 - WDW - Grand Floridian honeymoon trip; 2003 - WDW - (offsite) first time with our girls - we celebrate DH's birthday; 2004 - WDW - Wilderness Lodge; 2006 - WDW - (offsite) and we again celebrate DH's birthday; 2006 - Disney Wonder 4-night cruise; 2007 - Disney Wonder Cruise and WDW Yacht Club -- fun at Stormalong Bay!; 2008 - Viva Italia ABD; 2009 - Disney Hollywood Studios; 2009 - Southwest Splendors ABD; 2010 - Israel; 2010 - Paris/London; 2011 - Disney Dream, Poly and Beach Club

Upcoming: August 2013 Med cruise
glassslipper2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2012, 07:19 AM   #5
tracyz
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Vermont
Posts: 327

Just have to jump in with a couple of things...first, the adventure guides make it worth every penny. I know you keep hearing this. It's true. Your entire family can vacation, including the parents. You'll love being able to sit back and enjoy watching your kids have a great experience, without the stress of worrying about what's next.

Glass slipper, we did the 3-night Barcelona ABD last year. Take the leap and do it. You won't be sorry!
__________________
~Tracy
tracyz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2012, 03:37 PM   #6
glassslipper2004
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,212

Oh, Tracy, you did the Barcelona ABD!! Was it enough "ABD" time to make it worthwhile? Did you enjoy the Flamenco dinner/show? How was the hotel? It's really only two full days, with a night before and morning after. I have to tell you that I am pretty much planning on doing it, despite the price craziness.

I took my kids on just a local trip over the weekend and found myself thinking "if this was an ABD trip, I wouldn't have to worry about whether that restaurant would be open, or have the right foods... I wouldn't have to worry about whether there would be parking if we get there mid-day... I wouldn't have to figure out when to leave to get to the next place on time..." and so on!

--Sandy
__________________
1980; 1990 - WDW - college graduation; 1993 - WDW - Grand Floridian honeymoon trip; 2003 - WDW - (offsite) first time with our girls - we celebrate DH's birthday; 2004 - WDW - Wilderness Lodge; 2006 - WDW - (offsite) and we again celebrate DH's birthday; 2006 - Disney Wonder 4-night cruise; 2007 - Disney Wonder Cruise and WDW Yacht Club -- fun at Stormalong Bay!; 2008 - Viva Italia ABD; 2009 - Disney Hollywood Studios; 2009 - Southwest Splendors ABD; 2010 - Israel; 2010 - Paris/London; 2011 - Disney Dream, Poly and Beach Club

Upcoming: August 2013 Med cruise
glassslipper2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2012, 04:55 PM   #7
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,292
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
I took my kids on just a local trip over the weekend and found myself thinking "if this was an ABD trip, I wouldn't have to worry about whether that restaurant would be open, or have the right foods... I wouldn't have to worry about whether there would be parking if we get there mid-day... I wouldn't have to figure out when to leave to get to the next place on time..." and so on!

--Sandy
Yep! I think that's what most people who have done ABD's end up saying to themselves! I know I have!

Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-09-2012, 05:16 PM   #8
Kez250
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: MVY, MA
Posts: 199

we have DVC - we travel to WDW 3ish times a year and yet I was nervous about going on a group tour, however having completed our first ABD in August - i can completely state that yes it is more expensive than others - but oh so worth it - the fact that the parents get a vacation as well as the children - there is so much care taken with ensuring that there is something for everyone - our group ranged from 6 through to 82

We spent an extra day in HK and although we had an idea of what we wanted to do and where to go, I really missed the extra touches that the guides added.

The guides truly love what they do - they delight in seeing peoples reactions to the different places and the experiences that they can show you.

despite our initial nerves we loved loved loved the tour, the guides, the entire experience - in fact we booked another ABD to Italy for next summer shortly after we got home - it's just the right vacation experience for our family - DD9 and DS10 at the time of travel
Kez250 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2012, 11:37 AM   #9
tracyz
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Vermont
Posts: 327

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
Oh, Tracy, you did the Barcelona ABD!! Was it enough "ABD" time to make it worthwhile? Did you enjoy the Flamenco dinner/show? How was the hotel? It's really only two full days, with a night before and morning after. I have to tell you that I am pretty much planning on doing it, despite the price craziness.

I took my kids on just a local trip over the weekend and found myself thinking "if this was an ABD trip, I wouldn't have to worry about whether that restaurant would be open, or have the right foods... I wouldn't have to worry about whether there would be parking if we get there mid-day... I wouldn't have to figure out when to leave to get to the next place on time..." and so on!

--Sandy
We loved it. I was pained by the price craziness too, but there was enough ABD time, and what they did with us was fabulous. It was also great to have the guides there to help us decide what to do and where to go in our down time. Not knowing the city, we could have researched and figured stuff out, but the whole benefit to ABD was not having to think! Also, no lines at La Sagrada Familia.... The other thing I thought was really nice was that it really put us in the right laid-back vacation mood before getting on the ship, and it allowed us to get to know some of our fellow cruisers. We did the cruise add-on as well, but not everyone did, and ABD managed to have even those who did not do the cruise add-on seated with us at dinner so it was nice to really have a chance to build those friendships...which we definitely did!

Looking back at your questions...the Flamenco show was excellent! The kids LOVED it too. The welcome dinner was at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the city...well planned. Montserrat was a really lovely day. I'm glad we had the opportunity to see it. I think the hotel may have changed. We stayed at El Palace Barcelona. It was AMAZING. If they have changed the hotel, that's too bad. But I'm certain Disney found a place just as nice...
__________________
~Tracy
tracyz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-10-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
glassslipper2004
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,212

Tracy -

You addressed one of the questions I didn't even ask - it occurred to me that it might be a really nice aspect of the ABD to get to know some of your fellow cruisers before the cruise. How neat that you were then seated with them on the cruise!

I don't think we will do the ABD cruise add-on - we've already done the Italy ABD and the days in Rome and Florence would likely be very similar. We're going to try to search out new things to see in those ports/locations. But I would love to do it - I'm sure it was awesome. The Viva Italia ABD was beyond amazing. It was our first ABD and completely sold me on the experience.

Thanks so much for your comments. And if the OP is still reading, please let us know if you have more questions - sorry for taking the thread on a tangent!
__________________
1980; 1990 - WDW - college graduation; 1993 - WDW - Grand Floridian honeymoon trip; 2003 - WDW - (offsite) first time with our girls - we celebrate DH's birthday; 2004 - WDW - Wilderness Lodge; 2006 - WDW - (offsite) and we again celebrate DH's birthday; 2006 - Disney Wonder 4-night cruise; 2007 - Disney Wonder Cruise and WDW Yacht Club -- fun at Stormalong Bay!; 2008 - Viva Italia ABD; 2009 - Disney Hollywood Studios; 2009 - Southwest Splendors ABD; 2010 - Israel; 2010 - Paris/London; 2011 - Disney Dream, Poly and Beach Club

Upcoming: August 2013 Med cruise
glassslipper2004 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 12:43 AM   #11
DisneyRegulars
DIS Veteran
 
DisneyRegulars's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Buffalo/Niagara Region
Posts: 1,280

I can't speak to the companies you mentioned but we had a trip with Oars booked one year in yellow done and grand tetons. You may want to check them out if you want something more on the adventure side of things. Or tour ended up getting canceled because there weren't enough people, but they were a really great company to deal with.
__________________


Trip report from our first DVC trip: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2864556
Plus our Anniversary Vacation: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2954701
Trip report with a potty training toddler: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2987412
I survived a trip with MIL: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3040750
A Magic Kingdom Ultimate Tour Adventure http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...92&postcount=1
First trip with Magic Bands http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3170056
Post Holiday Trip Report http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3201404
Non-Fancy Fanatics at VGF http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3268362
Sept '03 (All Star Sports, DH's first trip) || March '04 (Travelodge) || March '05 (Star Island) || XMAS '06 (All Star Vacation Home) || March '07 (POP, Deluxe Dining Plan) || March '09 (POP) || June '09 Disney Land || April '11 (All Star Vacation Home, DS's first trip-14m) || January '12 (OKW, first DVC trip) || July '12 (Boardwalk, Anniversary Trip) || Sept '12 (AKV) || Jan '13 (AKV) || July '13 (SSR, Anniversary Trip) || September '13 (SSR) || January '14 (Boardwalk, AKV) || May '14 (VGF and Expedition Everest Challenge)
DisneyRegulars is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 10:54 AM   #12
sayhello
Have Camera, Will Travel
 
sayhello's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,292
DISboards Moderator

Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
Tracy -

You addressed one of the questions I didn't even ask - it occurred to me that it might be a really nice aspect of the ABD to get to know some of your fellow cruisers before the cruise. How neat that you were then seated with them on the cruise!

I don't think we will do the ABD cruise add-on - we've already done the Italy ABD and the days in Rome and Florence would likely be very similar. We're going to try to search out new things to see in those ports/locations. But I would love to do it - I'm sure it was awesome. The Viva Italia ABD was beyond amazing. It was our first ABD and completely sold me on the experience.

Thanks so much for your comments. And if the OP is still reading, please let us know if you have more questions - sorry for taking the thread on a tangent!
I would have to concur with you that the Rome & Florence days would definitely be pretty close to what you did on Viva Italia. I noticed that right away. And the day we did in Capri/Sorrento was very similar to those days on the Bella Itialia trip. If you're looking for alternatives for the Florence day, from what I've heard, I would recommend that you check out the Cinque Terre. It's 5 coastal towns that are supposed to be gorgeous, and from what I've read, they are pretty much all recovered from the horrid flooding that affected 2 of the 5 towns last October.

Sayhello
__________________
Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

Last edited by sayhello; 10-11-2012 at 11:05 AM.
sayhello is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 12:18 PM   #13
carpenta
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: grand isle, Vermont USA
Posts: 1,142

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
I would have to concur with you that the Rome & Florence days would definitely be pretty close to what you did on Viva Italia. I noticed that right away. And the day we did in Capri/Sorrento was very similar to those days on the Bella Itialia trip. If you're looking for alternatives for the Florence day, from what I've heard, I would recommend that you check out the Cinque Terre. It's 5 coastal towns that are supposed to be gorgeous, and from what I've read, they are pretty much all recovered from the horrid flooding that affected 2 of the 5 towns last October.

Sayhello
We did that trip, Portofino and other cliff towns (something similar)in 2010 on our DCL Med. cruise. It is a nice trip too. It is nice to see how the rich and famous spend their time. You do drive north west on highway through the "mountains" and then wind along the coast.They use a small ferry to get you into town because I was told that a bus cannot get close enough. They provided a meal (pizza) in a local resturaunt. It was a really relaxing excursion rather than the trip to Florence where you rush to see as much as you can in one day.
carpenta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 12:49 PM   #14
mmrunsdisney
Earning My Ears
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: PA
Posts: 9

Hi - along the same lines, I am looking at the Canyons and Cowboys (Arizona/Utah). Since I too plan all of our trips, no one realizes how much effort goes it to it, that I usually need a vacation thereafter, but it is always back to work. So, I thought my husband was completely on-board, but he just estimated costs - family of four - kids 7 and 9.

Can anyone tell me outside of airfare, how much additional did you spend - meaning for meals on your own and did you need to pay for additional things when you had the afternoon/evening off? I was asked if I thought it was worth it - to which I say yes, but I need to convince him too.

Thanks
mmrunsdisney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 01:08 PM   #15
carpenta
DIS Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: grand isle, Vermont USA
Posts: 1,142

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmrunsdisney View Post
Hi - along the same lines, I am looking at the Canyons and Cowboys (Arizona/Utah). Since I too plan all of our trips, no one realizes how much effort goes it to it, that I usually need a vacation thereafter, but it is always back to work. So, I thought my husband was completely on-board, but he just estimated costs - family of four - kids 7 and 9.

Can anyone tell me outside of airfare, how much additional did you spend - meaning for meals on your own and did you need to pay for additional things when you had the afternoon/evening off? I was asked if I thought it was worth it - to which I say yes, but I need to convince him too.

Thanks
we did the Alaska and Montana ABD and we did not spend that much money outside of the tour. We ate in resturaunts and ouir bills were about what you would spend in an Applebees type place.Alchohol is usually not included but on both of our trips they did pay for the drinks everyone had at the table one evening.We usually found something we wahted to do or see so we just grabbed something quick so we could be on our way. Believe me you will not starve and the trips feed you well and on the bus they spoil everyone with an endless supply of snacks and drinks. In Alaska we did go out to dinner on one evening as a group, there was 12 of us so we just split the check.Then again you need some trinkets and T shirts. so depending on what you want to splurge on. The item you ahve to also remember is the "tip" that is given in cash or travelers checks. It is on the web sight the customary tip and IMO it is well worth tipping for our guides were wonderful. Also on our two trips we had the same bus driver throughout our week so we included them in our tips. But all the tips for hotels and dining is included in the included meals. We are also looking at the Cowboys/canyons after we just canceled our DCL Med. cruise because we could not get proper airfare to get us home in a timely manner.
carpenta is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:04 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.