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Old 10-12-2012, 03:07 PM   #16
disneyphx
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We love love love ABD!
We have done China and South Africa, and this summer DH and DD did Quest for the West
Here are some things we love/make it worthwhile:
- not having to plan it all myself
- we got to do things we could not have done ourselves - some of the "Disney Magic'
- we got to pack more things in to the time because it was professionally planned
- minimal extra costs while on the trip
- awesome adventure guides
- great fellow guests and kids
Having said that, of the 3 trips, DH felt like Quest for the West was the one that would have been pretty easy to do ourselves.
We are signed up for SE Asia next year - but yesterday DD asked when we can do ABD China again! Oh - forgot to say - she is 7.
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Old 10-12-2012, 03:31 PM   #17
glassslipper2004
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For us, although a trip in the U.S. wouldn't have the foreign scariness that a European trip would - and the language issues - I was hesitant to go to the Grand Canyon, etc., because I'm really not an outdoor/nature person. So doing it the "Disney" way made it fun for me, and for my family as well. We wouldn't spend the money on a Disney trip to Philadelphia/DC (when they used to have that one - maybe they still do) because those are places I feel comfortable traveling to on my own.

For any destination, an ABD trip will make it a fun, stress-free event for everyone. They really are magical.
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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
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Old 10-12-2012, 05:58 PM   #18
carpenta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glassslipper2004 View Post
For us, although a trip in the U.S. wouldn't have the foreign scariness that a European trip would - and the language issues - I was hesitant to go to the Grand Canyon, etc., because I'm really not an outdoor/nature person. So doing it the "Disney" way made it fun for me, and for my family as well. We wouldn't spend the money on a Disney trip to Philadelphia/DC (when they used to have that one - maybe they still do) because those are places I feel comfortable traveling to on my own.

For any destination, an ABD trip will make it a fun, stress-free event for everyone. They really are magical.
Having traveled in Europe a number of times on vacation language is not that big an issue. Most tourist areas are easy to navigate because English is spoken by someone you interact with. Even when we ventured out on our own when we came across people who did not speak English we still were able to communicate by us knowing a couple phrases and sign language and we were on our way. Rick Steves (has a web site) sells many books on travel as well as little language books with phrases you can use to get your message across. We traveled to Italy a few years back and when we were in Venice we ate in a Michelin star resturaunt (fancy smancy). I wrote a letter a couple months before and used a translation book to ask for reservations in Italian(or as close as I could get). We called ahead to see if we did have reservation and we did and they treated us like rock stars. Our daughter really wanted pasta and that night they were not making it. The chef came out and told our daughter "for you we make a pasta tonight". A memory to remember. All I want to say in a long way around is don't let the fear of language get in the way of travel. There is nothing more that breaks down barriers is when you show up in some other country and want to learn all about that country. People love to show off their country, rightly so, and you will get to love the areas even more. And if you use someone like ABD you are escorted with a local that will translate for you.
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:05 PM   #19
sayhello
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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.
Yes, I believe Portofino is in the same general area as the Cinque Terre, and is also supposed to be lovely. The Cinque Terre is 5 specific towns: Vernazza, Corniglia, Monterosso al Mare, Riomaggiore, and Manarola that are all (depending on your definition of walking distance) within walking distance of each other. (And yes, I had to look up the 5 town names! ) 3 of them you cannot get to by road, you have to either walk along the coast, take a small boat, or they now have trains that go between the towns. The walk between the towns is supposed to have spectacular cliffside views, and the towns themselves are said to be lovely. I hope to go back to that area some time & walk the Cinque Terre.

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Old 10-14-2012, 07:10 PM   #20
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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 this trip in 2011 and they've changed the itinerary a bit. We had quite a bit of free time and meals on our own. With just me an my DS I spent close to $1000 in addition to the cost of the tour. That was mostly on additional excusrions. The remainder was mainly spent on meals on our own or drinks and snacks during our free time. I don't buy a lot of souveniers (mostly pins from various locations from my son) so the amount spent for souveniers was minimal for us.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #21
glassslipper2004
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We have done this trip and loved it. I think you can get away with a lot less for extras on this one. At the Grand Canyon, we did a helicopter ride in our free time - very expensive- but many people just hiked a little bit on their own, and in retrospect I would have preferred that. We also did a horseback ride in the last area, but easily could have done some exploring on our own there too. The meals on your own are not very costly - there are many options, and you can do something low key (for me, it was different than being in Italy, for example, where I didn't want to "waste" an opportunity to eat at a real Italian restaurant).

It's a great trip, and Disney does a fantastic job with making it wonderful. The mornings on the canyon rim watching the sun come up don't cost anything extra, and they are priceless!
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #22
TheTexasKid
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Justifying ABD

Is it worth it? Ye-es!

But maybe I should give you my bonafides, before I tell you why. I have been on several tours with Adventures by Disney or ABD. I have also been on several tours with other (4) tour companies. And this is what ABD gives you that some of the others do not.

1. Companions
a. Bonding.
Which should be no surprise, as you are thrown together for a week or more with people who share the same interests that you do.
b. Personable.
There are no ugly people on an ABD tour. That is personality wise. Cosmetically? That is another subject.

2. Exclusive
a. Pins
If you collect pins, that are pins exclusive to that particular group tour each day.
b. Gifts
The exclusive thank-you gifts you get for traveling with ABD.

3. Guides
a. Tour.
2 to a group, if the group is large enough. Most do not know how important that is. For when a problem arises, one can take care of the problem, while the other takes care of the grest of the group.
b. Local.
The best. We actually have had local guides tell us that they vie to lead an ABD group. See what I said about personable companions.

4. Hotels.
a. Better than some tour companies.

5.. Itineratries
a. Exclusive to ABD. The only tour company that takes you behind the scenes at Disneyland. The only tour company that takes you around the sites in Scotland that inspired "Brave."

6. Meals.
a. Better.
Better restaurants than some tour groups.
b. More.
c. Most.
d. Snacks.
The snack basket. Some nights I pratically existed on snacks from the snack basket in the time between supper and breakfast.

7. Weather
Really. They have no control over the weather, but the weather always seems better when you travel with ABD. Only 33% of the people traveling the highway can see Mount McKinley from the highway. We were part of that 33%. When we went out onto the Alaskan waters on a boat to see Alaskan sealife, the boat's crew said that day was the best day they had all summer.

Miscellaneous
a. DCL
It is the only tour company associated with Disney Cruise Lines.
b. Films
No "Harry Potter." We saw "Wall-E" and "White Fang" on the tour bus.
c. Your rep.
If you want to develop a rep, then this tour company is still small enough that you run into both the same tour guides and tour companions on different tours.

So, ye-es! It can be worth it, but . . .
a. You have to decide what is important to you.
b. Whether you want to travel with a group that has or has no children (adults only.)
c. What do you want to spend. Maybe not a better time, but you can have an equally good time with a less expensive tour group.

The best of luck whatever you decidee.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:46 PM   #23
CinderellaMouse
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Originally Posted by TheTexasKid View Post
Maybe not a better time, but you can have an equally good time with a less expensive tour group.
This. I have never traveled with ABD (I'm just not much of a group travel person; I love being independent and getting around on my own and changing plans at the last minute if I want to). However, I get the impression from these forums that ABD is the best company out there. Like a lot of what Disney does, they're just superior to other companies.

That said, the fact that they're the best is reflected in their price, and there are lots of other good companies out there who are much more affordable, especially if you're paying for a large family. I've traveled with ACIS, and I have friends and relatives who have used Globus, Imagine, and Grand Circle. Everyone came back from these trips absolutely raving about the tour company and saying what a wonderful vacation they'd had. They had lots of the same perks ABD offers - no messing with your luggage, no figuring out your own transportation, skipping the lines at tourist attractions, etc.

So while I don't doubt that ABD does give you your money's worth or that people who take those tours have exceptional experiences, it's still possible to have a very awesome vacation with a less expensive company.
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