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Old 11-27-2012, 01:44 PM   #31
kristilew
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Thank you for the quick answer! I really appreciate you being willing to talk the "potty talk" too! Just trying to think everything through as much as possible, so I can totally relax on the trip! We have made a list from all your packing tips and are referring to it as we prep. Your report is so incredibly helpful!

Yep, with our pre-days, we leave here in 18 days! We keep pinching ourselves!
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by kristilew View Post
Thank you for the quick answer! I really appreciate you being willing to talk the "potty talk" too! Just trying to think everything through as much as possible, so I can totally relax on the trip! We have made a list from all your packing tips and are referring to it as we prep. Your report is so incredibly helpful!

Yep, with our pre-days, we leave here in 18 days! We keep pinching ourselves!
Have a wonderful trip, kristilew! This really does sound like a fabulous trip (but the whole potty situation is a bit scary for me! I have a very perverse bladder! )

Sayhello
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:48 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by kristilew View Post
Thank you for the quick answer! I really appreciate you being willing to talk the "potty talk" too! Just trying to think everything through as much as possible, so I can totally relax on the trip! We have made a list from all your packing tips and are referring to it as we prep. Your report is so incredibly helpful!

Yep, with our pre-days, we leave here in 18 days! We keep pinching ourselves!
Did you leave a little bit of room in your bags for...ME!?!
Wish we were going again, have fun!

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Have a wonderful trip, kristilew! This really does sound like a fabulous trip (but the whole potty situation is a bit scary for me! I have a very perverse bladder! )

Sayhello
Truly, the thought is scarier than the practice, it's no more than a bus ride with a potty break every 90 min- 2 hours would be...every bit of the adventure is worth it!
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Old 12-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #34
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Hi everyone,

I just got back from the Adventures by Disney trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands so I would be glad to answer any questions!

I am going to start a trip report thread too tonight.
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Recent Disney trips: Adventures By Disney- Ecuador & the Galapagos Islands, November 5-14, 2012 and Disney's Aulani Resort in Hawai'i, July 21-25, 2012


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Old 12-02-2012, 04:33 PM   #35
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Hi everyone,

I just got back from the Adventures by Disney trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands so I would be glad to answer any questions!

I am going to start a trip report thread too tonight.
Can't wait to check it out!
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:52 PM   #36
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Can somebody please tell me what level of accommodations are included on the boat? I am trying to convince myself that, money-wise, this would be the best option for me to get an ABD experience, as the 4 night Galapagos cruises are not cheap to begin with.

Thank you so much!!
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:47 AM   #37
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Can somebody please tell me what level of accommodations are included on the boat? I am trying to convince myself that, money-wise, this would be the best option for me to get an ABD experience, as the 4 night Galapagos cruises are not cheap to begin with.

Thank you so much!!
Most people will be on Magellan (2) or Columbus (3) decks with a window cabin. There were a few people in a similar window cabin on Marco Polo (4). I would not count on getting a balcony cabin, although occasionally to accommodate the whole group they may have to put someone in a balcony cabin...in our experience this was usually adult doubles or triples (parents and teen, or grandparents and adult child). No one said so, but I got the feeling they are loathe to put children in balconies. There were obviously plenty of suites on the upper decks, because I noticed that is where the guides were staying I am assuming it's because no one booked those cabins because of the cost and that's what was left.

You can pay ABD to upgrade to a guaranteed balcony suite, (I hear its expensive) but I really have to say it wouldn't be worth it on this cruise. We cruise a lot and almost always get a balcony, but on this cruise you are literally in your room to sleep and change. (Neither of which you will have much time to do) There is literally no time when you can relax on your balcony unless you plan to skip excursions or meals. It's a very busy expedition cruise and being equatorial, the sun sets at 6 every night, so there is very little day light time when you would be in the cabin.

All of the decks are very close to the main dining area (2) and ABD meeting area (4), so there's very little difference really in which deck you get.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:47 AM   #38
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We were put in a balcony cabin on Marco Polo deck. As FamilyGoBoston says, we are a family with one teen. We liked the balcony but probably spent a total of 45 minutes enjoying it over the entire cruise. The nicest thing about it was as a place to put our wet shoes and wetsuits. And even then, one night it was very rough and I could hear waves crashing and jumped up to "rescue" the shoes as I was sure they would go overboard. (of course, they were fine, it was just my imagination)

The cabin itself was very nice, and I am under the impression not any bigger than one without a balcony. As for outdoor relaxing, we found that we really enjoyed some downtime in areas of the boat that are public but were always deserted when we had free time. There are lovely big deck chairs and sofas on the back behind the piano bar, and a nice seating area on the next level up as well. There is a sunning area on deck 6. One of the great things about doing this with ABD is that by the time the other, non Disney, guests are off on the excursions, we were back on the ship and felt like we had it to ourselves.

If you are looking at doing the ship portion anyway, you should know that the process of flying into the islands and getting through customs is a little complicated. Doing it with Disney makes it sooooo much easier. You're still tired but at least you know you're in the right place with the right paper work and that snacks and drinks are around the corner waiting for you. The people that were just going on the ship on their own all had a refugee look on their faces.
And one family had booked a private trip through Austin-Lehman. Apparently they were guided in the land portion, but they were dropped at the airport in Quito and expected to manage on their own until they were on the ship (where they then were just part of the regular passengers.) The wife was so upset over how things went just on the flight transfers (I'm not clear what exactly went wrong), that she was on the phone with AL yelling that she wasn't even getting off the plane until they fixed things. Throughout the cruise, the husband compared the ABD experience to their own and at the end told our guides that their next trip would be with ABD.

So in terms of justifying the additional cost, I would tell you we all felt grateful we had gone with ABD just for that portion alone, let alone all the fantastic rest of the trip.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:28 AM   #39
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If you are looking at doing the ship portion anyway, you should know that the process of flying into the islands and getting through customs is a little complicated. Doing it with Disney makes it sooooo much easier. You're still tired but at least you know you're in the right place with the right paper work and that snacks and drinks are around the corner waiting for you. The people that were just going on the ship on their own all had a refugee look on their faces.
And one family had booked a private trip through Austin-Lehman. Apparently they were guided in the land portion, but they were dropped at the airport in Quito and expected to manage on their own until they were on the ship (where they then were just part of the regular passengers.) The wife was so upset over how things went just on the flight transfers (I'm not clear what exactly went wrong), that she was on the phone with AL yelling that she wasn't even getting off the plane until they fixed things. Throughout the cruise, the husband compared the ABD experience to their own and at the end told our guides that their next trip would be with ABD.

So in terms of justifying the additional cost, I would tell you we all felt grateful we had gone with ABD just for that portion alone, let alone all the fantastic rest of the trip.
Wow! That's surprising! Austin-Lehman is not cheap, and has a pretty great reputation. I'd be very upset if that happened to me!

Sayhello
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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 01-11-2013, 11:07 AM   #40
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Thank you familygoboston and kristilew. I think this is the one I want to try for a first time ABD. I just need to find a travel buddy from work, and wait for the 2014 dates. Of course, the one date that works for me this year is wait listed.

Can anyone tell me, why are some dates more expensive than others with the same itinerary? Sometime it is within the same month, and that is what confuses me.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:10 AM   #41
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Disneekrazee- I will add to kristlews comments about the transfer day assistance, that with ABD there were multiple benefits while on board the ship that even the other groups on board didn't get (We had a Japanese tour group and a British group on a 6 week long grand tour of SA)
Check out my review where I enumerate them all in a "tips" section, all kinds of things like first seating for meals and getting out first for excursions etc etc.

As for pricing differences, they are largely due to popularity, ( for instance holiday periods are always more) but also, the trips are priced with some early booking slots at one price and then once those are gone, the next slots are X+ and then once those are gone, the next folks to book pay a little more. Say hello can probably explain it better than I am!

Kristalew- I love the refugee comment...I know I was wrung out and cranky, I can't imagine what it would have been like without the VIP lounge and someone holding my tickets and moving my luggage and getting us in the right lines!! The line to board the zodiacs to get on board the GE2 was the worst time, the other pax were pushing and shoving...I was glad I had my ABD guides to tell us what was happening!!
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:26 AM   #42
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As for pricing differences, they are largely due to popularity, ( for instance holiday periods are always more) but also, the trips are priced with some early booking slots at one price and then once those are gone, the next slots are X+ and then once those are gone, the next folks to book pay a little more. Say hello can probably explain it better than I am!
I don't know if it's any better than your explanation, but...

Every trip, when the season is announced, has a "price range". Most trips will start out at the low end of the price range (although, as familygoboston said, some more popular dates might start out a bit higher). As the trips fill up, the price goes up. It's a supply and demand thing. So if you see a departure that's still at the low end of the pricing range, it's probably not selling as well. If it's a lot higher, then it's selling well.

Hope that helps!
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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 01-11-2013, 04:45 PM   #43
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Wow! That's surprising! Austin-Lehman is not cheap, and has a pretty great reputation. I'd be very upset if that happened to me!

Sayhello
to be fair, it was clearly not an AL guided group trip. We couldn't actually figure out what the deal was, and it seemed rude to ask. I think it's possible to arrange "accompanied" trips where they set you up but you are also kind of on your own.

The family was very nice, and clearly had a lot of $ invested in the trip (at various times, I was shamelessly coveting their matching luggage, matching fabulous boots, and their high end snorkel gear), and they were in the suites at the very top of the ship. When our group got back to Quito, on the same flight as this family, we saw that a uniformed guide was with them once again outside the airport, and was calling transportation for them. But, they had to lug their own bags off the carousel, load them on a cart, and get through the checkpoints on their own before they got up with her. I have no idea what the problem was, but they certainly didn't strike me as the kind of people who were "difficult" or would have been unhappy no matter what. Clearly, something had happened.

Anyway, we had been seriously looking at AL's Argentina trip for this December, but now I am a little hesitant. I am going to do a lot more research for sure.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #44
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I don't know if it's any better than your explanation, but...

Every trip, when the season is announced, has a "price range". Most trips will start out at the low end of the price range (although, as familygoboston said, some more popular dates might start out a bit higher). As the trips fill up, the price goes up. It's a supply and demand thing. So if you see a departure that's still at the low end of the pricing range, it's probably not selling as well. If it's a lot higher, then it's selling well.

Hope that helps!
Sayhello
Does anyone know what the low end of the price range was for Ecuador/ Galapagos when the 2013 season was announced? I can see the current prices for a couple of July 2013 dates and I am wondering how much less they were when the bookings opened. Thanks for your help.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:33 AM   #45
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Does anyone know what the low end of the price range was for Ecuador/ Galapagos when the 2013 season was announced? I can see the current prices for a couple of July 2013 dates and I am wondering how much less they were when the bookings opened. Thanks for your help.
Hi Kim
I have info from 2011 for 2012: I can tell you we paid $5007 pp for our party when we booked (we got the dates the day ahead because we had traveled with ABD previously, so my TA reserved us the very first day!!) when the 2012 dates opened in August 2011. The prices did go up pretty quickly because my signed paperwork got lost in the mail and the reservation had to be re-made, and a couple of weeks later my invoice reflected a higher #, but my TA took care of it right away, restored our original price and the above is what we paid. The we paid for our air through ABD too, so each persons whole package was much closer to $6500.

I think since then ABD tries to get the pricing out by May so that people can plan their summer vacations a year or more in advance. (Sayhello can probably confirm that!) I was a little freaked out planning a trip of this magnitude less than a year out, but that was how it was in 2011. Good luck!!
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