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Old 01-30-2013, 11:07 AM   #1
2littlestitches
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Just can't take the plunge - but I want to!

A little background - we did the ABD Australia trip a few years ago, and it was probably our best trip ever. We travel a lot (often with DCL or to DL or WDW), and are looking for something for this summer. I have 2 boys who will be 11 and 13 this summer. I've been looking at doing Costa Rica with ABD for quite some time, and I'm really really really thinking of booking it.

But I can't. I just can't. It's SO much $$$$$. So, I looked at doing Costa Rica with Tauck (less, but not that much less in my opinion). Then I spoke with my neighbor who did Costa Rica on their own 2 summers ago and loved it. I know the quality of ABD and if money wasn't a factor, I would've booked it by now. It's just so expensive, and I don't know if I can swing it (or if I should).

So then, I started looking at alternate vacations...Hawaii (Aulani), Disney's Hilton Head resort, going somewhere in the Caribbean. Nothing sounds as good as the ABD Costa Rica. Nothing! It's kind of depressing really. Then I try to crunch numbers and justify booking it. I go back and forth, back and forth. Then I think, "maybe I'll save a bit, go cheaper this summer and do the ABD Costa Rica in 2014." I'm at war with myself.

No real point to this post except that ABD's are so wonderful, and I'd love to do one each and every year if I could. But I just can't. Everything else I think of doing just falls so short. I need new vacation ideas or to quit dreaming of ABD's. Or to just book one already! LOL.
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July 2006: 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic
June 2007: 10 Night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Disney Magic
March 2008: 3 Night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
December 2009: 4 Night Bahamian (New Years Eve) Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
July 2010: 12 Night Northern European Capitals Cruise (Baltic) aboard the Disney Magic
July 2011: 7 Night Alaskan Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder

So excited to be going to Aulani in summer 2014!!!


Too many WDW trips to count, and several Disneyland California trips.
One amazing trip to Disneyland Paris!
D23's Journey to Marceline, MO - March 2012

Best trip ever...Adventures By Disney Australia in 2008.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:53 AM   #2
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In the same boat

We want to do Alaska next summer (2014), but the cost for the two of us would be over $10,000, once you include airfare, and as much as I want to see Alaska, spending $10,000 for 8 days is very, very hard for us to justify.

So, right now, we will wait for 2014 dates to be announced and we will decide then.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:27 PM   #3
2littlestitches
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dolby1000 View Post
We want to do Alaska next summer (2014), but the cost for the two of us would be over $10,000, once you include airfare, and as much as I want to see Alaska, spending $10,000 for 8 days is very, very hard for us to justify.

So, right now, we will wait for 2014 dates to be announced and we will decide then.

OWD (Ocean Wave Dave)
We did Alaska on the Disney Wonder and had a really wonderful time. It's so beautiful, and we enjoyed it a lot. The ABD Alaska tour seems so much more in depth, though, and covers areas we never got to see. Good luck!
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July 2006: 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic
June 2007: 10 Night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Disney Magic
March 2008: 3 Night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
December 2009: 4 Night Bahamian (New Years Eve) Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
July 2010: 12 Night Northern European Capitals Cruise (Baltic) aboard the Disney Magic
July 2011: 7 Night Alaskan Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder

So excited to be going to Aulani in summer 2014!!!


Too many WDW trips to count, and several Disneyland California trips.
One amazing trip to Disneyland Paris!
D23's Journey to Marceline, MO - March 2012

Best trip ever...Adventures By Disney Australia in 2008.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2littlestitches View Post
We did Alaska on the Disney Wonder and had a really wonderful time. It's so beautiful, and we enjoyed it a lot. The ABD Alaska tour seems so much more in depth, though, and covers areas we never got to see. Good luck!
I've been on both an Alaska cruisetour, and the Alaska ABD, and while the cruise was wonderful, the areas covered by the ABD were far more wonderful than the cruise ports. Of course, the areas on the "tour" part of the cruisetour (through Princess) were similar to the areas the ABD covers.

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Old 01-30-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
dizneekrazee
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I've also done Costa Rica on my own, just last January actually. It was fabulous. A friend of mine did it on her own a year prior, with almost the same itinerary as ABD. (We would have too, but, DBF got sick). On our last day, we decided we wanted to come back, and would do so on our own again. I have only traveled to 3 other countries, and Costa Rica was by far the easiest as a tourist. Everybody is so friendly, English is spoken by almost everyone.

So, is it Costa Rica you want to do? Or, is it an ABD you want to do? If you really want to visit Costa Rica, just go. If its the ABD you want, wait.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
steelydad
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sums it up for many no doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2littlestitches View Post
A little background - we did the ABD Australia trip a few years ago, and it was probably our best trip ever. We travel a lot (often with DCL or to DL or WDW), and are looking for something for this summer. I have 2 boys who will be 11 and 13 this summer. I've been looking at doing Costa Rica with ABD for quite some time, and I'm really really really thinking of booking it.

But I can't. I just can't. It's SO much $$$$$. So, I looked at doing Costa Rica with Tauck (less, but not that much less in my opinion). Then I spoke with my neighbor who did Costa Rica on their own 2 summers ago and loved it. I know the quality of ABD and if money wasn't a factor, I would've booked it by now. It's just so expensive, and I don't know if I can swing it (or if I should).

So then, I started looking at alternate vacations...Hawaii (Aulani), Disney's Hilton Head resort, going somewhere in the Caribbean. Nothing sounds as good as the ABD Costa Rica. Nothing! It's kind of depressing really. Then I try to crunch numbers and justify booking it. I go back and forth, back and forth. Then I think, "maybe I'll save a bit, go cheaper this summer and do the ABD Costa Rica in 2014." I'm at war with myself.

No real point to this post except that ABD's are so wonderful, and I'd love to do one each and every year if I could. But I just can't. Everything else I think of doing just falls so short. I need new vacation ideas or to quit dreaming of ABD's. Or to just book one already! LOL.

We did ABD back in the Early Booking Discount days, best vacation ever by far. Then the economy sinks but ABD ends the EBD and offers basically no discounts even while frequently and deeply discounting DCL and WDW hotels. Keep looking at great ABD's but can't, can't, can't justify the big $$. Best of all worlds ABD/DCL combo is really really out of reach.

Solution = bring back EBD (but ABD seems to be doing just fine w/o them).
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:13 PM   #7
2littlestitches
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelydad View Post
We did ABD back in the Early Booking Discount days, best vacation ever by far. Then the economy sinks but ABD ends the EBD and offers basically no discounts even while frequently and deeply discounting DCL and WDW hotels. Keep looking at great ABD's but can't, can't, can't justify the big $$. Best of all worlds ABD/DCL combo is really really out of reach.

Solution = bring back EBD (but ABD seems to be doing just fine w/o them).
You know what the truth really is? We are spoiled! Spoiled, I tell ya! Having gone on an ABD (and yes, some awesome Disney Cruises also), every other vacation just seems --BLAH! Nothing excites me anymore except big trips like ABD. I love WDW and DL (in fact I have the dual annual pass right now), so those trips do make me happy. But nothing compares to ABD. I hear about neighbors getting in their cars, driving 14 hours and staying at beach condos, and I know that's probably a lot of fun, but it really doesn't thrill me, you know? My family (who have gone on ABD's) and members of this board are probably the only ones who really understand.

I'm spoiled, and nothing is measuring up to ABD. No other trip that I look into seems like something I really can get excited about. But the prices, oh the prices! They are painful, especially when you multiply them by four for my family. Just tough to come up with those funds, and wondering if the money maybe should be spent elsewhere other than all these vacations. Sometimes I wish I didn't actually know "just" how wonderful these trips are. Then maybe I wouldn't want to go again so badly. I'm hooked! I know a lot of you are hooked also.
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July 2006: 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic
June 2007: 10 Night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Disney Magic
March 2008: 3 Night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
December 2009: 4 Night Bahamian (New Years Eve) Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
July 2010: 12 Night Northern European Capitals Cruise (Baltic) aboard the Disney Magic
July 2011: 7 Night Alaskan Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder

So excited to be going to Aulani in summer 2014!!!


Too many WDW trips to count, and several Disneyland California trips.
One amazing trip to Disneyland Paris!
D23's Journey to Marceline, MO - March 2012

Best trip ever...Adventures By Disney Australia in 2008.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2littlestitches View Post
You know what the truth really is? We are spoiled! Spoiled, I tell ya! Having gone on an ABD (and yes, some awesome Disney Cruises also), every other vacation just seems --BLAH! Nothing excites me anymore except big trips like ABD. I love WDW and DL (in fact I have the dual annual pass right now), so those trips do make me happy. But nothing compares to ABD. I hear about neighbors getting in their cars, driving 14 hours and staying at beach condos, and I know that's probably a lot of fun, but it really doesn't thrill me, you know? My family (who have gone on ABD's) and members of this board are probably the only ones who really understand.

I'm spoiled, and nothing is measuring up to ABD. No other trip that I look into seems like something I really can get excited about. But the prices, oh the prices! They are painful, especially when you multiply them by four for my family. Just tough to come up with those funds, and wondering if the money maybe should be spent elsewhere other than all these vacations. Sometimes I wish I didn't actually know "just" how wonderful these trips are. Then maybe I wouldn't want to go again so badly. I'm hooked! I know a lot of you are hooked also.
All too true! But I do think we are launching our kids out into the world with a much deeper sense of things, an appreciation for other cultures--getting our kids to that point required an adventure that held their interest, was fun, was interesting and dare I say educational, and we have found this to be true on ABDs and much less so on other tours. In balance you get what you pay for, and we have always felt that our ABD trips were worth every penny!
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:52 AM   #9
2littlestitches
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Originally Posted by WeLoveABD View Post
All too true! But I do think we are launching our kids out into the world with a much deeper sense of things, an appreciation for other cultures--getting our kids to that point required an adventure that held their interest, was fun, was interesting and dare I say educational, and we have found this to be true on ABDs and much less so on other tours. In balance you get what you pay for, and we have always felt that our ABD trips were worth every penny!
I really hear you on this. Actually, this is why I want to book it so badly. My kids are just the prime age for the Costa Rica trip, and I don't want to miss the chance to take them there while they are this age. They, too, are spoiled from getting to travel around the world, and they ask me, "Where are we going this summer, mom?" I have no good answer at this point, but I keep on searching.

I try to keep that "time is now" or "you only live once" philosophy and usually go for it with the travels, but I'm choking on the cost this year. We will see what happens. Maybe I will book it, but I'm trying to turn over every leaf for other ideas at this point. It's just that nothing can compare!
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July 2006: 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic
June 2007: 10 Night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Disney Magic
March 2008: 3 Night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
December 2009: 4 Night Bahamian (New Years Eve) Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
July 2010: 12 Night Northern European Capitals Cruise (Baltic) aboard the Disney Magic
July 2011: 7 Night Alaskan Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder

So excited to be going to Aulani in summer 2014!!!


Too many WDW trips to count, and several Disneyland California trips.
One amazing trip to Disneyland Paris!
D23's Journey to Marceline, MO - March 2012

Best trip ever...Adventures By Disney Australia in 2008.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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Costa Rica would be a wonderful place to visit. I had to go to San Jose to work, and the people were amazingly friendly. The hotel staff went over the top for me, and the wait staff was awesome, the food was great (best cappuccino and waffle I have ever had), etc. Everyone was professional and eager to please. I wished so much that I could see more of that country. I have a friend who studied there and he can't say enough good things about it.

I am booked for a med ABD add on (my first ABD) and my husband is choking on the price but agreeing to try it just this once ! The positives outweigh the only negative (cost) for me so we are going for it!

I hope you do get your family to Costa Rica one way or another. Best of luck on your decision making process! Pura Vida!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:34 PM   #11
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Holy toledo! We're heading to Costa rica this summer with our two teen boys and I just priced out ABD for the heck of it and unless I did something wrong, it priced out at $14700 for the week (july), not including airfare.

I've started making my arrangements on my own(for 10nts) with the help of some guidebooks and www.tripadvisor.com and am coming up with about $7-8K including airfare. I'm sure it won't be as great as ABD, but it will be almost $10k less, and I'm pretty excited about some of the places I've found. We'll also hire a driver for the parts that we need transportation, though a lot of excursions/tours already include pickup at your hotel. Take a peek around tripadvisor, there are a lot of locals that post on there giving very helpful advice.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:24 PM   #12
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There's more to an ABD trip than off the shelf products

First, twolittlestiches - I am with you all the way. We've now taken three ABD trips, each one bigger and more expensive than the last. The problem is, we are now totally spoiled. Nothing else comes close. Disney knows this...and they price this as a premium product. A fellow like me can't make the salary of a New York Wall Streeter, and those folks (no offense to those who are) can easily drop this type of money without blinking. The rest of us, not so much. But we can't get our wives six Christian Dior dresses either. We want to go on our next trip too...and were almost there, when they pulled the ABD add on to the Alaska Cruise. I guess the decision becomes a life balance. Sometimes delaying and taking these once every few years makes the memories all the better...

But I really wanted to address lurkenj's note. We've seen things "go wrong" on each of our ABD trips. If we were not with Disney, and had done this on our own - it would have been a trip ending disaster.

On the last trip, in South Africa (the old version of the trip before they cut out the garden route) we were preparing to fly to Kapama for our Safari. We arrived at the airport with plenty of lead time, and were told to go enjoy the shops, etc. in the airport, and be at the gate 10 minutes prior to departure. It was a huge airport, with much to see and do. We all gathered at the gate, just prior to departure, and one of the ladies (a nice 70+ year old) spoke up and said, gosh, she couldn't find her boarding pass. The airline said, well, too bad for you. ADB was on the phone to the airport manager within seconds (how do they do that?) and within a minute a call was placed to the gate agent and a replacement pass was delivered. Try to do that on your own.

Oh, and this was a couple of days after Osama Bin Ladin was killed, and security on any airline with Americans was substantially higher. The power of the mouse is never to be underestimated.

In Peru, we were mid tour when domestic unrest resulted. Roads were closed and blockaided. We had no idea; Disney "adjusted" the tour, so we were kept busy with fun things to do. Ultimately, when we were "stuck" between cities and it was nightfall, they negotiated passage for us, and the Disney guides were out in the street moving the roadblocks, having done "something" with the locals to pacify them. The hotel would not even originally open the door to let us in! That night we could hear gunfire in the streets. The guides assured the kids it was just fireworks. no worries! We were kept safe, secure, and had a hell of a great trip. Not a position I would want to be in on my own.

I could go on and on...but those who have travelled with ABD know that not only do they handle crisis very well but they make travel and touring, especially with kids, exactly what twolittlestiches talks about - it is a level of living that is not otherwise available to us "normal" people.

And friends - our Peru and South Africa trips - we are still in regular contact with our fellow guests. We still are also in contact with our South African guide (probably against their rules) but we exchange regular postings. Money cannot buy that. In fact, when I look to invest money I now look to the ABD return - which investment will give me a better total return? I never fail to smile thinking about the trips.

Finally, twolittlestiches, Costa Rica was our first ABD trip. It was a "change" trip, as the locations and accommodations for part of the trip were changed at the last minute by Disney due to circumstances beyond their control. So we did some things that were never on and have never since been in their regular iten. It was also a very large group - too large, perhaps. But I wouldn't change those memories for anything. We were horseback riding through the back country, and came to a spot where two streams met in magnificent 8-10 foot waterfalls into a large light blue colored pond - maybe 30 feet wide. We stopped to cool the horses, and asked if we could get our feet wet. Really before the answers were clear several of us were in the water. Once the feet were wet, the whole body was in the water, and others then jumped in. Disney said, well, this isn't an approved activity....and by the time we got out of the water, one of the guides had joined us (just to make sure it was safe of course) and the other had magically managed to have a new horse stocked with towels show up. The look on my 7 year old daughter's face that whole day is one that will be with me forever. The power of the mouse. If you eat chicken, you can have a dollar menu McChicken or Chicken Cordon Bleu. They are both chicken, but they are not equal. These trips are special, and are not an "annual" vacation for most of us. For big trip memories, I cannot imagine traveling any other way.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:27 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions on Costa Rica and just your validation that I'm not the only one "hooked" on ABD but needing to be a bit realistic about just how many of these trips we can actually take. No vacation decision has been made yet, but I think it might be Aulani, the ABD Costa Rica or Costa Rica in some other capacity. Thanks for just letting me express my dilemma among people who understand!

As a side note, if any of you "like" Adventures by Disney on Facebook, my boys are featured as the cover fan photo for February. They are snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef on the photo. Such a great trip that was!
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July 2006: 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard the Disney Magic
June 2007: 10 Night Mediterranean cruise aboard the Disney Magic
March 2008: 3 Night Bahamian Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
December 2009: 4 Night Bahamian (New Years Eve) Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder
July 2010: 12 Night Northern European Capitals Cruise (Baltic) aboard the Disney Magic
July 2011: 7 Night Alaskan Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder

So excited to be going to Aulani in summer 2014!!!


Too many WDW trips to count, and several Disneyland California trips.
One amazing trip to Disneyland Paris!
D23's Journey to Marceline, MO - March 2012

Best trip ever...Adventures By Disney Australia in 2008.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2littlestitches View Post
Thanks everyone for your suggestions on Costa Rica and just your validation that I'm not the only one "hooked" on ABD but needing to be a bit realistic about just how many of these trips we can actually take. No vacation decision has been made yet, but I think it might be Aulani, the ABD Costa Rica or Costa Rica in some other capacity. Thanks for just letting me express my dilemma among people who understand!

As a side note, if any of you "like" Adventures by Disney on Facebook, my boys are featured as the cover fan photo for February. They are snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef on the photo. Such a great trip that was!
Oh, that's cool that your kids are the monthly fan photo! I'll have to check that out when I get home!

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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)
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #15
EllinK
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Help 2littlestitches!

I love the idea of Australia and the itinerary sounds great for our family -- lots of activities and animals/wildlife. But for the 3 of us w/o airfare --
nearly $25k!!!!

You said that you are having trouble pulling the trigger on Costa Rica. Wasn't Australia even more?

Tell me -- was the trip phenomenal? Could it possibly be worth $25K!
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