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Old 08-25-2008, 09:14 AM   #46
tammydel
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Sayhello - Red Cliffs was a great place to end. Looking back so much of our "active" activity was there, the Delicate Arch hike, horsebackriding, and rafting. By this point we were closer as a group and probably more willing to take on physical challenges than we might have been earlier. I have pictures of everything, although the rafting trip will have to wait until we develop our waterproof camera pictures - those were not with our digital.
They are all coming.

It seems like we haven't stopped doing things for me to sit down and really write about them all. Also I have swithed from uploading all my pictures to photobucket (which took alot of time) to selecting ones I thought I may want to share/use and uploading those. Of course the selecting process probably takes longer than the uploading!!!!

As far as the reason for the change in hotel, that's an interesting one... I had heard some not so great reveiws in the past, then the reviews seemed to improve. When I went it really seemed fine. Not the Amara or the Red Cliffs but clean and comfortable and the staff really did seem to be very friendly. I think the rooms at the Thunderbird may turn out to be a bit more spartan, but there will be no beating the location and views. I guess the El Tovar is really the only game in town that really would be what Disney is looking for, but that seems that it will not work out. I guess they are trying to figure out what would be next best.

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Old 08-29-2008, 09:15 PM   #47
Turtlemom
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Hi Tammydel!
We just got back from our Southwest Spelndors trip Wednesday at midnight. All I can say is "WOW"! We had just the best time of our lives. Once again, both kids were shedding a few tears on the way home, missing our terrific adventure guides (Tiffany and Cheryl), and the new friends that they made on the trip. I can't say enough good things about the trip and about our fellow passengers and guides.

I really enjoyed reading the rest of your trip report today, and seeing the pictures. It brings back all the great memories--and yes, everything you have said, as well as Cindy18 and Sayhello is true. It was a great experience. We ended up not bringing the laptop with us. DH bought a "digital wallet" to download pictures. Frankly, I was enjoying myself so much with the activities and interacting with everyone else, I did not miss not having the computer with us. It was really nice to get away from it all.

I must say, one of the great things about this trip is how it keeps getting better each day. At the end of Sedona, I didn't want to leave, because we had so much fun at the Amara and going on the Jeep trip and Nature walk. Then came the Grand Canyon--words cannot describe that experience. We did do the helicopter ride and it was fabulous. But I think they saved the best for last. Moab was just great. I loved the fact that we were out there hiking, riding ATV's, river rafting, and even just hanging out by the pool. The Red Cliffs Lodge is a place I would definitely consider visiting again. Just a fantastic experience in one of the most beautiful settings I have ever seen.

After we catch our breath--do our laundry--and get ready for back to school, I'll see about posting a picture or two. Until then--great work Tammydel! Loved the trip report.

Turtlemom
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:23 PM   #48
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About the change in hotel--I know the staff at the Grand were very good to us, but they definitely knew about the upcoming change. I think our adventure guides felt a little awkward at first, but it certainly didn't have any effect on our experience at the hotel. We were treated very well.

My understanding is that the hotel change is a definite trade-off. The hotels in the Grand Canyon village are much older, with smaller rooms and fewer amenities than the Grand (i.e., no pool, and who knows about laundry, gift shop, etc. . .). However, I think the Disney folks are hoping that the location makes up for that. I personally had no problem with staying at the Grand. The kids did get some great pool time in. I think the experience of being able to wake up on the edge of the Grand Canyon would be unforgettable though. I would gladly trade hotel amenities for that, but it will be interesting to see if others feel the same way.

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Old 08-30-2008, 06:06 AM   #49
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Turtlemom, I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. There does seem to be something about this tour. People just absolutely love it. I think the scenery is enough to captivate people, and then the connections you make with your group just add to the experience. Plus, of course it's just a lot of fun. It's super to hear about your week! And pictures would be great!!
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:36 AM   #50
tammydel
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Welcome Home Turtlemom!

I'm so glad you had such a great time, although I knew you would! As your trip started I kept thinking "now she is getting to do this or see that.."

I can't believe our Adventure ended a week ago! We just got home Thursday with our other travels we did. Then I went into work yesterday to set up my classroom.

I also feel bad about not having yet finished my report and I do have more pictures I'd like to post. I really intend to get it done this weekend before school starts.

We also had some tears in the back of the car we rented in Grand Junction. It was sad for the whole expereince to end - you really are in such a groove by the time you get to Moab. Then when my DH and I were doing all the driving, feeding, transporting stuff, checking in, getting from place to place, getting admissions on our own....WE were sure missing our guides and our bus driver Tom.

Anyway, I promise I'll finish soon, and then I'll be loooking for your yours!
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:00 PM   #51
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Turtlemom! Welcome back! You had Cheryl as a Guide? She was one of our guides, too, and I just adored her! Her enthusiasm was *SO* contagious! Wish I'd known, I'd've asked you to say "Hi!" for me! And I've heard marvelous things about Tiffany...

I also will definitely consider going back to the Red Cliffs Lodge again. It's such a gorgeous place, and there's so much to do in the area. I really loved it there.

I agree about the Grand. I thought it was just fine, and while not "luxurious", it was clean and comfortable, and better than a hell of a lot of other places I've stayed! But waking up on the Rim.... There's definitely something to be said about that. I know a few people on our tour were complaining that we weren't staying at El Tovar, but I didn't hear anyone suggest the Thunderbird. It *will* be interesting to see if folks think the trade-off is worth it. Some day I will go back to the Grand Canyon, and stay at the El Tovar...

Glad you had such a great time on your trip! Looking forward to your report!

Tammydel! You had Tom as your bus driver? Isn't he just the best? It was like having another guide! I really enjoyed talking to him the times he would join us at meals. It *really* added to the enjoyment to have such a personable, friendly bus driver!

Sayhello
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:15 AM   #52
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Hi Sayhello! I agree--Cheryl was terrific, as was Tiffany. Both of them were enthusiastic and happy throughout the whole trip, and it definitely helped everyone in the group to be in good spirits and to bond with them--and each other. My girls absolutely fell in love with both of them and desperately want them to be our adventure guides for the next ABD trip we take.

As for the El Tovar, my understanding is that they only contract with one tour group and will not deal with others. Thus, its the Thunderbird or nothin'.

Still working on downloading and sorting through all the wonderful pictures we took. . . .

Turtlemom
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:36 AM   #53
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Packing / luggage ?

Turtlemom and Tammydel
We leave for our trip on Saturday ... SO EXCITED especially after reading your feedback.
I was wondering how much you packed. I have one checked back and one of those wheeling upright carry on bags and a small bag to put my camera case , DVD player, snacks, books etc in
How did you find packing and unpacking at each hotel etc ..and moving bags from one place to another
Do you feel that you packed too much or too little??
Was there something that you wished you brought w/ you had you known?

Thanks for your great feedback!!
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:24 PM   #54
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Hi PrincessCindi!
You will have a great trip!!!!! As far as packing goes--I tried to pack light and still brought too many clothes. The only clothes you will need will be casual. There was not one fancy place that we went where a pair of khakis and a polo shirt or top was not perfectly fine. I also tried to pack a change of clothes for those days where there were activities (like hiking, rafting, ATV's, etc. . .), because in the heat--you will want to change for dinner. On the Grand Canyon days--that was not necessary.
It sounds like you have it under control.
Just make sure you have a good hat to keep the sun off. There are also laundry facilities available at the Grand Canyon and Moab (and Disney provides the laundry soap), so I would try to pack as light as possible.

Have a fantastic trip and let us know how it goes when you return!!!!

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Old 09-23-2008, 01:29 PM   #55
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Oh--you had also asked about the luggage. Not to worry--"tinkerbell" takes care of that. I would just make sure you have a backpack or small bag to keep your things with you on the coach (i.e. a hoodie or jacket, book, hat, camera, etc.).

We made it a practice the night before we had to change hotels to just take out exactly what we were going to wear and set that aside. Then everything else could be packed up and ready to go the next morning--just slip in the toothbrush and zip it up. We always had enough time to get ready for breakfast and zip up our bags to leave them inside the room by the door. Anything you want to keep with you during the day went on the bed. Tinkerbell did the rest and the bags "magically" dissappear while you are enjoying your breakfast.

Disney makes the transitions as easy as possible.
Once again--you will have a great time!

Turtlemom.
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Old 09-24-2008, 07:07 AM   #56
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Thank you for your help!
One more question ...I know you only bring one checked bag per person
but what if you dont want to lug around your piece of carry on luggage ... will tinkerbell take that too??
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:17 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessCindi View Post
Thank you for your help!
One more question ...I know you only bring one checked bag per person
but what if you dont want to lug around your piece of carry on luggage ... will tinkerbell take that too??
When I did Southwest Splendors, I didn't take my carryon luggage on the bus with me at all. "Tinkerbell" took both my checked bag and my carryon, and I had a much smaller, mesh bag that I used to shlep the stuff I needed to get ready in the morning, and stuff I wanted on the bus like sunscreen, hats, etc. So the answer is yes, "she" will!

Have a WONDERFUL trip! You will *LOVE* this tour! It is just fabulous!

Sayhello
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NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:23 PM   #58
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You guys are so great!
Thank You Sayhello (p.s. I LOVED your trip report!!)
I will report back when we return!!
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:48 PM   #59
tammydel
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PrincessCindi,
I wish I was starting all over with you. It is going to be an amazing adventure!
I agree that less is better! I overpacked. I brought too many nicer nighttime outfits. I also have a few favorite things and when I got the chance I washed them and wore them again. This left the "group B" clothes unworn - should have left them at home.
Also as you heard - Tinkerbell will take whatever you'd like. Our guide distributed extra tags for anyone who had another bag they would like to have taken. We just revamped our bus bag each night with what we would need for the next day and sent the rest.
My big tip is zip locks of ALL sizes. Gallon ones for sunscreen, bug repellent, wipes (although guides had alot of those things.) Gallon one for chargers (phones, ipods, computers). Gallon one for our own snack supply. Oh - another gallon one for pins - we didn't want to wear them for fear of loosing them. Snack ones for those powder drinks you put in water. Really giant ones you can get for yucky laundry - there will be lots of that! big ones for wet suits and water shoes - although in the dry heat they do dry quickly.
So you could say I was the zip lock queen. But they really made organization A LOT easier. My grocery store has the XXL ones - as big as laundry bags. I kept extras of all sizes to use as we went along and we did use them many times. I kept them in one of the outside flat zipper pockets of the suitcase.

Have a fabulous time...maybe write in a journal, or take some notes. I tried to trip report but was so tired each night. Now I wish I had done more.

***for those who hoped I would one day FINISH my trip report and pictures***
I promise I will. School is back full force, with my schedule and the kids it's lucky I post at all now. But I haven't forgotten....

Happy trails!
Tammy
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:27 AM   #60
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Thank you Tammy for your feedback. Makes me feel alot better about bringing my carry ons!!
I already have those plastic travel bags in the front of my suitcase ... I will have to add some smaller zip locks as well! I agree they are a great idea for any vacation
Thank you all so much for your help
I promise to give info when I return!!!
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