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Old 08-18-2009, 08:45 PM   #46
Gwene65
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I'm sorry about your camera! So, I have missed it in somoene's post but is it out for the count? Can you fix it, or are you out of luck? Seems awful.

But at least you had a mind to bring a spare!


The scenery and landscapes are so beautiful and peaceful.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:54 PM   #47
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Day 4 - Trail Blazers

Time to meet Old Faithful!
If you recall we were to meet in the lobby this morning at 0900. By 0730 my family was in the dining room vouchers in hand. The breakfast buffet was pretty standard and three of us got that. DS1 had the salmon Benedict and liked it. Plenty of time to freshen up in our room and meet in the lobby.

OUR GUIDES
Our great guides Landon and Daniel. I've talked so much about them and finally on day 4 I got them together for a picture. Landon has a great sense of humor and timing! He always made me smile. Daniel is great! I'll expound on this day 5 and 6. I can't tell you how much they enhanced our vacation. Turtlemom can relate


Old Faithful Nature Walk
The lobby of the Snow Lodge:


Like the comfy leather chairs at the Wort, these chairs became known as 'our spot' to the group. We had first pick because again we were the early family. My Olympus apologizes for the blurry photo....


Our park guide for the day was Mike. He is an expert on waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park and has discovered hundreds of previously uncharted falls. A bachelor for 60 years, Mike met his wife when she went on one of his guided waterfall tours. He was wonderful with our group. A bit soft spoken but very animated and kept kids and adults alike engaged. Let's get going on our geyser hike!

Mike with one of his many ranger friends. He seemed to know everyone!


Confession time - am I the only person who thought Old Faithful was the only geyser in Yellowstone NP? Boy was I ever educated. Old Faithful isn't like clockwork but he is predictable. In every hotel and gift shop there is a board that lists when it is due to erupt again. They are +/- 10 minutes.

We started our tour with the Old Faithful Inn. You'll notice on top of all the buildings a system of pipes. That is to be able to run water over the roofs in the event of a fire. The system was installed in 1987. Good timing! Disney modeled Wilderness Lodge after the Old Faithful Inn. Here is the interior lobby showing the lodge pole pine logs.


Through the front door and off to Old Faithful. There are benches all the way around and many people were already tucked in to wait for the eruption. Let's watch with them!

Getting started:






OF erupts a long time! Long enough for family photos...


...and guide photos. Love these guys!


Geyser Gazers
We continued our hike counter clockwise around the back of Old Faithful towards the other geyser. We were on plank boardwalks made of a mixture of recycled plastic and wood. Along the way people were camped out with lawn chairs and walkie-talkies. These people are known as Geyser Gazers. They stake out for hours when they think one of the geysers is going to blow. They all talk on a certain frequency on their walkie talkies. Daniel was 'wired' into the same frequency so he'd be 'in the know'. Think Trekkies!

Once again beautiful along our stroll.


Many interesting facts imparted along the way. Boy did I learn that there are MANY geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Look at them all just around the Old Faithful area.


Looking back at the lodge. It was nice of that geyser to blow just in time for my photo DS1 isn't that much taller, DS2 is down off the road.


Our morning walk came to an end a bit after 1100. Dinner tonight was on our own. Landon had arrange reservations for all the families who wanted them in the Old Faithful Inn restaurant. Our family opted to take our chances at the Obsidian dining room at the Snow Lodge. We were to re-group at 12:15 for lunch at the Snow Lodge.

Next up - Monster Cookies and Fountain Paint Pots Nature Walk
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:58 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwene65 View Post
I'm sorry about your camera! So, I have missed it in somoene's post but is it out for the count? Can you fix it, or are you out of luck? Seems awful.

But at least you had a mind to bring a spare!


The scenery and landscapes are so beautiful and peaceful.

Thanks for sharing!
Hi Gwene,
Down for the count until it returns from the mother ship. Canon is going to repair it by replacing the internal fuse. The estimate is $180-230. Much less expensive than a new one. Keep your finger's crossed that it never acts up again. Believe me I'll never travel without my back-up again. Thank goodness I brought it along for the rafting portion of our trip.

Sigh...just stunning scenery.
Thanks for reading!
TK
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:48 PM   #49
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Now THAT's a cookie!

DH and the boys relaxed in the room and I headed to the quick service restaurant for a beverage (OK, for those of you reading the fine print I was dying for a Diet Pepsi!) Like I needed another mug - I purchased a Yellowstone one!

Our lunch was a great buffet (not just good) Here is a quick photo:


We went through the line and then headed out to the picnic tables. The weather was very cooperative the entire trip. Today in the low 70's and sunny! When people take pictures of their food do you wonder if they will be posting on the DIS boards??? I do! Here is my new mug and my tasty lunch!


We were encouraged to take as much as we wanted and take goodies for later too. A few Montana Monster cookies did find their way into my ABD backpack. BTW - we were the ONLY family that brought ours along. Hmm.

We had free time until 2:00 pm when we met in the lobby to board the bus for our afternoon activity Fountain Paint Pots Nature Walk. Mike joined us on our bus and off we went to the Midway Geyser Basin.

There is 4,000 gallons of steaming hot water running into this river every minute!


Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest in Yellowstone.




A pretty active geyser here too. A double!


We went back to the Snow Lodge for a short break and then met in the lobby for our Adventure Scavenger Hunt. There was a *PRIZE* for participants. Off we went to the walk surrounding Old Faithful. We were split into three groups (26 of us as two dads stayed at the Inn). Picking teams was a bit of a chore. My family was not popular because all the kids wanted to be together. Guess big 'ol teenagers aren't as much fun We ended up teamed with most of the great family from Rhode Island (mom, dad, 20 yo daughter, and two of their 11 yo children) We were Team Wicked Awesome! We were armed with a compas, clue map, and a marker. There were rules - gasp - and good time had by all. Our team was truly awesome and it paid to have the young adults with us. They actually listened to the guide and knew the answers. DS2 whipped out his Blackberry to do some math. The teams with smaller adventurers had a distinct disadvantage and we won by several minutes Oh, not that it was a competition.

Our prize was two post cards that were taken by our guide. One was a group shot at the Tetons and the other a family picture in front of the waterfall in the Tetons. Of course being Disney everyone was a winner!

NOT a good picture of me but this is my happy part of Team WICKED Awesome!


The early family then went back to the Inn and were the first family to be seated for dinner at the Obsidian dining room. The boys all had a hankering for prime rib. It was very good and not terribly expensive. We were done with dinner before 7 pm. DH and I went to the general store to purchase a t-shirt.

On a bit of a tangent - we have never seen so many rental RVs in our lives as we saw on this trip. NEVER in fact. Did anyone see 'RV' with Robin Williams? I highly recommend it! You'll see lots of this in Yellowstone and the surrounding area.


Tonight we decided to stake out a spot in the lobby for our euchre game. We were joined after 8 pm by Landon and Tim our bus driver who had never heard of the game. We had fun teaching them the fundamentals (and getting the boys ready for euchre in college) Landon and Tim both played a couple of games. One of our fellow adventurers from Michigan came by on the way back for getting a libation and joined in for a game or two. He played quite a bit while in med school. He got the best hands of anyone I've ever seen! He was also on a mission for an additional Bison as his children were each wanting one. Landon went to his room and fetched one. Boy did that guy make his daughter's day! As I had mentioned the gift shop was sold out. Of course I would have surrendered MY bison for the small child if Landon hadn't had one

It was nice spending some 1 on 5 time with Landon and getting to know him a bit better. We all said goodnight around 10 pm. We needed to pack and have our bags ready to go the next morning. Bus departure at 0800

GOOD times

Next up: Day 5 Untamed Nature & another hike

Last edited by tksbaskets; 08-18-2009 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 08-20-2009, 08:47 PM   #50
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Day 5 - Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

We all enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the snow lodge while our luggage was loaded on the bus. We were off by 0800. Our bus ride was really nice on our way to our hike at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. We was bison out the window and it was a very nice drive (about an hour).

We disembarked from the bus and commenced our one mile one-way hike following the Yellowstone River above the canyon. It started out a fairly gradual climb. Here is Landon educating the group:


Our first picture taking stop:


We came to what Landon PROMISED was the only strenuous part of the hike which was a switchback. I swear he was jogging I wasn't the only one who took advantage of a few places to stop once we got to the top. The view as well worth the effort!




Then back on the bus for our ride to lunch at the Yellowstone Lake Hotel. Look what we saw along the way. Did you know bison can jump 6 feet up from a stand still?


Here is the YLH with one of the tour vehicles.


Our family was seated last for lunch but we had a VIP at our table - Daniel! We really enjoyed getting some insider tips on some of our favorite WDW rides including Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story Mania. We were informed that the service would be 'leisurely' and it was. Might I highly recommend the Antipasto sandwich and huckleberry cobbler for dessert? DS2 had a soft shell crab sandwich which looked strange but he said was good. DS1 had a bison burger and creme brule cheesecake. DH had a smoked turkey sandwich which he said was delish!


Got to go it's 1:30 pm and time to leave for the Brooks Lake Lodge. Tim's waiting with the bus:


Next up - Paradise! (AKA Brooks Lake Lodge)
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:29 PM   #51
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We had about a 3 1/2 hour bus ride through some pretty major construction. In Wyoming they take BOTH sides of the road down to dirt to build a new road. We watched most of Wall-e until there was a technical problem. I also earned two more stamps for my journal

We arrived about a 1/2 hour behind schedule at Brooks Lake Lodge which was surrounded by the Shoshone National Forest. We were greeted by the Wranglers (guys and gals in chaps and spurs) who gathered our luggage. We were directed into the dining room to get our room and cabin assignments.



There was always a fire in the many fireplaces. Our family was assigned rooms in the main lodge as were the two father/child traveling groups. The families with smaller children were assigned free-standing cabins. I had heard that there was a discrepancy between the cabin and lodge room accommodations. I asked Daniel how the rooms were assigned. We had lodge rooms because the 'Deer' room suited the boys. DID it ever. DH and I were assigned the Bison room. Here is our room. Yes the bed is as scrumptious as it looks. Heaven!


Look at the bison detailing!


Let's go two doors down to the boys' room. TWO big beds!


The boys were excited until they opened the wardrobe and found not a TV but two fluffy robes!


The other families went off to their cabins and we were able to choose two activities for the next day. We chose horseback riding for the morning and fly fishing for the afternoon. Dinner was at 7:00 pm so we had some time to explore.

Now Landon had mentioned that the BLL had shuffleboard. I was envisioning Florida retirees with sticks on the cement. Like my boys don't think I'm old enough In reality this was a BLAST for young and young at heart alike~Many house spent here (bar is to the right )



Standing in the bar looking over the living area. The two internet computers are straight ahead on the left.


DS2 hanging out with Landon and some junior adventurers!


Guest cabin


The lodge is exclusively ABD when they are there. We were very comfortable coming and going and not having to lock your room. BOY were we glad we had the lodge rooms when the skies opened up. After the rain look what we found looking at the bunkhouse.




The rainbow was so big I couldn't get it all in! We had an ABD group picture with the rainbow behind us Can't wait for the photopass info! Dinner was delish. I mean seriously gourmet. The kids' table continued in the middle of the dining room with adult tables to the left and right. It was working great.

The staff at BLL was top notch and everyone was super friendly. DS1 ended up playing darts with one of the staff fellas after dinner. He asked if DS1 had liked dinner and of course he said 'yes'! The guy replied, "good, I cooked it" It was great how the staff mixed in with our group. Adam managed the lodge and was from Michigan! Garrett was the head wrangler and was from Arkansas. What is it about a good lookin' man in chaps with an accent??

We all spent time in the lodge enjoying each others' company and getting to know each other better. DS1 had a sore right arm from all the darts with chef Barry and Landon. They had a Foosball table and small gift shop. My entire family now spots Brooks Lake Lodge fleece jacket

Next up - Day 6 On the Range
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:54 PM   #52
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Wow!!!!! Those pics of Yellowstone are fabulous! How gorgeous. And that rainbow! OMG, what a gorgeous full rainbow! I don't know about you, but I don't see those too often!

So this "disparity"... which is supposed to be better? The cabins or the lodge? Your room looks lovely, and the bed is *very* inviting!

And I sure never knew bison could even jump at all! Amazing.

Looking forward to more adventures at BLL!

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Old 08-20-2009, 10:11 PM   #53
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Day 5 - On the Range

We started the day with a 0800 breakfast worthy of a cowboy! Eggs over easy, bacon, sausage, and biscuits and gravy. Our group was scheduled for horseback riding at 0915.

Our day at the lodge - yes a low of 34 degrees!:


The horses were all assigned based on weight and height. We went in groups of 4-6 with a wrangler. Our family was accompanied by Daniel too Landon stayed to assist with fly fishing.

Our wrangler was Noah from California. The horses were all great. They are run off to the hills to free-graze all night and then brought in in the morning. Unlike your usual trail horses, these are happily full of grass and have run all night. Makes for a nice, calm mounts. Our group was the last out that morning. I was happy to say I mounted without the aid of the step stool.

View from the bunk house. Some of our fellow adventurers were already fishing.


Off we go!


Looking back!


Noah took us on an adult ride. Pretty steep inclines up and down. I was very happy to have the horse doing the hiking! Seriously at one point going down our horses front legs were straight and their haunches almost on the ground. We stood up in our stirrups and I literally had my left hand on my horses hind quarters. Good Nancy (my horse)



Noah took the lead, DSs in front of me, Daniel and DH behind.


Let's spend a few minutes looking at the beautiful Shoshone National Forest.






Group photo complements of Noah:
Me on Nancy, Daniel on Mad Hat, DS2 on Smoke, DS1 on Doodad, DH on Herbert.


On our way back down and Brooks Lake:




Back safe and sound!


Noah and my guys:


Now I must confess we'd done some serious ridin' and my thighs and calves had gotten a good work out. After my graceful dismount I did have to hold onto DH's arm for a while. Just to take in the view mind while others came in from their ride.

Next up - introduction to the Butterfinger Lollypop
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:30 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Wow!!!!! Those pics of Yellowstone are fabulous! How gorgeous. And that rainbow! OMG, what a gorgeous full rainbow! I don't know about you, but I don't see those too often!

So this "disparity"... which is supposed to be better? The cabins or the lodge? Your room looks lovely, and the bed is *very* inviting!

And I sure never knew bison could even jump at all! Amazing.

Looking forward to more adventures at BLL!

Sayhello
Hi Sayhello,
The cabins are big and private. Supposedly 'better'. I don't know how much better it could have been than our rooms

I couldn't believe the rainbow. I backed up clear to the spa but couldn't get the entire rainbow in. Vibrant colors too. It was a sign that we should take another ABD trip

I posted the first half of day 6. Hard to believe our trip is almost coming to an end. When do you start yours? I will have to live vicariously through your trip report!!

TK
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Old 08-21-2009, 11:24 AM   #55
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Hi Tksbaskets and Sayhello!
Thanks for the trip report!!!! Just how I remembered it--except we got snow instead of a rainbow. (Still working on the pictures, but I'll post one when I can). I agree that the lodge was just great. I know there is a lot more room in the cabins (checked out a few of them by invitation), but I loved just being able to walk down the hallway to my comfy bed, rather than going out in the dark/cold night. The stars were fantastic though.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:36 PM   #56
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Unbelievable pictures! So do you think that you could have expereinced all of this on your own? Or do you think a tour is a great way to go? I am just lloving this report! Good job!
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:42 PM   #57
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Hi Tksbaskets and Sayhello!
Thanks for the trip report!!!! Just how I remembered it--except we got snow instead of a rainbow. (Still working on the pictures, but I'll post one when I can). I agree that the lodge was just great. I know there is a lot more room in the cabins (checked out a few of them by invitation), but I loved just being able to walk down the hallway to my comfy bed, rather than going out in the dark/cold night. The stars were fantastic though.
I'm looking forward to your report too! I must admit we never stepped outside after dark. Too much to do inside

Quote:
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Unbelievable pictures! So do you think that you could have experienced all of this on your own? Or do you think a tour is a great way to go? I am just loving this report! Good job!
Thanks for the kinds words!

I don't think I could have arranged all this on my own. We probably could have done the Yellowstone Geyser tour with a park guide (saw some brochures for that in the gift shops)

With the vastness of Yellowstone and the Tetons would have been hard to research where to go and learn the history behind it. We learned a ton from our Disney guides and our step-on guides.

Off to type out the rest of day 6. In the home stretch. Thanks for reading!

TK
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Old 08-21-2009, 09:33 PM   #58
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Our Fly Fishing Adventure

After a hard morning on the range we headed to the dining room for lunch. We had a menu to choose from and I selected the burger and onion rings - I wholeheartedly recommend both - again YUM Yes, that is another Diet Pepsi! The burger 'bun' was crusty with herbs and cheese. Drooling....


We talked a fellow adventurer into signing up for horseback riding that afternoon with one of his boys after he saw our pictures. They had fun.

Now for the best treat I ate the entire trip. The Butterfinger Lollipop! It was butterfinger ice cream covered in a dark chocolate shell. The chocolate was the quality of Godiva. The chef melts the chocolate, pours it over the ice cream adds the chocolate stick and freezes it all. It was a really hard shell. DELISH!


Our afternoon activity started at 2:00 pm. Off to catch some trout. Ben was in charge of Fly Fishing. Really nice young man. We had a short orientation to how to get your line out there and how to fling it behind you and then out into the pond. I ended up putting more flies in the long grass than in the pond and after my second fly told Ben "fly fishing isn't my thing". He saw this as a teaching challenge to make me enjoy fly fishing. He stuck with me for about 20 minutes until I caught a fish. I had to give Ben credit for that one but I did catch another one on my own. It was all catch and release.

Fly fishing was fun and relaxing. Here are a few photos from our afternoon. One of the most fun things was watching Landon RUN from one adventurer to another when they caught a fish to take a picture!



DS1 with his catch. DS2 had worse luck than his mom but stuck it out and had a good time.




Back to the main lodge for tea time - cookies and an assortment of fruit and cheese in the room off the main dining room. Just look for the piano.


Running of the horses
Don't miss when the wranglers run the horses out at night to graze! A few wranglers ride ahead and wait down by the lake to herd the horses. Tonight Noah rode out first and gave us a fun display with his lasso.


Next here come the horses! DH and I both laughed that Herbert was again bringing up the rear.




Garrett was behind them cracking his whip. It sounded like a gun shot and was very Indiana Jones!


If you look closely you can see them running in front of the lake.


Spent a few minutes enjoying the event and then headed inside for some shuffleboard and Foosball before dinner.

***BLL Junior Adventurer Notes***
Now we didn't have any junior adventurers so I didn't pay a lot of attention to when and what they were doing. While at the lodge they had a movie night and made t-shirts. They seemed to enjoy both activities

***End of my Junior Adventurer trip report***

Farewell dinner.

Dinner was again just outstanding. I had sea bass and it melted in my mouth (after I scooped off the spicy salsa off the top). The guys all had beef. We had so much fun sitting with the family from Rhode Island.

Dessert was served out in the main lodge room by the bar. Landon and Daniel were setting up for our final event - the trip review which took place in the dining room in front of the fire place. I encouraged many to ask for the Butterfinger Lollipop (the chef said at lunch there was left-overs) Everyone LOVED it.

First we all had the opportunity to say what we enjoyed most about the trip. It was really nice to hear EVERYONE'S opinion of the highlight of the trip. One of the most telling was the dad who came with his ~11 yo son. He said he booked the trip because he thought his son would enjoy it and was surprised to find he had a great time too. The dad of the family that did the Nights & Lights earlier in the summer commented that is was just the right mix of activities and free time. We had to agree!

My boys loved the Brooks Lake Lodge. One even said he loved the bed there! DH said he loved the whole trip but especially the rafting and spending time with our boys before they go off to college I told the group the best thing for me was letting someone else do all the planning.

Our guides had gone through the pictures they both took during the week and put together a very classy slide show. I'm hoping that is offered with the Photopass but I'm thinking not.

We all lingered and visited in the bar/main lodge until midnight. DS1 and the young women from Rhode Island played many games of shuffleboard. She also schooled DS2 in fooseball. Get ready for college guys! DH and I played a few games of suffleboard ourselves VS the Rhode Island couple. They were really fun!

DS1 stayed up later than all of us playing darts with Landon and the BLL staff. Here they are around midnight. Again, excuse my Olympus indoor pic.


Off to bed. Breakfast started at 0800 with our shuttle to the airport scheduled for 0900. Hard to believe our adventure was almost done.

Next Up: Happy Trails
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:23 PM   #59
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Now it's time to say goodby.

Another yummy breakfast buffet. We then put our bags outside our room for the wranglers to pick up. There were many of us on the early shuttle to the Jackson Hole airport. We received our final pin then Daniel and Landon waved goodbye with their Mickey hands.

Ben drove the many-passenger van and Barbara was driving 4 with her in a Suburban. Our family immediately voted for the Suburban! It was a couple of hour drive with construction to the airport. Barbara was one of the wranglers talking with her passed the time quickly.



Being the only all-adult Group
One comment my family made was that perhaps we'd look into an adult only adventure. We've done several Disney vacations including DCL where there are tons of children there but it is surprisingly easy to avoid/ignore them. That is not the case when 30 of you are on an ABD trip spending time on a bus and during meals.

The children were very well behaved on this trip. Our groups' parents seemed to step up and correct any misbehavior. I did have to talk to our guys about being tolerant "yes, you did the EXACT same things when you were that age". Daniel and Landon were very adept at controlling and re-directing the children. Each took turns sitting at the children's table at the group dinners.

Daniel and Landon went out of their way to spend time with our family. It was great to have Daniel included with our group for the riding and at lunch. We were probably one of the few Disney groups riding that quoted Blazing Saddles most of the way back to the lodge! Both Landon and Daniel spent one-on-one time with our sons. We all enjoyed teaching Landon a new skill - Euchre.

On an adult-only ABD I'm wondering if I'd miss the educational events and explanations that are intended to keep the children engaged. I thought the heat sensing guns were cool and I loved having my journal stamped. It's one of those 'be careful what you wish for' thoughts.


Final thoughts:

We had a wonderful time on our first Adventures by Disney trip. The beauty of Wyoming is breathtaking.

I had read some comments here on the boards that had prepared me to be less than awed. It was nice to be prepared for some less than stellar moments but honestly there was not one event or stop that didn't exceed our expectations. I give credit to the great planning by Disney and our exceptional guides Daniel and Landon.

Is there another ABD trip in our future? This one was so enjoyable that I certainly hope so. I'll be keeping on eye on the boards for reviews of adult-only ABD trips and keeping my eye on the Emerald Isle for 2011. Our sons are interested in the Guinness factory tour!



Thank you for reading my trip report!
TK
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Old 08-22-2009, 02:35 PM   #60
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I LOVED your trip report. I have been thinking about an ABD trip for my family in 2011 and really wanted some of those "spoiler" details to help me decide if it is really worth the $- this has definitely helped my research! We are thinking Alaska in 2011 with our then 6 year old and will be choosing between ABD and a cruisetour on Royal Caribbean so thanks!
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