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Old 06-25-2011, 08:52 AM   #46
MiceRNice
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Could someone help me please? I am leaving on the July 5th Wonder to Alaska with the ABD add-on. It's less than a week away and, because I live in Canada, I had to book this through a travel agent (allseasonstravel). Unfortunately, they do not communicate well with me and my Welcome Package, delivered to them, has not arrived. According to my check-in information, I have no port excursions booked!

Could anyone tell me what is in the Welcome Package? Do I need to know anything before I check in? What am I missing out on?

(I am a little blue because the package is part of the Disney experience and heightens the anticipation and excitement of the adventure to come. It's part of what I paid all that money for!)
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Old 06-25-2011, 09:03 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by pjc4925 View Post
Just got off the boat and checked into a Vancouver airport for post cruise relaxation day. We did do the ABD add on and never having experienced that portion of Disney before, I can tell you it was excellent. Unfortunately I missed meeting up with other DIS'ers. The ABD add on was with one other family. They also had three other guides join us with our two official guides. The cruise was everything we expected. This was my third Disney cruise, but first time to Alaska. My wife and two daughters were with me. My youngest daughter was too young to do the ABD so we brought my sister, mother, and in laws with us to help keep an eye on here while we went off the boat. Since the group was so small they had no problem including the rest of our family in the onboard events (except Palo, which we skipped anyways as it fell on formal night). The two guides were Landon and Robyn. They were genuinely concerned about us and making sure we had a good time throughout. The helicopter and dog sled events was absolutely breath taking. I liked the lumberjack show as a fun way to spend the day with my 8 year old daughter. The rainforest sacuntuary was a special treat as we were able to get about 10-15 feet away from a bald eagle that had perched on a railing. Skagway was my least favorite part of the trip. I think there could have been a better gold panning destination as the one we went too did not appeare to be popular with visitors. However the tour of Jewel Gardens and the lunch afterwards was very relaxing. The train was nice as I have never done it before with this being my first trip to Alaska. I would have liked to have had more planned events while we were at sea. I will place a lot of that blame on myself though as we wanted early dining and the rest of the group had late dining and probably hung out more either at dinner or after. The four events that we attended on board; welcome resception, naturalist presentation, animators demonstration, and farewell reception were done vith a lot of class and fun. I will look for future ABD trips to take and would likely do an addon for a Mediteranean cruise. The Alaska add on was certeainly worth doing and I have no regrets, but if I were to take another Alaska cruise (which I'm not necessarily sold on doing again) I would likely pass on the ABD portion. Please do not misunderstand that statement as I think it was an excellent value and we had a fabulous time. Getting the pictures at the end from both Shutters and the guides will certainly be icing on the cake!! If there are any other questions please don't hesitate to ask.
Landon was one of our ABD guides in Wyoming two years ago. Glad you had a good time!
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Old 06-25-2011, 10:00 AM   #48
pjc4925
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiceRNice View Post
Could someone help me please? I am leaving on the July 5th Wonder to Alaska with the ABD add-on. It's less than a week away and, because I live in Canada, I had to book this through a travel agent (allseasonstravel). Unfortunately, they do not communicate well with me and my Welcome Package, delivered to them, has not arrived. According to my check-in information, I have no port excursions booked!

Could anyone tell me what is in the Welcome Package? Do I need to know anything before I check in? What am I missing out on?

(I am a little blue because the package is part of the Disney experience and heightens the anticipation and excitement of the adventure to come. It's part of what I paid all that money for!)
I would not worry about the welcome package. It is backpacks for each of the members of your family. Certainly something you paid for and would be nice to have, but by no means anything to worry about. Your excursions will not show either. Trust everything is taken care of and just go and have a great time!!
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Old 06-25-2011, 02:57 PM   #49
MiceRNice
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Thanks for the encouragement! Are the backpacks blue? We received blue backpacks and binoculars for our Italy ABD...I will recycle these, then, for this trip...
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:02 PM   #50
pjc4925
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Thanks for the encouragement! Are the backpacks blue? We received blue backpacks and binoculars for our Italy ABD...I will recycle these, then, for this trip...
The adult backpacks are blue and the kids are green. The kids one only have one strap on them.

Last edited by pjc4925; 06-25-2011 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:17 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiceRNice View Post
Could someone help me please? I am leaving on the July 5th Wonder to Alaska with the ABD add-on. It's less than a week away and, because I live in Canada, I had to book this through a travel agent (allseasonstravel). Unfortunately, they do not communicate well with me and my Welcome Package, delivered to them, has not arrived. According to my check-in information, I have no port excursions booked!

Could anyone tell me what is in the Welcome Package? Do I need to know anything before I check in? What am I missing out on?

(I am a little blue because the package is part of the Disney experience and heightens the anticipation and excitement of the adventure to come. It's part of what I paid all that money for!)
Just a side note. We just returned from Rockie Tales and Robyn (one of our two great guides, the other being Tiffany) was flying out with us at the airport to catch the Wonder to lead the Alaska "add-on" package. Both our guides were fantastic and fun and Robyn will really make it even better IMHO. Have a wonderful trip.
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:20 PM   #52
pjc4925
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Challenge Robyn to a crab eating contest if you are up for thr challenge
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Old 06-27-2011, 10:28 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by carpenta View Post
Just a side note. We just returned from Rockie Tales and Robyn (one of our two great guides, the other being Tiffany) was flying out with us at the airport to catch the Wonder to lead the Alaska "add-on" package. Both our guides were fantastic and fun and Robyn will really make it even better IMHO. Have a wonderful trip.
Robyn was one of our Guides last year when I did the Med ABD add-on. She's wonderful (as was Tina). They're going to love Robyn!

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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 06-28-2011, 07:23 AM   #54
MiceRNice
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We had Tina on our ABD Viva Italia. She was awesome! I'd love to see Tina again, but Robyn sounds nice, too. Can't wait...less than a week
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:46 PM   #55
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I want to thank you all for the valuable information in this post! I have been waiting for the ABD Cruise Add-On package to be announced for 2012 and was very disappointed when I found out the itinerary/price (same as last year for greatly reduced itinerary!). I started a thread in the DCL area and had some great feedback http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2855753, but the information in this thread really helped me figure it out. I used it to help me draft a letter expressing my disappointment. If anyone else was considering going and had the same reaction, I would urge them to write a note and drop it in the "contact" form of the website or in the mail.

Really disappointing!

Here is my note:

Adventures by Disney
190 Center Street Promenade
Anaheim, CA 92805
Attention: ABD Management

Re: 2012 Alaska Cruise ABD Add-On

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to you to express my extreme disappointment with the recently released itinerary and pricing for the 2012 Alaska Cruise Adventures by Disney Add-on.

My family (DH, DS14, DD12) and I are avid Disney Fans and love to vacation at the resorts and around the world with Disney. We are DVC owners, prior ABD Adventurers, prior cruisers, and frequent Disney Park visitors.

On our 11-night Mediterranean cruise last year on the Disney Magic, we were thrilled to book two rooms for our family of four to Alaska in August 2012. Since then we have eagerly been awaiting the ABD Add-On release, hoping for another opportunity to enjoy the “extra special” that comes along with the Adventures by Disney product. We thoroughly enjoyed our Emerald Isle Adventure a number of years ago and have been eager to try another. I was hoping the Alaska Cruise would be a nice bridge between a European ABD in 2013 or 2014, but after seeing this new itinerary and the pricing, it makes me question the value of the product as a whole. Indeed, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. To put it in colloquial terms: with the feeling of being had.

I understand that this is a luxury product—that is one of the reasons I’m interested in it. But I also want to see that I’m getting something of value.

Given the vastly reduced port times in the 2012 Alaska cruises as compared to the 2011 cruises, I was expecting either (1) a reduced price reflecting the reduction in activities or (2) some on-board “content” to the itinerary on sea days to make up for the lost excursions. Even something like adding a concierge benefit to the ABD patrons would have made a difference.

What I found instead was a greatly reduced adventure itinerary (removing the most popular and costly item from last year’s itinerary!), while charging the same price as last year, and a glaring omission of any activity at one of the ports. In fact, the ABD itinerary shows Day 7 as a “sea day” when in fact there is a scheduled port stop in Victoria!

According to the itinerary, there are essentially no substantial activities for FIVE of the EIGHT days. I love receptions, nature talks, etc, but those are hardly a reason to pay the premium for ABD. The real “meat” so-to-speak is on the port days. This itinerary leaves me asking: “Where’s the beef?”

The biggest disappointment (and loss of value) is for the port day at Juneau. Instead of the helicopter adventure with dog sledding—which by all reports was the favorite of ABD Add-on participants last year—there is now a seaplane excursion. In looking at the comparable prices of these port adventures on the DCL website, you have exchanged an adventure priced at $699 pp (Disney Exclusive Glacier Dog Musher for a day) PLUS the private Mendenhall presentation (roughly $100 based on similarly priced excursions)—a total of $800—with one priced at $309 pp (Enchanted Taku Glacier).

Similarly in Ketchikan with the reduced port time and activities, using comparable Disney Port Adventures, there has been a reduction of approximately $100. Thus, nearly $600 of the “meat” in activities* has been removed from the itinerary without any offsetting reduction in cost or added benefits.

Indeed, when there is an opportunity to add something, it has not been taken. We are making a stop in Victoria and no ABD activity is given.

I also know that many of the special things about ABD are the “surprises” (which are revealed in some of the trip reports) and premium service. Presumably the service of the two guides is the same, so unless the “surprises” have been upped considerably (in the realm of $600) this doesn’t make any sense.

What am I missing? I have compared the two itineraries closely and see nothing to explain this disparity. What are we getting to "make-up" in effect for the lost excursion/activities from the reduced port times?

I would greatly appreciate your insight.
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:41 PM   #56
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Wow, I hadn't heard about this. That's really pretty ridiculous, to do so much less, but charge the same. I'd love to hear what ABD's answer is.

And while I am in no way trying to excuse what ABD is offering (or not offering) here, I know that ABD had a lot of problems with their original Canadian ABD, because there are Canadian laws about Canadians having to lead tours there. I know they got around it somehow by having a tour that was half in the US and half in Canada. I have to wonder if there was some issue with the Canadian government that precluded them doing any activities in Victoria. I'll be really curious to see what ABD says about that, also.

Please do report back to us what their response is!

I can't believe they got rid of the helicopter/dog sledding excursion. Everyone I talked to said it was the highlight of the trip.

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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 01-08-2012, 12:54 AM   #57
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Thanks, SayHello. I was pretty shocked to be honest--both by the price and that they got rid of the dog sled. After reading the TRs and the various threads from last year's excursions, it definitely seemed to be the clear favorite and a "once in a lifetime" experience.

Very interesting about the Canadian restrictions, I hadn't heard about that. It will definitely be interesting to see what they say--if they say anything.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:33 PM   #58
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Wow, I hadn't heard about this. That's really pretty ridiculous, to do so much less, but charge the same. I'd love to hear what ABD's answer is.

And while I am in no way trying to excuse what ABD is offering (or not offering) here, I know that ABD had a lot of problems with their original Canadian ABD, because there are Canadian laws about Canadians having to lead tours there. I know they got around it somehow by having a tour that was half in the US and half in Canada. I have to wonder if there was some issue with the Canadian government that precluded them doing any activities in Victoria. I'll be really curious to see what ABD says about that, also.

Please do report back to us what their response is!

I can't believe they got rid of the helicopter/dog sledding excursion. Everyone I talked to said it was the highlight of the trip.

Sayhello


on our trip Rockie Trails, Tiffany was marrying a man from Alberta and moving to Cananda and she did express some concern about being able to still work for Disney and lead ABD tours in the future. Tiffany was absolutly wonderful and it would be a big loss IMHO. We live 25 minutes from Canada and since 9-11 the border has really changed...but it is for the best I guess since they have done a good job protecting us.
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Old 01-09-2012, 09:55 AM   #59
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on our trip Rockie Trails, Tiffany was marrying a man from Alberta and moving to Cananda and she did express some concern about being able to still work for Disney and lead ABD tours in the future. Tiffany was absolutly wonderful and it would be a big loss IMHO. We live 25 minutes from Canada and since 9-11 the border has really changed...but it is for the best I guess since they have done a good job protecting us.
Tiffany has been with ABD forever, and is, as far as I know, one of their top Guides. I do hope they work it out, and she can still lead ABD's!

And yes, since 9/11, *lots* of things have changed!

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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 01-09-2012, 11:41 AM   #60
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I was also very disappointed in the pricing released by ABD for the 2012 Alaska cruise add-ons for all of the same reasons outlined by CaliforniaGirl09. I sent the following letter off to ABD:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Having booked a 2012 Alaskan cruise on the Disney Wonder some time ago (in fact, when we were on board the Disney Magic last summer during an 11-day Mediterranean cruise), I was eagerly awaiting an announcement from Adventures by Disney about a trip add-on for the 2012 Alaska cruises. I was quite excited to discover earlier this week that ABD is indeed offering an Alaskan Wonders Family Cruise Vacation applicable to my sailing date. However, when I called Disney Cruise Line to receive pricing information for this adventure, my excitement quickly turned to disbelief and disappointment. The pricing quoted by DCL is $2,299 per adult and $2,069 per child.

My understanding is that this pricing is virtually identical to the pricing for the ABD add-on for the 2011 Alaska cruises. However, due to the issues created by using Seattle as a departure port for the 2012 Alaska cruises versus Vancouver for the 2011 cruises, the port times in Juneau and Ketchikan for the 2012 sailings have been significantly shortened. Given the reduction in the port times (and the resulting reduction in activities associated with the ABD add-on in these ports), I would have expected a corresponding reduction in the price of the ABD add-on for the 2012 cruises. In addition, the 2012 cruises make a stop in Victoria, and I do not see any activities listed in the ABD itinerary for this port. Another option would have been to increase the “content” offered with the 2012 add-on (such as higher quality excursions or attractive activities on sea days, such as exclusive ship’s tours or food or beverage tastings, or perhaps stateroom upgrades).

Given the reduced number (and apparent quality) of activities in Juneau and Ketchikan, and the lack of any activities in Victoria, it seems a more realistic price point for this add-on would be something like $1,500 per person. At that price point, I would seriously consider the add-on for my family. But I find it very difficult to justify a cost of $8,736 for my family of four (two adults and two children) given the reduced number of activities in Juneau and Ketchikan and the lack of any activities in Victoria. In pricing out the most comparable excursions for Skagway and excursions we might otherwise choose in Juneau and Ketchikan (such as the helicopter and dog sledding trip, which is a glaring omission from the 2012 itinerary, since it was part of the 2011 adventures, and by all accounts a favorite among the 2011 adventurers) and adding back the costs of the extras that are included in the ABD trip but would otherwise be paid for separately (such as the ship’s gratuities, the photo CD and the case of water), I arrive at a total cost of approximately $4,832. Surely the access to the adventure guides, the welcome and farewell receptions and a session with the ship’s naturalist cannot close the gap of the almost $4,000 difference in price! I realize there are intangible benefits to the ABD add-on (and probably other tangible “extras” and “surprises” that I have not catalogued), and indeed, these are part of the allure of the ABD product, but I continue to struggle mightily to find the additional $4,000 in value that the price of this ABD add-on suggests. As DVC owners, frequent Disney Parks visitors and veterans of two prior Disney cruises (Alaska will be our third), we are clearly great fans of the Disney product. We are seriously considering the Emerald Isle adventure for 2013 and were hoping to get our first taste of the ABD experience via the Alaska cruise add-on. But I have to say that the pricing and itinerary for this adventure leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

If I have missed something regarding the benefits offered by the ABD add-on relative to the cost, I welcome enlightenment (indeed, I would so like to find a way to justify moving forward with this add-on). You can reach me by phone at **** or by email at *****. Otherwise, I strongly encourage you to reconsider the pricing for this adventure so that it is more in line with the number and quality of the activities offered.
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