Adventures by Disney London/Paris trip

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by ppiew, Sep 11, 2006.

  1. ppiew

    ppiew DIS Veteran

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    Don't know where to post this, but people have asked so I will try two different forums: We took the ABD London & Paris last month. Here is the 'lowdown.' First of all, a backpack was sent to us prior to departure. We took it with us and used it a lot.
    Don't sweat the wardrobe. Everyone dressed in jeans or khakis every day and backpacked a windbreaker type jacket. Two evenings were sort of dressy, but suits for men were not ever required. I did see a few sport coats but that is all. Comfortable shoes are a 'must' as there is a LOT of walking.


    Hotel VERY nice (especially by European standards - LARGE room). I would say comparable to a Marriott, Hilton or Hyatt in the US. Room had a 'Welcome" tote from ABD with a water bottle, deck of cards, bandanas, wrist bands (don't know what for as no one ever wore them), umbrellas (used every day!) There was an ATM and Underground access within a block of the hotel.
    Evening reception had chips, pretzels, champagne, wine, and sodas. Guides gave an overview and passed out the lanyards and first of seven daily pins to all.
    Dinner was multiple hors d'oeuvres size portions of a multitude of British dishes - pork pies, fish 'n chips, trifle, shepherds pie etc. A duo of singers performed and it was a lot of fun.

    DAY 2
    Buffet breakfast at hotel each day. Had a lot of stuff. Fresh fruit, yogurt, American dry cereals, scrambled eggs, sausage and cheese. For touring, we used a 50 year old antique red double decker bus! Really neat. Had a British Blue Badge professional guide for all sites within London. Visited Westminster (very crowded). Walked past Buckingham Palace but didn't see changing of guard as it was raining and they didn't do it. Went for late lunch/tea at Savoy hotel. It was so so. Kids not too enthralled although there was plenty they could eat, ie. ham and cheese sandwiches, scones,salad, dessert, etc.
    Night was a really highlight! Saw Mary Poppins (with GREAT seats!!) and were able to walk on the stage and talk to the stage manager afterwards. Everyone loved it!
    Before seeing Mary Poppins there was a bag with a MP CD in it featuring the stage cast! Nice touch! Mickey shaped cookies were in our room at night. In our tote bag on night #1 we also received a very nice journal and pen for the kids to keep track of stuff. Also they gave the kids an alarm clock the first night and a one-eyed monocle to have on the London Eye. Have to admit though, the first day the journal was used and then put away! Too much other stuff going on!

    DAY 3
    Went to the London Eye. Didn't think I would attempt it because I do not like heights, but it was really great and moved very slowly. Kids got a simple plastic backpack that worked really well. Took a short cruise on the Thames to Tower of London. Tower/crown jewels was pretty much on our own without a professional guide but it was very easy and waits were minimal. Saw the Crown Jewels, Beefeater Guards, execution locations, etc.

    DAY 4
    Cruise down Regents Canal in kind of a shabby canal boat, but it was interesting and fun. Donuts/croissants/coffee were served on board and then we went to Camden Market and shopped in and out of all of the funky shops. Then to Waterloo Station and the Eurostar. And this is THE BEST FOR ME!!! They took ALL our luggage from the hotel - brought it to Paris - and it appeared in our rooms within an hour of arrival!!!!
    Whoopee!!!!

    DAY 5
    Paris. Great tour of Notre Dame. The adventurous climbed the bell tower - me I sat in a sidewalk cafe and had cappuccino. Lots of time to wander around the gardens, etc. After ND came my least favorite part of the trip. We went to Montmartre and to Sacre Coeur. Very crowded! Think parade time at the MK on Easter Sunday! We went for lunch and it took 2 hours! Could NOT hurry the waiter AT ALL. Kids ordered French Onion Soup (Appetizer) and some adults orders normal 'adult' entrees. Asked to have the appetizers and entrees delivered to table together and were told 'no' in no uncertain terms!! It was funny! Food was good though. Wine tasting wasn't much. Only working vineyard in Paris and it is sort of a tourist attraction thing. Artist who drew caricatures of the kids though was really great. Each child got to keep theirs. LUcked out and saw a parade to the church with Priests and parishioners carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary to the church. Sacre Coeur was jammed with people too. We took a cog tram to the top as it is VERY steep. We did walk down though. Any deficiencies during the afternoon were made up with our night dinner at the Eiffel Tower - a big WOW on this one! Those who wanted to could climb to the top (not me!) but my daughter and granddaughter did it! It is enormous! Dinner was quite good too.

    DAY 6
    Louvre day was much much better than I anticipated. For me the Mona Lisa was a let down, but the buildings themselves were awesome! I was totally impressed with I.M. Pei's pyramid both above and below ground. Kids went together and filled out a book as 'Art Detectives.' They loved it!! In the PM we had free time. lunch at Tuileries Gardens. Some then went on a Seine Cruise and ABD reimbursed them for taxi fare and for tickets as the cruise was not on the agenda anymore. Some others stayed at the Louvre or went shopping.

    DAY 7
    Versailles complete with tour. Tour didn't include the Petit Trianon but oh well can't have everything. Rains held off so biking was able to be done. Those who went had a great time. Lots of trails etc. Very nice lunch right on the grounds of Versailles near the gardens and fountain. Night dinner was at a French cafe and we had the entire building! Musician playing and everything! Small bags with 'goodies' were given to all attending. The guides showed a video of all the photos they had taken of everyone during the week - really nice! They said they were mailing one to each of us after the tour.

    DAY 8
    Here was a surprise for us - as we were going to Disneyland Paris for 2 days they actually had a van to take us (and another couple) directly from the hotel to the resort! Super! Didn't have to haul baggage unto a train or anything! Very nice surprise!
    Prices also included all tips except gratuities to the guides, of which there were two. Porters, all baggage handling, meals, entrance fees to attractions, transportation to and from, etc. included tipping.

    The guides were very good and had a huge responsibility. Roads (especially in London) have very heavy traffic and it would be easy for someone to get into an accident. We Americans tend to 'follow the crowd' and not pay close attention to changing lights etc. Often the entire group could not cross together so it was important to keep looking out for yourselves as well as the tour group.

    The hotels were much better than I expected - London was better than Paris, but both were beautiful, spacious, and quite large by European standards. First Class on the Chunnel is the only way to go! Loved it! None of the meals were Michelin star calibre but all were very good. Guides were extremely attentive to everyone at all times.

    Yes, this was an expensive trip _BUT everything was First Class and would do it that way again in a heart beat. There is one group loved it so much their entire 40 people are going on another one together next year!! Guess that is a testament to a quality product.
     
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  3. Bexx

    Bexx DIS Veteran

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    Sounds like a fabulous trip!! :goodvibes
     
  4. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Nice to hear about your trip. I have been listening to DIS podcast talking about planning for Adventures by Disney :)
     
  5. fizz13

    fizz13 <font color=33cc99>Dreams about being stuck on Spa

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    Sounds fabulous, glad you liked our London so much, and yes all those canal barges in camden are that shabby :teeth:
     
  6. Ware Bears

    Ware Bears Bring me that horizon Moderator

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    Thanks for sharing :) Glad you enjoyed it! :goodvibes
     
  7. BONITATIME

    BONITATIME <font color=blue>I like to drink all year out of o

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    It sounds like you have had a great trip. Everything I hear about Adventures by Disney sound first class.
     
  8. ppiew

    ppiew DIS Veteran

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    The Regents Canal Barges were really a treat! Not super touristy and the short cruise provided seeing parts of London I didn't know existed! We saw the exterior of a zoo, saw the worn stonework on bridges from the years where horses pulled the barges along the sides, saw the million dollar mansions on the shore, saw Camden Lock, had fun shopping and walking thru the market/bazaar. The ABD tour gave us much that you DON'T see on regular tours. This was only one example. We loved the whole thing. I am a grandma, my daughter (age 42) was along and my 9 yr old granddaughter. It was also good to have the Disney 'security' feel to the tour. The guides had a huge job herding us along - yet not let us feel like cattle! The kids saw Westminster in a 'kids' group (with their own guide) and adults were in another. It was nice that both age groups interests were addressed-and this occured in Paris as well.
     
  9. steve_rob

    steve_rob Mine? Mine? Mine? Mine?

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    Yes, the canal runs right through London Zoo in Regents Park (if you're in the zoo, you have to take a bridge over the canal to see the other half).

    Of course, the most important question is, how did you get on at Disneyland Paris?
     
  10. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Glad you enjoyed the safe feeling with your tour guides :)
     
  11. ppiew

    ppiew DIS Veteran

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    Ahhhhhh yes DLP!!!!.. (afterall that IS this forum)
    We spent two days at DLP staying at the Disneyland Hotel. Check in no problem at all and it was about 11 AM. Rooms were lovely and very large. Loved the MK! The buildings are so much nicer than in WDW. The castle is really a thing of beauty. Rides were every bit as nice as WDW and some were better. Liked the layout and the additional attractions that we don't have at WDW. Lunch at Blue Lagoon was GREAT! a bit of a foul up with order and bill, but it was straightened out promptly. CM's seemed to be trying very very hard to be helpful and pleasant everywhere we went. A gentleman from Belgium allowed us to stand in front of him for the parade (how about THAT for hospitality!!). The Studio was so so. We enjoyed the few hours we were there, but it seemed kind of haphazard to me - no real layout, not a lot to do. Our meals were at Buffalo Bill's (ugh!), Inventions (yeaa, excellent), and California Grill (super!!). Busride to CDG was uneventful (we had a non-speaking driver - guess he was angry about something), but it was about 50 minutes long, so no problems there.
    In short, yes, I would go back if I am lucky enough to be in France again. Kids or no kids, DLP is beautiful and you are very lucky to have it in your own backyard!
     
  12. MJGirl

    MJGirl DIS Veteran

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    Hi ppiew ... Glad to hear the update ... I just booked this tour for next year, as well as the Disney Med cruise. Our trip of a lifetime is less than a year away!!!!!
     
  13. Cyrano

    Cyrano Moderator Moderator

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    Hi MJGirl and welcome to DLP DIS board :wave2:
    We are a friendly bunch here so please join in on any other thread or if you have a number of questions then just start a new thread for each :goodvibes
     
  14. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

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    When did you book your tour? We're going on the June 8 tour! Would be fun to meet some people who are going in advance.

    (Ppiew has helped SO much in getting ready for this!)

    Julie
     
  15. MJGirl

    MJGirl DIS Veteran

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    Hi Julie ... We are booked for the June 29 tour. This works out perfectly for our July 7 cruise. You will have to let me know how it went!
     
  16. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

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    Indeed, we will. I just booked last night (though I've been planning for some time). I think we'll add a trip over to DLP on to the last two days as well. Now we just have to book the air fare, and we'll be set. :-)

    Julie
     
  17. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

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    Lovely trip report.

    Woody
     
  18. MJGirl

    MJGirl DIS Veteran

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    It's funny .. I booked Thursday night. :rotfl:

    Regarding DLP .. what with the cruise afterwards, I'm not sure I could afford 2 more days. I'm thinking of taking one of our 1/2 days off to take a side trip there. It's not that expensive, and this may be the only chance I get. I've started a post above asking questions to see what the experts think?

    I haven't booked my air yet ... Will do that soon .. I have to book Toronto - London and Barcelona - London - Toronto. I also have to book Paris to Barcelona ... It has been suggested to me that the train is the way to go for this. The scenery is beautiful! The train ride is 8 hours.
     
  19. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

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    I don't know. We looked at rail fare -- taking the rail back to London and the flying back to the States from there. The rail fare is relatively expensive. I wonder what the difference would be -- the flight from Paris to Barcelona? It may be worth checking on.

    Your flights are much more complicated than ours. We're just flying Atlanta to London and then Paris back to Atlanta. That's expensive enough. Whew! Good luck with fares! :sunny:

    Julie
     
  20. MJGirl

    MJGirl DIS Veteran

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    I was quoted around $1000 each for the flights ... But don't forget in Canada one third is usually taxes and fees. I'm also going to look into flying out of Buffalo. I can save lots of money doing so!

    I looked into the train and the fare this year would be 400 US for the two of us!
     
  21. wintergreen

    wintergreen DIS Veteran

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    What were the names of the hotels that you stayed at in London and Paris? Thanks!
     

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