"Is ABD worth the $$$?" Discussion thread

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,983
    Here's a link to an ongoing thread discussion about the much asked question: "Is Adventures by Disney worth the $$$?" There are several good posts, especially a couple by familygoboston. Check it out!

    familygoboston's 2 posts (so far!)

    http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=46790130&postcount=7

    http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47153881&postcount=15

    The whole thread (come join the discussion!)

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3023657

    ETA: There's also a great post by Grifdog22 talking about some of the more intangible benefits of traveling with ABD. Equally important!

    http://www.disboards.com/showpost.php?p=47368398&postcount=12

    Whole thread:
    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3056728

    End ETA
    Sayhello
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. moody79

    moody79 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    We did the Central Italy trip at the end of May 2014. In my opinion, yes, ABD was worth the money. First, our guides were AMAZING. Anything we needed or requested, they delivered. The accommodations selected by ABD were top notch. While our views may not always have been spectacular, the hotels were in a prime location and very high end. The lunches, dinners, tours, etc., arranged by ABD were absolutely wonderful. I believe that our tour had the absolute best guides available. Further, our ABD guides provided great direction, etc., during our " on our own" times. While I have not been on a group tour since 1997, I will say that this ABD trip exceeded my expectations. As a result, I do believe that is worth the money (or even more than what we paid). If you are accustomed to Disney service, ABD is the way to tour.
     
  4. becca0731

    becca0731 Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    My then 14 year old daughter and I traveled alone to South Africa over the 2012/2013 Winter Break. It was truly a life changing experience. It is by far worth the cost of the trip. With us two "girls" traveling alone my first priority was to feel safe, and Adventures by Disney didn't disappoint. We felt secure from the time we left Birmingham till the time we arrived home in Birmingham! EVERYTHING is taken care of, we never touched our luggage once we landed in South Africa. We had never done a "tour" before and were a little concerned that we may not have enough time on our own. ABD provided the perfect balance. Everything is organized to perfection and being absolutely first class is just a bonus. There are all age ranges on the trip and all age ranges are accommodated with choices of activities. Coming home was bitter sweet because we felt like our tour group had become our family. We are still in contact with them via FB today. We are planning another trip now, and I am intent on giving one of the adult only tours a whirl in my near future. So above and away it is worth the cost, and your family memories will be priceless.
     
  5. amymeadors

    amymeadors Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    I feel like if you've never traveled abroad this could be a very all-inclusive and worry free way to travel.
     
  6. Cin

    Cin DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    927
    It is for me as I am a single female traveler and I feel safer and know I am not traveling alone. I also don't know the area and why rent a car and tour alone when I can get a private tour and travel with not only a guide but a like minded group? It's a lot more fun to share the fun and touring alone doesn't allow for that (or strangers look at you oddly if you try to share the experience with them just because they are standing or sitting by you). For peace of mind and getting an experience I could not get otherwise on own my own, it is worth it to let Disney handle the details and all I have to do is show up and have fun! I deserve to be pampered. I may only go to Disneyland once in my adult life so why not go big or stay home? I'm not going to complain about getting VIP treatment or front of the line passes or private tours and a tour of Walt's own apartment. To stand where Walt once stood, and look out the same window down onto Disneyland...imagine how wonderful that is going to be. I could close my eyes and almost imaging Walt standing there imagineering. For me it's going to be worth it.
     
  7. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,983
    I totally agree with this! (Although I've never done the Southern California ABD. I grew up in So Cal, and still have family there, so haven't *quite* been able to justify this one.) But Europe? The American Southwest? Alaska? Oh, yes!

    Sayhello
     
  8. Tozzie

    Tozzie DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,270
    I also am a solo female traveler, and while very little scares me I don't believe in tempting fate and that is one of the reasons I love ABD, the trips, and I have been on 5 of them and have number 6 and 7 booked (Central Europe and Pre cruise for Denmark next year) They are phenomenal and if you don't feel like doing an activity you don't have to (not that I have ever done it) on a couple of my trips there were people who wanted to do other things and the only time you have to be with ABD is when they are leaving a city otherwise just let the guides know and you will be fine.

    I have done the Backstage Magic and I was just in awe, the exclusive access to many places is DL and CA, well just wow. I enjoyed it so much I am considering going again next year as I would love to see World of Colo and it is Disneyland's 60th birthday.

    Sayhello, I think you can justify this trip even though you grew up out there, there is so much exclusive access (Jim Henson Studios, Imagineering, reserved seating for world of color and fireworks and I think the afternoon parade) Additionaly you go behind the scenes at Disneyland and California Adventure . Even if you grew up out there you didn't have access to any of that.
    One more reason I want to do it again is that when I was there (2009) it was before the makeover at California Aventure, in fact they had the mock up of Radiator Springs Racers at Imagineering, so I really want to do it again.

    Sayhello I would really consider this especially if you grew up out there you can see things from a different perpective!
     
  9. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,983
    Thanks for the perspective, Tozzie! I imagine I will take this trip at some point. :)

    Sayhello
     
  10. steelydad

    steelydad Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    Having returned from the ABD add-on to the Magic in the Med and had a few weeks to reflect on the "is it worth it?" question, perhaps the more compelling question is "how often can I afford ABD?"

    Most on this trip were prior ABD travelers and seemed ready to sign up for another even after having also paid for hefty airfare from North America to Europe plus additional before/after hotel stays and the cruise.

    Perhaps it is easier to justify paying to do it right when committing precious vacation time abroad. Skipping lines, moving efficiently, safely & comfortably between sights & activities, getting advice on the best picture spot, the best time and place to see everything and reliable guidance on every need from dietary issues in different languages (huge number of allergy needs with the group) to the nearest bathroom to the best shop to buy whatever - it is tough to price all this and probably near impossible to DIY.

    The ABD formula just works --

    - The day planned with a mix of education (would kids listen to parents like they do to guides? ha), culture and interactive fun
    - The peppy guides (Dusty & James same as Cheryl & Mario last time), running ahead with cases of cold water, setting a friendly tone for the group and working who-knows-what logistics behind the scenes - the benefits of 2 guides have to be more than double one
    - The benefit of travel pros background research into the best all aspects of the trip
    - Local guides with special expertise (quality varies widely though)
    - quality restaurants with local wine matched at every meal (before noon? OK when in Rome)
    - not too little or too much Disney (tre cool pins)

    On the last day the group tried to list all the other hats the guides wore - waiter, photographer, crossing guard, someone said body guard watching for pickpockets, dietician, comic, probably missing more.

    "Is it worth it?" - totally fair question. The cost is substantial but so is the cost of letting life experiences go by.

    Balance Adventure responsibly my friends.
     
  11. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    727
    Very well stated--bravo!
     
  12. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    10,983
    Sitting here, getting ready for the Farewell dinner for my Scotland ABD :sad: I couldn't gree with you more!!!

    Sayhello
     
  13. steelydad

    steelydad Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Messages:
    16
    And while the faithful await another fine Say Hello TR & the Scots vote, a few fun facts from the guides that may or may not impact the “worth it” question

    - most popular ABD – Viva Italy (Americans looooove Italy)
    - avg. time to research & test run a new ABD – 1 yr (test run? sweet gig that)
    - avg. lead time given to guides on their future assignments – 2-3 mos (ABD revisiting in response to guest requests for favorite guides)
    - advance info of new trips given to guides – minimal for fear guides will prematurely share with current guests (so they said)
    - old ABDs – never retired, only put on short to long hiatus for reconsideration
    - missing historical character guide – totally forgot to ask but seems to have gone the way of the stateroom Mickey lamp and gold propeller clock

    and

    - most ABD’s by 1 guest – 17, at a clip of 3 per yr (…, …, words fail)


    and these two sobering moments

    - last ABD day – the Magic docked next to the Queen Mary II which we were told is well prepared for the not uncommon passenger whose last wish is to sail the world & shall we say does not make the whole voyage
    - last sea day – midday “Bright Star, Bright Star, Goofy Pool” blares over the PA (chilling), later after the group shares favorite ABD highlights, the guides turn off the mike and one turns to the other whispering to the effect “and we have everyone we started with.”

    Guides must see it all.

    Lots to fit into the old space-time-vacation continuum calculator.
     
  14. RustManFan

    RustManFan devoted to all things Disney!! Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    Messages:
    17,986
    I find the trips truly amazing but cannot justify the cost myself. I took my DD, DSIL and DS to Scotland for 10 days for less than it costs for 1 on the ABD trip. We rented a car and stayed at B&Bs so we really were with the locals, could plan our own time, eat when, where and what we wanted...and see the sights that appealed to us. Because of traveling this way (also to England and using trains as well as car) we have been able to return multiple times.... couldn't do that if I invested in ABD.

    No life experience missed and more family only time doing it our way...

    And I simply adore doing the Great Britain research!! :surfweb:


    Lucky ones who are able to swing it if ABD is the right travel choice for them!!
     
  15. Rapunzellover

    Rapunzellover Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2014
    Messages:
    71
    Adding to the solo female traveler love for ABD. I'm not chicken (traveled to New York alone for a week without a tour group just 3 months ago, for example) but ABD just makes travel easy. And when visiting a foreign country for the first time it's simply prudent to have people who are familiar with things backing you up. Solo or group. Why spend money and have what could be a difficult and disappointing trip when you can spend the extra money and know they'll be virtually no hassle?
     
  16. Kevenswife2

    Kevenswife2 <font color=blue>Much easier for me to say, "NO!"<

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Messages:
    1,216
    My thoughts exactly!
     
  17. preedymtnwest

    preedymtnwest Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    168
    Thank you, steelydad! We took our two boys on our first (and unfortunately only) ABD in 2012 to the Mid-Atlantic and had the best time, despite the 100+ degree heat (which we Seattleites are NOT accustomed to). Even though it was domestic, and even though I lived there until I was 9 and could have made the touring plans myself, our trip was successful for many of the reasons you cite.

    I'm thanking you, though, because I've recently booked our second and third ABDs, with a Med Magic add on and the pre-cruise Barcelona ABD in August 2015 and I was having serious buyer's remorse, even though we've never been to Europe and this may be our once in a lifetime chance to get there as a family (although I hope not). It will be our 5th DCL, so I have no worries about that part, but I was seriously questioning the extra cost for ABD and was wanting a recent opinion on what you get for your $$$ since I know it can vary through the years.

    Thank you for letting me know it's still worth it!
     
  18. betterbutter

    betterbutter Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    91
    We looked into it and decided it was definitely not worth it. We have done a lot of traveling over the years and are very comfortable with planning. We have taken several trips that were almost identical itineraries to what ABD was offering for half the cost and have had nicer accommodations and the ability to stop and linger at places which particularly interested us, or skip over the places we've been to or which held no interest to us.

    For families who haven't traveled much or aren't comfortable planning, it would be worth looking at. But if you can say you've been to "X" countries on your own and had a great time, it's probably not for you. For adults who would prefer a group tour, you'll save thousands by taking a tour through a university group and have an itinerary more tailored towards adults.
     
  19. WeLoveABD

    WeLoveABD DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    727
    Respectfully disagree! We are active travelers and quite adept at planning-and have done on our own trips, other tour company tours and of course actually took ABD trips. We like to do additional things on our own pre or post trip and find that to be a great fit for us. We save up for these trips and have looked the cost factor and what you get very thoroughly and find the ABD trips well worth it for many reasons beyond just a dollar assessment. There are no ways to travel that will fit everyone's need or attitude but clearly many find ABD a great way to travel. As I usually say in theses sorts of replies-we are all lucky and blessed to have the opportunities to see the world so it is all good!@
     
  20. Judyat

    Judyat Mouseketeer

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Messages:
    368
    We have done 2 ABD trips - Viva Italy and NYC dreams. While we loved both we did use DVC points. We also live close to NYC so didn't need airfare added. If you are really into Disney and can afford it than it's great. If you are not or cannot afford it there are more reasonable options without the Disney spin and we have done those too. Did an amazing 17 day trip to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. i would not even consider a trip there that did not include Halong Bay. Disney's trip may be great but it leaves this beautiful UNESCO spot out. If you want more reasonable trips that are longer and include airfare and are half the price take a look at Gate 1. That said ABD are great trips for those into Disney and where price is not a factor.
     
  21. Cousin Orville

    Cousin Orville Inventor of Air Cooling

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2000
    Messages:
    1,098
    My background is I've traveled in Europe and Asia quite a bit before having children. I feel very comfortable and enjoy planning and traveling. After having children we took a few DCL Baltic and Med Cruises (which I still love to do and is uniquely helpful for traveling with very young children <6). I wanted to travel more extensively with my oldest son, but at 7yo (now 10yo) wanted him to be able to travel with other young children for fun. And that has worked out amazingly well. It's his favorite way to travel and I know a lot of it is because he makes great friends during these trips. So, I can certainly attest to traveling with children regardless how comfortable you are with planning. Traveling with other likeminded families is a major plus, and from what I've seen it seems to hold true for teens as it does for "junior adventures".

    There is another aspect that I didn't understand before taking an ABD, and that's the guides. It is just not something that can be understood until you've traveled with ABD. I've done a lot of private tours all over the world. The majority of the time the private guides are wonderful, but they're not on the same level as ABD guides. I don't know how ABD picks them, but I guess somehow Disney is able to choose amongst it's thousands of cast members for the best of the best. These guys are the Top Guns of VIP guides. They set a certain tone when traveling. They keep everything light hearted, fun, enjoyable, and stress free. They inform and educate. They want everyone to have the best trip ever. And all the guests respond to that tone as well and everyone has an amazing carefree time. I don't know if that's the best way to describe the guides. I think you have to experience it firsthand. But they make a big difference, and they add a lot of "value" to a trip.

    I still travel a fair amount outside of ABD (and DCL). Sometimes we take adult trips with friends with a more hardcore foodie/wine style. Sadly that is not ABD. If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about ABD, I'd strive for better restaurants. Some are amazing IMO, and some are just ok. Sometimes we travel more extensively with our children that are too young for ABD. We're going to Central Europe in a week with the kids. On the upside, I'm able to choose different hotels than are on the Prague/Vienna ABD that I want and we can focus and linger when and where we want, but (if all my kids were old enough) I'd trade that sense of freedom and independence for the magical, carefree fun of the ABD. There are disadvantages traveling with ABD, but the advantages far outweigh them. So, I travel a lot of different ways. ABD is consistently my favorite way. It's not for everyone, but I would encourage anyone on the fence to try it. I have yet to meet anyone on a trip that didn't have a a spectacular time and want to do another.
     

Share This Page