London/Paris - ABD or Tauck? Decisions, decisions....

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by SingingMom, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Decisions, decisions! Never been to Europe... DH, me and DD almost 19....
    Want to see London and Paris this May....

    Can't decide if we should do Adventures by Disney or Tauck? I want "First class", so I think both fit that bill, but, without sounding like a snob, I don't really want our first trip to Europe be a tour filled with children. We did the "kid thing" when our daughter was young, but now we'd like to lean more toward an adult atmosphere, without that meaning "seniors".

    Any advice for us would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    If you can wait until the Fall, ABD has an Adult Exclusive trip that runs Sep 21st to 28. Or in October, you could join the DIS Unplugged Podcast Exclusive trip on Oct 8 - 17. It's a fabulous version that includes Disneyland Paris as an actual *part* of the trip. These trips have been primarily Adults Only in the past. If you're interested, check out my trip report that's linked in my signature.

    Check with DisneyKevin (Kevin@DreamsUnlimitedTravel.com) if you're interested in the DIS Podcast trip.

    If May is the only time that works, I'd check with ABD. A lot of times, the trips that aren't during the summer tend to be mostly adults anyways. They could probably give you an idea if a trip had a lot of kids on it or not.

    I have no experience with Tauck, so I can't comment on whether there would be more or less kids with them.

    Sayhello
     
  4. Bobo912

    Bobo912 DIS Veteran

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    Well, unless you do an adult exclusive you're likely to have children on an ABD. I don't do the adult trips, but of the 3 regular ABDs we've taken there have also been a good number of 60, 70, and even 80 year olds. Other than the adult exclusive trips you'll probably find fewer or no kids if you choose a date in May or early June, or Sept/Oct. I think you're less likely to have kids if you go with Tauck World Discovery or Culturious. The Culturious itineraries are more active, so will probably be a younger adult group, in general. If you call either company and tell them which trip/date you are interested in, and your concerns, they will probably give you some demographic info on your fellow travelers. In my case, I'm interested in booking trips where there are kids close to my son's age and I've found both companies very helpful and forthcoming with information.
     
  5. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for your responses!

    Sayhello: We are pretty set on a May trip - right after DD finishes her freshman year at college, but before the younger schools get out for the summer, so we figure that might take care of the "too many kids" aspect right there. ;) Those upcoming trips you mention do sound wonderful. I will go back and read your trip reports when I get a chance.

    Bobo912: I totally agree about booking a trip with people close to your child's age. Last June we took a lovely cruise to Bermuda, but there were no people in the 17-21 age group. All couples, or families with young children. I now wish we had flown straight to Bermuda and stayed the week, instead of taking the cruise, for DD's sake.

    Any other advice would be welcome! We've never taken a "tour" before.:hippie:
     
  6. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    My first ABD (Southwest Splendors) was not officially an Adults Only trip, but, as it was in mid-May, it ended up being Adults Only anyway. So I would say if you signed up for the trip in May, you'd very likely see it with few if any kids.

    Again, I can't do any comparisons for you; the only other tour company I've gone with has been Backroads (even more pricey that ABD, and generally hiking and other very active activities) and the tour I added on with Princess to my Alaska cruise. (Great, but only available with a cruise).

    ABD really does a wonderful job of removing a bunch of the hassles and worry from travel, especially travel abroad. I've become very spoiled, traveling with them. Figuring out how to get from point A to point B, how to deal with the luggage, etc, when I'm doing it on my own has become an even bigger pain now that I'm used to letting Disney do it. They just have an excellent product, and really know what they are doing.

    I'm sure Tauck has a lot of these qualities, too. I just haven't tried them (yet).

    Sayhello
     
  7. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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    June may not be the best time to go either ... it's crowded enough in June but add in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in early June and you've got wall to wall people.
     
  8. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Oops - forgot about that! We are really trying for May. If I can just make my dang decision. I read something about having to pick your meals ahead of time and that is making me a little leery. I have a weird stomach and don't know what will sit well from day to day. Plus, I want to be able to say, "no sauce, please", etc...

    Sayhello: read your trip report - great job. :thumbsup2 One question - how early did each day start? Ok - 2 questions... :goodvibes Can you choose to stay at your hotel if you don't feel like going on an excursion? Or is it set up that you really must stay with the group? (Not that it would definitely happen, but if I felt under the weather, I wondered if I could stay back and lounge? lol) 3rd question - I promise - no more...:lmao: Are there restroom facilities on the bus?

    Thanks!!
     
  9. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    First off, feel free to ask AS MANY questions as you'd like! I'm happy to answer any & all of them! :goodvibes

    With ABD, you do not normally have to pick meals ahead of time. Occasionally, due to time limitations, or being somewhere where they need to do a box lunch, etc, they may ask you to select a meal ahead of time. But that's very rare. Breakfast in my experience is almost always a buffet. Let ABD know if you have any food restrictions; they & the Guides are fabulous at working with you on stuff like that. Sometimes the options may be limited, so if you're feeling off, let the Guides know. They might be able to help you.

    Days were not too early. I'm thinking most days started in the 8-9am timeframe. I don't remember exactly, but I am NOT a morning person, and I didn't feel it was that bad.

    You absolutely can choose to stay at the hotel if you want. There are a couple of exceptions to this (there always are!). If it's a transfer day (traveling from one hotel to another) they generally will not go back to the hotel after an activity, so you will need to go with the group. Secondly, if there are multiple activities in a day, and you want to do one but not the other, you may or may not be able to sync back up with the group (they might travel directly from one activity to another or to a special meal, etc). But ABD will never insist that you participate in an activity. And they'll let you stay at the hotel if it's logistically OK.

    And the "restroom facilities" really depends on the locale & the bus. Some of them do, some of them don't. The first day in London, you're on an antique restored double-decker bus. No restroom. But I'll say that ABD's have a LOT of restroom breaks built in. If there's no restroom on the bus, they will make a lot of stops for restroom breaks. That's one of the things I like about ABD (especially in Europe) because restrooms aren't always easy to find there.

    Any more questions?
    Sayhello
     
  10. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks SO much! I am a "planner" and can be a "nervous traveler", so your answers have been most helpful. DD and I are not "morning people" either, (DH goes with the flow - very easy going) but as long as we know ahead of time that it will be an "early call", we'll deal with it!

    I am sure I will have more questions - thanks for your willingness to answer! :hippie:
     
  11. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    You are quite welcome! :goodvibes

    Sayhello
     
  12. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Clean bill of health today from cardiologist, so it looks like we are really going on this trip. (had a high blood pressure scare - lots of tests - all good - so meds seem to be taking care of everything...)

    So....... I have a few more questions! lol (going to the travel agent this coming week to probably book for sure)

    What type of clothes did you bring for the London/Paris trip? What is necessary, what is optional? Does DH need a suit & tie or will a sports jacket be sufficiant? Do DD and I need dresses and heels, or just dressy casual? And big question - what type of everyday shoes do you recommend for this tour??? DD and I are both "flip flop" girls, so we need to know what type of shoe is necessary for all the walking tours...

    Also -in your opinion, is there time on the 2nd or 3rd day of London (Saturday evening or Sunday morning) to attend Catholic Mass? I found the location of the Catholic church - walking distance from the hotel - but I'm trying to figure out if "free time" will coincide with attending Sunday mass.

    Thanks so much for your input!!! :hippie:
     
  13. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    :eek: Glad everything turned out OK!

    Well, I traveled in September. I don't know if the weather will be similar in May, but I think it might. I wore mostly jeans and yoga pants while doing the touring during the day. The temperature really varied widely depending on whether the sun was out or not, and it poked in and out all day. So a light top and a jacket you could throw over it worked well. We had a "nice" evening at the theatre, which you won't have. But you will have a couple of nice dinners, so something "nice" is a good idea (but I don't think any of the guys wore a suit and tie). I looked through my pictures, and the guys' attire ranged from dress shirts & slacks (one person wore a sports jacket) to polo shirts & slacks. The women wore either a nice dress or a nice top & slacks. Most meals are pretty casual, only a couple were "nice" dress.

    Personally, I wore tennis shoes (actually "athletic walking shoes" ;)) pretty much the entire trip (except when dressed nice for dinner). I have a bad back and bad feet, and wanted to be sure I had as much comfort & support as possible. You do a lot of walking on this trip. And no matter what people say, we saw *LOTS* of people in England & France wearing tennis shoes. Heck, one of the local guides was wearing them! I can't wear flip-flops; they just are not comfortable or supportive to me. Again, looking through my photos, most people are wearing tennis shoes or casual walking shoes.

    They've changed the itinerary a bit since last year. The second night we went to see "The Lion King", but I believe now it's an evening on your own. It looks like you are free after lunch at Harrod's, so you would in all likelihood have time for Mass that night. The 3rd day starts fairly early with a walking tour right after breakfast, so I don't think that morning would work for you. So I'd aim for the 2nd evening.

    Again, you are welcome! You're going to love this tour! :lovestruc

    Sayhello
     
  14. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Sayhello - It's ME again!...:rolleyes:

    Called travel agent today - got some prices and flight times... ran through it with DH tonight and looks like we are booking tomorrow! :banana:

    How do these flight arrivals and departures sound to you? :surfweb:

    Flight Arrives London 7:40 am
    Flight Departs Paris 9:25 am


    Another apparell question: What type of day bag would you suggest? Looking at photos of European trips, it seems an across the body messenger type bag is the norm? What would you be carrying on your walking tours? Passport, bottled water, guide book, camera, medications? Umbrella, jacket? Anything else? Do the men carry day bags also? :confused3

    Thanks for your help! :hippie:
     
  15. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

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    Hello! :lovestruc

    Mazel Tov! You will love this trip!

    Are you arriving the day the tour starts? I'm seriously going to suggest you try & arrive at least the day before. The jet lag going that direction is pretty seriously hard, and you will fade if you try to stay up for the Welcome Dinner and then get up early for the tour of London & Westminster. If you have to, you have to, but I know most flights I looked at were red eyes, so you don't have much choice. If you're coming in the day of, ABD will be there to meet you at the airport. That's the good part! ABD will get you to the airport in time for that 9:25am flight (assuming that's the last day of the tour.) As long as you're OK with getting up early enough to get there by 7:30am, you're OK. Really all that last morning is, is breakfast & going to the airport. I left at 1pm, but I'm NOT a morning person!

    I have a travel purse that I use. I can wear it cross-body or on my shoulder like a "normal" purse. I left the passport in the Hotel safe. You really don't need it with you, and in an emergency, ABD would go back to the room and get it for you. You definitely need room for a small bottle of water (which ABD provides!), small guide pamphlets, camera, sunglasses, small umbrella. I wore my jacket around my waist if it wasn't on (because I was constantly putting it on, taking it off, putting it on, taking it off as the sun came & went.) Most of the men, if they carried anything, it was a backpack (although a couple did carry more of a messenger style bag). Here's some pictures showing some of what people carried:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You are welcome!

    Sayhello
     
  16. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the photos! I think I will go shopping for a bigger messenger style bag - my Coach one is not going to be enough room! :goodvibes

    Booked our flights today - I played around with some times and found a better scenerio for $136 cheaper per person.

    We arrive the day of the tour at 7:40 am (I know you suggested a day earlier, but I really didn't want to have to arrange our own transportation, etc. Hopefully we'll "sleep on the plane" lol)

    Started thinking about getting to the airport SO early for the return from Paris that I changed that flight to 1:10 pm. I think that will make for a calmer departure. :cloud9:

    Tomorrow we book the "tour" part - our regular agent will be back in the office. Her manager took care of the flights for us today so we didn't lose out. Starting to get "nervous" and "excited"! :cheer2:
     
  17. pxlbarrel

    pxlbarrel <font color=teal>They won't allow any kind of cow

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    I thought that if you booked the extra night with ABD, ABD would provide transportation to the hotel.... is this not the case? If not, I've got some scrambling to do for our China trip....
     
  18. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    At least not for the London/Paris tour.... according to what I read. ;) :hippie:
     
  19. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    As long as you are under your ABD reservation, transfers to and from the airport are included.

    If you book pre or post nights with ABD, transfers are included as well.

    If you have booked pre or post nights on your own, transfers are not included.

    There are several Adventures where ABD will request that you arrive and depart within certain parameters.

    This is because of the distance / traffic from the airport to the ABD hotel. ABD wants to insure that you have enough time to check in and get ready for your Welcome Dinner.....or that you have enough time to comfortable get to the airport on departure day.

    If you have booked pre or post nights through ABD, the arrival and departure restrictions are much easier or non-existent.

    If you have booked through a travel agent, they should be able to give you this information. (pxlbarrel....there is no need to worry. You are all set and good to go)

    If you have specific questions or there is a way I can assist, please let me know.
     
  20. SingingMom

    SingingMom DIS Veteran

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    From the ABD website - I read this to mean I had to stay within the parameters of the tour dates for the transfers. Oh well. Flights are already made. ;) We'll deal with "jet leg" as best we can! :goodvibes

    Are transfers included if I arrive or depart from different locations or at different times from the itinerary? No. Transfers are only included from the specified arrival/departure airports and hotels. For the Cities of Knights and Lights trip, transfers are included from Heathrow Airport (LHR) to the Chancery Court Hotel on your arrival day. On your departure day, transfers are included from the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris back to the Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).
     
  21. DisneyKevin

    DisneyKevin Kelvis Moderator

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    As I said in my earlier post, ABD includes transfers with pre and post nights.

    As ABD only books pre and post nights at the chosen hotels (and there is a maximum number of additional night you are allowed to book) this precludes arriving or departing from a different location.

    As long as you remain under your ABD reservation, transfers are included.

    Again....your travel agent should be able to help you with this, but if you have specific questions, I can be reached at Kevin@DreamsUnlimitedTravel.com.
     

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