Other Options...

wallawallakids

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Anyone done both? Looking to see how they compare to each other. Prices are close, AA is a little less maybe. Thanks.
 

EllinK

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Yes, we are looking at them too. Not for this year, though. Would love to hear from someone who has done both.
 

Up to $1,300 in Early Booking Discounts from Dreams Unlimited Travel!
Make your Adventures by Disney reservation with Dreams Unlimited Travel NOW and receive an Early Booking discount depending on Adventure and Travel Dates!!
Click Here for Details

Already have an Adventures by Disney reservation booked and want to know if Dreams Unlimited Travel can save you money?
Write to Kevin@DreamsUnlimitedTravel.com

carpenta

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 26, 2010
You should look at Tauck Bridges tours too. They are very similar but Tauck is all inclusive even the tips....We do both ABD and Tauck and both are great.
 
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    I realize that this is probably the wrong place to ask this question, but I'm curious how many of you have done a European vacation on your own? I'm having a really hard time deciding what to do. Since I'll be going solo and it will be my first solo trip out of the country I think going with a tour would be the way to go, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the cost. I'm debating either doing London and Paris on my own or Italy with ABD. The biggest problem is I KNOW that once I do an ABD I will become addicted and there will be no turning back:) I can afford it….maybe not one a year, but I could definitely do one every couple of years, and I KNOW I will love it. I love all things Disney. My husband does not like to travel so I don't force the issue. He will do long weekends with me in the US, but I'm ready to venture out and see the world. Traveling is definitely something I've always wanted to do. This trip would be to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2016. Just trying to see what everyone else out there has experience with their travels and hopefully help me make up my mind. I know I have plenty of time to make the decision, but what can I say….I'm a planner:thumbsup2
     

    Tozzie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2008
    I realize that this is probably the wrong place to ask this question, but I'm curious how many of you have done a European vacation on your own? I'm having a really hard time deciding what to do. Since I'll be going solo and it will be my first solo trip out of the country I think going with a tour would be the way to go, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the cost. I'm debating either doing London and Paris on my own or Italy with ABD. The biggest problem is I KNOW that once I do an ABD I will become addicted and there will be no turning back:) I can afford it….maybe not one a year, but I could definitely do one every couple of years, and I KNOW I will love it. I love all things Disney. My husband does not like to travel so I don't force the issue. He will do long weekends with me in the US, but I'm ready to venture out and see the world. Traveling is definitely something I've always wanted to do. This trip would be to celebrate my 40th birthday in 2016. Just trying to see what everyone else out there has experience with their travels and hopefully help me make up my mind. I know I have plenty of time to make the decision, but what can I say….I'm a planner:thumbsup2
    I travel solo and I love ABD, I have completed 5 ABD trips and I have 6 booked for later this year and 7 booked for next year. I like not having to plan anything just show up when I am told. I also like ABD for the front of the line access the special surprises and in a country where I don't speak the language it is a relief to know that I don't have to worry about it. I also feel that since I travel solo it is safer to do it with a tour group and obviously I like ABD.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I agree with everything that Tozzie said. I'm taking solo ABD #5 this summer, and have #6 scheduled for 2015. Besides the reasons she lists, is the fact that I enjoy having fellow travelers. I like having my own room, and being able to retreat there, but also having someone to go to meals with, someone to talk to about what happened that day, and what's planned for the next day. Someone to turn to and say "WOW! Look at that!" without them thinking I'm crazy. Someone to take photos of me in the places we go. I like having my luggage disappear from my room and magically appear in my room at the next hotel. And I really, really love ABD's Adventure Guides. They are really, really amazing!

    I *am* spoiled by ABD. Totally and completely. I know their itineraries are well-thought-out, diverse, creative, fun, fascinating. So far, I can afford to do one ABD a year. I'm likely going to keep doing that until I can't afford it anymore.

    Sayhello
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    We travel internationally with ABD and on our own depending on the circumstances. ABD is my favorite way to travel although both have their advantages. I would recommend trying ABD if you are going solo and this is your first trip. It will make everything easier, less stressful, and a lot of fun with the group.
     
  • tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    You guys are fantastic!! Thank you so much for the responses. I've definitely decided that ABD is the way to go. There are SO many itineraries to choose from, and honestly, I would love all of them! Now I just have to decide if the London/Paris trip or the Italy trip is right for me. Although, Cousin Orville, you have me very excited about China and maybe that can be my second :-) I think being a solo traveler, and a woman, I would definitely feel safer making my first trip out of the country one with a group.

    Thanks everyone!!! Luckily I have until about May 2015 to make my decision and then I can book it.
     

    kristilew

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 11, 2008
    I have done ABDs and traveled internationally with my family and alone. I would say it isn't an "either/or." The ABDs gave me lots of great ideas on what I should schedule when we're doing trips without them, and helped me figure out how I like to travel. The on my own or just my family trips are fun and exciting in their own way, and I like to set my own pace.

    London and Paris are definitely easy to do on your own, and you can easily put together a trip for yourself that hits many of the highlights that ABD does, for much less money. Especially London, where there is no language barrier and there are always other tourists around. I did Paris just myself and DD (11 at the time) and found that pretty manageable too.

    We save the ABDs for countries where there would be a safety or language concern, or where we would want to see things in places far enough apart that the logistics would be a hassle. Italy counts as one of these for my family, which is why we are doing the ABD there this year.

    After each of our ABDs, we've felt empowered to go back to that country on our own, if we ever have the time. (There are so many NEW places to go first!) We'd go back to Peru and stay at Sol y Luna in a heartbeat, and we definitely want to go back to the Galapagos and spend a whole week on a ship there.

    One thing I learned from the Adventures though, is it is worth it to hire a guide for at least a half day or day, even if you are going mostly on your own. Learning about where you are from someone passionate about the area is a treasure and adds value to the rest of the trip.
     

    AquaDame

    DCL
    Moderator
    Joined
    Jul 7, 2010
    I have done ABDs and traveled internationally with my family and alone. I would say it isn't an "either/or." The ABDs gave me lots of great ideas on what I should schedule when we're doing trips without them, and helped me figure out how I like to travel. The on my own or just my family trips are fun and exciting in their own way, and I like to set my own pace.

    London and Paris are definitely easy to do on your own, and you can easily put together a trip for yourself that hits many of the highlights that ABD does, for much less money. Especially London, where there is no language barrier and there are always other tourists around. I did Paris just myself and DD (11 at the time) and found that pretty manageable too.

    We save the ABDs for countries where there would be a safety or language concern, or where we would want to see things in places far enough apart that the logistics would be a hassle. Italy counts as one of these for my family, which is why we are doing the ABD there this year.

    After each of our ABDs, we've felt empowered to go back to that country on our own, if we ever have the time. (There are so many NEW places to go first!) We'd go back to Peru and stay at Sol y Luna in a heartbeat, and we definitely want to go back to the Galapagos and spend a whole week on a ship there.

    One thing I learned from the Adventures though, is it is worth it to hire a guide for at least a half day or day, even if you are going mostly on your own. Learning about where you are from someone passionate about the area is a treasure and adds value to the rest of the trip.
    This! I was debating the Norway trip next summer and sat down a couple of days ago and plowed through their itinerary adding up the costs of doing it on our own - staying in the same hotels, doing the same activities. What I found was that we have a $6,500 buffer to cover our meals and car. We won't have a guide for the whole time of course, but since neither of us feel unsafe in Norway we've decided to do it on our own and save the money for our Africa trip where we will do ABD for the safety. We'll likely do that to get used to things and then go up to Kenya afterwards for another week on our own. If we rent a car and go we'll be able to do and see things that ABD isn't planning on, and we are OK not making cheese and having the entertainment our last night, etc (the intangibles that I couldn't figure out how to do solo). $6500 is just too much to have our luggage moved for us!

    My husband has never done a Europe trip but I have been three times, once with a school group and twice on my own with one other traveling companion. This includes a month in Paris where I spent the days alone while my ex was working - I never felt unsafe and the metro was easy to navigate. I also spent some time alone in Tokyo & Kyoto wandering around and felt fine then too. I'm ok with getting a little lost, having some language barriers and eating unknown meat so I think we will be fine this time too. :thumbsup2
     

    pihanettie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 2, 2013
    I choose ABD for "special" things that I wouldn't have been able to do on my own (the special access at the Coliseum and private tour of the Sistine Chapel in Italy).
     
  • mare1203

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2005
    Our family did London/Paris on our own and just completed the Italy ABD. I found myself thinking 'man, how much more would we have seen if we had done London and Paris as an ABD?!?'. They are so efficient at getting the group to places and you never have to book your own entrance time or rarely wait in line. The sheer time we spent getting to the Tower of London or Versailles or the Eiffel Tower wouldn't have been an issue with ABD because they take care of it. With Italy, we packed a ton of stuff into the days and were able to see so much of what Italy has to offer. We loved it. I feel like this trip made me feel more comfortable and confident with going back sometime and not being disappointed because we've already hit the big stuff.

    We had a solo traveler on our adventure and she said she had a great time. She got to know the families very well and said she was invited to dinner every single night. By the end of the trip she had eaten with each and every family at least once. I thought that was pretty cool!
     

    tgeorge

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks again everyone for all the comments. They have definitely helped and I appreciate you all taking the time to comment. I do have one more question that I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on. Someone brought up the idea of doing a European cruise. I like the idea because you can see more, but at the same time you lose the time to explore different cities. For those of you that have done both, what would you recommend for someone who has not been to Europe? More time in a couple of cities or a lot of stops in various cities for more exposure?
     

    SingingMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 4, 2001
    Never having traveled to Europe before, ABD was a perfect choice for us. You can certainly plan trips on your own, but that "front of the line" perk mentioned previously is why we love it! The "regular" line at Versailles was wrapped around the plaza - we just waited for our time slot and walked in the door! Same at the Eiffel Tower! The opportunity to stay at a castle in Germany... So many neat extras PLUS meeting some of the nicest people who have become great friends!

    "SingingMom" ....Sent from my iPad using DISBoards
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Thanks again everyone for all the comments. They have definitely helped and I appreciate you all taking the time to comment. I do have one more question that I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on. Someone brought up the idea of doing a European cruise. I like the idea because you can see more, but at the same time you lose the time to explore different cities. For those of you that have done both, what would you recommend for someone who has not been to Europe? More time in a couple of cities or a lot of stops in various cities for more exposure?
    I did a Med cruise in 2010 with the ABD add-on. It was the perfect way to do a cruise. We were able to get the equivalent of 2 or 3 amazing excursions in each day. And there is something to be said for only unpacking/packing once or twice for a cruise, vs 3 or 4 times for some ABD's.

    That said, I much prefer my land-based European ABD's. I like being able to see a place in the evening and at night, and to wander around where the hotel is. You can't do any of that on a cruise. Most ports, we were out of there between 3 and 4pm, heading back to the ship. And a lot of the ports (especially in Italy) were pretty far away from where you actually wanted to be (like Rome and Florence). If I had to choose, I would definitely choose the land-based ABD. But that's just me. I'm sure others would choose the cruise.

    Sayhello
     

    Tozzie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2008
    Thanks again everyone for all the comments. They have definitely helped and I appreciate you all taking the time to comment. I do have one more question that I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on. Someone brought up the idea of doing a European cruise. I like the idea because you can see more, but at the same time you lose the time to explore different cities. For those of you that have done both, what would you recommend for someone who has not been to Europe? More time in a couple of cities or a lot of stops in various cities for more exposure?
    I have done 4 European ABD trips and 2 Med cruises. I guess the answer depends on what you want to do. I enjoyed both for different reasons. The cruises were great to see a lot in a little time and the ABD trps went more in depth. I can't give you a good answer as I liked both.


    I do disagree with Kristilew, I went to London on my own after scotland and I feel I would have enjoyed it more and gotten more out of the trip if I did it with ABD. It is all about preference.
     

    Cousin Orville

    Inventor of Air Cooling
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2000
    Thanks again everyone for all the comments. They have definitely helped and I appreciate you all taking the time to comment. I do have one more question that I'm hoping some of you can weigh in on. Someone brought up the idea of doing a European cruise. I like the idea because you can see more, but at the same time you lose the time to explore different cities. For those of you that have done both, what would you recommend for someone who has not been to Europe? More time in a couple of cities or a lot of stops in various cities for more exposure?
    I'm doing our 4th European cruise in a little over a week (1 Baltic and 3 Meds, all DCL). I've done 1 European ABD, and travelled on our own many times. I prefer ABD but cruises have their advantages. They're better for young kids (<7yo) which we have. They're often longer trips than one ABD. 12 vs 7-9 days. They're a balance between traveling and relaxing on the ship (evenings and sea days). They give much more of a Disney feel if you're looking for that such as having Characters, and visuals/music/atmosphere... It's a Disney cruise after all. I think the cruises can give a broad view of the Med including a wide range of ports such as Nice, Rome, Athens, etc. Or it can be more tightly focused. Our upcoming cruise will concentrate primarily on Greek isles. ABD has the advantage of being even more focused and the touring never really ends in the evening like a cruise does. The biggest advantage of ABD are the guides and traveling with other families that you get to know. I prefer ABD but they're both good, especially for a first European trip.

    I'd say if you have young kids or you've enjoyed previous DCL cruises, you should do a European cruise first, then dive into ABD. If you're family is older and you're not cruisers now, I'd do an ABD. Or you can do a cruise with an ABD add on if you want some of both worlds.
     

    starry_solo

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2010
    Rome is easy to explore on your own, as is Paris and London (although I've only gone as part of a tour group, we usually had 1-2 free ways in the beginning of the trip so I explored Rome with friends without a tour guide).

    My sister and I usually travel once a year to Europe and so far we have been in Rome 3 or 4 times (separate trips.)

    I think for certain trips, a tour is the way to go. If you find you really like the country/city and want to explore it on your own, just think of it as something to plan for the next trip, that's what we do :)

    I did forget to add that, eventually, I will make it on an ABD trip :) On my bucket list of things to do.
     

    paddles

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2011
    We'll be taking our 3rd ABD European trip in August (this time to Germany). I've traveled a lot on my own in Europe and other parts of the world, but I chose ABD because I wanted my kids to enjoy the trip (and I feel ABD does a really good job with this). The other reason to go with ABD is that I get tired of doing all the planning sometimes, and its nice to have a week when someone else is worrying about all the details. :)

    I have found that with ABD tours, I need to add several pre and post days to really see the cities I want in the depth I'd like. ABD does a good job finding unique experiences and finding smaller/off the beaten path areas of a country to explore, but that usually comes at the expense of spending more time in bigger cities. I found this out the hard way during our Scotland trip last year, when I felt I barely saw Edinburgh and I was really heartbroken. They've changed the itinerary a bit (to add an Edinburgh castle tour and to warn people about missing Holyrood House during certain times in the summer) - but I thought the morning city tour was way too short (we spent more time on tapestry weaving)...and that really bummed me out and I feel like I need to go back to Edinburgh to see it.

    For my Germany trip this August, we're spending 2 full days in Munich before the trip since the tour doesn't give adequate time there.

    I guess my point is that even if you do an ABD, you'll still need to spend some time on your own to plan out some key sightseeing.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates





    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR DAILY EMAIL
    Subscribe and never miss out on Disney News, Deals and Updates.






    Top