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Old 11-20-2012, 12:29 AM   #1
Wilver
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Adventures by Disney - Is it worth the price

Admittedly I have never been on an Adventures by Disney trip before, so I was shocked when I saw the price of a trip to Machu Picchu. I understand that Disney does a very good job in the hospitality business, but need some help understanding what makes Adventures by Disney worth the extra cost.
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Old 11-20-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilver View Post
Admittedly I have never been on an Adventures by Disney trip before, so I was shocked when I saw the price of a trip to Machu Picchu. I understand that Disney does a very good job in the hospitality business, but need some help understanding what makes Adventures by Disney worth the extra cost.
It's kind of hard to describe. Before going on my own ABD trip, I wondered about the cost and whether it was worth it. I guess the best way I can describe it is that, if you go to WDW and never leave the site, that Disney bubble is kind of how ABD is but you are in a foreign country.

For the price, you deserve to and are getting luxury accommodations (with some exceptions, but that is a different story, http://www.disboards.com/showthread....817546&page=46). I suggest you price out the cost of the accommodations and food.

But what made the trip worth the cost for me were the tour guides, 2 from Disney and 1 local guide in each locale. At the end of the trip, the tip we left exceeded the "recommended" amount for each.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:29 AM   #3
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ABD is worth the price if you can afford it. If not there are some great alternatives out there that also offer great guides and airfare at a fraction of the price. I have done many including ABD. I enjoyed all and when it came down to it depending on where you want to go you can find many trips that are wonderful. Price does not guarantee a great trip. You make the trip what you want it to be. So if you can afford ABD great. If not don't feel bad there are some great aternatives out there. I frankly like a trip that includes airfare and is reasonable. And I have found some great companies that provide that and have great guides as well. So if you want your trip with a disney twist and pixie dust and can afford it great. If not there are many great choices out there.
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:59 PM   #4
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I agree and disagree with Judyat, agree, if you can afford the price this will be the best vacation you will be taking to that place, any place. Best possible guides, centrally located hotels, all 5 STAR, and best possible food and surprises galore. I disagree, because there is nothing Disney or Pixie dust about these trips except they are the best. You will never feel you are on a Disney trip. You are pampered, period. We did Viva Italia and I can't imagine doing it any other way.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:47 PM   #5
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As my DH likes to say, our ABD trips are expensive and worth every penny!
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBEB
As my DH likes to say, our ABD trips are expensive and worth every penny!
After our trip this past May, we totally agree! Can't wait to pick next summer's ABD trip! :-)

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Old 11-26-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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Worth It?

We think so, but just telling you that doesn't tell you anything I like to focus on the concrete differences, and only each traveler can decide if it's for them.

1-Guides; without a doubt some of the best we've had anywhere, good guiding can make or break a trip. What makes them great...
-they know their stuff;
-they manage logistics with a positive upbeat attitude- always!!
-either (local or Disney) guide will do what needs doing; there is no "it's not my department"; the local guide handled a logistical problem for us, the Disney guide was able to answer questions about the wildlife. If they can't manage your issue or question they don't rest till they find someone who can address it.
-They are intuitive "temperature takers" of the group, expertly sniffing out issues before they become major and helping smooth the way before you could ask or think to complain.

2-The trips are expertly organized for multiple generations (so if you are traveling this way it's great). Seniors don't mind "sitting out" an activity if another grandma or 2 is also and they can chit chat, and if that grandma wants to participate the guides make it happen. My mom was worried about El Barranco (the steps) with her knee, and our guide very gently and inclusively had her using a walking stick, which allowed my mom to enjoy the day pain free! The youngsters are kept active with their own activities, and with extra action during regular activities, so everyone can move at their own pace and still be part of the group with out feeling like you are "holding up" the group. This is a rare thing you won't find in a homogeneous tour group.

3-Everything and I mean everything is arranged for you...
-missing breakfast for a flight at dawn?- box breakfast delivered!
-want to tip the lady waiting outside the restroom for a few coins?- done!
-need TP in a place where there is none?- provided!
-Feeling peckish on the bus?- Snacks!
-want to go "on your own"?- advice, maps and directions provided, sometimes they can even arrange the driver to help if possible.
Luggage and itinerary is only the start of it, there are many little details that they take care of, sometimes before you can ask!

4-Head of the line/insider access
-on Europe trips this is often for line and crowd management, where private events and skip the line privileges are enjoyed at major sights. On our wildlife ABD trips it was head of the line for excursions, early selection of snorkel gear (to get the best selection), last to embark the ship etc etc.
-we also met local people and got to participate in local agricultural (roses, pineapples) and traditional craft (painting, weaving, cooking, music) pursuits with local folks. This kind authentic interaction is very 'worth it" to me and a major part of any itinerary I book.

5-Goodies and surprises
These happen daily and are delightful; for me without the rest it wouldn't be "worth it" but it's a treat to have daily surprises!

6-location, location
As others have mentioned, the ABD's are organized with excellent accommodations that are also authentic. They seem to balance comfort authenticity and superb location. As I have mentioned in reviews I have never been on an ABD and looked longingly at a place where other people stayed and thought "oh , I wish we stayed there"

7-a balance of immersion and the comforts of home
Some people can skip around the globe with nothing but a back pack, sleeping where they will and eating whatever they can buy on the street. Lots more people aren't too comfortable with that, But they don't want a trip where they are hermetically sealed in their bus, separated from the local people, foods and experiences either. I find ABD's are perfect for people like the latter - or groups where some members have trouble out of their comfort zone. There are always opportunities to try and experience a lot of authentic things, (food, dance, shopping) but you can opt out or retreat if it's too much for a particular individual.


I hope this helps give a better picture of what we find about these trips that is "worth it" for the ABD trips we take. Sometimes an ABD doesn't go precisely where we want or we feel we don't need to pay for all these benefits for a certain trip, and we take other trips. But when we have traveled with ABD we have found it worth it.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #8
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Familygoboston: you said it PERFECTLY!!!

I still can't get over how much I enjoyed this trip after being worried about going to Europe. I can be a " Nervous Nellie" when I travel, especially when I am not in "total control". Our ABD guides Frankie and Francesc were angels! They made the trip a magical experience for all of us on the tour.

My daughter said it perfectly.... During some "on your own time" in London, even with perfect directions from Francesc, I got us lost for an hour. (Oops!).
DD said, " Thank goodness we booked the ABD tour, or this would have been how we spent the entire week in London & Paris...wandering aimlessly with an upside down map! ". LOLOLOL

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Old 11-26-2012, 08:43 PM   #9
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familygoboston, that's just perfect! I think from now on, I may just link to your post when folks ask "Is it worth it?" In fact, I wonder if I can make your post a sticky without removing it from this thread... Research time!

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Old 11-26-2012, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello
familygoboston, that's just perfect! I think from now on, I may just link to your post when folks ask "Is it worth it?" In fact, I wonder if I can make your post a sticky without removing it from this thread... Research time!

Sayhello
Great idea, Sayhello! :-)

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Old 11-27-2012, 06:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingingMom View Post
Familygoboston: you said it PERFECTLY!!!

I still can't get over how much I enjoyed this trip after being worried about going to Europe. I can be a " Nervous Nellie" when I travel, especially when I am not in "total control". Our ABD guides Frankie and Francesc were angels! They made the trip a magical experience for all of us on the tour.

My daughter said it perfectly.... During some "on your own time" in London, even with perfect directions from Francesc, I got us lost for an hour. (Oops!).
DD said, " Thank goodness we booked the ABD tour, or this would have been how we spent the entire week in London & Paris...wandering aimlessly with an upside down map! ". LOLOLOL

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This is exactly what i think whenever I have a good guide; that and we'd be fighting about where we should be

Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
familygoboston, that's just perfect! I think from now on, I may just link to your post when folks ask "Is it worth it?" In fact, I wonder if I can make your post a sticky without removing it from this thread... Research time!

Sayhello
I'd be honored! It comes from the heart!! I do see these "value" threads every so often and it's a valid question...we only considered our first ABD because we had a "kids travel free" deal; but after that first trip, we did see the value.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=familygoboston;46796437]This is exactly what i think whenever I have a good guide; that and we'd be fighting about where we should be

This is what happens to us....we make a plan, but always things end up taking longer or are harder to find than we think. So we end up looking for food about an hour too late, or we end up backtracking when we're already tired... and someone is always feeling snippy and defensive. We end up squabbling on vacation more than we ever do at home!

I love that with ABD, someone has all that stuff figured out. Food is put in front of you exactly when you are hungry. The best ways to get around are already known, and no one in my group is responsible for anything but having a good time. Worth every penny!
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:02 PM   #13
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Its definitely NOT worth the price if you pay with DVC points

....But if you've ever been on the Disney cruise and some other company's cruise, you'd definitely say "Disney is worth the price"....sometimes the best way to weigh a decision is to ask yourself, "how bad can it be (in this case to decide in favor of disney's trip)?" ....if the worst "bad" thought you can come up with is it will cost 25% more, but you have peace of mind that its being done right & fair.....then maybe that doesn't matter
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:49 PM   #14
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I'm still struggling to make the decision to book an ABD. I love the itineraries, for the most part, but, I know that I can take almost the same trip for a lot less. For example, this past October I went to Peru, with almost the exact same itinerary as the ABD. The 2 of us paid about what 1 person would pay with ABD. But, I know I would love it too. ::Sigh::

I've been trying to talk to some of my co workers about doing this, as I know some want to.....
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:10 AM   #15
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If you are on this thread, you obviously read my "essay" above so you know where I stand But I will say there are certain trips we do not do ABD, because we can do it more economically on our own or with anther group.

Generally, I choose ABD for places where a misstep could land you in a really unsafe or uncomfortable situation or where language and lack of consumer protections makes it harder to arrange on our own. For us that has often meant we use ABD in developing places and go on our own in places where a misstep might be regrettable but not dangerous ( like Australia, or the US).

We've also picked other tour companies when for the same price we got more of what we were looking for out of another trip. For instance for Africa, we wanted to maximize our game drives and safari time. It's not that we didn't want anything cultural, but that with a relatively short amount of time, we wanted to spend more time on safari and less doing wine and food, sightseeing and cultural stuff. We ended up paying a little more to tour with an outfitter where we toured privately with just our family group and we spent 10 full days in safari camps, although at one of the camps we spent 2 days doing cultural and sightseeing activities as well as game drives. This was more than ABDs 3 or 4 nights on Safari. To me it would have been "not worth it" to spend that much money and time traveling for so little safari.

In the end its your call. Probably your question is more about emotion- "that's a lot of money, I hope I don't regret it" I will tell you, yes, it's a lot of money, but ABD does so much to make your trip amazing that when you return you will probably say "that was a lot of money, but I don't regret a penny of it!"
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