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Old 01-11-2013, 10:21 AM   #1
sayhello
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"Is ABD worth the $$$?" Discussion thread

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.ph...30&postcount=7

http://www.disboards.com/showpost.ph...1&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.ph...8&postcount=12

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

End ETA
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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)


Last edited by sayhello; 01-31-2013 at 05:07 PM.
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Old 06-17-2014, 09:01 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:37 PM   #3
becca0731
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Far exceeded expectations

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.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:07 AM   #4
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I feel like if you've never traveled abroad this could be a very all-inclusive and worry free way to travel.
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Old 08-09-2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 08-09-2014, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cin View Post
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.
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!

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 08-09-2014, 09:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cin View Post
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.
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!
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Old 08-10-2014, 07:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tozzie View Post
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!
Thanks for the perspective, Tozzie! I imagine I will take this trip at some point.

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 09-03-2014, 08:07 PM   #9
steelydad
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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.
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Old 09-04-2014, 10:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by steelydad View Post
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.
Very well stated--bravo!
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Old 09-07-2014, 10:39 AM   #11
sayhello
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelydad View Post
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.
Sitting here, getting ready for the Farewell dinner for my Scotland ABD I couldn't gree with you more!!!

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Check out my Southwest Splendors Trip Report! (2008). 5 parts, full of pics & details & impressions!
My Taming the Last Frontier ABD Alaska Trip Report! (2009)! 7 parts, pictures, stories, & more impressions!
Also check out my ABD/DCL Mediterranean Magic Trip Report! (2010)
NOW POSTING! My DIS Unplugged London/Paris/Disneyland Paris Trip Report! (2011)
Now posting my Greek Odyssey Trip Report (2013)

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Old 09-08-2014, 06:57 AM   #12
steelydad
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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.
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Old Yesterday, 02:23 PM   #13
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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!!


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