If you’ve ever taken a Disney vacation, you’re probably familiar with the company’s focus on customer service, and its commitment to helping you make lasting memories. Clearly, there’s a reason why families head to Walt Disney World and Disneyland over and over again. But everyone could occasionally use a change of pace. (After all, you can only ride Dumbo so many times.)
That’s why the company created Adventures by Disney, a vacation package company that focuses on group guided vacations, and not just to the Disney parks. The destinations span the globe, from Ecuador to Norway (for a Frozen-themed getaway, naturally) to New York City, and last anywhere from four to 12 days.
Disney’s goal, though is clear: They don’t want you to experience a run-of-the-mill tour where you follow a flag-bearing guide and spend a couple of impersonal minutes at a destination’s biggest tourist attractions. Instead, you’ll spend time with local storytellers, attend special events and get backstage access, and have time for adults-only experiences along with more kid-centric fare.
So what’s included? Guests will enjoy the services of two guides per tour, hotel accommodation, advice from local experts, some meals, activities, entertainment, entrance fees, luggage service, all transportation within the tour, airport or train station transfers, gratuities for certain services, and taxes. You’re on your own for transportation to and from the destination, certain meals, tips for Adventure Guides, travel protection insurance, as well as passport and visa fees.
Adventures by Disney is making the most of its connections within the Walt Disney Company to bring travelers experiences that they can’t get anywhere else. This, of course, means that these tours come at a premium. Unsurprisingly, the least expensive itineraries are the shortest. These shorter trips, however, can be a good way to give Disney Adventures a try. Rates for both tours mentioned below start at $2,599 per adult and $2,469 per child. Consider these four-day, three-night “Long Weekend Adventures:”
New York City
Visitors to the Big Apple will lay their heads down at The Manhattan Club, take a sightseeing tour, and visit the 9/11 memorial and museum. During the trip, guests will dine at a Times Square pizzeria, a chic downtown eatery, a soul food restaurant, and a classic diner with a singing wait staff. You’ll schmooze with celebrities during an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Good Morning America while it’s on the air, take a heritage tour of Harlem, stroll through Central Park, and have a one-of-a-kind after-hours experience at The Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Other activities include a tour of the Disney-owned New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, a dance session at a local theater workshop, and checking out the latest Disney musical.
Great for: Kids with big Broadway dreams, travelers who want a guided introduction to the big city, and those who want an insider glimpse at New York’s showbiz industry.
Guests will stay at the Fairmont San Francisco. Highlights of the trip include a visit to Fisherman’s Wharf, biking, and a half-day trip to Silverado Vineyards, where the adults will blend their own wine and kids will take a crack at infusing olive oil. A nature walk through Muir Woods, a ferry trip to Angel Island, and a tour of the Walt Disney Family Museum are also elements of the experience. Star Wars and George Lucas fans may have extra interest in this itinerary, as they’ll even make a trek to the Letterman Digital Arts Center, home to Lucasfilm, which houses an array of Star Wars memorabilia and is generally not open to the public.
Great for: Star Wars fans, wine aficionados with kids, travelers looking to see San Francisco's major sites in a short amount of time.