We recently returned from our second Adventures by Disney trip, and absolutely loved it. You can read our Adventures by Disney review here, to learn more about the great advantages of these professionally guided family trips. If you are considering taking an Adventures by Disney (AbD) trip, or have already booked, you may be wondering how to get the most of your vacation. Here are our best Adventures by Disney tips.
Adventures by Disney Tips
Book Well in Advance
Adventures by Disney trip are limited to a specific number of participants (usually 40), and can book up in advance. You can often get deals if you book early, and you can also get up to $250 per person off if you book while you are on a Disney Cruise. I’ve heard that rates go up as the trips fill up, so it can definitely be a good idea to book as soon as you can. Keep in mind, however, that you do have to commit to your trip fairly early with a deposit, so make sure that you are certain of your trip before committing.
Purchase the Travel Insurance
I don’t always purchase travel insurance, but I always do for my Adventures by Disney trips. They are a significant investment, and if something happens, I don’t want to lose the money I spent. I purchase the insurance through Disney, which makes things nice and easy. That way, if we do have a medical or family emergency before our trip, we can at least use that money to plan another trip later.
Stay an Extra Day at the Beginning
Adventures usually start with an evening reception and dinner, and I always like to arrive the day before my trip. That way, I have time to adjust to the new time zone, and also have a buffer in case our flights are delayed. We take that extra time to visit some local spots that aren’t included in our Adventures by Disney trip. During our recent trip to Greece, I definitely wanted to spend time shopping in the Plaka and in the flea market area, so we had plenty of time to do that during our one free day.
I recommend booking that extra day right through AbD, which will usually include your airport transfers. In addition, you’ll usually be able to keep the same room. If you book separately, you may have to repack your room and move to a new one when your adventure starts.
….But Not at the End
On our Greece trip, we had a difficult time finding a good flight out on our last day, so we decided to extend our adventure by a day. In theory, it sounded like a great idea – a day to relax without any obligations. But in reality, we wished we left with everyone else. The kids really missed their friends, and we were already starting to feel a letdown from the end of our vacation. Our guides left with all of the other guests, and we had a little bit of difficulty with our airport transfer on our final day (it did get resolved quickly once we called AbD).
Read the Pre-Arrival Book
Before your trip, you’ll receive a book with details about your trip. While it’s easy to just gloss over the book, I’d definitely recommend that read the whole thing. It contains important information about what you’ll need for your trip, including things like water shoes and rain protection, as well as details about the local area. Be sure to pack it in your suitcase for your trip – you’ll want to reference it on occasion.
Bring Local Currency
Our adventure guides were always helpful about pointing out ATMs on our trip, but I’d recommend bringing a small amount of local currency. We were only in Athens for a few hours before we needed Euros for a cab ride to dinner. We did usually use our credit cards for purchases, but it was nice to have cash for small purchases.
Get a Good City Bag
On our two trips, we did a lot of touring around, and I definitely needed a good, comfortable bag to carry everything in. I found that a backpack worked best for me, so I could hold my camera, wallet, phone, portable charger, Epi-Pens, snacks, and water. Make sure you that can easily access the things you need, because you’ll constantly be on the go.
Pack Comfortable Shoes
In the summer, I usually walk around in flip flops or heeled sandals, but those aren’t great for adventuring. I generally bring a good mix of shoes, from those that are good to walk around the city in, to those that I can climb in. Some of the surfaces in Greece (especially around the Acropolis) were slippery, so having good soled shoes was essential.
Use Packing Cubes
Most AbD trips include stays at multiple hotels, which can make packing and unpacking a bit annoying. If you know which clothes are for which days of your trip, consider using packing cubes to pack. That way, you can only take out the cubes that you need specially for each leg of your journey, and leave the rest packed in your suitcase.
If you aren’t that organized (I definitely am not!), you can still use cubes to organize the suitcases for each member of your family. When packing your bags, however, be sure to spread out everyone’s clothes among all of the bags. That way, if a bag gets lost, at least some of the clothes will be there.
Take Notes of Your Adventure
AbD trips are a whirlwind, with so much going on. Make a point of taking notes each day so that you have a record of what you see and do. I take loads of pictures, but it’s also a good idea to write down names of restaurants, favorite shops, etc so that you remember each day of your epic family vacation.
Have you been on an AbD trip? Are there any Adventures by Disney tips that I missed?