As a family, we’ve wanted to travel to Italy for a while. This past spring, we finally decided to book a summer trip, deciding that the kids were old enough to enjoy the trip. We considered our options, and ended up booking a 7-day trip through Adventures by Disney (AbD). Although AbD trips are definitely expensive, there are so many benefits. Here’s our Adventures by Disney review – reasons why you may want to travel with Adventures by Disney.
A side note – we chose to book our trip through a certified Disney travel agent, my friend Kirsten at Pure Magic Travel. It doesn’t cost extra, and it made everything so much easier. Kirsten booked the trip, reminded us when payment was due, and made sure we had all of the paperwork in on time. Although we do sometimes receive media rates on trips, this trip was booked at full price. We always disclose when we’ve received a discount or comp.
Adventures by Disney Review: Reasons Why You May Want to Travel With Adventures by Disney
Two Adventure Guides
Most Adventures by Disney trips include two tour guides on each adventure. One is often from the country you are visiting, while the other is typically from the United States. This is a huge benefit because there can be one guide at the front of the line and one guide at the end of the line. In addition, the guides often sat with the children at group meals, and were always available to help with any questions we had. On the nights when dinner was on our own, the guides offered suggestions for where we should eat, and booked reservations for us. On our Italy trip, our AbD guide was Italian and it was so helpful for her to translate things.
When we booked our trip, we wanted to make sure that we’d still have some free time to do things on our own. Because of the time difference between Boston and Italy, we booked an extra day at our first hotel. We booked it through Adventures by Disney, so we had the same hotel room and our transfers from the airport to the hotel were included. In addition to that extra day, we also had plenty of free time at each destination, ranging from an hour (in the smaller locations) to an entire evening. Our guides were always available to provide recommendations on what we could do in that time, and even made restaurant reservations for us.
I was so impressed with the premium service we received. For instance, when we traveled from Naples to Florence, we had reservations in the first-class cabin of a high-speed train. We also had front-of-the line privileges at many attractions, and our guides pre-booked times so that we didn’t have to wait in line. This is the type of thing that we may not have even known to book.
In addition to our regular guides, we were also met by fantastic local guides in each destination. Those guides typically led our walking tours and were able to give us very detailed information. We had “whispers” – little personal earbuds connected to a device that helped us hear the guide – so we heard all of the information that each local guide provided.
Top Notch Hotels
The two hotels that we stayed in were absolutely perfect, and were centrally located. It was great to stay in places that were already vetted, so we knew that we’d have a great experience.
Perfectly Timed Itineraries
I still can’t believe how much stuff we were able to see in a 7-day trip. Our trip was so well planned, and our guides knew exactly what time we’d need to leave to beat traffic and crowds. It would have been nearly impossible to see all of that on our own.
Our guides took photos throughout our entire adventure, and they were all available to download, free, two weeks after our trip. They took well over 3,000 images – documenting every single moment of our adventure. In addition, they took family photos at many locations, using their cameras as well as ours. I rarely have photos with me in them, so these pictures are so nice to have.
Once we arrived in Naples, we didn’t have to deal with our luggage again. The bellmen brought the luggage to our rooms on the first night. When we left Naples, the bags were collected that morning and reappeared in our Florence hotel. It was great to board the train with only our small day luggage, and not have to worry about our big suitcases.
Adventures by Disney trips are definitely kid-friendly (although they do offer a few select adult-only adventures). The kids on the trip had so much fun together, from making pizzas in Sorrento to tasting Italian sodas in Tuscany. They often had meals together, even if there wasn’t an official kids’ table, and they also played cards on the train and on long bus rides. There was also one night where the kids watched a movie with our adventure guides while the parents got to relax in the lobby bar.
As the mom in the family, I’m often responsible for carrying everything – from the camera to first aid supplies to water to hand sanitizer to sunscreen to wipes. But on our trip, our Adventure Guides handled all of this. Water bottles seemed to appear out of thin air whenever I was thirsty, and they always had a full supply of snacks. As we headed out of public restrooms, one of our guides stood outside doling out hand sanitizer. It was so nice not to have to worry about these things.
Food Allergy Help
My daughter is allergic to tree nuts, so we definitely had some concerns traveling to Italy. Our Italian guide did a great job of talking to the servers, in Italian, to make sure they understood her allergies. They also provided nut-free snacks during the day. When we dined separate from the group, they gave her a card to show the server that carefully explained her dietary restrictions. It definitely helped ease our concerns.
Here’s a video of our trip:
To learn more about Adventures by Disney, visit their website.
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