So, you want to go overseas but don’t speak the language? You’re nervous and aren’t sure where to start planning? It’s all too much stress! Maybe, just maybe, it would be easier to sign up for a tour. You’ve always loved everything Disney, and you’ve heard they do tour-guided trips overseas, but is an Adventures by Disney vacation really for you? Read the pros and cons below to find out if you should jump aboard an Adventures by Disney vacation.
– It will cost you!
An Adventure by Disney trip will cost you on average $5,000 or more per person(trips inside the US are cheaper). That’s right, for a family of four you’re talking about $20,000. Even worse, that doesn’t include airfare. If you’re the kind of person who thrives on getting a deal, or traveling on a budget, Adventures by Disney might not be for you. You’ll also be expected to tip your tour guides at the end of the trip, so make sure to factor in that extra cash. You can find out more about prices by heading to the Adventures by Disney website.
– Hope you enjoy traveling during summer.
Want to go when kids are back in school and the weather is a little cooler? Not so fast. If you take an Adventures by Disney trip you’ll be limited on the dates you can travel, and those dates are pretty much during warm weather. There are a few fall trips, but these are mostly for adults only.
– You’ll be on a schedule not of your making.
Of course as with any tour, you’re on a schedule which the tour guides must keep. You might have to get up earlier than you want, or might stay out later than you would normally, and you could be on that bus for a long, long while depending on where you’re going.
By far the worst is when you visit a site you love, yet you only get a limited time to see the area. Or you go somewhere you don’t enjoy, but are stuck for hours.
On our trip to Ireland we stopped for dinner at an Irish pub with traditional Irish dancing out in the middle of nowhere. It was lovely…for the first hour. The second and into the third hour and our son was ready to go. Not only were we stuck, but there was nothing else to do. On the other hand, when we visited the Cliffs of Moher we could have stayed there for hours, but felt rather rushed and didn’t get to hike as much as we would have liked.
– Hope you like to socialize!
As with any tour-type vacation, you’re stuck on a bus with people you might not like. We were fortunate in that the people on our tour weren’t too annoying, and in fact we made a few friends. But God forbid you end up with someone loud and obnoxious, and it could happen!
– Living the family Life!
As with everything Disney, these vacations are geared toward the family. If you hate kids, or your goal is to see as many pubs and drink as much as possible, you might want to try a different tour company, or wait and go in the late summer/early fall on one of Disney’s adult only trips.
Have we scared you off? Don’t go just yet! There are actually a lot of positives when going on an Adventures by Disney trip, we promise! In fact, we enjoyed the ease of our trip to Ireland so much that we’re hoping to go on another. So what are the positives, you might be wondering? Read below!
+ Everything is planned!
There’s no stress, and for most people that’s a good enough reason to go on a tour. Disney certainly knows how to put you at ease! Not only will a driver be waiting at the airport to pick you up, but your luggage will be taken care of at every stop! Even if you decide to arrive a day early, or stay a day late (which you can for a fee, and we highly recommend doing), someone will be there to pick you up. You’ll have no worries about renting a car, driving in a foreign country or transporting your luggage from place to place. It will all be there waiting for you.
+ Your group will get its very own tour guide! Actually, two.
Not only are these tour guides super friendly, but they are also very helpful. As is pure Disney fashion, the visitor is their number one priority and they are there to make sure your trip goes smoothly. Not only are these guides knowledgeable about the areas you’ll visit but they’ll also be able to recommend restaurants and shops when you have free time.
+ Okay, yeah, the Adventures by Disney trips are expensive, but they make up for it in excellence.
On your trip you’ll be treated like royalty, staying at *top end hotels and eating at excellent restaurants. Imagine being served by waiters in suits and tuxes, eating on porcelain and being served tea from silver. Now imagine that every morningfor a week! It’s easy to get used to the lifestyle and you’ll dread returning to your Fruity Pebbles back home.
+ You’ll see a variety of the major spots.
Yeah, you might not stay as long as you’d like, but Adventures by Disney makes sure to take you to the top hot spots, the can’t-miss places of each country and area. It’s a wonderful buffet of sites, and because you’re paying for it, you will probably even see some behind the scenes experiences that most people won’t! And if you want free time, don’t worry. Adventures by Disney factors in plenty of free time so you can explore on your own.
+ Adventures by Disney is kid and family friendly!
Although this might be a con for some, the family friendly atmosphere was definitely a plus for us. There are no inappropriate jokes or party-like atmosphere. If you’re one to blush easily and like your life PG rated, you’ll definitely appreciate Disney’s family atmosphere. Even better, you’ll get to meet other family-friendly people.
+ Pins, pins, pins!
That’s right, you’ll get your very own pins especially for your trip! Every day, when meeting with the group, your tour guides will hand you your very own special pin that you can only get on your vacation! Even better, each member of your family gets their own.
So, is an Adventures by Disney trip for you? If you don’t love to socialize, if you are a traveling aficionado and don’t need the hassle of a group, or if you want to travel on a budget, then an Adventures by Disney trip might not be right for you. But if you want a no hassle vacation, where you’ll stay at top-rated hotels, eat at amazing restaurants, and be treated like special dignitaries then you just might want to try an Adventures by Disney Vacation!
If you are interested in the different places Adventures by Disney visits, or want to know prices, head on over to their website and start planning!
*It should be noted that a 5 star hotel in Europe is different from one in the U.S. You’ll be staying at castles and old manor homes. Although these hotels are expensive, expect that things might be ever so slightly out of date.
Sure, you’ll find the typical sugary goodness of cotton candy, popcorn and those infamous Mickey ice-cream bars, but if you want something a little different at Walt Disney World, try one of these five sugary good favorites of DisneyDaybyDay!
#5- Sweet Pretzel with Almonds; Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe at Norway Pavilion in Epcot; about $5
If you’re excepting your typical pretzel, think again. It might be pretzel-like in shape but this is more of a sugary pastry. This pretzel contain raisins, icing and flakes of almonds making this one tasty and filling treat.
#4- Caramel Corn; Karamell-Küche at the German Pavilion in Epcot; about $3-$6
When you dip into your first bag of this caramel corn, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Made with melted Werthers caramel, it’s warm and buttery, practically melting in your mouth. Our only complaint – If you don’t get a fresh bag, it’s not nearly as good.
#3-Butterfinger Cupcake; Starring Rolls Café in Hollywood Studios; about $5
We at DisneyDaybyDay love butterfingers, so when we heard about this cupcake, we had to try it! Believe us, it doesn’t disappoint! The cupcake is not only topped with buttercream frosting and crumbled butterfinger, but it is filled with chocolate fudge frosting in the center. All this sugary goodness makes it an easy addition to our list.
#2-Citrus Swirl; The Sunshine Tree Terrace in Magic Kingdom; about $4
A lot of people love the dole whips, but our favorite is the Citrus swirl at Magic Kingdom. The Citrus Swirl contains vanilla ice cream mixed with frozen orange juice and is perfect for a hot summer day.
#1-Nutella and Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich; Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom; about $7
The Nutella fruit waffle is more of a meal than a treat. This huge waffle is folded in half and stuffed with fresh fruit and covered with a chocolaty Nutella spread. This treat can definitely feed two. And hey, it’s got fruit, so it’s good for you…right?
As always these are only DisneyDaybyDay’s opinions. If you would choose another sugary treat as your favorite, we’d love to hear about it in the comments section!
Walt Disney World’s Top Five Counter Service Meals
You weren’t able to get a reservation for a fancy table service restaurant, you don’t have time to sit, or you just can’t afford an expensive sit-down meal…don’t worry! Disney World has plenty of amazing counter service restaurants to enjoy. Sure, you can find an inexpensive hamburger or chicken nugget platter on every corner, but Disney World also has some amazing counter service restaurants that will make you feel like you’re paying for fast food, but eating at a table service. Read ahead as we count down the top five best counter service restaurants according to DisneyDaybyDay!
Honorable Mention: Lotus Blossom Café found in the China pavilion at Epcot
Okay, so we have more than five; we can’t help it, there are just so many great restaurants! If you like Chinese food, this little gem is the perfect place to grab a quick bite. Tucked away in the China Pavilion at Epcot, the Lotus Blossom has plenty of your typical Chinese fast food, but in our opinion it tastes even better than your local fare. Our favorite? The Orange Chicken that had just enough sweetness to satisfy our craving. This is a filling meal for one, or even a good snack for 2. But we really adored the light and yummy egg rolls! The staff is friendly, tables are clean, but seating is outdoor (although shaded) so it can get hot in the summer.
Serves lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and under per meal; opens at 11 am
5- Columbia House Restaurant at The Magic Kingdom
Yes, you can get your typical fried food here but Columbia House offers so much more! Columbia House sits between Peter Pan and Haunted Mansion and is actually one of the original restaurants at Magic Kingdom! Decorated in a New England costal décor from day’s past, you’ll feel as if you’re stepping aboard a Colonial ship. Best of all is you can purchase meals here you wouldn’t normally find elsewhere: shrimp, fried fish, grilled salmon and even clam chowder! Not a seafood fan? They also have chicken nuggets and salads. Because it’s out of the way and has lots of seating, this restaurant is a great place to go if the other counter service restaurants are crowded. It’s quiet, air conditioned, and has some nice views of Fantasyland and the Haunted Mansion. Our favorite foods: the fried fish and chicken platter is the perfect meal to share with a young child and if you want something a little healthier try the delicious salmon platter. Just follow the sound of the ringing bell, it’s time for lunch!
Serves lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and less per meal; opens at 10:30 am.
4- Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie located in the France pavilion at Epcot
Wanting something quick to eat, we decided to grab a sandwich at this newer café hidden at the back in the France pavilion. Because of the line and limited seating, we almost ignored this one but we’re glad we didn’t! The cheesy goodness makes these warm sandwiches amazing! Our favorites the Jambon Fromage (ham and cheese) and Bisque De Homard (Lobster Bisque)! But there’s more than just sandwiches, you can also find plenty of yummy, upscale deserts like crème brulee. This delicious food will give you a taste of the French life.
Serves some breakfast type pastries, but mostly known for lunch and dinner. Average price is $14.99 and less per meal; opens at 9 am
3- Flame Tree Barbecue located at the Animal Kingdom
Who doesn’t like BBQ? This restaurant has outdoor seating only, but with the beautiful garden-like setting you won’t mind! And because there are so many tables, it’s the perfect place to go if the other restaurants are crowded. Make sure to head down toward the pond where there is seating with views of Mount Everest. From the turkey sandwich, the ribs, and chicken, there’s something for everyone! Our favorite meals are the ½ Chicken with baked beans or the shredded Pork Sandwich.
Serves lunch and dinner; may close early based on Animal Kingdom’s hours. Average price: $14.99 or less per meal; opens at 11am
2- Sunshine Seasons in The Land Pavilion at Epcot
The Sunshine Seasons restaurant is number two on our list for many reasons: it’s got healthier alternatives than your normal fried food, there’s a huge variety, and there is plenty of seating. This is the perfect spot to eat once you’re done with Living with the Land and Soarin Attractions, or if you just want somewhere to sit in air-conditioning. Choose from sandwiches, pork chops, fish, chicken and even some Asian meals. And don’t miss the amazing dessert area! Our favorite is the oak-grilled rotisserie chicken with black beans, yellow rice, and for dessert the strawberry shortcake. Delicious!
Serves some breakfast, lunch and dinner. Average price is less than $14.99 per meal; Opens at 9 am.
1-Be Our Guest Lunch, Magic Kingdom
Because of the amazing ambience, décor, and delicious specialty sandwiches Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom places number one on our list! Can’t get into the Castle at the Magic Kingdom? This is a superb alternative! Yeah, you won’t get to see any characters, but dining under chandeliers, your little one will forget. And even better, you’ll pay counter service prices!
Be prepared, there will be a line so get to this stunning restaurant early and prepare to wait. Sit in the great hall where Belle and the Beast first danced, the portrait room, or try to find a seat in Beast’s study where you’ll even see the infamous red rose! Our favorite food? Any! All the sandwiches and desserts are great. This is truly a unique meal that will make you feel like royalty!
Serves lunch and dinner, however our review is for lunch only. Be aware the menu for dinner will be different, more expensive, and you’ll most likely need a reservation. Average price is $14.99 and under per meal for lunch only; opens at 11 am but get in line early!
As always these are only DisneyDaybyDay’s opinions. If you would choose another counter service meal for your top five, we’d love to hear about it in the comment’s section. There can never be too many good restaurants!
Our most recent trip to Disney World was full of surprises and new experiences. Sean saw one of his dreams come true when we stayed at The Polynesian, one of the best (if not the best) views of the Magic Kingdom. Review to come!
Speaking of the Magic Kingdom… our first day to the park ended up being more than magical! We were thrilled when we headed back to the new Fantasyland and were able to go on The Little Mermaid ride before its official opening to the public. Expect a review in the future, but for now let’s just say it’s a big two big thumbs up!
While headed toward the exit of the ride more surprises were to come. Who should follow behind us but some of the actors from Disney’s show Jessie! Our son was thrilled when the young actor who plays Luke gave him a peace sign. A few other actors were also seen snacking on cinnamon rolls from Gaston’s Tavern. It was obvious they were there for promotional reasons, but it was still sweet to see these young kids laughing and having a good time; basically being typical children.
Only an hour or so later while heading to the Beauty and the Beast castle for our first dining experience there (another two thumbs way up!) we spotted none other than a lovely looking Whoopi Goldberg who also seemed to be enjoying her trip to the most magical place on earth!
Apparently, Mickey Mouse isn’t the only celebrity one might encounter while at Disney. All in all, it was a trip full firsts and wonderful surprises!