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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Friday, May 7, 2010

Adventures By Disney--Grand Canyon

The summer vacation theme continues with a posting about a portion of our summer vacation last summer. We toured the southwest with Disney. While you may be in shock and awe at the thought (hear the sarcasm), we took our first, and hopefully not our last, Adventures by Disney tour.

Adventures by what? Adventures by Disney. Disney has 19-22 different tours around the world. The tours include China, Australia, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Peru, Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, and North America. The North American tours include Alaska, California, the mid-Atlantic States, Yellowstone, and Arizona/Utah (Southwest Splendors) which was ours. I know I am leaving some of the tours out, so if you want more info head to their web-site--click here.

So what does Adventures by Disney provide? Transportation within the tour, fun adventures for the whole family, most meals, excellent overnight accommodations, two adventure guides, access to naturalists, and magical luggage. Let me start with magical luggage. Once you arrive at your destination, for us that meant the Phoenix Airport, your luggage is tagged and whisked away. The next time you see it, it will be in your hotel/resort room. This happens each time you move to a new overnight stay. The husband loved this! Two Adventure Guides: Ours were Tiffany and Diana. They host, plan, guide, entertain, and anticipate almost every need you might have. They along with up to 40 guests become a big family by the end of the week. Excellent overnight accommodations: Let's just say that when we stayed overnight at the Grand Canyon for two nights, we were at Thunderbird Lodge. Now, if you know anything about Thunderbird Lodge, you know that it next to El Tovar on the South Rim of the Canyon and that when you open the curtains in your room, you are overlooking the Canyon. Not everyone gets this kind of view or access. Disney does!

Here we are on a remote portion of the Canyon rim. We had a naturalist who works at the park join our group and take us to some remote locations explaining the terrain, wildlife, plant life, and answering lots of questions.

After spending the morning exploring the Canyon, we ventured into the nearby town and took a helicopter ride over the Canyon. You can see it was a "thumbs" up adventure. After the helicopter ride, we took in an IMAX movies of white water rafting on the Canyon. That was foreshadowing for another experience. . . but I won't spoil it now.

We got to hike and explore throughout the park. The picture below demonstrates the acting ability in our family. Yes, we had matching shirts for this vacation, too. It was Disney! The shirts on this day have Disney characters hanging from one another with "Stay Off The Rim!" printed underneath. We made them ahead of time at Zazzle.com.

Our Adventures By Disney Tour included two nights in Sedona, Arizona, two nights on the South Rim in Thunderbird Lodge, and three nights at the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah. This tour begins in Phoenix, Arizona, and ends by flying out of Grand Junction, Colorado.
Here's how we kept our costs down:
  1. This tour has a Saturday to Saturday tour and a Tuesday to Tuesday tour. Since airfare is typically cheaper mid-week than on the week-ends, we chose the Tuesday to Tuesday tour to reduce our airfare costs.
  2. Adventures By Disney has an early booking discount. The earlier you book your Adventure the better. We took advantage of the early booking.
  3. We budgeted for souvenirs--Christmas tree ornaments (click here to read more about what we collect), a couple of t-shirts, and some books came home with us.
  4. While ATV'ing, rapelling, and horse back riding were all extra, our only extra was the helicopter ride. We knew we couldn't do that anywhere else.
  5. Most meals were included! When we were on our own for a meal we looked at value options. We did splurge for a special cowboy meal in Sedona.
  6. No extra's for transportation within the tour. Since we had a motor coach to get us from place to place, there was no need for a car rental or taxi. We even used free public transportation in Sedona.

We know that traveling with Disney means quality, dependability, family friendly, and of course magical. Our Adventures By Disney Tour did not disappoint!

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