For many travelers, taking the family on an Adventures by Disney vacation is the trip of a lifetime. With family travel adventures around the world—from the polar regions to Southern California, China, and Peru, and river cruises through Europe—there’s a trip for every type of traveling family. I’ve been lucky to do a river cruise down the Seine River and a land adventure to Peru with Adventures by Disney, and both were incredible.
While I felt prepared before the trip thanks to the digital handbook that every traveler is given access to from Adventures by Disney, there are some things I wish I knew before my first trip that the handbook didn’t go over, like how the sleeping arrangements may look or just how awesome the Adventure Guides really are. If you’re in the middle of planning your first adventure or are a seasoned veteran looking for some new tips to make your family vacation ideas more magical, keep reading.
The Adventure Guides Can Take Care of Just About Anything
On both of my adventures, I was blown away by the hosts of the trip, known as Adventure Guides. While gliding along the Seine River, guests had access to four guides, two from the U.S. and two from France. In Peru, our group was led by two guides, one from the U.S. and one from Peru. These fine folks are the leaders who are going to be taking you into tourist attractions like the Louvre and Machu Picchu, making sure you get fed, and setting up transportation between cities, and they are also the ones making sure kids are entertained and baggage gets into the correct hotel room.
Besides all of the logistical stuff, the Adventure Guides can make just about anything happen since they work for the most recognizable mouse in the world. For example, on my Seine River cruise, one of the guides knew I was a big foodie and mentioned that we would be visiting the town where Julia Child enjoyed the meal that inspired her to start cooking. The Adventure Guide offered to make private lunch reservations at that very restaurant, La Couronne, in Rouen. We took them up on that offer and enjoyed being able to see the restaurant that inspired the original celebrity chef. And in Peru, one of our guides made a special delivery to my hotel room: a bag of Peruvian candies that one of the people in my group wanted to bring home for the kids in her elementary school class to try.
Truly the best part about any adventure is the guides, who often take time out of an already busy schedule to make each guest feel special and cared for.
Families May Be Split into Separate Rooms
After a long day of traveling and exploring a new destination, there’s nothing better than plopping into a comfy bed. With Adventures by Disney, everyone in your traveling party gets their own bed. Yes, that means parents do not have to share with their kids every single night. If your travel party is four or more, you get a room for every duo; though if there are kids, there must be one adult in each room. If you just have three people, there will be an additional twin-sized bed in a single room so everyone still has a bed to themselves.
The one downfall to families being split up is that not every hotel on each adventure has an abundance of connecting rooms. If your family needs a connecting room, you’ll want to be sure that you let your travel agent or Adventures by Disney know at the time of booking so you have the best chance of getting one.
Photos Will Be Plentiful
Before my first Adventures by Disney trip, I was prepared to take as many pictures as possible of places like the Eiffel Tower and Normandy Beach. I was also determined to get my mom and I, who traveled with me to France, into as many pictures together as possible. This often meant taking selfies or self-timed photos. While these photos did happen and I have thousands of pictures from that trip, I didn’t realize ahead of time that the Adventure Guides would also be taking pictures with their phones.
Throughout both France and Peru, our guides were able to get large group shots, pictures of landscapes and activities, and photos of my family. It was a pleasant surprise that no one had to be excluded from a photo because they were the ones behind the camera.
At the end of both trips, we were given a website link and a code to enter, which lead to an online library of all of the photos that were taken by the Adventure Guides. On my recent trip to Peru, there were over 1,800 photos. The pictures are free to download and use for personal use.
You Don’t Have to Participate in Everything
One of my favorite parts about Adventures by Disney is that the activities selected for each trip are a good mix of thrills and chill. For example, in Peru, our group went white water rafting one morning and enjoyed walking around a local market in Cusco another day. While guests are encouraged to participate in everything, it’s not required—it’s your vacation after all.
If you don’t want to participate or need a modified activity, the Adventure Guides are very good at coming up with alternatives. In France, for example, there was a short hike in Etretat to see the famous white cliffs. For those of us who didn’t wish to hike, our guides showed us a good vantage point that was a shorter walk, a spot where we could still get great photos and enjoy the beautiful views.
Learning to Be Present Is Key
Being present in everyday situations is hard. There are so many things vying for our attention, from our jobs and constant emails to household duties and the news. The biggest joy of Adventures by Disney was the escape from all of those things— and truly enjoying that luxury meant making a conscious effort to be present in the moment. I knew these trips would take me out of my comfort zone and allow me to reconnect with my family, but what I didn’t know was how badly I needed those things.
Learning to be present from the time I stepped off of the plane at my destination to when I returned to the airport after the trip was over was important. It did take a while to get used to not having my phone in my hand at all times and just letting the Adventure Guides take my photos or knowing I didn’t need to answer a work email, but it was worth it. The conscious effort to be present allowed me to fully take in each experience and make memories that will last a lifetime.