Adventures by Disney takes family travel to the next level. My own family participated in the Southwest Splendors Adventures by Disney travel program several years ago, and my kids still talk warmly about Sedona and Grand Canyon National Park. Now, the new Adventures by Disney travel itineraries for 2012 include Egypt and Greece. Suffice it to say, both countries have experienced, and continue to experience, a lot of tumult. The Euro Crisis and Arab Spring aren’t over. Seeing riots in Athens, and the large protests in Cairo, made this travel writer want to know more about tourism in those countries. Seeing that Adventures by Disney is above all a safe family travel program, talking with some one there about the new 2012 itineraries seemed like a good place to start. Josh D’Amaro, the Vice President of Adventures by Disney, was kind enough to answer my questions.
There are some new Adventures by Disney trips this year, and I’m most interested in learning about the Greek Odyssey in Greece, and Pyramids, Pharaohs & Ancient Treasures in Egypt. Have you had the opportunity to experience either of these? Which of the two are you most excited about?
Greece and Egypt are both amazing destinations that are a perfect fit for Adventures by Disney. With two such culturally-rich, adventurous itineraries, it’s hard to say which experience I’m most excited about. On one hand, I’ve always had an interest in mythology, so I’m drawn to the Greek Odyssey adventure. With experiences like mini Olympic games at the home of the original games or kayaking to a medieval ghost town on the island of Spinalonga, Adventures by Disney brings the stories of the Aegean islands to life.
On the other hand, a visit to the Great Pyramids of Egypt is the ultimate adventure for any history lover – camel rides and archeological adventures combined with deep sea exploration and a Bedouin-themed beach party make for one exciting journey. I was lucky enough to have experienced our Egypt itinerary in October and it was an incredible journey! In all honesty, I’m equally excited for both!
Egypt is still in the process of recovering from the Arab Spring (to say the least), and much of the Middle East is still in turmoil. What measures does Adventures by Disney do to ensure guest safety?
At Adventures by Disney, the safety and security of our guests is our top priority and we continue to monitor the situation in Egypt. We’ve carefully researched these destinations and are excited to offer an experience the whole family will enjoy. Our first Middle East departure took place in mid-October with great success and we look forward to guiding more guests through this amazing itinerary again in spring 2012. Currently, Egypt is scheduled to depart this coming April but that will of course be reevaluated if the situation is not safe.
What does Adventures by Disney have to offer group family travel that would be missed by families booking trips to a given destination and picking up a tour guide while there?
Two words – “Disney Differences.” Like all Disney travel offerings, Adventures by Disney holds true to the brand’s dedication to storytelling, exceptional customer service and incredible value. With our award-winning itineraries, families are treated to a hassle-free experience – luggage, ground transportation, entrance fees to popular sites and accommodations are all taken care of – an invaluable package deal, perfect for families taking their first international vacation and seasoned wanderlusters alike. From the moment guests are greeted at the airport to the moment they bid farewell, we work to ensure that adventurers are focused on experiencing all the destination has to offer and making memories with their loved ones. World-class accommodations and VIP experiences are all part of the fun with Adventures by Disney, giving our guests the ability to simply sit back and relax. Two trained Adventure Guides accompany each departure, fluent in English and the language of the destination, offering unparalleled service that only Disney can provide.
Greece has a long, glorious and complicated history. How do the Adventures by Disney guides make this accessible to children of all ages?
The history and traditions of Greece are incorporated into every aspect of the Greek Odyssey adventure. As with any of our itineraries, the Adventures by Disney trip planners designed each activity to engage travelers of all ages so everyone in the family can experience and understand the magic of Greek mythology and the country’s deeply-rooted culture. For example, in Santorini children learn how wine was made through a grape stomping activity at a volcanic winery while their parents expand their palates during a tasting of the vineyard’s finest offering. These experiences are seamlessly woven together with Disney’s dedication to storytelling, connecting each of the dots to create an unforgettable vacation for everyone.
What age groups (tween, teen, etc.) do you think benefit the most from enriched vacations in destinations with history-based attractions?
Adventures by Disney trips are designed to excite children of all ages, however each itinerary does have both a minimum and suggested age to travel ranging from 4 to 8 years old – we leave it up to the parent to decide if their child is ready for the activity level and schedule of each itinerary. Tween and teen aged adventurers may find the destinations most enriching as the hands-on experiences and history lessons of Adventures by Disney may mirror what they are learning in the classroom. Adventures by Disney brings history to life, expanding the knowledge base of younger adventurers, all while vacationing with their family in a far away land. This past summer, I was able to take my wife and two children (Alex – 9 years old and Kate – 6 years old) on our Viva Italia Signature Experience where we had the trip of a lifetime. The kids had an interactive history lesson From Rome, through Tuscany and into Venice while my wife enjoyed to the incredible sights, the delicious food and a fantastic group of people.
Most active traveling families save their trips for school breaks. How does Adventures by Disney work this into its planned schedule?
Adventures by Disney has departures scheduled year round based on the ideal time to experience each of our itineraries, but we do schedule more departures in late spring/summer when schools are typically out of session. The Adventures by Disney website can provide detail on dates available for all of our itineraries.
Thanks, Josh! The Vacation Gals appreciate your taking the time to talk about Adventures with Disney’s new 2012 travel plans in Egypt and Greece. Here’s to safe and peaceful years in both countries and, of course, the world.