The Disney Corporation invests a lot of resources in research and development. This is seen in Disney theme parks and movies, of course, but nowhere is it more evident than in their Disney-branded family travel packages.
The SoCal family enjoyed our Adventures By Disney Southwest Splendors trip even more than we thought we would. It hit all the right notes – even the pit stop en route to Sedona was fun and interesting. The first two nights, in Sedona Arizona, were perfect: Long enough to really appreciate the natural, other-worldly beauty of the land, but not long enough to have the vacation devolve into a shopping extravaganza (there are many tourist trap stores interspersed among the art galleries and restaurants along 89A, Sedona’s main drag). Part of the vacation package involved learning about some terrifically arcane laws still on Arizona’s books. One is that it is illegal to have a donkey in a bathtub, the idea of which amused everyone. Another old-timey law still on the books is that it is illegal to refuse a man a glass of water! Someone should remind US Airways of this at the Phoenix Airport.
Adventures By Disney wisely partnered with Red Rock Jeeps, one of the two biggest jeep tour businesses in Sedona. The other, Pink Jeep Tours, tends to attract more of the exuberant Spring Break type of crowd. The Red Rock guides, by contrast, are geared more towards family travel. The jeeps comfortably seat seven, and the kids all want to sit on the bounciest back bench: Once the off-roading portion of the Sedona tour starts, those kids scream and laugh as much as on any Disneyland ride.
Our Adventure By Disney guides Joanne and Brian explained how Sedona’s beauty has long attracted artists and New Age, spiritual people – this told to the family group in an open, accepting way that reflects the Sedona culture. There may indeed be a vortex, or something magical in the air; during one particularly scenic stop, Joanne asked the family groups to close their eyes and see if our “Sedona names” came to us. My elder daughter’s Sedona name is “Orlando,” (strangely appropriate for an, ahem, Disney vacation), and the younger’s is, apparently, “Hot Mars.” This last name makes sense, I think. The enormous red boulders and hot desert sun combine to give Sedona the appearance (to a child) of a sci-fi version of Mars. Well, I closed my eyes and tried to be open to the idea of a mystic, magic, vortex-like Sedona name too. It didn’t work for me. I suppose my lucky children are more attuned to the vortex of Sedona Arizona than am I. In any case, the SoCal family had a wonderful experience in Sedona, thanks to Adventures By Disney. No child complained of being too hot or bored: That makes this great family travel adventure magic enough.