When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Adventures by Disney leads curated family-friendly tours all over the world.
- Experiences include a private Vatican tour, Montana rafting, or an inside look at Disney parks.
- I loved Adventures by Disney; it’s a white-glove option where every detail is planned for you.
I have explored the world — from Bali to Belgium to Boston — all as an independent traveler. I typically book my own hotels, search for must-do restaurants, and plan what to see and when to do it.
While the process often leads to the satisfaction of self-discovery, it’s also time-consuming. Dealing with schedules, reservations, and the desire to find the very best in unfamiliar locales is stressful, especially when kids are involved.
Adventures by Disney is an end-to-end travel option from Disney that erases the frustration and anxiety of planning a family vacation. And they do so with their signature Disney magic and high levels of service.
I’ve traveled with Adventures by Disney to Montana, and on their River Cruise down the Danube. As a seasoned travel writer, who has always planned travel independently, I was stunned by the experience. Their trips are highly curated, offer authentic experiences in destinations all over the world, and are led by incredibly knowledgeable and kind guides. Their itineraries take every family member into consideration, from parent to teen to child.
You don’t have to be a Mickey fan to use these services, but you just might be by the end of it. Here’s why Adventures by Disney is one of the best trips you can book, including my own review of the service.
What is Adventures by Disney?
Adventures by Disney is a turn-key guided tour company serving travel destinations all over the world. Their carefully curated trips explore Africa, Asia, Central, and South America, Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland.
In addition to their land-based trips, Adventures by Disney also hosts river cruises down the Danube, Rhine, and the Seine, as well as Expedition Cruises in the Galápagos Islands, and the Antarctica & Patagonia expedition. The cruises, both on rivers and land, are populated only by Adventures by Disney travelers.
Adventures by Disney operate throughout the year although trips are seasonal depending on the destination. For example, the Canadian Rockies tours run from June to the end of September, Japan is offered from mid-April to the end of October, and destinations like Egypt, Costa Rica, and Italy operate year-round.
How long has Adventures by Disney been around?
Adventures by Disney was founded in 2005 and is part of the Disney Signature Experiences. It started with just two domestic adventures and quickly grew to travel across six continents. Their river cruise experiences were added in 2016.
What does Adventures by Disney specialize in?
Adventures by Disney trips are experiences that deliver authentic experiences tailored for the various age ranges of each guest.
Their family adventures are full of activities that children and adults alike will enjoy, such as horseback riding in Big Sky Montana to a rickshaw tour of the Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan.
While there is a whole lot of fun to be had, there is always an educational element, too, so travelers receive a nuanced overview and a sense of place within these ports of call. This includes learning how chocolate is made in the rainforest in Costa Rica to observing animals on a three-day safari in South Africa.
Who should go on an Adventures by Disney trip?
Adventures by Disney vacations are for the discerning traveler who is looking for a hassle-free experience with five-star hotels, interesting excursions, and delicious feasts.
Even though their main demographic is families, there are an array of adults-only trips reserved for ages 18 and up. These trips are designed specifically for adults, from a pub crawl in Budapest to truffle hunting in Provence.
However, these trips are expensive, so they’re not for travelers sticking to a low-cost budget.
How much is an Adventures by Disney trip?
Adventures by Disney is not cheap. The prices start at $3,889 per person for the Adventures by Disney Disneyland Resort and Southern California family vacation (including 6 days, 11 meals, and 14 sites), while the mid-range Germany trip starts at $5,899 (including 9 days, 16 meals, and 25 sites), and the top tier is a trip to Japan starting at $10,299 (including 10 days, 19 meals, and 26 sites).
For a lower price point, Adventures by Disney offers Escapes which are two to five days in duration (starting at $2,809 for four days), which may also be tacked onto a standard trip.
Additionally, there are Private Adventures, which start around $3,819 per person for 7 days in Costa Rica to $9,199 per person for 9 days in South Africa and allows you to travel with a smaller group of family and friends, from one traveler up to 12 travelers.
These are far more expensive than booking travel yourself but they do include guides, meals, lodging, transportation during the trip, and activities. Adventures by Disney is for the discerning traveler looking for a hassle-free vacation where all the big decisions are handled.
What is included in an Adventures by Disney trip?
An Adventure by Disney vacation is mostly all-inclusive, which means that during your trip, the accommodations, transportation during the adventure, tours, local experts, scheduled meals, activities, and entertainment are all included.
On a typical trip, you can enjoy about 15 to 20 meals hosted by Adventures by Disney. In addition, Adventure Guides accompany you throughout your journey.
The main things not included are tips for the Adventure Guides, alcoholic beverages (outside of organized tasting) as well any meals, activities, and transportation that are outside what is planned during the trip.
For example, on their trip to Germany, after touring Neuschwanstein Castle (which inspired the castle in Disneyland); you will have lunch on your own. These independent meals are sprinkled throughout the trip and are a nice way to enjoy a bit of family-only time, but won’t be covered within the cost.
Does Adventures by Disney include airfare?
Airfare is not included in Adventures by Disney bookings, but you can purchase air transportation from Adventures by Disney to and from your home airport, but only for flights to and from the U.S.
Airfare is included during a few of the adventures such as their Australia trip and South Africa trip, both of which include flights in the itinerary.
What kinds of hotels are booked on Adventures by Disney?
Trip organizers are discerning about every aspect of the trip, especially when it comes to hotels. Most are rich with character from a seaside hotel in Santorini, Greece, to a historic hotel in the Scottish countryside. They are all selected for their quality, service, and cleanliness.
The accommodations are usually luxury, such as the Gran Meliá Rome Hotel in Italy or the Belmond La Residence Phou Vao in Loas, but can vary depending on the theme and location. The wonderful Under Canvas Yellowstone, since it is glamping, has only two stars, for example, but is very posh.
You usually stay in two or three different hotels during your travels and everyone stays in the same hotel in the same class of room.
A great perk is that you won’t need to worry about your luggage. The Adventures by Disney team makes arrangements to move your things from place to place.
How many people are on each tour?
The average group size for land trips is about 35 to 44 people. While you all start as strangers, that doesn’t last long and friendships are swiftly formed as you travel, dine, and experience excursions together.
What is the newest Adventures by Disney experience?
For 2021 and 2022, Adventures by Disney introduced a Private Adventure option designed for parties of one to 12 guests.
These are tours where the group is only your friends and/or family. They offer more flexibility in terms of dates.
The price difference varies. For example, the per person starting price for a private England/France trip is $6,599 vs. $5,999 for the group trip, and their Costa Rica trip is $3,819 for a private tour vs. $3,749 for a group trip. So, in many cases, it really isn’t much more to go private.
Private Adventures are currently offered in Australia, Costa Rica, Egypt, England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
Do I need to be a Disney fan?
While Disney is in the name, Adventures by Disney don’t involve Mickey or Minnie Mouse.
Rather, these trips are about discovering the story behind destinations. That said, there is the occasional Disney movie night for the junior adventurers, and collectible Disney pins are given out each day featuring an array of characters.
How is Adventures by Disney different than other guided travel?
If you’ve been to a Disney Park, resort, or sailed on a Disney Cruise, then you’re familiar with their high level of customer service, which is friendly, thoughtful, and sprinkled with their special brand of magic.
The guides directing these adventures are cast to reflect that Disney spirit and elevate the experience. Overall, it’s five-star treatment from start to finish.
Will I have the freedom to do what I want?
Yes! Disney schedules independent time, usually once a day, so you can take a break from being social or have family time. And if you ever just want to relax, you may skip an excursion as well.
The only requirement is that when the group travels to the next destination, you’ll need to be on the bus or boat to go along as well.
Is Adventures by Disney worth the added cost?
Yes. Disney offers excellent customer service and run highly efficient, fun trips where every guest feels special. In addition, they are able to arrange exclusive experiences, such as a private tour of the Vatican, which really make travelers feel like VIPs. The mostly all-inclusive rate adds a lot of value, too.
But perhaps best of all, they take away the worry of trip planning so guests can truly be in the moment and experience everything they are seeing.
These are some of the best Adventures by Disney trips offered year-round:
COVID-19 procedures are available here.
My review of Adventures by Disney:
I’ve had the opportunity to go on two trips with Adventures by Disney, a river cruise down the Danube and a trip to Montana. Even though I was on assignment and a guest of the Walt Disney Company, I had a critical eye and was determined to report on both the bad and the good.
But in both cases, Adventures by Disney exceeded all my expectations. By the end, I was completely smitten with the Adventures by Disney brand of travel. And I am not alone. There is a large Facebook group with thousands of fans sharing tips, plans, and memories.
On my trip to Montana, we visited breathtaking places such as Yellowstone Park and Ousel Falls in Big Sky. We learned to fly fish, went river rafting in the Gallatin River, took a horseback ride in Big Sky, and went zip-lining. We enjoyed delicious meals and I made new friends with my fellow travelers and bonded with our guides. And each night, we had a clean and comfortable place to sleep; my favorite was glamping at Under Canvas on the edge of Yellowstone.
My daughter and I also sailed down the Danube on an Adventures By Disney River Cruise and every single day of the eight-day cruise was spectacular.
Using the boat as a floating hotel, we visited four countries — Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary — at a leisurely pace accented by optional adventures. Our Adventure Guides took us to learn to make goulash in the Hungarian countryside and to sites in Austria where they filmed “The Sound of Music.”
Back on board, we dined on local foods, I sipped on regional wines, and every evening there was entertainment, from Austrian folk dancing to musical concerts, and a family-friendly karaoke night.
On both vacations, I was struck by how much I was able to relax, be in the moment, and enjoy the time with my family. I wasn’t worried about whether the hotel had our reservation, how we would get to our next destination, or if we were missing a notable local gem.
And since I am a foodie, I was pleasantly surprised by the choice of dining options, which are meant to reflect the region.
I also appreciated the hotels (on our river cruise, that boat was where we slept except for one night in a Munich hotel), which were spacious and family-friendly. It was lovely to have our luggage whisked from one location to the next.
However, since groups are large, so were the hotels. If you’re imagining a dreamy European getaway bunked in a charming inn, those really aren’t an option for this kind of trip.
As for group travel, my hesitation over traveling with a group of people I didn’t know quickly evaporated. The guides made sure everyone felt welcome with a get-to-know-you dinner on the first night. For the kids especially, it was a lot of fun.
One drawback, however, is since you won’t want to miss out on all the excursions, by the time you get home, you’ll likely be exhausted. Disney keeps you busy, and this is not a sit on the beach and sip cocktails kind of vacation.
Despite these small points, it is an incomparable way to travel. On both trips, my guides immediately felt like family and their knowledge of the places we visited, alongside local experts, made the trip an experience that I simply could never replicate on my own, even if I tried. And after going on Adventures by Disney, I don’t really want to anymore.