ABD Newbie - Considering Alaska June 2020

Cinder-elly

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 18, 2019
Does anyone have a recent review of the Alaska land itinerary? I can't seem to find anything recent anywhere. I'm looking at booking for June 2020. I'm also down for any advice anyone can give me. I've never done an ABD, but I've stalked the trips for a long time. My dad will be retiring at the end of this year, and I'm thinking a family vacation to Alaska may be a gift of a lifetime for him. He'll be 72 next June and my son will be 13 so I'm kind of thinking it's now or never to do this. My dad has done everything from me and I would love to give him this.

A few concerns I have: (1) the cost :oops:. I have faith that the Disney touch is worth it....please put my mind at ease....or tell me to just book a regular cruise at half the price; (2) the activities - My dad is in good shape, but I want to make sure that the activities aren't too strenuous or that there are alternatives available; (3) my dad is not a "Disney Guy" so characters, etc. are lost on him. This is part of the reason I'm looking at ABD instead of a Disney cruise. I'm assuming these trips aren't overly Disney'ed (as if there could be such a thing IMO!); and (4) any hidden discount sources that can help bring the price down (I'm working with an agent and already informed him that my dad is a Vietnam Vet, I have a Disney Visa, and I'm aware of the current sales). Anything else that can help? Any help / advice / assurances anyone can give me would be SO SO SO appreciated!!!!

All I have in my head is Chevy Chase swinging his arms saying, "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!"
 

DCPhotoGal

Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
I think this trip sounds perfect for your family. We went on the Alaska trip last June with 3 generations. My kids were 13 and 14 and my mom went with us as well. The only activity my mom had some trouble with was the mountain biking, so she just stayed back when we did that part. She loved the trip so much she recommended to her friend who took 3 generations of her family on the same trip this month. The trip is not really Disney-ed at all, except that it's run very smoothly :)

The other possible discounts you can get are by using a travel agent who gives cashback. DU gives booking discounts and you can get cashback for booking through Costco. I'm also happy to pass on the info for my travel agent who will work with you to help get the price down if you PM me.

You can also sometimes find discounts on Disney gift cards (through Sams Club or Target) and then use those to pay.
 

pixiepirate

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 6, 2009
My sister and I did this tour last August and absolutely loved it! I was surprised how much I loved Alaska and I encourage you to go. We are not the active outdoorsy types but there were no activities we could not have done if we choose. We did skip the mountain biking in favor of a hike, but that was mostly because it was raining and the track was quite muddy. Other than the pins you receive every day maybe some entertainment on the bus, there wasn't much that screamed Disney. I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
 
  • Cinder-elly

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2019
    My sister and I did this tour last August and absolutely loved it! I was surprised how much I loved Alaska and I encourage you to go. We are not the active outdoorsy types but there were no activities we could not have done if we choose. We did skip the mountain biking in favor of a hike, but that was mostly because it was raining and the track was quite muddy. Other than the pins you receive every day maybe some entertainment on the bus, there wasn't much that screamed Disney. I would be happy to answer any other questions you might have.
    One quick question. How much time on the bus in between stops? I love the idea of seeing so much stuff, but I'm not sure I'm down with hours on end in a bus.
     

    Donalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2008
    Alaska is huge. There is bus/transportation time. That is just a fact of geography.

    I haven’t done this trip, but I finished my Italy ABD today. On the Disney arranged transfer to the airport, the other family and I were discussing whether it was worth it. Definitely! Each trip has special things that are amazing.
     

    Cinder-elly

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2019
    Alaska is huge. There is bus/transportation time. That is just a fact of geography.

    I haven’t done this trip, but I finished my Italy ABD today. On the Disney arranged transfer to the airport, the other family and I were discussing whether it was worth it. Definitely! Each trip has special things that are amazing.
    I totally get there will be bus time, but how many hours at a time are we talking? Several hours each day?
     

    BluesTraveler

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2015
    This was our first ABD in 2016, before they refreshed the itinerary. We loved it, and I think with the changes it looks even better. Based on what you've described it seems like it would be a good fit for your family.

    The bus rides can be a little long here and there, but it was such a luxury to NOT be the one driving or navigating, and to be able to just read or look out the window at the beautiful scenery. In our experience kids often congregate to the back of the bus and entertain themselves hanging out together.

    We are not big Disney people and if anything a heavy character focus would be a turn-off for us. I find ABDs to be just the right amount of wink-and-nod to the playfulness of Disney (Tinkerbell luggage service!) without feeling super Disney-themed.

    My one suggestion would be to see if you can get on a trip that has other kids around your son's age. If you could find a group that has a good core of kids in the 11 - 15 year range, I think it will make a big difference for him.
     
  • BluesTraveler

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2015
    I totally get there will be bus time, but how many hours at a time are we talking? Several hours each day?
    I honestly can't remember. There was one day with a good bit of driving - 5 or 6 hours? But it's well broken up. It's testament to how well ABD handles it that I can't remember. I think if you call ABD they can give you a breakdown by day, but whatever they say it will feel like less.
     

    hilarys

    Hilary S
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2008
    We just came back a week ago from this amazing trip. It was our fourth ABD but first time taking my parents (both 70) as we were celebrating their 50th anniversary. I will try to come back on later tonight and give some more details, but I highly recommend it based on your description. I think the longest we were ever on the bus without a stop was 2.25 hours but that was at the end of a really active day so everyone was ready to crash and doze off at that point.

    It is a great multi-generational trip and there were four families including ours that had grandparents along. More details later - if you think of more specifics, go ahead and post them and I will try to cover them all tonight.
     

    hilarys

    Hilary S
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2008
    I think this trip sounds perfect for your family. We went on the Alaska trip last June with 3 generations. My kids were 13 and 14 and my mom went with us as well. The only activity my mom had some trouble with was the mountain biking, so she just stayed back when we did that part. She loved the trip so much she recommended to her friend who took 3 generations of her family on the same trip this month. The trip is not really Disney-ed at all, except that it's run very smoothly :)

    The other possible discounts you can get are by using a travel agent who gives cashback. DU gives booking discounts and you can get cashback for booking through Costco. I'm also happy to pass on the info for my travel agent who will work with you to help get the price down if you PM me.

    You can also sometimes find discounts on Disney gift cards (through Sams Club or Target) and then use those to pay.
    DC photogal, were your mom's friends on the trip that ended last week - we were the first departure of the year and I think the second departure just started yesterday. How cool if we were on the same trip. We loved it and your review was what helped sell my mom.
     

    DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    I totally get there will be bus time, but how many hours at a time are we talking? Several hours each day?
    The biggest driving day is the day when you come back from Denali. But you're never on the bus more than 2 hours or so without a break. They break up the drive with stops.
     
  • DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    DC photogal, were your mom's friends on the trip that ended last week - we were the first departure of the year and I think the second departure just started yesterday. How cool if we were on the same trip. We loved it and your review was what helped sell my mom.
    I think they just got back, so sounds like it may have been the same trip. I haven't heard any feedback, so I hope they enjoyed the trip!
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    This is the one ABD that I have been seriously considering doing a second time. It's quite different than it was when I did it in 2019, and Alaska is a place that should be visited over & over again! I think your family will love it.

    Sayhello
     

    hilarys

    Hilary S
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2008
    Back to provide some more details on our trip which was from June 3 to 10. We took this trip with my parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They are both 70 and had never been to Alaska. Also traveling were my husband and two teens son (16) and daughter (14). My family of four has been on two European based and one US based ABD in the past - we are Disney freaks and do all the Disney things :) My parents are big fans of the Disney parks but were not into the idea of a cruise especially one that is too much Disney.

    This trip was fabulous and I am missing Alaska so much. We had a really good mix of people that all got along well, but because we had a larger family group ourselves we did not form the close friendships with other people that we usually do. There were four families including ours that were multi-generational.

    As far as the pace of the activities there were always options or the option to sit out. We actually had a concern re some of the activities as my daughter tore her ACL before the trip and her doctor wanted to wait until after the trip to do surgery. We notified ABD in advance to make sure there would be options in case she wanted to sit anything out (we were mostly concerned with the bike ride). When we checked in with them they made sure to explain what the options were for each day there were strenuous activities. In the end she decided to do all the different activities as none of them were too much for her. On the Denali Park Day the options were a white water raft, a raft float or a bus tour of Denali National Park. My parents and I chose the tour of Denali and the rest of the family the whitewater rafting. We were all very happy with our choices.

    As others have mentioned, Alaska is a huge state so there is some bus time to get from place to place, but part of the beauty of the way ABD plans these trips is that it was all phased so well. At the end of the day of biking and kayaking we had our longest bus ride (maybe 2.25 to 2 hours) from the lake to Talkeetna. It was long enough to play a movie and everyone was so tired from the busy day that no one seemed to mind - the guides also brought the snack basket around a couple of times. The next day was a long train ride (probably about 4.5 hours) it was great to have a "sitting" day after the active day and the train was so amazing that I think many of us would have stayed on longer. The other big bus day was Friday for us (after the active Denali day). We spent a good part of the day on the bus leaving Denali fairly early but never had more than 2 hours without a stop. We went: hotel to Denali park entrance to rest stop (longest stretch and a movie played) to pizza lunch and then sled dog (both in same town) to our next hotel in Girdwood (broken up with a snack stop).

    The scenery was amazing and we loved all the different activities. We had a hard time picking our favorite part of the trip. This trip did have a lot of moving around with four different hotels in a 7 night trip, but we saw a lot of Alaska. I would be happy to answer any other questions about this trip - I think it would be perfect based on what your interests and travel group is. I guess the only thing that I would say is that I would not recommend this trip to someone that has a huge aversion to porta-potties :) You are in national parks or other rustic locations for most of the trip activities.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I guess the only thing that I would say is that I would not recommend this trip to someone that has a huge aversion to porta-potties :) You are in national parks or other rustic locations for most of the trip activities.
    Do the Adventure Guides still make a point of explaining in detail that these are "dry" bathrooms, and why that's what you have? When I went, which was the first year for the Alaska ABD, apparently several people were pretty horrified when they were told to use a porta-potty for the first time in their lives! So they made sure everyone understood before their first encounter!

    Sayhello
     

    DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    I guess the only thing that I would say is that I would not recommend this trip to someone that has a huge aversion to porta-potties :)
    Yes, this and stuffed (ie taxidermy) animals. I used more porta-potties/outhouses on this trip that I did in my whole career as a soccer mom ;) And the animals... there are stuffed things everywhere.
     

    hilarys

    Hilary S
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2008
    Do the Adventure Guides still make a point of explaining in detail that these are "dry" bathrooms, and why that's what you have? When I went, which was the first year for the Alaska ABD, apparently several people were pretty horrified when they were told to use a porta-potty for the first time in their lives! So they made sure everyone understood before their first encounter!

    Sayhello
    Yes before our first encounter with them we were warned and the guides came armed with air freshener spray and hand sanitizer. We all celebrated when we were at locations with "regular" bathrooms. Everyone kept a good attitude with it and it did not seem to impact anyone's trip. My 16 year old son was the first to go into them on the trip and everyone got a kick out of his very dramatic reaction upon his entrance. My DD has huge issues with these types of restrooms but she is also to wait it out longer than anyone I know so we were fine.

    Another note re the bus time is that on this trip you have the same coach driver the whole time. Our driver, John, works all summer on the ABD trips and really was like a third guide. We also had two shadow guides prepping to do trips starting this month so in reality we practically had 5 guides - it was awesome.
     

    Cinder-elly

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2019
    Back to provide some more details on our trip which was from June 3 to 10. We took this trip with my parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They are both 70 and had never been to Alaska. Also traveling were my husband and two teens son (16) and daughter (14). My family of four has been on two European based and one US based ABD in the past - we are Disney freaks and do all the Disney things :) My parents are big fans of the Disney parks but were not into the idea of a cruise especially one that is too much Disney.

    This trip was fabulous and I am missing Alaska so much. We had a really good mix of people that all got along well, but because we had a larger family group ourselves we did not form the close friendships with other people that we usually do. There were four families including ours that were multi-generational.

    As far as the pace of the activities there were always options or the option to sit out. We actually had a concern re some of the activities as my daughter tore her ACL before the trip and her doctor wanted to wait until after the trip to do surgery. We notified ABD in advance to make sure there would be options in case she wanted to sit anything out (we were mostly concerned with the bike ride). When we checked in with them they made sure to explain what the options were for each day there were strenuous activities. In the end she decided to do all the different activities as none of them were too much for her. On the Denali Park Day the options were a white water raft, a raft float or a bus tour of Denali National Park. My parents and I chose the tour of Denali and the rest of the family the whitewater rafting. We were all very happy with our choices.

    As others have mentioned, Alaska is a huge state so there is some bus time to get from place to place, but part of the beauty of the way ABD plans these trips is that it was all phased so well. At the end of the day of biking and kayaking we had our longest bus ride (maybe 2.25 to 2 hours) from the lake to Talkeetna. It was long enough to play a movie and everyone was so tired from the busy day that no one seemed to mind - the guides also brought the snack basket around a couple of times. The next day was a long train ride (probably about 4.5 hours) it was great to have a "sitting" day after the active day and the train was so amazing that I think many of us would have stayed on longer. The other big bus day was Friday for us (after the active Denali day). We spent a good part of the day on the bus leaving Denali fairly early but never had more than 2 hours without a stop. We went: hotel to Denali park entrance to rest stop (longest stretch and a movie played) to pizza lunch and then sled dog (both in same town) to our next hotel in Girdwood (broken up with a snack stop).

    The scenery was amazing and we loved all the different activities. We had a hard time picking our favorite part of the trip. This trip did have a lot of moving around with four different hotels in a 7 night trip, but we saw a lot of Alaska. I would be happy to answer any other questions about this trip - I think it would be perfect based on what your interests and travel group is. I guess the only thing that I would say is that I would not recommend this trip to someone that has a huge aversion to porta-potties :) You are in national parks or other rustic locations for most of the trip activities.
    Thanks so much for this!!
     

    Sakura1017

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2019
    Does anyone have a recent review of the Alaska land itinerary? I can't seem to find anything recent anywhere. I'm looking at booking for June 2020. I'm also down for any advice anyone can give me. I've never done an ABD, but I've stalked the trips for a long time. My dad will be retiring at the end of this year, and I'm thinking a family vacation to Alaska may be a gift of a lifetime for him. He'll be 72 next June and my son will be 13 so I'm kind of thinking it's now or never to do this. My dad has done everything from me and I would love to give him this.

    A few concerns I have: (1) the cost :oops:. I have faith that the Disney touch is worth it....please put my mind at ease....or tell me to just book a regular cruise at half the price; (2) the activities - My dad is in good shape, but I want to make sure that the activities aren't too strenuous or that there are alternatives available; (3) my dad is not a "Disney Guy" so characters, etc. are lost on him. This is part of the reason I'm looking at ABD instead of a Disney cruise. I'm assuming these trips aren't overly Disney'ed (as if there could be such a thing IMO!); and (4) any hidden discount sources that can help bring the price down (I'm working with an agent and already informed him that my dad is a Vietnam Vet, I have a Disney Visa, and I'm aware of the current sales). Anything else that can help? Any help / advice / assurances anyone can give me would be SO SO SO appreciated!!!!

    All I have in my head is Chevy Chase swinging his arms saying, "This is crazy, this is crazy, this is crazy!"
    Just be careful if this is the one with the added cruise. You first to have to book the cruise and get a stateroom before adding this on as a package.
     

    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    Just be careful if this is the one with the added cruise. You first to have to book the cruise and get a stateroom before adding this on as a package.
    The OP said "Alaska land itinerary", so they know. But good callout for someone else reading the thread.

    Sayhello
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News

    Top