Favorite ABD trip

DCPhotoGal

Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
Joined
Mar 4, 2011
Since we had done the most ABDs on Arizona trip we got this question a lot. We also think the original Scotland itinerary (with the Isle of Skye and Lewis) was amazing, and what got us interested in more ABDs. Our second trip, Ecuador and the Galapagos was also a favorite.

We are scheduled for SE Asia this summer, so I am glad it hear it was a favorite for so many!
 

alldiz

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2006
Sorry for the off topic...

I keep reading about the disappointment with the change in Scotland.
What was the reason. Seems some changes ABD were for guest comfort.. ie pp”no place to change after kayak”(not Scotland)
Thanks
Kerri
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Sorry for the off topic...

I keep reading about the disappointment with the change in Scotland.
What was the reason. Seems some changes ABD were for guest comfort.. ie pp”no place to change after kayak”(not Scotland)
Thanks
Kerri
I'm the one who commented about them getting rid of the kayaking to Spinalonga in Greece. I'm sad they got rid of that, because it was an excellent activity, but understood when it turned out to be hard because of people getting wet, and not having a place to change. I was one of the people in that position, and changed ducking behind a wall. I'm not sure if that's the only reason they got rid of it, but it was probably a factor. But other than that, the itinerary is the same, and it's magnificent, and you do still go to Spinalonga.

But the Scotland trip was gutted. More than half of the places it visited and the activities that made it great are gone. The Scotland trip used to go to the Isle of Lewis. It was on a chartered plane, which is one of the only ways to get there. It was truly something you probably could not arrange on your own. It was an AMAZING and beautiful place, with an ancient stone circle, some great old historic homes, cool ruins, a charming little town, etc. That was the first thing they cut. (Although I was told they stopped because the locals complained about being invaded once a week. Which I guess is understandable, but still sad). The trip also used to spend a couple of days on the Isle of Skye, which is magical and beautiful, and a truly special place. Hiking the Quirang there was a wonderful experience. Not going there is pretty tragic. Plus, since they don't drive to Skye any more, they don't go to Eilean Donan castle, which is a truly amazing place to visit, and a really iconic place to see. I think some people probably complained about the bus time to get there, but I totally thought it was worth it!

They don't go to Dunnottar Castle either. It's perched on a promontory out over the North Sea and is really spectacular. I also really enjoyed Glamis Castle, where Queen Elizabeth grew up. They really don't go much of anywhere near the east or west coast of Scotland anymore except for Edinburgh. And the coastline of Scotland is really, really dramatic and beautiful.

The new itinerary just seems kind of ordinary compared to the old itinerary. The old itinerary went places and did things you don't see on other itineraries, and things like the Isle of Lewis made it really unique. The new itinerary might seem wonderful if I hadn't done the original itinerary, but I did. And it's a shame they gutted it.

Sayhello
 
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  • Calfan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2009
    I'm the one who commented about them getting rid of the kayaking to Spinalonga in Greece. I'm sad they got rid of that, because it was an excellent activity, but understood when it turned out to be hard because of people getting wet, and not having a place to change. I was one of the people in that position, and changed ducking behind a wall. I'm not sure if that's the only reason they got rid of it, but it was a factor. But other than that, the itinerary is the same, and it's magnificent, and you do still go to Spinalonga.

    But the Scotland trip was gutted. More than half of the places it visited and the activities that made it great are gone. The Scotland trip used to go to the Isle of Lewis. It was on a chartered plane, which is one of the only ways to get there. It was truly something you probably could not arrange on your own. It was an AMAZING and beautiful place, with an ancient stone circle, some great old historic homes, cool ruins, a charming little town, etc. That was the first thing they cut. (Although I was told they stopped because the locals complained about being invaded once a week. Which I guess is understandable, but still sad). The trip also used to spend a couple of days on the Isle of Skye, which is magical and beautiful, and a truly special place. Hiking the Quirang there was a wonderful experience. Not going there is pretty tragic. Plus, since they don't drive to Skye any more, they don't go to Eilean Donan castle, which is a truly amazing place to visit, and a really iconic place to see. I think some people probably complained about the bus time to get there, but I totally thought it was worth it!

    They don't go to Dunnottar Castle either. It's perched on a promontory out over the North Sea and is really spectacular. I also really enjoyed Glamis Castle, where Queen Elizabeth grew up. They really don't go much of anywhere near the east or west coast of Scotland anymore except for Edinburgh.

    The new itinerary just seems kind of ordinary compared to the old itinerary. The old itinerary went places and did things you don't see on other itineraries, and things like the Isle of Lewis made it really unique. The new itinerary might seem wonderful if I hadn't done the original itinerary, but I did. And it's a shame they gutted it.

    Sayhello
    Excellent summary. Spot on and I couldn’t agree more.
     

    acndis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 6, 2012
    My favorite is also SE Asia. It was so unique and all three countries were beautiful and mind-blowing. It was a life changing trip for all of us. I don't think they have changed that itinerary much since it started.

    This trip is followed closely by Greece (our first trip and we went the first year it was offered). We loved every minute but kayaking to Spinalonga was a real highlight. Peru is also up there. I don't think that trip has changed much since they started it. It was also absolutely amazing.

    Grif--if you are looking for trends, this post has 'em. ABD has come up with some really unique itineraries that should not be changed unless absolutely necessary (not selling; locations unsafe; etc.). A refresh is great. This gutting of some of the best/trips activities is such a bummer.
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    We've done 8 ABD's but 5 of them were repeats. Number 9 is coming up in October. I'd rate the Alpine Magic trip as number one, with China (the special DIS customized version) a close second. I just really enjoyed the scenery of the Alpine Magic trip. The Matterhorn is really spectacular. Oddly enough the China trip slips to second simply because it was so "foreign". Everything there was so different and when you add to it the long flights it slips back a few notches. Yes though, China is a very interesting and scenic place.
     
  • SingingMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 4, 2001
    oh my, what a difficult, if not impossible thing to choose!
    We loved aspects of each of our 5 ABD's, but for different reasons unique for our family/experience!

    1. London/Paris - first trip abroad - wow Small group, lots of fun, Windsor was a favorite spot
    2. Germany - such a different area of the world for us - and repeat guide meant like traveling with another family member - really lifelong friend
    3. Prague/Salzburg/Vienna - Sound of Music - enough said . ADORED this trip. Vienna was everything I imagined Paris would be - loved loved loved it. Enjoyed continuing our study of Sisi - so very interesting to walk through her life.
    4. Spain - Oh boy. Repeat guide - dear friend and brother. Food, wine, walking, wine, and more wine. So many beautiful churches. Felt very spiritual and loved the people. And did I mention the WINE! We laughed the entire trip. Simply amazing. First "adult inclusive" - I'll never travel another way again!
    5. Hollywood/Disneyland - probably the least favorite, but still a must do. Maybe we were just used to Europe, the weather was bad, but the repeat guide made it feel like visiting old friends.

    6. next up - Italy - in the next few years!
     
  • DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    The new itinerary just seems kind of ordinary compared to the old itinerary. The old itinerary went places and did things you don't see on other itineraries, and things like the Isle of Lewis made it really unique. The new itinerary might seem wonderful if I hadn't done the original itinerary, but I did. And it's a shame they gutted it.
    Sayhello
    I just looked at the new itinerary and I agree completely. My favorite days of the trips were in the Isles of Skye and Lewis. All of the beautiful spots in these photos were taken out out of the trip :(
    scotland.jpg
     

    Grifdog22

    Barking Mad!
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2008
    I think the answers thus far clearly point to the overall winner hands down for favorites as the original Scotland trip. The trend I see is that trip developers come up with absolutely amazing trips and then after the first year some of them get watered down, price points go up and some of the spectacular points disappear. I guess that's incentive to take the risk and jump on new trips - our favorite was the re-imagined Australia trip, from which they next gutted the best parts and also tied up a "free" day with minor activities after the first year. My wife disagrees - her favorite was Italy - but it was the pre and post activities that she relies on to reach that position, which also bypassed the unbelievable crowds and our too large group. On that trip (pre-day) we were front row to see the Pope in one of his addresses, and had arranged well in advance a Scavi tour at the Vatican which takes you in a small private tour through a part of the Vatican and to the excavations underground to the tomb of St. Peter. We also arranged a great small group guided trip to Pompeii and down to Sorrento. Post trip we stayed in Venice awhile longer and arranged to see an opera in an old Dodge's palace (maximum capacity of 24) and explored on our own. Those made the trip special for her. I have to admit, taking away our own add ons in Australia of a full day whale watching the migrating humpbacks and skydiving onto the beach may be influencing my opinion.

    Since others chimed in on second favorites, I am breaching my own posting as well. Our second favorite was the old extended South Africa trip - a longer version of what they presently have wherein we drove up the eastern side of the country with many stops along the way at out of reach places that were unique, surprising, and fun, such as a hands-on walkthrough of a massive old train museum, to swimming in the Indian Ocean, to an exclusive lunch in a vineyard that isn't open to the public at all. As Carolinatennisgirl and Cousin Orville noted, the total variety of activities and culture on this (like the re imagined Australia) trip was hard to beat.

    Third up would probably be the scheduled Italy ABD tour which is tied with Peru, then our first ABD trip - Costa Rica (our trip was good - but off the schedule - several days were not available at the last minute so we did some very different things that have never been otherwise a part of their schedule). We did not have a good ABD trip on the Winter Wonderland for Yellowstone - but our pre and post trip add-ons took the sting out. The guides were not engaged at all, LaMar Valley was cancelled the day of with no explanation and nothing to replace one of the two key points of the trip, the first night of campfire and storytelling the guides didn't even show up. They have made some changes to that trip too since then.

    We are presently back to the "other options" for touring, but I remain hopeful some new trip that sounds amazing so we can jump in before it disappears. Presently working on a 10 day New Zealand South Island/Tasmania trip right now. Maybe. Unless I get off my rear and go finish the remaining 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail.

    Really wanted to do the old Scotland trip, and do not see a reasonable way to cover that schedule on my own, and think that a group setting there would make it much more fun. Oh well.

    7/23/19 edit - Geez - Last week we watched on PBS actress Julie Waters (perhaps best known as Molly Weasley in Harry Potter) hosting a show "Coastal Railways" and she was in Scotland. Part of the episode had her traveling to Isle of Sky (no trains there) just because....and when we saw it we fully understand now why everyone says that was one of the highlights. After watching the episode - all in Scotland - not going anywhere ABD goes - I really think ABD needs to revisit that trip! We would certainly go on the original plan.

    Safe travels to you all; there is adventure out there.
     
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    sayhello

    Have Camera, Will Travel
    Joined
    Oct 28, 2006
    I think the answers thus far clearly point to the overall winner hands down for favorites as the original Scotland trip. The trend I see is that trip developers come up with absolutely amazing trips and then after the first year some of them get watered down, price points go up and some of the spectacular points disappear. I guess that's incentive to take the risk and jump on new trips - our favorite was the re-imagined Australia trip, from which they next gutted the best parts and also tied up a "free" day with minor activities after the first year. My wife disagrees - her favorite was Italy - but it was the pre and post activities that she relies on to reach that position, which also bypassed the unbelievable crowds and our too large group. On that trip (pre-day) we were front row to see the Pope in one of his addresses, and had arranged well in advance a Scavi tour at the Vatican which takes you in a small private tour through a part of the Vatican and to the excavations underground to the tomb of St. Peter. We also arranged a great small group guided trip to Pompeii and down to Sorrento. Post trip we stayed in Venice awhile longer and arranged to see an opera in an old Dodge's palace (maximum capacity of 24) and explored on our own. Those made the trip special for her. I have to admit, taking away our own add ons in Australia of a full day whale watching the migrating humpbacks and skydiving onto the beach may be influencing my opinion.

    Since others chimed in on second favorites, I am breaching my own posting as well. Our second favorite was the old extended South Africa trip - a longer version of what they presently have wherein we drove up the eastern side of the country with many stops along the way at out of reach places that were unique, surprising, and fun, such as a hands-on walkthrough of a massive old train museum, to swimming in the Indian Ocean, to an exclusive lunch in a vineyard that isn't open to the public at all. As Carolinatennisgirl and Cousin Orville noted, the total variety of activities and culture on this (like the re imagined Australia) trip was hard to beat.

    Third up would probably be the scheduled Italy ABD tour which is tied with Peru, then our first ABD trip - Costa Rica (our trip was good - but off the schedule - several days were not available at the last minute so we did some very different things that have never been otherwise a part of their schedule). We did not have a good ABD trip on the Winter Wonderland for Yellowstone - but our pre and post trip add-ons took the sting out. The guides were not engaged at all, LaMar Valley was cancelled the day of with no explanation and nothing to replace one of the two key points of the trip, the first night of campfire and storytelling the guides didn't even show up. They have made some changes to that trip too since then.

    We are presently back to the "other options" for touring, but I remain hopeful some new trip that sounds amazing so we can jump in before it disappears. Presently working on a 10 day New Zealand South Island/Tasmania trip right now. Maybe. Unless I get off my rear and go finish the remaining 1/4 of the Appalachian Trail.

    Really wanted to do the old Scotland trip, and do not see a reasonable way to cover that schedule on my own, and think that a group setting there would make it much more fun. Oh well.

    Safe travels to you all; there is adventure out there.
    I *so* agree with you on this! I think the trip developers come up with these amazing itineraries, which they implement, but as the departures happen, and folks complain about too much bus time or other logistical issues occur, they trim that stuff out as much as they can, even if it's the best bits of the trips. That's why I signed up for the re-ordered China trip, Iceland and Japan for the first inaugural seasons. Yes, there were some logistical issues, but the fact of being able to do the itinerary as imagined by ABD in the first place has been worth it. I am SO glad I signed up for the Scotland trip the second year, and they hadn't changed the itinerary yet!! So sorry you didn't get to do that @Grifdog22! I'm a little sad that I put Australia off. But I really want to do that one when I can stay another week or two and see other parts of the area.

    Sayhello
     

    SingingMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 4, 2001
    I *so* agree with you on this! I think the trip developers come up with these amazing itineraries, which they implement, but as the departures happen, and folks complain about too much bus time or other logistical issues occur, they trim that stuff out as much as they can, even if it's the best bits of the trips. That's why I signed up for the re-ordered China trip, Iceland and Japan for the first inaugural seasons. Yes, there were some logistical issues, but the fact of being able to do the itinerary as imagined by ABD in the first place has been worth it. I am SO glad I signed up for the Scotland trip the second year, and they hadn't changed the itinerary yet!! So sorry you didn't get to do that @Grifdog22! I'm a little sad that I put Australia off. But I really want to do that one when I can stay another week or two and see other parts of the area.

    Sayhello
    I agree, too! I know for a fact our groups' feedback on how we adored Windsor was part of the decision to extend time there. It's important to fill out those surveys with honest feedback. Unfortunately, even if the majority loved or hated an activity/location; price and logistics are king.
     

    Bobo912

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2008
    Interesting if I start to thinking about adding in non-ABD family trips!
    We have done Peru (Thomson Family Adventures), Polar Bears (Natural Habitat ), and Tauck Bridges Alpne Adventure and Costa Rica.
    Polar Bears zooms straight to the top.....
    Was the polar bear trip the one in Churchill? I really want to do that. I received a 30% discount offer last week, but I have to book by April 15, and I don't think I'll be able to make a decision that quickly. :(
     

    disneyphx

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 4, 2010
    Yes, polar bears in Churchill. First year of them doing a family trip. I was tempted by the 30% off.
    If dates work, just do it!

    I agree on the 'first year' sentiment - a good part of why we jumped on Japan is that the itinerary looks so jam-packed I can only imagine them removing things!
     

    lovetotravel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2005
    In the 2020 Peru itinerary, it is one day shorter and ends in Cusco on Day 8. This cuts out the plane trip back to Lima on Day 8 in the 2019 itinerary, lunch at Casa Aliaga, and overnight stay at the Lima hotel. Leaving out of Lima for the airport on Day 9.
     

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