"Is ABD worth the $$$?" Discussion thread

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by sayhello, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    I agree unless you have a huge amount of disposable income I wouldn't spend that kind of money for a land trip to Europe. I Definitely wouldn't spend it in Iceland. Rent a car and drive around the island and explore one your own. Iceland has to be the safest and easiest country in the world to explore.

    As someone who has cruised DCL in Europe and seen the prices go up and up. ABD prices aren't looking that far off anymore.

    China, Australia, Vietnam and Peru look amazing to me. Worth the money? I guess I'm going to try one and find out. I also travel with a teen so I need a little bit of the "fun factor" that is provided in something like a cruise. ABD looks like it could provide that if there's other kids to socialize with.

    When do they release 2019. I'm assuming it around the time they release the Summer cruises. Do prices go up like cruises do or is it a set price?
     
  2. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    There are ways to do similar trips for less money and Europe is is easy on your own. I have traveled to Europe with ABD and also on my own. The experience definitely won't be the same and there are intangibles that will be worth it to some and not to others. I will share a couple of my own examples from some trips to Europe with ABD.

    Scotland, first year itinerary and a private flight from Isle of Skye to Isle of Lewis plus the entire itinerary. I would never have been able to do everything we did and in the same time frame. The logistics were daunting. Launching canoes off Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. Only ABD is allowed to do that. Paris and no waiting in line at the Lourve was very nice! Italy and seeing the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel without a bazillion people and just our group after hours and being allowed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel. That wasn't happening on my own. There are many other immersive experiences that ABD adds to the itineraries that simply aren't things one can do on their own. I speak for myself when I say while reading an itinerary, sometimes those experiences seem underwhelming and almost like a filler and nothing to get excited about. Then when I experienced them I come to realize they were a trip highlight and am so glad I got to have that experience. DH and my mom have said the same thing. At this point, if it is a country I haven't visited and that I want to visit, I will go with ABD without looking at the itinerary a whole lot. I check out the highlights, if there is something missing that I want to see, then I will add pre or post days and do those things on my own. If I have visited the country already, then I will scrutinize the itinerary, like Iceland. I'd already done every highlight on the trip so we didn't book it and decided on China for this year.


    Generally, in mid to late May. Summer cruises are usually released before ABD releases the trips. Prices go up just like the cruises do. DVC members do get opening day pricing though.
     
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  4. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    Good to know about the pricing. I know you can book ABD on the ships. I don't know if there's any incentive to do so. I was going to ask on our last cruise, but never got around to it. So the prices I'm looking at for 2018 may have originally been lower?
     
  5. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    We booked China on day one for the adults only May 20, 2018 trip and it was $7899 per person. Today the same trips and same date is $9199 per person.

    To be honest, I don’t recall if there is or isn’t an incentive for booking ABD on DCL. We do one or two DCL cruises each year but have always had our ABD trip already booked before sailing.
     
  6. cruiser21

    cruiser21 DIS Veteran

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    I think I've seen brochures that say 500.00 dollars off per person. Don't quote me on that though. We're going to London in September for the transatlantic cruise. I will check when I'm onboard.

    Do you know when they release for the following year?
     
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  7. calypso726

    calypso726 Escaping reality one Disney vacation at a time

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    Usually in May. I think they once released in April but just for the new river cruise when it came out if memory serves.
     
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  8. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    :worship:

    Any chance China or S Africa is next...? :duck:We're almost certainly going to do China on our own this November. The price has gone up too much since they opened to make it worth it but I was curious....! S Africa I am still waffling on. I really want to go to Kenya/Tanzania and see Victoria Falls so we may have to use another tour group for that one. I *think* we might be OK doing S Africa on our own too - especially since it seems like once you get to Kapama they take the reins.

    You are correct - it was only for specific itineraries and dates when I sailed last month.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  9. jimmymc

    jimmymc Professional Adventurer!

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    South Africa might be hard, since I think so many people do some sort of organized tour. I personally would like to visit the Kapama River Lodge and just stay there for a week.

    China, on the other hand, I might take a look at. The schedule for China is pretty crazy, including 2 flights in one day. This might be similar to Australia where it's basically impossible to do more than the ABD does in 12 days.
     
  10. jimmymc

    jimmymc Professional Adventurer!

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    I definitely agree with Iceland. I feel the same way about Alaska and some of the western US trips. I would rather get a car and explore on my own. The trips really don't build in enough time for just enjoying nature or doing any serious hikes. Also with WOW and Iceland Air spreading in the US, it's pretty cheap to do a quick trip there.

    Without having been on an ABD before, Vietnam looks the most worth the price. Peru is very safe and is getting easier with a recent boom in tourism thanks to Machu Picchu. Not many people who travel there go in luxury conditions like an ABD would, but I think that's more authentic. I personally think any of those 4 trips would be fun for a teen. They all have opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking or seeing huge historical sights. Australia and Peru are definitely more nature oriented, and all 4 have a lot of history that people from North America or Europe might not know about.

    2019 dates will probably come out in May, and the prices do go up like a cruise. Booking the day it's released is going to be cheapest.
     
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  11. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    Sweet! We are definitely not doing the part that goes up to Xian. I don't think we could do two flights in one day without me stressing about it (and being annoyed with luggage!). We have seen the terra-cotta warriors elsewhere in the world already, so we will live. :)

    I'm really tempted to do the Vietnam one since those aren't countries we'd relish figuring out on our own, but once again my husband isn't very interested in it. :sad2: I'm sure I will drag him sometime (poor guy - NOT) since I don't want to pay the single supplement on that one.
     
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  12. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    Having seen the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an in the context of the excavation pits, I can tell you, having seen the warriors elsewhere in the world is, in my opinion, *NOT* the same as seeing them in Xi'an. Not by a long shot. :confused3 You don't have to do two flights in one day. ABD does that because it was the only way to fit them in without messing up the flow of the trip, or at the least having to add a day or two to the itinerary, which would make it even *more* expensive. It was a rough day, but I would not have missed our time in Xi'an for anything.

    You could easily spend the night in Xi'an and head out the next day.

    Sayhello
     
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  13. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    That's good to hear but unfortunately for us ignorance will have to be bliss - we just don't have the time off to justify adding extra days to an already two week vacation just to see them. I've seen some, so I'm not going to beat myself up about it. :thumbsup2
     
  14. jimmymc

    jimmymc Professional Adventurer!

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    ABD China, Jul 22, 2018 - Aug 2, 2018
    $9,399 per adult x 2 = $18,798

    Hotels:
    All hotels assume 1 Queen/King or 2 doubles, whichever is cheaper, and double occupancy.

    The Peninsula Hong Kong, 2 nights = $1,117.25

    The Peninsula Beijing, 3 nights = $726.69

    The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu, 2 nights = $356.88

    The Shangri-La Hotel, Guilin, 2 nights = $349.97

    The Peninsula Shanghai, 2 nights = $740.98

    Hotel Total = $3,291.77

    Transportation:
    (All prices for 1 car or 2 public transport/flight tickets)

    Transfer from Kong Kong Airport to hotel: $50
    3 day Hong Kong public transport pass: $50
    Transfer from Kong Kong Airport to hotel: $50

    Flight, Hong Kong to Beijing: $450
    Beijing airport transfer: $30
    Beijing subway tickets: $5 (estimate, subway costs $.32/ride)
    Beijing airport transfer: $30

    Flight, Beijing to Chendu: $600
    Chengdu airport transfer: $10
    Chengdu subway estimate: $5
    Chengdu airport transfer: $10

    Flight, Chengdu to Xi'an: $400
    Taxi in Xi'an to Terracotta Warriors and back to airport: $50

    Flight, Xi'an to Guilin: $600
    Guilin Airport transfer: $20
    Guilin taxis: $10
    Car, Yangshuo to Guilin: $40
    Guilin Airport transfer: $20

    Flight, Guilin to Shanghai: $450
    Shanghai airport transfer: $25
    Shanghai public transport: $20
    Shanghai airport transfer: $25

    Transportation Total = $2,950

    Meals (all prices are for 2):

    Day 1
    Welcome dinner at hotel: $227

    Day 2
    Breakfast at hotel: $110
    Lunch at the Peak Lookout: $104
    Dinner on your own

    Day 3
    Breakfast at hotel: $110
    Lunch on plane: $30
    Dinner at Duck De Chine: $120

    Day 4
    Breakfast at hotel: $75
    Lunch at Huajia Yiyuan: $40
    Dinner on your own

    Day 5
    Breakfast at hotel: $75
    Lunch at The Schoolhouse in Mutianyu: $60
    Dinner on your own

    Day 6
    Breakfast at hotel: $75
    Lunch at The Noble House Restaurant: $60
    Dinner at Ba Guo By Yi Restaurant: $25

    Day 7
    Breakfast at hotel: $83
    Lunch at Sichuan Hot Pot restaurant: $40
    Dinner on your own

    Day 8
    Breakfast at hotel: $83
    Lunch at Terracotta Museum: $20
    Dinner at Xi'an airport: $40

    Day 9
    Breakfast at hotel included
    Lunch on boat: $20
    Dinner at hotel: $60

    Day 10
    Breakfast at hotel included
    Lunch in flight: $20
    Dinner at Din Tai Fung: $65

    Day 11
    Breakfast at hotel: $80
    Lunch on your own
    Dinner at Shanghai Disney: $70

    Day 12
    Breakfast at hotel: $80

    Food Total = $1772

    Activities (all prices for 2)

    Day 1
    On your own

    Day 2
    Hong Kong Tour: Free ($5 tip)
    The Peak Tram: $25
    Hong Kong Disneyland: $158

    Day 3
    On your own

    Day 4
    Beijing Temple Tour: $11
    Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City Tour: $120

    Day 5
    Great Wall of China Tour: $185

    Day 6
    Hutong Pedicab Tour: $70

    Day 7
    Chengdu Panda Visit: $160
    Sichuan Opera: $100

    Day 8
    Xi'an Terracotta Museum Tour: $258

    Day 9
    Guilin Boat Tour $144

    Day 10
    Tai Chi: $20
    Shanghai Circus World and Acrobat Show: $214

    Day 11
    Old Shanghai Yu Garden Tour: $80
    Shanghai Disneyland: $160

    Day 12
    Departure

    Activities Total = $1,710

    Grand Total = $9,723.77

    Price Difference: $18,798 - $9,723.77 = $9,074.23

    Things included in ABD but not included in booking on your own:
    2 Guides familiar with the area acting as your personal concierge
    Luggage service at all hotels and the airport
    Private transportation that does not involve driving yourself or any public transit
    Several private meals at the restaurants mentioned above
    Separate activities for children

    Another note: all of the airports you visit have public transport options, and most of them are right off the subway. However, I chose to factor in the price of a taxi or private car to account for luggage and the luxury of not having to drag it through the subway system.

    So, this may just be ABD's most ambitious trip, including 5 internal flights in 12 days! But all things considered, you really do get a good overview of China's big cities in 12 days. Like the Australia trip I looked at last time, there are a lot of activities packed into these 12 days, making it more difficult to do on your own than something like the Italy or London and Paris trip. And having Disney handle your luggage on all 5 of those flights alone might be worth the price of the trip.

    So, is this one worth it? In my eyes, if you only had 2 weeks off and were possibly never coming back to China, then yes, I think this might really be worth the money. Like I mentioned with Australia, I would prefer to take 3 weeks and move at a slower pace, but that's not an option for everyone. Getting to visit 6 cities in 12 days is difficult even if they are close together, but this tour has you flying across a huge country multiple times. There's even one point where you have 2 flights in one day. The amount of planning and logistics that go into those is much higher than most ABD trips, so having all the flights, transfers, and local transportation taken care of, and in private cars/motorcoaches instead of using public transit, is an enormous value. And if you don't speak Chinese, then trying to arrange everything is even more difficult. Another benefit is that ABD really ups the VIP experience here, even relative to other trips. Having pre-arranged private meals in well known restaurants or at landmarks is a nice bonus to the regular ABD treatment. So, all together, I believe this trip has the most value of any of the others relative to the price of doing it on your own. I personally feel like China is much more foreign than Europe, so having the guides to help and all the activities pre-arranged by someone who knows what they're doing would push me towards the trip.

    Before this turns into rambling, what do you think? Would you even attempt a trip like this on your own? Any suggestions for the next trip I price out?
     
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  15. *WDW*Groupie*

    *WDW*Groupie* DIS Veteran

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    @jimmymc I did the ABD China trip (before they changed the itinerary) and there is NO WAY I'd attempt it on my own. The logistics alone would be the main reason, the language barrier a close second (especially in Beijing).

    Good luck with what you decide.
     
  16. CaliforniaGirl09

    CaliforniaGirl09 DIS Veteran

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    This is so interesting as always! Love that you do this. We did China last summer and it was amazing and well worth the premium. I’d put the price tag on some of the experiences higher—especially things like club 33 which were irreplaceable—but that is what makes pricing these things so difficult. I think my alcohol alone was $70 :)!Like pp I would never have attempted china on my own. Thanks for all the hard work! I’d love japan when it is announced, although it may not help me as I’ll be jumping right away if itinerary holds up to expectations.
     
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  17. jimmymc

    jimmymc Professional Adventurer!

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    Which dinner was in Club 33? I'm guessing Club 33 was in the Farewell dinner, but the ABD website only listed dinner in Shanghai Disneyland, so I assumed it was just a normal table service restaurant. I can't wait to see what they do in Japan.
     
  18. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    It is the Farewell dinner. I think they try and keep it as a surprise (not everyone posts on the DISBoards and knows about this. ;) ) I was on the first departure of the new itinerary with @CaliforniaGirl09, and for us, it *was* a surprise! Everyone I know who took this trip last year had the Farewell dinner in Club 33. It was an AMAZING way to finish the trip. (You also get to watch the fireworks from the balcony off Club 33. The perfect vantage point!!) SUCH an amazing end to an amazing trip!

    They may also not list it just *in case* Club 33 isn't available.

    Sayhello
     
  19. CaliforniaGirl09

    CaliforniaGirl09 DIS Veteran

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    Yep, SayHello beat me!
     
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  20. OhanaCuz

    OhanaCuz I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.

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    I found this fascinating. Thanks for taking the time to post time.
     
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  21. AquaDame

    AquaDame Disney Cruise Line Moderator

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    Interesting.... so even though it is DOUBLE the price you think its worth it in our case... It's going to have to be a moot point now since our dates aren't covered by ABD but we are going to certainly try to mimic something similar. I'm choosing to do an entire day as a Panda Keeper in Chengdu for instance, which isn't something Disney would do. The 2 flights in one day is the Xian trip, right? For the terra-cotta warriors? Turns out its pretty easy to do this - I've contacted a group that gives you the option of doing a day trip by plane or you can do a bullet train (or even overnight train if you wish). I think we are going to go from Chengdu and spend one night in Xian then head onward to Beijing since someone (I think sayhello?) waxed poetic which helped me research how easy it was to add it. We'll have 3 nights in Hong Kong, 3 nights in Chengdu, 1 night in Xian, 3 nights in Beijing and 4 nights in Shanghai. :faint:
     
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