London Escape?

*pixie*

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 13, 2008
We booked the 2021 WBTA and were looking at the London Escape to do beforehand. We have done several cruises, but this will our first time staying overnight in another country. I gather that London is fairly easy to do on your own, but I've wanted to try ABD and this seems like a good "taste". I also like the idea of everything being taken care of and since this is for our 25th anniversary don't mind splurging a bit. Anyone have any thoughts one way or the other or see something that I may be missing?
 

hedberg1661

DIS Veteran and Patreon Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2013
I hope you are adding pre/post nights...otherwise that is a pretty packed itinerary to try and add much. I would certainly check out Harrods for shopping, Fortnum and Mason if you are in to Tea and that type of market, and Piccadilly Circus is also a really cool area to check out with lots of pubs and shops. To get to many of these locations you can certainly just use the underground. It's easy to use...buy an Oyster Card (their re-loadable fund card) and go for it. I would also recommend getting some British Pounds to have on hand. Not a lot but it's always good to go in with their currency. Use it only when necessary.

Taxi cabs are also a great option to get around but they can get a little pricey. They are unique and quite fast given the traffic in the city.

Sounds like a fun trip. I did the London/Paris ABD last year and it was a blast.
 

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sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
I think if you're up for a splurge, it sounds like a great idea. I haven't done the Escape, but I've done the London/Paris ABD. Looking at the Escape itinerary, Day 1 is mostly in the afternoon/evening and Day 3 is the transfer to the ship, so *most* of the activities are packed into Day 2. Which is great. I'd advise arriving at least the day before the London Escape starts, to allow yourself time for any travel issues and time to get over the jetlag. You can have a leisurely morning on Day 1, do some wandering, then show up in the afternoon to start your adventure. I don't know your cruise itinerary, but I'm assuming a trans-atlantic has a lot of down time on sea days, so having a pre-day of packed activities will be OK. It hits the highlights for sure, including the private showing of the crown jewels. You'll see the highlights of London, and then be able to relax on your transfer day to Dover, rather than worrying about getting yourself there. I say since it's a celebration (congrats on 25 years!) go for it! You'll start out your trip pampered and well-cared-for.

Sayhello
 
  • lovetotravel

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 23, 2005
    Oh wow. I just looked at the itinerary and I think it's not the best use of $2000 per person in London. There isn't much in that itinerary. There is so much more to do in London. It's so easy to navigate, especially since everything is in English. You can easily book tours via Evan Evans or use Rick Steves books and do exactly what you want including Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and all the free museums, and even day trips to Paris. There are taxis and ubers everywhere, or use the tube.
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    I think the escapes are even more significantly overpriced for what you get than the regular trips. London in particular is easy to DIY, given there are no language barriers. If you are nervous about navigating cities in general, or a foreign city in particular, you can get a guide for a day and private car pick up from the airport. These would cost a small fraction of what you'd pay in total for the ABD Escape. We've sometimes gotten guide for the first day we're in a city, and have them show us the ins/outs/peculiarities of the local transit system. That little bit of info is usually all it takes to make us feel like pros.

    The TripAdvisor forums are great sources for suggestions for guides and transportation also. That said, to each his own. No one will fault you for spending your money as you see fit.
     

    neurosx1983

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2019
    Since as the OP said they have never stayed in a foreign country and may not be used to logistics in a city like London, I actually think it might not be a bad idea at all. Yes its pricey but you guys will be taken care of and all the logistics in terms of transfers/luggage to the port will be handled. Some of the things seem like they're exclusive like the crown jewels private tour.

    I would have known more about this itinerary if I had been able to go on our england france trip this past March :scared:
     

    *pixie*

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2008
    Thanks so much for all the varying thoughts! It's a lot to think about. I'm still leaning towards doing the escape, just for the ease of not having to worry about anything, particularly when we are there for such a short time. I love the suggestion of hiring a guide for the first day in a city, and will definitely remember that for future trips.

    I really wish I could find some reviews from those who had done this particular one before!
     
  • Grifdog22

    Barking Mad!
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2008
    Since as the OP said they have never stayed in a foreign country and may not be used to logistics in a city like London, I actually think it might not be a bad idea at all. Yes its pricey but you guys will be taken care of and all the logistics in terms of transfers/luggage to the port will be handled. Some of the things seem like they're exclusive like the crown jewels private tour.

    I would have known more about this itinerary if I had been able to go on our england france trip this past March :scared:
    My first international trip was on my own and it did not go well, and I would have been grateful for my first trip to be something like this. Once you've done it, and are comfortable, in hindsight it seems really simple. The first time, not so much. This is a really good way to introduce you to travel.
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    My sister and I went to London for 3 days before coming back home from a trip to Poland. London is super easy to navigate on your own. You can just walk pretty much anywhere or take the very easy Underground(Tube). London is the perfect place to go as your first foreign trip since they speak English. I considered it no different then going to a big US city like NYC. Just do your research ahead of time and you won't have any issues going at it alone. I did look at the itinerary and I can see a benefit for not waiting in lines to get into Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London. Those would be the 2 main benefits of going with the tour. But it seems like a very rushed day if they want to get you into all of those things in just 1 day. If those things really do not interest you, then I would just go at it alone. Have fun! We fell in love with London and I plan on going back in the next few years hopefully.
     

    hedberg1661

    DIS Veteran and Patreon Supporter
    Joined
    Jul 30, 2013
    I will add that the private viewing of the crown jewels is an amazing opportunity. They have a peoplemover/moving sidewalk that takes you past them if you are a normal visitor. When I did this private viewing it was turned off so you had a lot of time to admire them.
     

    DoraBA

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Apr 5, 2018
    Honestly? I wouldn't bother with an ABD. Use the money for an additional 3 days and enjoy London. It's easy and there is SO much to do. I visited London at least 10 times and keep finding new things.
    Tell me a bit about your interests and I will help you plan.
     
  • Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    I will add that the private viewing of the crown jewels is an amazing opportunity. They have a peoplemover/moving sidewalk that takes you past them if you are a normal visitor. When I did this private viewing it was turned off so you had a lot of time to admire them.
    That would be worth it. Those jewels are amazing to look at. Kind of gross in the extravagance, but neat to look at none the less.
     

    wendygator

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2009
    We did this exact trip in 2019 and it was for our 25th Anniversary! We have done tons of vacations on our own, but decided to splurge for our anniversary! We flew in the day of the adventure and ABD picked us up at the airport. We were some of the last people to arrive (around 2pm). Our Adventure Guides took our dinner orders for the two nights of the Escape and checked us into the hotel. We had just enough time to unpack, take a quick shower, enjoy the anniversary treat ABD left in our room (which was gorgeous, btw) and head down for the meet and greet event in a room near the lobby. Then, we boarded a bus for a thrilling, high-speed boat ride on the Thames (complete with James Bond music!) and then on to dinner at an authentic English pub and a visit from Sherlock Holmes! The next morning, we woke up bright and early and had breakfast provided in the hotel. We had our exclusive tour of the Crown Jewels and Tower of London before anyone else was allowed entry to the tower, then we took a tour of Westminster Abbey, walked by Buckingham Palace, enjoyed St. James Park, and saw the horse guards. Then we headed back to the Waldorf Hotel for high tea! It was fantastic and even included a few Disney-themed surprises! We had afternoon time on our own, so we decided to walk across the bridge and see Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. After a few hours of shopping and browsing around this very walkable area, we met the bus and were delighted by an event not previously on the itinerary. We got to witness the Ceremony of the Keys back at the Tower of London. It's an ancient ceremony where they lock the gates of the fortress and it has gone on nightly for centuries. It is incredibly difficult to get tickets to this ceremony and no one is allowed to take pictures or video of it. It was a once in a lifetime, bucket-list moment, and we were thrilled! The night ended with dinner at the officer's quarters (just our ABD group) overlooking the beautiful Tower Bridge. The last day, our bus drove us to the port, and while everyone else opted to board the Magic as soon as possible, our ABD guide hailed us a taxi and we took it to Dover Castle. It was a gorgeous day, and the castle on the cliff overlooking the Disney Magic and the port afforded us beautiful pictures. We ate lunch up at the castle, and then leisurely boarded the ship with no line. Is it expensive? Yes. Could you tour London yourself? of course! But, we loved it! We figured we only get one 25th Wedding Anniversary, so we did it right! P1000149.JPGP1000193.JPGP1000243.JPGP1000247.JPGP1000259.JPG
     

    *pixie*

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 13, 2008
    We did this exact trip in 2019 and it was for our 25th Anniversary! We have done tons of vacations on our own, but decided to splurge for our anniversary! We flew in the day of the adventure and ABD picked us up at the airport. We were some of the last people to arrive (around 2pm). Our Adventure Guides took our dinner orders for the two nights of the Escape and checked us into the hotel. We had just enough time to unpack, take a quick shower, enjoy the anniversary treat ABD left in our room (which was gorgeous, btw) and head down for the meet and greet event in a room near the lobby. Then, we boarded a bus for a thrilling, high-speed boat ride on the Thames (complete with James Bond music!) and then on to dinner at an authentic English pub and a visit from Sherlock Holmes! The next morning, we woke up bright and early and had breakfast provided in the hotel. We had our exclusive tour of the Crown Jewels and Tower of London before anyone else was allowed entry to the tower, then we took a tour of Westminster Abbey, walked by Buckingham Palace, enjoyed St. James Park, and saw the horse guards. Then we headed back to the Waldorf Hotel for high tea! It was fantastic and even included a few Disney-themed surprises! We had afternoon time on our own, so we decided to walk across the bridge and see Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. After a few hours of shopping and browsing around this very walkable area, we met the bus and were delighted by an event not previously on the itinerary. We got to witness the Ceremony of the Keys back at the Tower of London. It's an ancient ceremony where they lock the gates of the fortress and it has gone on nightly for centuries. It is incredibly difficult to get tickets to this ceremony and no one is allowed to take pictures or video of it. It was a once in a lifetime, bucket-list moment, and we were thrilled! The night ended with dinner at the officer's quarters (just our ABD group) overlooking the beautiful Tower Bridge. The last day, our bus drove us to the port, and while everyone else opted to board the Magic as soon as possible, our ABD guide hailed us a taxi and we took it to Dover Castle. It was a gorgeous day, and the castle on the cliff overlooking the Disney Magic and the port afforded us beautiful pictures. We ate lunch up at the castle, and then leisurely boarded the ship with no line. Is it expensive? Yes. Could you tour London yourself? of course! But, we loved it! We figured we only get one 25th Wedding Anniversary, so we did it right! View attachment 515171View attachment 515172View attachment 515174View attachment 515175View attachment 515176

    Oh my, thank you so much for taking the time to share this! This is exactly the type of review I have been searching for. I was already leaning towards booking this, but your details just sealed the deal I think. If you were to do it over again, would you still fly in the day of or would you come in the day before?

    And how funny you were also celebrating 25 years!
     

    wendygator

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2009
    Right? I thought that was funny too! My husband and I were just talking about this, and yes, I think we would in hindsight fly in a day earlier. Fortunately, our plane wasn't delayed, but if it had been we might have missed the boat ride and that was really cool! Also, Disney sat us at dinner on the transatlantic cruise with two other couples who were about our age. One couple was from Texas and the other was from The Netherlands. They were so great, and made our trip really special. Oh, and we met a couple on the ABD that we saw multiple times, played trivia with, etc. on the cruise and we're still friends with all of them almost a year later. Enjoy!
     

    OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Fortnum and Mason if you are in to Tea and that type of market,
    We did this last year. A group of us arrived in London a couple of days before the start of our London/Paris/DLP ABD and ~8 of us went to tea there. Very interesting experience. I thought they might get a bit ruffled when I ordered coffee, but they were good about it. :faint:
     

    aggiedog

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2012
    Absolutely plan on flying in a day early. I am 4/6 on delayed or canceled transatlantic flights. One trip we ended up in Rome a full 24 hours late. That would be an entire day of a very expensive short trip. You can get a room at the hotel you'd be staying at, get some sleep, and be less jet lagged the next day. You'd also have to time venture out on your own if there's something particular you want to see, like say, a play or the Harry Potter Studio tour.
     

    hedberg1661

    DIS Veteran and Patreon Supporter
    Joined
    Jul 30, 2013
    That would be worth it. Those jewels are amazing to look at. Kind of gross in the extravagance, but neat to look at none the less.
    You won't regret it. It's something I want to do almost every time I can get to London.
     

    fla4fun

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 12, 2006
    My first international trip was on my own and it did not go well, and I would have been grateful for my first trip to be something like this. Once you've done it, and are comfortable, in hindsight it seems really simple. The first time, not so much. This is a really good way to introduce you to travel.
    I am sorry your first international trip didn’t go well. My first international trip was a ten day solo trip to London, and it was great. I will admit to being a little nervous about figuring out transportation, but it all went fine. While I think the OP could get more bang for their buck (pound?) by going on their own, I also understand wanting to splurge and leave the grunt work to someone else when celebrating a special occasion. London is a great city to explore, and has something for just about everyone.
     

    Wakey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2015
    I live in the UK and work often in London.

    You don’t need to pay for some fancy tours, it’s an easy city to navigate (I like to walk where possible but the Underground is easy to use and much cleaner and more extensive than, say, the NYC subway).

    Things is recommend on a trip (post Corona).

    1. Visit the various parks like Regent’s Park.
    2. Show and just walking around the West End, great atmosphere loads of pubs etc.
    3. Tower of London.
    4. Go up to the Skygarden on top of my office in Fenchurch street- best views in London and it’s free just book in advance (we have a private elevator ;-)
    5. All the museums like the Tate Modern etc. British museum is great all the Elgin Marbles and amazing roof. Portrait gallery etc.
    6. If parliament isn’t sitting you can book to get in. Or just go at a weekend and ask the police. I did this a few months back and totally unexpectedly found myself at the Prime Minister’s dispatch box 15 mins later and in the House of Lords.
    7. Walk around- South Bank (over Tower Bridge) is buzzing. There all sorts to see just wondering around there, such as graffiti tunnel etc.
    8. Take in the pubs and restaurants.
    9. If you want to do a tourist attraction, Tussaud’s do a ticket for 3 attractions for about $100 or less. The London Dungeon is particularly good on that and you can do Madame Tussaud’s, the London Eye etc.
    10. Some of the best shopping in the world.
    11. The big sites and the history. Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s etc.

    I could go on.
     

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