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Old 05-11-2009, 09:49 PM   #1
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Adventures By Disney - A Tale of Two Cities

Adventures By Disney – A Tale of Two Cities
May 14 – 23, 2009

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I have to start out by saying that information about Adventures By Disney trips is hard to come by! In fact, I don’t even get much out of Disney. And for a planner like me, that’s not a good thing. So I’m going to do my best to write a very detailed (spoiler-laden) trip report for my Adventures By Disney trip.

I love to travel and have always wanted to visit faraway places. However, I found myself visiting Disney parks in the U.S. time after time. So I set my mind to travel to a new destination each year. I’ve been doing that, but have managed to tack on a Disney trip to each of those vacations. This is no exception.

I decided that it was high time I spread my wings and traveled outside of the U.S. I figured Europe would be a grand place to start. I knew I wanted to see London and I also figured Paris was close enough so I could fit them both in on the same trip. The fact that there just happens to be a Disney park in Paris had nothing to do with that decision.

I am confident enough as a traveler to go it alone, but when I learned of the Adventures By Disney tours, I decided that might be the way to go for me. I knew Disney would put together a great tour, with some cool stuff I wouldn’t ever be able to manage on my own.

My mother and I have recently made it a tradition to go away together just the two of us every year. I asked her if she’d be interested in joining me and she said she’d love to! I think it was the French chocolate that swayed her.

We decided to go in 2009, so we had to wait a while for the tour dates to be released. When they were, we picked out a date and booked it. Once it was booked, I started doing lots of research (and also lots of PMs back and forth with chezp). I knew there would be certain things we’d see with ABD and also free time, so I chose a few things I wanted to see then.

The Cities of Knights and Lights tour doesn’t include a visit to Disneyland Paris, so we booked that as an add-on. I figured I might never get back, so we decided to splurge and stay at the Disneyland Hotel.

Cheryl had recommended that I fly a British airline, so I booked us on British Airways (premium economy – also on Chez’s recommendation). Cheryl and I also talked about getting together, but not knowing my detailed itinerary, we couldn’t make solid plans to get together. With all that out of the way, there wasn’t much else to do but research. Of course that involved my BFF Samantha Brown (and her show Passport to Europe – I’ve got a few episodes loaded onto my iPod for reference).

I also loaded up my Kindle with classics by French authors like Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo as well as some Shakespeare and Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities was the first one I downloaded!). And since I’m such a fan of mysteries, I got some Agatha Christie and a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Ok, and also something by Sophie Kinsella, but after all those serious classics I needed something a little more fun.

I knew my cellphone wouldn’t work in Europe (and neither would DMs). We didn’t want to have to change packages for international coverage, so I decided to rent a phone that would work. I read about InTouch USA in the Frommers guide, so I figured they were a reputable company. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. I don’t expect to make many calls, but I want to be able to check in at home and get in touch with Chez and Mark when I’m there. I know they’ve shipped my phone (because I had to give them a new credit card number after my nail salon debit card fiasco), so I expect to get it tomorrow. Then I ship it back at the end of my trip. Easy peasy.

Then one fateful day in January, everything changed. I got a call from ABD that our tour had been cancelled! There hadn’t been enough bookings on our tour, so we were offered spots on the one the week before or the week after ours. It wasn’t an issue for me, but DM couldn’t make either one. We talked about it for a while and DM insisted I go without her. It certainly won’t be the same, but DM has made me promise to eat tons of French chocolate for her, so it won’t be too much of a hardship.

This being run by Disney, of course they paid for all our change fees and refunded DM’s portion, so it didn’t actually cost us more money or anything. But that means that this will be a solo adventure for me, and I’ll have to make friends with my tour mates. I also learned that this will be an adults only tour, which I’m kind of happy about because I’m going solo.

Up Next: Disney Mail! (and “You Call This an Itinerary?”)

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I'm going to China! And doing a Trip Report!!
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:55 PM   #2
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Looking forward to your adventures across the pond!
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:12 PM   #3
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I'm So excited to read about your ABD trip as I would love to take an ABD trip myself and know that this will just help that feeling for me!
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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Oh boy here we go . . . hey Sharon when you decide you want to do Tokyo or Hong Kong . . . let me know . . . B and I both want to get out there! I'm envious of your trip to Paris, its one of my all time favorite places to hang out! Yummy!
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:09 PM   #5
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WHoa... I had to kind of search this one out. Having just read the update of the HATTQUAD report. I know, I know... I could have clicked on you link.....but that would have been the easy way to do it. SO sorry to heart your Mom could not make this trip.. I looked forward to the Candy portions of this trip report.

I also loaded up my Kindle with classics by French authors like Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo as well as some Shakespeare and Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities was the first one I downloaded!). And since I’m such a fan of mysteries, I got some Agatha Christie and a Sherlock Holmes mystery. Ok, and also something by Sophie Kinsella, but after all those serious classics I needed something a little more fun.
Now see..... I would be re-reading the Harry Potter series again to catch up on my perceptions of Great Britain and loaded Ratatouille on an Ipod for Paris. But I do love watching Smamanta Browns shows.

I look forward to reading more about your ABD report.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:32 PM   #6
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I SO want to do an ABD tour - can't wait to read all the details!!!
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Old 05-12-2009, 12:33 AM   #7
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Great start Sharon...I am so sorry that you mom could not come as I know you were looking forward to this trip together, while I am sure that tons of French chocolate will put a smile on your mom's face I know it doesn't make up for the fact that you will not be together (guess that means you will have to plan another trip to Europe with mom)

So looking forward to hearing your plans and what you think about the ABD as I have often thought about this route for a trip to Europe when Jasmine graduates (in 2011).

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Old 05-12-2009, 02:42 AM   #8
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I can't wait to see you again in just a few days' time - safe travels over here!

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Old 05-12-2009, 07:55 AM   #9
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Sharon, you are going to have a blast. I went over to London and Paris back in 2004 with two of my friends. We spent most of our time in London, but also went via the Eurostar over to DLP for 4 days, then back to London. I loved both places, would go back in a heart beat.

So sorry to hear that your DM can't make the trip, but sounds like you will have a fantastic time. Looking forward to hearing about your itinerary and seeing those pictures when you return. Plus your thoughts on DLP. We stayed at Sequoia Lodge.

Have fun & Enjoy!

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Old 05-12-2009, 07:56 AM   #10
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Great start!

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Old 05-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #11
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Great start P-Sha!! I'm sorry your Mom can't go now!!
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:39 AM   #12
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So sorry Mable can't make this one, Sha. That's a bummer You will have a blast I'm sure, though. Can't wait to hear all about your overseas adventures!! And I just know Mark and Chez will be the best tour guides.
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Old 05-12-2009, 08:52 AM   #13
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Great start! I'm sorry your mom can't go but I think you're gonna have a great time!
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:01 AM   #14
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Like everyone else said, I'm so sorry that your DMom can't make it. That's really a shame.

It sounds like it will be an amazing trip. The ABD sound fabulous and a low stress way to travel. I can't wait to read all about it.
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:19 AM   #15
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This sounds like so much fun! Can't wait to hear all about it.
Sorry your Mom couldn't make it.
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