Disney has been offering Adventures by Disney, a guided tour program that provides hassle-free, guided family vacations to more than a dozen destinations throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas, for the past 6 years.
And with this experience under their collective belts, the company continues to offer their fully escorted luxury tours alongside a lower cost alternative: Gateway Adventures. Most summer departures sell out quickly, but we wanted to give you a snapshot of the company's top value guided tours of Italy and London & Paris. (If you had your eye on a Costa Rica Gateway Adventure, the company chose not to resume that itinerary this year.)
Both Gateway Tours are open to ages 4+ but Disney suggests them for children ages 6 and up. And as you can see, all tours are priced according to departure dates (certain summer weeks are more desirable for example). Note that some departure dates may be limited to adults only.
Adds Teresa Plowright, a frequent contributor to Family Travel Forum, about her Adventures by Disney Europe tour: "small-group escorted tours explore the Great Outdoors, or perhaps castles in France; the itinerary is best-of-the-best, and all details are handled… and if it's Disney, you can bet the details are done just right."
Here's a closer look at how Gateway Adventures compare with standard tours and how Disney saved money so you can save money (note: airfare to location not included in these prices).
Gateway to Italy – 7N/8D of Italian culture, history and, of course, the food! Visit the Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, see Michelangelo's David, and get an authentic Italian cooking lesson. Then there's Viva Italia and Signature Italy, two other Adventures by Disney that appear to cover similar territory. The differences between them and Gateway to Italy; it's one day less in Italy and the group size can be 50 guests (other trips accept only 40 guests). In the head–to-head comparison that Disney offers on the site, you can see that the return trip to the airport is not covered (but you might be extending your Europe trip on your own anyway) and a few meals and activities are left out. Hotels are three-star instead of four-star but most families would not notice the difference and even if you did, these Disney tours keep you out of your rooms and busy at the destination — that's what is great about them. The guides will take kids to learn pizza making instead of pasta making, but that sounds fun to us. Best yet, you would pay $3,139 – $3,879 per adult and $2,819 – $3,499 per child 12 and under, instead of $4,169 – $4,849 per adult and $3,749 – $4,379 per child; approximatelya $1,000 savings per person — and we're not talking lira.
By way of comparison, the Signature Italy is the most luxe and is priced this year at adult: $5,569 – $6,189 and child: $5,019 – $5,579.
The Gateway to London & Paris tour can be compared to Disney's classic City of Knights and Lights tour. Both are 7D/6N and visit the highlights of each city, although the original tour also pays a special visit to Versailles with a private guide. Of course, on the Gateway version, you would have that time free to plan your own trip to Versailles, or perhaps to Disneyland Paris if you prefer. And similar to the other tours, adults can save up to $800 per person and kids can pay up to $700 less each.
Since all of these Gateway Tours sell out quickly, it's best to call your travel agent, or an Adventures by Disney rep at 800/543-0865 to find out about any availalble space. For more itinerary details, visit the Adventures by Disney website. Child rates apply for children 12 and under who must share an adult's room when traveling with Disney Adventures.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.