Adventures By Disney Announces New Options For Europe And Beyond

Adventures by Disney has announced that it is expanding its catalog of travel itineraries for 2014 with new options to Europe and several tours specifically created for the teen traveler. These new additions to the line-up will expand on the company’s already diverse group of tours that are designed to provide adventure travel options for families while delivering a distinctly Disney experience.

New to the Adventures by Disney portfolio is a nine-day escape to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic that includes visits to the vibrant and cosmopolitan cities of Salzburg, Prague and Vienna. While on the tour, travelers will experience ice caves in the Alps, visit wondrous castles, tour a marionette workshop and get a private after-hours tour of the famed Vienna Zoo – the oldest in Europe.

If Italy holds more appeal over Central Europe, then the new Enhanced Italy tour may be more to your liking. This classic family escape will take travelers to the streets of Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Florence, offering VIP treatment along the way. Highlights include an after-hours visit to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, a private pasta-making class and of course a special gondola ride through the canals of Venice.

Finally, ABD has announced three new adventures designed specifically with teenagers in mind. These options include escapes to Peru, Costa Rica and Arizona and Utah, and feature activities intended for teenagers at each of those destinations. In Peru, for instance, they can go stargazing around a campfire in the foothills of the Andes. In Costa Rica, they’ll take in the exotic and diverse wildlife of the rainforest and in Arizona and Utah, they’ll have the opportunity to go on a bike ride through Boynton Canyon in Sedona. Each of these itineraries was specifically crafted to engage teenagers and allow families with teens to travel together.

Since its inception eight years ago, Adventures by Disney has been providing high quality adventure travel opportunities for the entire family. These new offerings will only expand on the company’s award-winning service while offering more choices for customers. If you’re looking to introduce a little adventure into your next family escape, they can definitely help you accomplish that in a unique and well-crafted manner.

Take A ‘Brave’ Adventure With Disney

On Friday of this week, “Brave,” the next big animated film from Disney and Pixar, hits theaters. Set against the lush and sprawling landscapes of Scotland, the movie introduces audiences to Merida, a plucky and headstrong princess who longs to live a life of adventure. When Merida defies Scottish custom to pursue her own path, she unwittingly brings a curse down upon her kingdom. Armed with her trusty bow, sharp wits and a single wish, she must work to undo the chaos that she has let loose.

Merida’s big screen exploits will no doubt inspire more than a few members of the audience to want to visit Scotland for themselves. Fortunately Disney can help with that as well, as their travel experts at Adventures by Disney have worked closely with filmmakers to custom build an itinerary based around the movie. The result is a fantastic mix of history, culture and physical activity designed to engage travelers of all ages.

The nine-day, eight-night tour includes visits to ancient villages, castles and other locations that inspired animators working on the film. Those places include the Black House of Arnol, which was the basis for the Witch’s cottage, and Dunnottar Castle, which bears a striking resemblance to Merida’s family home. They’ll even get a private tour of Edinburgh Castle, which is seldom open to the public.

One of the hallmarks of any Adventures by Disney tour are the unique activities the itineraries offer. On this particular trip travelers will have the opportunity to go horseback riding across the Scottish countryside, mountain bike through the Highlands and shoot a bow and arrow just like Merida. They’ll also go canoeing (and perhaps monster spotting!) on the world famous Loch Ness and take lessons in Celtic music and dancing too.

Scotland: A Brave Adventure is just one of numerous itineraries that Adventures By Disney has to offer. The company organizes tours to Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. For a full list of their family friendly escapes, click here.

[Image courtesy of Disney]

Adventures By Disney Travels To The Far East In 2013

Travelers looking to explore the exotic Far East will have a new option in 2013 when Adventures by Disney launches a new itinerary to Southeast Asia. The 12-day tour will visit Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, while still featuring the family-friendly activities that the travel company has become so well known for.

Highlights of the trip include stops in Saigon, Hanoi, Siem Reap, Luang Praban and more. Adventurers, young and old, will marvel at the ancient wonders of Angkor Wat and visit remote villages while exploring the Cambodian countryside on horseback. They’ll shop for the ingredients to a traditional Vietnamese meal in the markets of Hoi An and then learn to prepare it under the supervision of a local chef. They’ll even visit the pristine beaches of the South China Sea where they can relax in the warm waters and soak up the sun.

Adventures by Disney tours specialize in family travel to a number of fantastic destinations across the globe. The trips are designed to immerse travelers of all ages in the cultures and landscapes of the countries they visit while providing experiences that they wouldn’t normally get from any other travel company. Two well-trained Disney Adventure Guides will lead this particular journey through Southeast Asia and will organize activities that are a blend of both active excursions and relaxing downtime.

For more information on the Southeast Asia adventure visit or call 1-877-728-7282.

[Photo courtesy Adventures by Disney]

Breaking: Cruise crew member dead in Cozumel

While foul play has not been ruled out, the drowning death of a Royal Caribbean crew member in Cozumel brings the safety of Mexican ports of call back into focus along with the broader issue of cruise passenger safety in general.

The body of Monika Markiewicz a musician on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas. 32, was recovered from the ocean off the southern part of the island Saturday. An autopsy determined the cause of death to be drowning but Markiewicz also suffered a blow to the head. Police are investigating.

“Tragically, we recently became aware that the crew member was a victim of a violent crime while ashore in a remote area in Cozumel,” said Royal Caribbean spokesperson Cynthia Martinez. “We extend our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of our crew member.”

The topic of Mexican ports of call is a hot issue with cruise lines and Mexican government officials alike. The tragic death of a crew member in Mexican waters, regardless of the reason, brings safety back into the spotlight.

Cozumel is a popular port of call for cruise ships, far removed from the drug gang violence in Mazatlan, a center of Mexican drug cartels. Cruise lines, always vigilant regarding the safety of passengers and crew recently and dropped calls to Mazatlan due to crimes against passengers and crew members.

Disney Cruise Line, Princess and Holland America dropped Mazatlan as a port of call on Mexican Rivera cruises last month. Mexican government officials responded with a cry of “no fair” saying their ports were safe, meeting with cruise line officials and promising a safe experience for cruise passengers.

“We highly value our long-standing relationships within the cruise industry, and are dedicated to ensuring that Mazatlan remains among the top cruise destinations on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Mazatlan has hosted nearly 1.5 million cruise passengers since 2008 and is widely regarded as one of the safest destinations in Mexico.” said Julio Birrueta, spokesperson for the Mazatlan Tourism Trust.

Newly relocated Disney Wonder, bumped to the West coast when new Disney Dream took over in Florida was scheduled to visit Mazatlan on a series of seven-night sailings through April. Instead, that time will be spent in what is believed to be a safer Cabo San Lucas.

Just last week, cruise lines returned to Mazatlan after they believed safety issues had been addressed. The Mexican government bolstered its tourism police force with a special unit of plain-clothes security personnel in the main tourist areas, including shore excursion sites.

Still, crime involving tourists is an ongoing problem in Mexico. Tourism officials have been accused of attempting to minimize the issue. The US Department of State has urged caution visiting Mexico issuing a Travel Warning in September of last year saying “It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico.”

A cruise line crew member being found dead, for whatever reason, is indeed cause for concern in an ongoing look at the safety of ports around the world.

Last week, chaos and demonstrations in Cairo, Egypt sent cruise lines sailing in a different directions and land tour operators cancelling booked tours.

Cruise lines are modified itineraries for ships calling in Egypt and Tunisia, canceling all port calls in these two countries. While unrest/chaos continues in the area, cruise lines are playing it safe by keeping ships and passengers out of harms way.

Most recently, citing a “changing political environment” Disney Cruise Line as well as land tour operator Adventures by Disney is dropped Tunisia from all land and sea tours. They are just the latest of a growing number of cruise lines and tour operators to pull out of the troubled region.

“We continually evaluate our itineraries, and the decision to modify this itinerary was made in part due to the changing political environment in Tunis and the recent Travel Alert issued by the U.S. Department of State for Tunisia,” Disney spokesperson Christi Erwin Donnan told USA TODAY.

Indeed, cruise lines constantly monitor the situation at every port they call on, most commonly skipping ports for weather related reasons. More difficult to monitor but equally important, changing political environments and crime ashore too are a cause of concern regarding the safety of passengers and crew.

Disney drops Tunisia from land and sea packages

Citing a “changing political environment” Disney Cruise Line as well as land tour operator Adventures by Disney is dropping Tunisia from all land and sea tours. They are just the latest of a growing number of cruise lines and tour operators to pull out of the troubled region.

“We continually evaluate our itineraries, and the decision to modify this itinerary was made in part due to the changing political environment in Tunis and the recent Travel Alert issued by the U.S. Department of State for Tunisia,” Disney spokesperson Christi Erwin Donnan told USA TODAY.

Adventures by Disney, the company’s guided tour service , had been heavily marketing their new tours of Egypt featuring 7- and 9-night itineraries. But the trips have been suspended through August 2011, pending a resolution to the current unrest in the region.
Disney Magic had been scheduled to sail 10- and 11-night Mediterranean voyages that included a call on the Tunisian capital of Tunis but is replacing Tunis with a stop in Palermo, Italy.

Because these drops are a result of US State Department travel advisories, it’s possible that they will be extended past their scheduled changes as further developments occur in the troubled region.

Flickr photo by steve.armitage