Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

You can even take a Disney vacation without seeing a single stroller. 

Carlye Wisel
September 15, 2017

If the thought of planning another breakfast at Chef Mickey’s or juggling the family’s Fastpass bookings is driving you mad, there’s a better way to do Disney. Adventures By Disney’s global group travel is quite possibly the best vacation Disney offers — and one even Galactic Heroes may not know about.

Related: Adventures by Disney Launches First-ever River Cruising Itineraries

To be clear, seeing the world with Disney doesn’t mean your rainforest gondola ride or Galapagos tour will be led by Donald Duck.

With priority museum access, private castle tours, and picture-perfect lodging, it’s a dream Disney vacation without the advance booking and stressful planning. Think of it like a Fastpass for Italy’s greatest sights, South Africa’s stunning wildlife, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef — with the level of comfort and friendliness you’re used to enjoying on Main Street, U.S.A.

Disney has itineraries across the globe, both on land as well as by boat, meaning options for a new kind of Disney trip are plentiful. There may not be Splash Mountain, but when you’re whitewater rafting in Yellowstone National Park or canoeing through Scotland’s Loch Ness, does it matter?

Not to mention, the stress of long lines and firework show times will be far behind you. This is just one of a handful of reasons why Disney fans may want to consider a Disney vacation without booking a ticket to Anaheim or Orlando.

There is no planning necessary

Consider it the opposite of setting an alarm to nab that Be Our Guest reservation. Adventures By Disney itineraries are just as fast-paced as a day in the parks, but you're not the one doing the tireless planning. One second, you’re walking around the Gaudi-designed Park Güell despite tickets being completely sold out; another, you’re touring Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter and stopping for gelato.

Even professional travelers would be hard-pressed to cram as much into one day in Barcelona — a feat that can’t be undersold (particularly for lengthier itineraries across Vietnam, through Laos and Cambodia, and adventure-packed trips around Iceland). On most itineraries, you won’t have to choose which activities you prefer until you arrive, giving you the freedom of spontaneity without the punishment of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train’s queue.

It’s Disney in brand, but not in theme

For many families, the best part of vacationing to Epcot or Hollywood Studios has never been the rides — it’s how freaky-good Disney is at making vacations so memorable. Nowhere is that more true than with Adventures By Disney, which excels at offering a variety and range of all-ages activities led by guides that embody Disney's signature, friendly demeanor. There are small nods to the entertainment powerhouse (a thematic pin delivered daily or familiar music playing on the bus) but save for a Beauty and the Beast-inspired itinerary on select Rhine River Cruise sailings, it’s all about the destinations.

Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

You’ll see a city’s highlights — and then some

Consider it a crash course in all the food, history, and culture that cities like Athens and Prague have to offer. Hear the stomps of a flamenco dancer in Spain, taste a sachertorte in its Viennese place of origin, sip Gluhwein while browsing European Christmas markets: you’re guaranteed to leave with unparalleled knowledge of each destination. Even on 3-night itineraries in Barcelona and Copenhagen or long weekends in New York City and San Francisco, you won't miss a single one of a city’s greatest sights.

The access is remarkable

From mask-making at a famed Venetian shop to renting out an entire dude ranch in Wyoming, the Disney name goes far in arranging experiences that are unavailable to the public. Book an Italy itinerary, and you’ll experience the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum when it’s shut down to the public; take a Danube River Cruise, and witness a private performance of famed Lipizzaner horses at Austria’s Spanish Riding School. On New York City “long weekend” trips, travelers go behind-the-scenes during a live broadcast of Good Morning, America and learn dance moves from Aladdin (and in 2018, Frozen: The Broadway Musical) before watching it performed later that evening.

Bottom line: you’d never be able to arrange for these once-in-a-lifetime experiences on your own.

Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

You can still visit the parks

China itineraries include stops at Hong Kong Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland between trips to Beijing's temples, a Chengdu panda conservatory and — of course — the Great Wall. Southern California itineraries, on the other hand, make visiting Disneyland a breeze with VIP tours of both parks, prearranged character meals, and reserved seating for parades and nighttime entertainment.

There are also exclusive Fastpasses. Attendees on Adventures By Disney’s China trip get priority admission to popular rides like Hong Kong Disneyland’s Iron Man Experience and Shanghai Disneyland’s TRON Lightcycle Power Run, while each Southern California guest receives 10 Fastpasses to use on any ride during their visit.

There are plenty of options for adults

Unlike battling your way through Fantasyland’s stroller gridlock, Adventures By Disney trips pair activities with local culture for experiences all ages can enjoy together. Kids also tend to bond closely with the Adventure Guides, who lead “Junior Adventurer” activities throughout the trip and in key places like the Louvre Museum in Paris or Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace (where young ones might get squirmy during straightforward visits).

Adventures By Disney even offers specialty, child-free river cruises, including a Rhine itinerary focused on the wine and food of Switzerland, Holland, Germany, and France, and a new Oktoberfest sailing throughout Bavaria for adults only.

That's right: adults-only Disney vacations

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