Whenever I tell someone that Disney does tours outside of the Disney parks they usually ask something like, “Oh okay. So does Mickey show up in Venice?” I thought that it would be a good idea to list the Disney elements of the tours in case you or someone you are traveling with is worried that the tour will be too Disney focused.
1) Disney’s focus on the customer and their quality of service. These are intangible things which you might not necessarily notice as much as the others however Disney knows how to make people happy. In Rome, there was a long line of people waiting to see the Colosseum but our ABD tour had a “Fastpass” to the front of the line. If we had went to see the Colosseum and were not on the ABD tour, we would have waited a few hours in the 95 degree weather just to get in. There are frequent bathroom stops and snacks are provided by the amazing tour guides on bus rides to different hotels. Also, I am pretty sure the heavy backpacks the tour guides carry have unlimited snacks and bandaids in them.
2) Name tags. Each of the usually two tour guides wears one of the official Disney name tags during the entire trip. During the first welcome dinner in Italy, each of the travelers received a sticker name tag which made it a little easier to talk.
3) Disney pins. Although Vinylmation has seemed to take over Walt Disney World the past few times I have been there, pin trading still has a presence. Every day on the tour each guest receives a pin with a Disney character or two and a word in the language from the country you are in. You don’t wear these pins on the trip or do much with them at all but they are a nice souvenir from the trip and you cannot purchase these pins unless you take a tour!
4) Disney Kids Movie Night. One of the nights during the trip, the kids and the adults separate. The kids have a movie night with kids food (such as chicken fingers usually) and with the two tour guides. The adults have a fancy dinner without the kids. The movie is voted on from a few choices and the kids watch the movie and eat before their parents pick them up and it is bedtime. The movie nights are fun for kids of all ages. We watched “Enchanted” in Ireland and “Toy Story 3” in Italy. “Toy Story 3” made most of the room tear up a little bit. Disney movies are also shown on long bus rides but you can sleep through these if you would like.
5) Photos. In Walt Disney World, photographers are on Main Street waiting to take your picture, you can get a photo with the characters and many of the thrill rides have photos available for purchase. On the ABD tours, the guides take photos of every group of travelers (families, couples, etc.) every day. At the end of the trip they put together a nice slideshow of everyone on the trip. They also are very eager to take photos of your family on your camera so that you have them when you go home and no one is missing from the photo.
I am probably missing a few Disney aspects of the trip but all in all, there are not too many Disney things to make it feel like you are in a park. There is just enough Disney magic and pixie dust sprinkled throughout the trip!