On The Road To South Africa Disney Style
by, 11-19-2011 at 11:30 PM
I just love Disney vacations. I have been visiting the Disney parks since I was a little girl, though there was a time in the 60’s that i was afraid to travel because I didn't want to miss the Mickey Mouse Club on TV. Yes, I am a Disneyphile from way back! Now that I'm older and have two grown boys of my own, I'm enjoying the parks all over again, going on Disney cruises, and I'm planning to visit Disney's Aulani Hotel in Hawaii with the MiceChatters next year . . . I just can't get enough of the Mouse. But one exotic Disney thing I haven't done is take an Adventures by Disney (ABD) trip.
As a full time Disney travel agent, I've sold many Adventures by Disney vacations, but have never experienced one myself. I often look at the ABD website to dream about which adventure I would take if I could. Each of the trips have fun things to do that make them special. The Castle tours in Germany, the Alaskan Malamute runs, zip lining in Switzerland — so many of them appeal to me!
Imagine my delight and surprise when Disney recently offered me the chance to go on a "familiarization" ABD trip to South Africa. Would I like to go? HECK YEAH! Stuff me in a steamer trunk or haul me on the back of an elephant . . . I'm in!
I've asked my favorite Auntie to go along with me, and since we are both animal lovers, I'm sure this will be the trip of a lifetime.
Now that we are booked, what next?
Well in this case, being my own travel agent, I started doing what I would normally do for my clients.
Glossy ABD website
There is a printable itinerary on the ABD website. I looked up each hotel listed on the itinerary and printed out information about each one (some have a flier you can print, some you have to make up your own).
I looked at the FAQ’s for our trip. There are requirements such as visas or vaccinations needed, recommended clothing, and luggage restrictions. Quite a few of the Adventures have short flights between the cities they visit and your luggage cannot weigh more than a certain amount. Ours is a 44 lb weight limit
This of course means I will have to pack very lightly, but since it will be the end of Summer / early Fall I won’t have to take heavy clothing. That certainly helps!
We don’t need visas for this trip, only a passport that is valid for 6 months after we return.
Now, for my least favorite part. . . the vaccinations. I am the biggest chicken when it comes to shots. There, I said it. I was crossing my fingers when I looked up the vaccination requirements on the Center of Disease Control website: www.cdc.gov.
Most Adventures by Disney do not require shots, so I was squinting my eyes and . . . uh oh . . . SHOTS. The vaccinations we will need are Hepatitis A, B, and Typhoid. We will also need malaria tabs to take before and after our trip. Always check the CDC site for the most up to date recommendations when traveling abroad.
The CDC recommends you go to a travel medicine clinic or Doctor to get the vaccinations. When planning trips like this I always give my clients their step-by-step instructions for covering these aspects of the trip. There is a link to each state with names of clinics that specialize in overseas travel medicines and keep up to date on the current recommendations. Usually, however, I'm not the one on the sharp end of the needle.
Now that we have gotten our vaccinations, I will do some advance reading about my destination—this usually gives me a good background on where I am visiting and helps get me excited for the trip. There is a recommended reading list in the FAQ page for your trip, but of course that can be supplemented.
Here are some of the highlights of the 10 day South Africa Adventure as listed by Disney:
- 3-Day Safari at the Kapama Game Reserve
Climb aboard a jeep for a private expedition into the bush country in search of the "Big 5": lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and cape buffaloes.
- Dine with Elephants at Knysna Elephant Park
Interact with the local wildlife as you dine in the forest setting of Knysna Elephant Park—surrounded by a herd of elephants!
- Experience Capetown
In beautiful Capetown, take a cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain for a privately guided hike. Then, descend back into town for a visit to the District Six Museum for a moving interactive experience focused on South Africa's contemporary history.
- Cape of Good Hope and African Penguins
Take in the soaring views at the southern tip of the African continent at the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. Following lunch on the oceanfront of Simon's Town, enjoy a walk to a sandy cove whose most famous residents are the enormously charming African penguins.
- Cooking Class and Wine Tasting
Journey to Stellenbosch, the heart and soul of Cape Dutch wine country, for a hands-on Afrikaans Pastry cooking lesson. Then make your way to the award-winning Spier Winery and its historic estate. Adults indulge in wine tasting while the Junior Adventurers enjoy a lesson in the ancient art of falconry.
I'm beyond excited. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I'd be visiting Africa, much less in luxury and guided by Disney!
Talk about good timing. I wrote this article for Vacationeering and then found out that Disney is holding a special online event about upcoming Adventures by Disney trips. They created the event for travel agents, but YOU are invited to view it as well. If you've ever wondered what Adventures by Disney is or what sorts of destinations they have available, you can watch this quick 15 minute(ish) presentation any time between now through December 2nd. CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE ADVENTURES BY DISNEY WEB EVENT. After viewing, if you've got any questions or would like more info, just let me know, I'll be happy to look everything up for you and make sure you are getting the best deal.
Now, I just have to wait a little over half a year until my big adventure. Thankfully, the MiceChatters are keeping me busy with a big MiceChat anniversary event in January at Disneyland (I've already booked my flight and hotel) and a MiceChat trip to Hawaii in June (WOW). That should help me from getting too impatient. Have any of you been on an Adventure by Disney? What about on Safari in South Africa? Would love to hear your comments below.
Ever meet a Fairy Godmother? Hi, I am Teresa Cory, founder of Fairy Godmother Travel (Dusty calls me the head pixie). I have been a Disney-only travel agent for 10 years and started Fairy Godmother Travel over 3 years ago. I've been planning MiceChat group trips for two years and am proud to have been selected as the "Official Travel Agency of MiceChat.com". I'm a native Texan and live in Houston with my husband and our rescued Dachshunds. Both of my boys are in college at Texas A&M.
Contact Teresa at FairyGodmotherTravel.com for all your Disney travel needs.