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A Peek into Tinseltown’s Legendary Landmarks with Lights…Camera…Magic! from Adventures by Disney

posted on April 13th, 2012 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Spring has sprung in Southern California and I’m happy to report: clear skies ahead for the season! The last four months with Lights…Camera…Magic! have been exciting for everyone here at Adventures by Disney. Our guests have enjoyed soaking up the sunshine along the bustling Hollywood Boulevard as well as the glittering shops of Rodeo Drive.

Starting April 24, there will be a few additions and changes that will make the Lights…Camera…Magic! experience an even more enchanting one for you and your family. Of course, our favorite stops will remain the featured highlights, including close-up tours of the Walt Disney Studio Lot and the legendary home of the Academy Awards at the Hollywood and Highland Center. We are now including a stop at one of Tinseltown’s oldest landmarks, the Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax!

At the market, it’s not unusual to spot some of Hollywood’s biggest and brightest stars strolling through the stalls. Among the most famous patrons of the historic market include our own Walt Disney. It’s been said that while he was preparing some early designs for his theme park, Walt would dine on the patios of the Farmers Market. The Market’s design inspired some of the original drawings of the park that would come to be known as Disneyland.


After enjoying a full day of Tinsletown adventures, you’ll be treated to an exclusive tour and an unforgettable evening reception in The Walt Disney Studios’ Legends Plaza – where Disney’s many gifted animators, Imagineers, songwriters, actors and business leaders have been honored.

We hope to see you soon for this new day of fun, discovery and exclusive access with our Adventures Guides at Adventures by Disney! To reserve your Lights…Camera…Magic! tour, please call (866) 363-4763.

Read these posts for more Adventures by Disney news:

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Adventures by Disney Moments Around the World

posted on December 29th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

As 2011 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to share with all of you some of the special moments our Adventures by Disney Adventure Guides have shared with me from their trips around the world this year:

Laura Farrell in Costa Rica with Adventures by Disney

One of my favorite memories of 2011 was on a Costa Rica trip during sea turtle nesting season. There was a little girl who tried very hard to stay awake on the night walk because she wanted to see a nesting turtle so badly, but ended up falling asleep (it was very late for a 7 year old) and missing the sighting. The next morning, a couple was walking along the beach and saw a turtle laying her eggs (very rare to see in the day). They ran all the way back to the hotel to get the girl and she was able to see the turtle just before it went back into the ocean. I love this memory because it is a perfect example of the kind of magical moments that happen on Adventures by Disney trips.
– Laura Farrell

Christian Cruz Takes the Backstage Magic Tour with Adventures By Disney

Visiting Walt’s Apartment is one of the highlights of our Backstage Magic tour, especially to a mother-daughter tandem who came all the way from Belgium. Our docent gave us a heartfelt story about Walt Disney’s little abode which deeply touched that mother’s heart. Seeing her sincere tears of gratitude to Walt Disney is one of my favorite memories of 2011. It was not only a magical moment for her, but also for me in knowing that I am working with a team that connects guests from around the world to a man and his creation, one I truly believe in. And in knowing that I am an Adventure Guide not just to exclusive backstage access but also access to memories people will keep for a lifetime.
– Christian Cruz

Visit Australia with Adventures By Disney

During the welcome dinner on a tour to Australia a guest shared with the group that he had chosen to come Down Under to see a platypus. He loved platypuses. Yes, really! While in elementary school he even dressed up as a platypus for Halloween. Our visit to Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, therefore, required seeing one of these creatures. We had to visit the platypus house twice (they are quite shy) before one finally made an appearance. Only a few times in my life have I ever seen anybody as truly happy as this gentleman was upon seeing his beloved animal. He was even wearing a platypus t-shirt for the occasion. It was a wonderful moment the whole group got to share, one I will never forget!
– Kira Butler

I hope you have had a wonderful year and if you have any special vacation memories on a recent trip, leave a comment and share them with us. Happy New Year from all of us at Adventures by Disney!

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Adventures by Disney Brings You Wonders of the World

posted on December 27th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

The most striking and impressive natural wonders and man-made structures have been cataloged into various lists of the “Wonders of the World” since ancient times. I plan to see as many wonders of the world as I can, and it certainly helps to be a part of the Adventures by Disney team in meeting this goal.

Josh D’Amaro Travels with Adventures By Disney to Egypt

I recently returned from Egypt where I had the chance to see the Great Pyramid of Giza and ride a camel by the Temple of the Sphinx. Did you know the Great Pyramid consists of an estimated 2.3 million limestone blocks? That really put carrying my luggage into perspective. The incredible work it must have been for the Egyptians to pull this off and the precise, advanced engineering blew me away, similarly to that of Stonehenge in England, another mysterious ancient site where Adventures by Disney guests uncover the mysteries and legends of the past.

Adventures By Disney Visits Stonehenge in England

In Italy, our Bella Italia adventure stops at another wonder – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Two of our other Italian itineraries, allow Adventurers explore the Coliseum – one of the greatest feats of engineering during the Roman Empire. (And our Junior Adventurers get to reenact fun gladiatorial contests!).

Standing upon another wonder, the Great Wall of China, is an unforgettable and indescribable moment for any traveler. It just keeps going and as I stood there, able to see for miles and miles, I wondered whether there was anyone up in space looking down and seeing the same wall that I was standing on.

Another amazing site we visit is Peru and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It’s the “Lost City of the Incas,” and boasts 360 degrees of majestic views. The site is truly something to marvel at.

But right in our own backyard we have the spectacular Grand Canyon to marvel at! Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon my jaw literally dropped (luckily not a mile down). On our Southwest Splendors experience, our guests get to see it from above and whitewater raft right through it on the Colorado River, where nearly 2 billion years of geological history are revealed.

Which of these wonders have you seen? Leave a comment below to share your travel stories.

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Go Behind the Scenes with Lights…Camera…Magic! – A New Adventures by Disney Experience in Southern California

posted on December 5th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Today is Walt Disney’s birthday, making it the perfect opportunity for me to share this exciting news with you: beginning December 20, you can experience a new day-long adventure that will immerse you in the magic of Disney and the history of Hollywood in unique and unforgettable ways. Lights…Camera…Magic! is a guided group experience that opens the door for you to see where Disney magic is made and walk inside The Walt Disney Studios – the very location that was built from the profits of the animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

All around you, the story of The Walt Disney Company comes to life as you tour the historic Studio Lot, explore the fascinating Disney Archives, shop at the Studio Store and enjoy lunch at the Studio Commissary—experiences you will not get anywhere else. Disney-trained Adventure Guides not only give you exclusive access to The Walt Disney Studios, but also take you to star-studded locales and iconic locations in Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Malibu.

The Walt Disney Studios

Lights…Camera…Magic! is the perfect addition to a Disneyland Resort vacation, or a great day trip for natives who have not seen this side of their hometown. What I love about the experience is that access to everything is so easy and comfortable! As with all of our Adventures by Disney trips, you’ll be treated with VIP attention from two Disney-trained Adventure Guides and enjoy exciting surprises and “magical moments” throughout the day. And the Adventure Guides do not miss a beat – they made sure I saw all the sights and told stories of historic Hollywood while pointing out the places of legends, places I have been watching on screen for years! We went behind the scenes for a private visit to the famed Kodak Theater and had time to explore fun and fascinating Hollywood Boulevard – I even saw several “stars!” We cruised the legendary Sunset Strip to Beverly Hills and strolled down world-famous Rodeo Drive. The finale was amazing – a breathtaking sunset in Malibu at celebrity favorite, Gladstones Restaurant!

So happy birthday to Walt Disney! Come celebrate by joining Adventures by Disney on Lights…Camera…Magic! and experience Tinseltown in a fashion only Disney can offer.

Interested in seeing more of Southern California with Adventures by Disney? Check out Backstage Magic, a six-day tour of Hollywood, The Walt Disney Studios and the Disneyland Resort.

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Adventures by Disney Invites You to Our New Virtual Event!

posted on November 22nd, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Adventures by Disney Invites You to Our New Virtual Event!

As some of you may know, I just got back from Adventures by Disney’s first trip to Egypt; it was amazing. Our group had so much fun! I learned about some of the most incredible things I have ever seen.

Today, I invite you to attend a special Adventures by Disney virtual event to learn more about my trip as well as some of our other exotic destinations.

Join us as we explore some of our most unique and exciting destinations. From China to South Africa and Australia, with the wild island Tasmania, to Egypt, this virtual event will take you whizzing around the globe – through beautiful landscapes and distinctive cultures, past fascinating animals and into time-honored histories. You will hear from some of our guests as they visit new places and you’ll see some of the exciting experiences that Adventures by Disney vacations are best known for. This special event ends Dec. 2, 2011, so click here and watch it today. Enjoy and see which one of these destinations will be your next family vacation.

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Exploring Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands with Adventures by Disney

posted on October 28th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Did you know that more than 400 species of fish have been spotted around the Galapagos Islands? These rare and beautiful creatures are just some of the amazing sights Adventures by Disney guests can expect to encounter in our new Grandiosos Galapagos and Andean Highlands & Galapagos Islands vacations.

The Galapagos Islands lie just 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, and have incredibly unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Across the islands, visitors can explore lagoons, lava fields, mangroves, caves, forests and breathtaking beaches. But for me, the rare wildlife that inhabits this beautiful place is the best part.

Many species that reside here can only be found in the Galapagos. Inhabitants vary greatly from island to island, making each one a special place to visit. For example, the Galapagos penguin is the only species of wild penguin that can be found in the northern hemisphere and they only inhabit a few of the islands.

Come Face-to-Face with Marine Iguanas as You Explore the Galapagos Islands with Adventures by Disney

There are 23 species of reptiles in the Galapagos and all but two of those are endemic to the archipelago. One of those unique to the islands is the marine Iguana; they live between land and sea (they can dive 30 feet!) making them the only marine lizard known to exist.

Meet the Galapagos Tortoise While Exploring the Galapagos Islands with Adventures by Disney

The Galapagos giant tortoise may be the most famous resident species unique to the Galapagos Islands. It is the largest living species of tortoise, weighing up to 595 lbs and living upwards of 100 years in the wild. The Galapagos Tortoise is native to seven of the islands; populations vary from island to island in characteristics such as neck length and the dome of their shell. The island-to-island differences of the Galapagos Tortoise played a huge role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

There are so many animals special to the Galapagos that I could go on and on. Instead, I invite you to experience the Galapagos Islands with Adventures by Disney. Our Grandiosos Galapagos is our new 9-day cruise of the Islands, while the Andean Highlands and Galapagos Islands is a 9-day adventure that takes you first to Ecuador and immerses you in the culture of the region before heading out to the Islands. Join us as we head out to meet the Galapagos fur sea lions, blue-footed boobies, the world’s only red-footed boobies, cormorants, penguins, giant tortoises, sea turtles, fish, more fish and so many more incredible creatures. Hope to see you there!

Interested in exploring other Adventures by Disney destinations? Take a look at the posts below:

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Thanks for Playing with Adventures by Disney

posted on August 31st, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Thanks for Playing with Adventures by Disney

We want to thank everyone who participated on our Adventures by Disney, “Where do you think we’re going next?” destination teaser game on Facebook. It’s clear that many of you are quite savvy and easily figured out the answer to our clues. Bravo! For those who might be wondering, our clues were created to share some of the special sights and activities you’ll enjoy on our new “Greek Odyssey” adventure.

Here’s a quick rundown …

Clue #1: Kayak to an ancient fortress which once withstood an attack from the Pirate Barbarossa …
On the historic island of Spinalonga sits a 16th century Venetian-built fortress that proved impenetrable, even to the relentless pirate, Barbarossa. You will have a blast on the kayak excursion to visit this remarkable place in Crete.

Clue #2: Stomp into the fun and take a sip of this sweet dessert …
The island of Santorini rose from volcanic eruptions to yield a knack for fine winemaking. From this, a special dessert wine was born known as Vinsanto. On a visit to the Volcan Winery, Junior Adventurers will stomp their own grapes while adults get a “taste” in the craft of winemaking.

Clue #3: Be carried away by old-world charm with Jack, a new found friend …
A donkey, also known as a Jack, is a traditional transportation of Greece and a fun way to visit charming villages on your trip.

Clue #4: Learn the art of “pickling” for this national cheese …
Feta, the Greek national cheese, is made through a special process called “pickling.” On this vacation, you will learn the fine art of cheese-making.

Clue #5: Race through the games of history and celebrate on sparkling white marble steps …
Engage in sporting activities on your visit to Panathinaiko Stadium, the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games and be cheered by your fellow adventurers as you take a victory walk on the white marble steps after a friendly game.

Clue #6: Dine under a cloud of silvery green leaves from these primitive trees …
Olive trees are among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world and of course, a specialty of Greece. So what better way to celebrate than to take pleasure in a memorable farewell dinner in an olive grove?

Clue #7: Stand among pillars of antiquity and live the myths in this former treasury …
As a Greek temple, the Parthenon was utilized as a treasury. Learn the rich history and myths as you explore this iconic structure on the Acropolis.

Also make sure to also check out our video and hear more stories from Heather, one of our many amazing trip developers. You’ll see this new adventure is filled with special activities that are sure to excite all the senses. So come join us and experience Greece like never before.

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Adventures by Disney Launches New Destinations

posted on August 30th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Travel to Greece with Adventures by Disney

It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since Adventures by Disney first launched with the grand idea of creating family-friendly adventures to exotic destinations around the world. Starting with just a few trips, we set out to put the “fun” back into your family vacation and boy did we succeed. Today, we offer 22 breathtaking trips across six continents, each specially designed with exciting and unique activities that are sure to please every member of your family. So for our 2012 lineup, it brings me great pleasure to announce the addition of two new amazing – and often requested – destinations, as well as the addition of a little “extra spice” on some of our current adventures.

This time we’re off to Greece, considered by many to be the birthplace of western civilization. On your “Greek Odyssey” adventure, we’ll take you on a magical journey through Athens, Santorini and Crete. In the pale yellow light of the Greco moon, mythology comes to life through the art of storytelling on the steps of the Parthenon in Athens. Sporting games will ignite the thrill of victory at Panathinaiko Stadium, birthplace of the modern Olympics, and on the volcanic island of Santorini, the rumble of excitement will fill the air as kids enjoy stomping grapes while adults take pleasure in Volcan wine tasting. Then set sail on the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea on your way to the mountain villages of Crete for a lesson in Tsatziki cheese making and classic Greek dancing.

Travel to France with Adventures by Disney

Our next new destination will be nothing short of picture-perfect as we take you to Northern France on our “Esprit de France” adventure. You’ll walk in the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci as you visit Château du Clos Lucé, his last known home, and Monet’s Gardens will inspire the artist in you as you create your very own works of art. Normandy awaits as you voyage to the rocky tidal island of Mont Saint-Michel and uncover the mysteries of the fortress-like monastery nestled high above. Emotions will run high as you visit the American Cemetery in Omaha Beach, honoring our fallen heroes during the D-Day invasion in 1944. Entice your taste buds with a lesson in brandy making on the Normandy Cider Route, bask in the beauty of the French countryside and take a leisurely bike ride on the grounds of the majestic Château de Chambord.

But wait! The adventures don’t end there, because our “Pyramids, Pharaohs & Ancient Treasures” adventure to Egypt makes a grand return that can only be described as “fit for a king.” This destination is bound to captivate the archeologist in all of us.

We’ve also enhanced some of our current trips like our “Discovery Down Under” trip to Australia, which now includes a visit to the unforgettable island of Tasmania, home to the mysterious Tasmanian Devil. And if discovery is your game, then you’ll be excited to hear that we’ve added yet another way to explore the amazing Galapagos Islands. “Grandiosos Galapagos” is a seven day cruise on board the Galapagos Explorer II that will take you on a journey to the place that time forgot. Civilization more your cup of tea? Then you’ll be thrilled to learn that we’ve added a trip to the British countryside. On our “Cities of Knights and Lights” adventure to London and Paris you’ll enjoy a privately-guided tour of Windsor Castle and finally get a taste of what royalty is all about.

Can you tell how excited I am about our destinations? It’s obvious that the last seven years have been an amazing journey and now, more than ever, our Adventures by Disney family can’t wait to welcome you and your family on our adventures. So decide where you want to go, what you want to see and let Adventures by Disney take care of the rest!

Check out the following posts for more information on Adventures by Disney destinations:

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Make Your Holiday Plans with Adventures by Disney

posted on August 4th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Make Your Holiday Plans with Adventures by Disney

I hope you and your family are enjoying your summer. As the season will soon come to a close, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays – and with so many exciting destinations around the world, an Adventures by Disney vacation may be just the thing to help you create holiday memories that will truly last a lifetime. Check out our exciting trips departing this December and get your holiday wish list ready now.

Viva Italy
Toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain and make a wish for the New Year during your trip through Italy. Learn to make pasta the traditional way on a Tuscan estate and celebrate with a feast. Visit Michaelangelo’s David with VIP entry. Or travel the Venetian canals by gondola to meet a renowned mask maker who will help you create your own Carnivale mask for the Farewell Masquerade Ball.

Departure Dates: 12/20/2011, 12/29/2011

Backstage Magic
Come visit the home of the stars as we take you on a special tour of Hollywood’s landmarks. Enjoy behind-the-scenes trips to Walt Disney Imagineering, the Walt Disney Studios, and the El Capitan Theatre. You’ll even have the once in a life-time opportunity to an exclusive visit of The Jim Henson Company Studios.

Departure Dates: 12/18/2011

Costa Rica
Soar over the rainforest canopy on a zipline as you look out for the flora and fauna below. Enjoy a relaxing dip in the Hidalgo Hot Springs beneath Mount Arenal, or take-in the surroundings that are home to toucans, sea turtles, sloths, and monkeys.

Departure Dates: 12/23/2011, 12/30/2011

City of Knights & Lights
Enjoy a production of Disney’s The Lion King and then head backstage for a tour of the show’s historic playhouse. Experience the rich history of the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey before heading to Paris. Then, during your stay in the City of Lights, climb to the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral and later, enjoy French Cuisine inside the Eiffel Tower.

Departure Dates: 12/28/2011

Remember, there’s no better time than the present to get a jump start on your holiday plans to celebrate the season with Adventures by Disney! Visit our website or contact your local travel agent to make your reservation today.

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100 Years of Machu Picchu

posted on July 15th, 2011 by Josh D'Amaro, Vice President, Adventures By Disney

Hi again. Summers are known for celebrating and this summer commemorates the 100-year anniversary of American explorer Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu, one of Peru’s most historic sites. Bingham’s exploration brought international attention to the region, whose existence up to that time was only known to locals. To celebrate this historic event, Peru kicked off “100 Years of Machu Picchu in the World” – a stunning series of festivities highlighting traditional Andean culture. As the cultural icon of Peru, Machu Picchu has become a symbol of the nation’s heritage and it’s clear why it was chosen as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.

Machu Picchu, Peru

So now, more than ever, is a great time to visit Peru and discover the legends of “the Lost City of the Incas.” And, with Adventures by Disney, families get a unique opportunity to experience the wonders of Peru and unlock its many secrets. Our journey begins with a visit to the Sacred Valley where you’ll learn the ages-old weaving techniques from master weavers followed by an Andean pachamanca, a welcome feast where local dancers dazzle you with traditional song and dance. Soon after, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Andean Mountains as you raft down the Urubamba River and take a scenic ride through lush jungles as you ascend upwards to the wonder that is Machu Picchu.

Visiting Peru in a way that directly connects the whole family to the local culture and traditions is exactly what an Adventures by Disney trip is all about. To learn more about our Sacred Valleys and Incan Cities destination, click here.

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