A Disney Adventure Without The Mouse!

1When the owner of a Top 10 U.S. travel agency wants to go on a family vacation, where does she go? Elaine Osgood consulted her own vacation manager, Karen McCrink, for ideas that would be an alternative to Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean… all places that Elaine has thoroughly enjoyed with her husband and 8-year-old daughter in the past.

“When Karen suggested one of the Adventures by Disney,” said Osgood, “I said that we'd already been to Disney.”

What McCrink explained was the newest Disney product, an active family vacation without a theme park, cruise or the characters everyone expects. This was a new way to travel the world with a special attention to detail.

“I still wasn't sold,” recalls Osgood. “We love traveling independently… and this was a group travel experience. We rarely buy travel packages, because we like to pick and choose where we'll go and do it at our own pace. I couldn't see myself on a motor coach traveling from one destination to another… yet that was part of the Adventures by Disney model. You might say I went kicking and screaming.”

1Osgood decided she should experience this as the owner of the travel agency, so she could answer questions of others considering the Disney trips, so during the Summer of 2009, the Osgood family headed for their Grand Canyon Family Vacation -- Southwest Splendors, an Adventure by Disney that toured the red rocks of Sedona, the Grand Canyon's South Rim and the Colorado River in Moab, Utah.

Elaine and her family are Adventure by Disney converts...

“We loved it,” she reports. “It has that Disney magic, where you encounter all kinds of unexpected surprises, but all are true to the region you are visiting. We had archaeologists with us to explain the geological wonders we were seeing.

“We took a hike in the Grand Canyon with a naturalist guide,” she continued. “He showed us things we never would have found on our own. They fit more into a week than you ever could have set up yourself. It was incredible. And we never saw Mickey or Goofy once.”

1In Sedona…

The Osgoods went on a Monument Valley off-road excursion in a 4x4 jeep with their own Navajo guide.

In the Grand Canyon…

They hiked off the beaten path of the Grand Canyon's South Rim with a naturalist guide, and experienced wildlife up close and personal…even tarantulas! They went on an exciting, yet leisurely Colorado River rafting trip…and got caught in a hail storm (quite an adventure!) Then they camped on the banks of the Colorado River to have a cowboy cookout…with a real cowboy.

In Utah…

The Osgoods really loved the surreal landscape of Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, and couldn't believe the stories of million-year-old sandstone arches (there 1are 2000 of them in the park!) They even hiked to the crown jewel, the Delicate Arch (well, Pete and Nika did anyway), which teeters on the rim of a sandstone bowl with the scenic La Sal Mountains as a backdrop.

“I went kicking and screaming on this trip,” said Elaine, who had traveled to most corners of the world prior to this vacation. “And I am sold on Adventures by Disney. We will definitely do this again, it is the perfect way for a family to travel…and they also have trips specifically for adults who would prefer to have the Adventures without little ones around.”

1The Osgoods met good friends on the trip too. “We've already reconnected with a few families,” said Elaine. “The kids had a great time together in the back of the bus or in the evening by the campfire, while the parents relaxed and got to know about each other's lives. We swapped addresses before we left and have already decided we'd like to go on another Adventure by Disney together.”

Safety, comfort and magic…in a way that only Disney can create it.

What's the next Adventure by Disney for the Osgoods? Well, there are many from which to choose: Alaska, Northern California, Hollywood, Castles of Germany, Italy, Ireland, France and England, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Machu Picchu, Australia, Africa and the list goes on.

The Osgoods are currently planning a big adventure with some of the alumni from this trip, destination to be finalized soon. If you'd like more information about their Southwest trip or might like to join them on their next Disney Adventure, contact Elaine Osgood or call Karen McCrink at 508-488-1110.