Adventures by Disney in Japan (…Group Trip?)
Adventures by Disney’s will be going to Japan for the first time in 2019! We checked out the itinerary, and it looks pretty solid, with visits to Osaka, Nara, Hiroshima, Miyajima, Odawara, and Takayama along with longer stays in Kyoto and Tokyo. The itinerary includes several of our favorite places in each of those locations, a few spots we’ve never visited, and (in typical AbD fashion) some things to which you would not have access if traveling without their group.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’re huge fans of Japan. We have encouraged every Disney fan who can to make the trip there, and it’s not just because Tokyo DisneySea is the best theme park in the world. We love everything about Japan; its sense of omotenashi, natural beauty, temples & shrines, general zaniness, and incredible cuisine. I could gush endlessly about Japan, but I feel like I pretty much already have, so I won’t.
The first four nights of the Adventures by Disney Japan itinerary is based out of Kyoto, which is our favorite city in the world. The long and rambling preface of our Ultimate Guide to Kyoto, Japan on TravelCaffeine shares how we fell in love with that city and why we spend so much time there. Also on TravelCaffeine, you can browse all of our posts about Japan (we’ve already written about a lot of awesome places, from Steve Jobs’ favorite place to robot dance shows to most of the places included in this itinerary). Even if the Adventures by Disney trip is not for you, we would recommend adding Japan to your travel bucket list–you will not be disappointed.
This isn’t just a chance to spread the word about Adventures by Disney’s Japan itinerary, nor an opportunity to shamelessly plug TravelCaffeine.com. We’re also wondering if there is interest in a group Adventures by Disney trip to Japan.
May 10, 2018 Update: Well, there’s definitely interest. Today, I’m going to try to figure out what the next steps are to make this a reality. I will email everyone once I have a better idea whether our desired dates are possible, to what degree we can customize, pricing info, etc. If you’re still interested, please be sure to email us within the next day or so to be included on future email updates.
Following yesterday’s email newsletter, two people reached out and asked about us going on a group trip, which got us thinking. Over the years, many of you have asked about Disney Tourist Blog trips, with a high number of those inquiries also focused on groups to Tokyo Disney Resort.
Our answer has always been pretty much the same, that we could not handle doing that–and that we aren’t nearly as outgoing in person as we might come across online. Well, this Adventures by Disney Japan trip would not solve the latter issue, but it sure would resolve the former.
After thinking about this pretty much non-stop since yesterday, my interest is really piqued. We are incredibly passionate about Japan, and I think it’d be a blast to share the country with others. I envision the experience of taking like-minded Disney fans to Tokyo Disney Resort for the first time as being roughly equivalent to seeing Walt Disney World or Disneyland anew through the eyes of your kids. 😉
The gears are starting to spin as I think about what this would entail, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we need to figure out if there’s enough interest in a group Adventures by Disney Japan trip in Fall 2019. You don’t have to offer a firm commitment right now—we’re just floating the idea to see if there are likely enough people who would go to justify us digging deeper into the logistics.
We know Adventures by Disney does private group trips because we’ve seen other groups do them (and we’ve been asked about doing one in the past). We also know that some amount of itinerary customization is possible if a group sells out a trip.
If we’re going to do this, having a full trip to ourselves would be the goal as there are places we love in Kyoto that we think should be added to the itinerary. We’d also add more nighttime optional activities to really pack the schedule, such as an evening photo walk of Fushimi Inari, temple autumn illumination visits, and a nighttime stroll through Gion & Higashiyama, among other possibilities.
For the trip, our target dates are not presently on the Adventures by Disney calendar. I have no clue if this is possible, but going next year during autumn foliage season would be ideal as the fall colors in Kyoto (and throughout Japan) are simply breathtaking, and we think this is the perfect time to visit Japan.
Ideally, we would have the trip starting the week of November 3, 2019. This would put the trip in time for near-peak colors in Kyoto, but before peak crowds arrive. This would also end the itinerary at Tokyo Disney Resort around the start of their Christmas season, which is also an uncrowded time of year there. (Again, we don’t know if these dates are even possible from Adventures by Disney’s perspective.)
With all of that said, we want to be fully transparent and realistic: Adventures by Disney offers premium guided tours at premium prices. The base rate for their Japan trip is ~$10,000 per adult. That’s before any modifications or adding on Tokyo Disney Resort. This is significantly more expensive than a comparable trip to Japan would cost without Adventures by Disney.
Moreover, Japan is not a destination for which we think tour guides are a strict necessity. To the contrary, our mission with posts about Tokyo Disney Resort here and about Japan in general on TravelCaffeine has been to assist people in visiting on their own. Certainly, tour guides can enhance any trip and make it easier, but most people would feel comfortable and safe in Japan without guides.
If you’re on a budget or are fine traveling internationally without a group, this may not be for you. From our perspective, Adventures by Disney best serves people who desire the group dynamic, stress-free travel, and/or VIP treatment. (Not that we are seasoned Adventure by Disney pros or anything–that’s just what we’ve surmised.)
This might sound like a pretty weak sales pitch, and that’s because it’s not intended to be a sales pitch. Rather, we’re putting this out there in neutral terms, tempering our enthusiasm for the trip with its objective realities, to see if there’s actual interest in a group trip like this. We think this is potentially a really fun group trip option based on reader feedback we’ve received in the past, but if there’s not presently interest in it, no harm no foul.
To that end, if you are interested in an Adventures by Disney group trip to Japan, please contact us with the number of people in your party. While this is not yet a firm commitment (that’d be pretty difficult without dates!), spots will be saved on a first-come, first-served basis in the order that emails are received. I don’t know how many spaces are even available on Disney’s end, but I’m guessing a couple dozen. I’ll follow-up via email once I determine whether the trip is viable both in terms of numbers and in terms of whether Adventures by Disney can add a group trip to their calendar in Fall 2019.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
Have you done an Adventures by Disney itinerary? What did you think of the experience? If you’ve visited Japan, do you recommend it to others? Any questions? Hearing your feedback is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
This is certainly a carefully thought-out, entertaining and family-oriented itinerary and participants will , without a doubt, enjoy themselves tremendously. The hotels are also great. However I do have a contention. The tours and places covered in the itinerary do not seem to justify being classified as truly premium. They are, more or less, mainstream places which are covered generally by the mainstream group travel companies. They do not really justify the high price tags put in place to differentiate them as premium top of the class pedigree products. For instance, in Tokyo, to be truly considered premium, I would expect an inclusion to visit the highest observation deck of Tokyo Skytree. In Paris, it would be an expectation to visit the summit level of the Eiffel Tower. Travel products of this level and nature are should be in place to define the experiences as truly high end and highly differentiated from the mainstream. I do not agree that the itineraries do true justice to the high cost of the programs.
I guess two important questions are: would one have to start in the US for airfare etc (UK person here) and would it be suitable for someone with almost no interest in photography? I like looking at your photos but iphoneography in WDW is about as far as I have ambitions to go!
A group trip with others who know the area or at just enthusiastic does sounds interesting to me. But I don’t think we could do a Disney adventure right now. I also wonder how good of company we would be with two smaller kids.
For feedback sake.
Sent e-mail yesterday Wife and I are definitely interested in this.
Got it! I will be responding to everyone who has emailed thus far once we are able to get ahold of someone from Adventures by Disney who can give us insight into feasibility. I’m hoping that will be before the end of the week, so stay tuned! 🙂
Awesome we look forward to updates
Hopefully one day but $20k for the 2 of us is out of budget at the moment!
I have visited Japan multiple times and lived there with my family for 5 months for work reasons. I adore Japan. It’s not as hard to get around as you would imagine, so I have a hard time justifying the cost of the trip to myself…but, I understand it can be intimidating.
But, I’d recommend visiting Japan at least once in a lifetime to anyone. The food, the culture, the sights, the food. Lol. My son was only 4 when we were there and he really really wants to go back. The parks (roller slides especially) are bonkers for kids. I’ve promised him a trip when he’s in high school if I don’t make it back there for work before then.
My blog has tons of day trips we too know when we had time….
We want to go to Japan some day, but those prices and dates do not work! We are also the more go-it-yourself type, although the service and access offered by ABD sounds great.
I love this idea! Too bad $9K per person is completely out of range for us 🙁 My vote is for DTB to start there own travel co. with more reasonable prices!
I second that
Awesome! I sent you an email. 🙂
Your past sales pitches worked, because we also already booked! We are looking forward to finally seeing the places you’ve raved about. Maybe if you are able to confirm the group dates and pricing, we can see about changing our travel dates.
Sounds like fun. But we already booked it!