Adventures by Disney, the Mouse's escorted tour brand, has eliminated its lower-priced Gateway Collection for 2012.
The Gateway Collection was launched last year as a handful of itineraries priced between 15 and 30 percent below regular Adventures by Disney tours, with more free time built in. But apparently, families are willing to pay, and get, a little more to travel the world the Disney way.
The Gateway Collection "probably created more confusion than it did good," said Josh D'Amaro, vice president of Adventures by Disney.
Indeed, the Gateway tours were one of three options offered by Adventures by Disney, which in addition to its standard tours also sells a Signature Collection of tours, departures that are upgraded with more luxurious accommodations, gifts, special evening entertainment and spa treatments.
For next year, there will be only one Signature itinerary to Italy and the rest will be standard Adventures by Disney tours. But without the lower cost Gateway Collection, the question is, how much of a premium are families willing to pay to have one of the world's most recognized brands take them on vacation?
Well, first off children under the age of 12 do pay slightly less. So, for instance, Adventures by Disney's 10-day Egypt vacation ranges from between $5,699 and $7,079 per adult, and between $5,409 and $6,739 per child. The nine-day Peru vacation ranges from $3,079 and $3,729 per adult, and between $2,929 and $3,549 per child.
To take your family on an eight-day Grand Canyon tour with your family will cost from $3,029 to $3,719 for adults, and from $2,879 to $3,529 for children.
For comparison, Trafalgar's 11-day Enchanting Canyonlands Family Experience tour for 2012 ranges from $2,429 to $2,479 per person. The itineraries are different in length and scope, so it's not fair to directly compare the two, but this is just to get a sense of Adventures by Disney's pricing.
Scott Liljenquist, co-owner of Draper, Utah-based Mouseketrips, a Disney travel specialist, said that the Adventures by Disney tours, unlike the more accessible theme parks, are "definitely a premium, high-end product."
But, he noted, families book the trips because of the strength of the Disney brand and because they have a sense that "everything will be taken care of" while they're on their trip.
Is that the Disney difference? Would you trust Disney to take your family on vacation? Let us know.
As for 2012 destinations, Adventures by Disney is also adding to its lineup a 10-day Greek Odyssey itinerary that includes Athens, Santorini and Crete, and an eight-day Esprit de France itinerary with stops in Paris, Normandy and the Loire Valley.
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