We also found time to check out the two places Uncle Charlie recommended for the kids: Il Doge for gelato and Ae Oche, his favorite pizza joint in town. They were both excellent.
The Disney difference
I’ve been on my fair share of tours and press trips, but this one was special.
People would come up to our group and say, “Look, it’s Disney!” And they’d ask us questions about how a Disney tour is different from, say, Tauck or Perillo. I would answer that by saying it isn’t what you experience, but what you don’t experience, that makes it special.
Disney goes to all the same places the other tours do. But it takes many of the hassles — dragging luggage around, standing in a long line to check into a hotel, waiting to get into the Forum — and quietly removes them. Our guides Courtney and Marco were working hard behind the scenes to make everything easy.
Then, Disney adds a little pixie dust, like the collectable pins for each day. Every day also has a theme. The pins combine the Italian theme with a Disney character. Mickey and Minnie are depicted on a gondola in one; in another Goofy is next to a castle.
The pins are marketing genius. Not only are they totally unique, and therefore valuable on the pin collection circuit — they also help market the next Disney “adventure.” When you’re back home, one look at the pins on your plastic badge will make you dream of the next tour, and maybe encourage you to book one.
Would we go back?
Would we take another Adventures by Disney tour? Absolutely. For our family of five, the extra price we paid for a guided tour was well worth the no-hassle promise. We’re already looking at Australia, Egypt and Peru for next year.
We noticed a lot of extended families on this trip. Some had three generations with them (kids, parents and grandparents) and they seemed to enjoy the tour. So next time, maybe we’ll take a set of grandparents to see how they like it.
In terms of Italy, we’ll definitely be back. I can’t say we’re fans of Rome, Florence or Naples, but we are head over heels in love with Venice and we are enamored of the coastal areas.
Maybe we’ll spend some time in Sardinia or Malta, or take the kids up to the Italian alps to go skiing.
But Venice. Ah, Venice. It’s unlike any other city in he world.
If we ever returned, it would be in the dead of winter, when the boatloads of tourists are gone. I think we might have a chance to see the city the way it really is.