Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Our view all day, every day. Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Exploring the West, Disney Style: Adventures by Disney, the entertainment company’s vacation tour operation, takes families on tours around the globe–from Vietnam on the other side of the world to the American West much closer to home. Cowboys, whitewater rafting, hiking and geysers with that special brand of Disney magic turns a family vacation into a family experience.

“Quest for the West” is an Adventures by Disney trip that includes soft adventure and sightseeing.  My teen daughter and I joined a mini press trip version of this tour that included the majestic Grand Teton National Park.

Disney’s goal with these tours is to take the thinking out of the trip so parents can enjoy the family vacation too–from the planning to the family photo albums delivered to participants at the end of the trip.

Adventures by Disney Difference

Adventures by Disney tour guide having fun. Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Adventures by Disney tour guide having fun. Photo credit: Kim Orlando / TravelingMom Founder

Our press trip started at The Wort, a gorgeous and very western hotel in Jackson.  We had time to explore the town of Jackson and get a special presentation by the local theatre group at lunch.  After Apple Beer (non alcoholic) and Huckleberry soda we did some class 2-3 whitewater rafting.  The water was 50 degrees and we got wet and we all loved it.  Day 2 included a hike to a gorgeous waterfall and a visit to Old Faithful, the most famous geyser at Yosemite.

After 2 nights at the Wort, we moved 90 minutes out of town to Brooks Lake Lodge where we hiked to the summit of Brooks Mountain where we could overlook Sublett Meadow, made s’mores, ate gourmet meals and slept in cozy log cabins.  We all witnessed the most gorgeous sunsets on earth.

Not having to drive, tip, choose restaurants or organize activities is new to me and I understand the benefits.  I have high expectations when I pay top dollar for a service.  Anyone can provide logistics so it’s about the extras and the small things that go a long way–small things like handing out Disney pins that can only be obtained on this Quest for the West trip.

The guides are very kid-friendly and knowledgeable about the area.  They kept the young kids engaged and safe but on this trip, they weren’t as successful engaging the teens.  This trip is still evolving and Disney will get it right; they always do. For now, I recommend this trip for families with young kids (10 & under).  My teen daughter was stuck at the kid’s table at dinnertime, cartoons on the bus and a backpack she she deemed “uncool.”

I would also like to see Disney and all family tour companies for that matter offer and use reusable water bottles.  Grand Teton National Park stopped selling plastic water bottles, period.  Instead they have water filling stations and the water tastes amazing.  This kind of initiative teaches kids and parents how easy it is to be green.