Thoughts on ABD's at almost max capacity?

DisneyWishes14

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 21, 2011
I called today and placed a hold on the March 2020 Australia ABD. I found out, during the call, that that tour is now 2 guests shy of being at capacity making it quite a large group (currently 36 guests). For those that have been on the Australia trip (or any ABD really!) with a group that size, could you give me some feedback on your experience? Did it feel too big? Did you feel kind of lost in the shuffle? Or do the guides do a good job managing the group? I just want to make sure I'm making a good choice for my family before we fly 20 hours and plop down all that cash, LOL!
 

AddictedtoTravel

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 29, 2010
I expect you'll get quite a bit of feedback regarding group size. It's been a topic of conversation over the past couple of years. I've been on trips that have had 20ish to 40ish. I am probably the outlier, I don't mind travelling in a group. It's just my daughter and I and we travel a bit on our own so when we go on a group trip we really enjoy the people. She was 8 on her first ABD and will be 19 on her 12th this March. She has met friends on each and every one and we've actually traveled again with some both intentionally and some by wonderful surprise.
 

sayhello

Have Camera, Will Travel
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
I haven't done the Australia ABD, so I can't comment on that one. I think it really depends on the trip. On the Iceland ABD, we had 39, and it was WAY too many people. A lot of that had to do with Iceland's infrastructure (or lack thereof). Places just weren't able to handle 39 people showing up all at the same time. We'd show up places, and there'd only be 2 bathrooms, so we stood in line a lot, and missed some things because of that. Food was often cold by the time we got served. Things like that. The Adventure Guides really did try their best (and their best was excellent), but the trip already is challenging due to having 28 hours of bus time - the most of any ABD. It's necessary, because everything is so spread out, but it keeps people from mingling as much as they would off the bus. I actually ended this ABD without knowing the names of a few people on the trip!

On the other hand, we had 39 on my Med Cruise add-on, and it was absolutely not a problem at all. I felt like the group melded and the Guides were on top of everything.

My first 2 ABDs had under 20 people each, and that was amazing. But it doesn't happen much anymore.

Most of my other ABDs have had around 30 people, give or take a couple, and that seems like a manageable number.

Sayhello
 

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  • DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    We took the ABD Australia trip with a very small group (14 people) and I think it was actually too small of a group for my taste. We like having the opportunity to meet others in our group and having other kids for ours to hang out with. In the larger groups I think you have a better chance to find people you want to hang out with. I also like getting to mix it up and not always eating with the same trip-mates, and the larger the group the better for that. I don't think there would be capacity issues on that trip. For Alaska the trip size was definitely an issue due to bathroom limitations.
     

    Grifdog22

    Barking Mad!
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2008
    I called today and placed a hold on the March 2020 Australia ABD. I found out, during the call, that that tour is now 2 guests shy of being at capacity making it quite a large group (currently 36 guests). For those that have been on the Australia trip (or any ABD really!) with a group that size, could you give me some feedback on your experience? Did it feel too big? Did you feel kind of lost in the shuffle? Or do the guides do a good job managing the group? I just want to make sure I'm making a good choice for my family before we fly 20 hours and plop down all that cash, LOL!
    I’ve been pretty vocal and critical of large groups in ABD especially in places
    Like Italy.

    However, our ABD Australia was full and it didn’t feel full at all. This is the only trip out of the six that we’ve done that it worked very well. As DC photogal said, with a smaller group on this trip it’s just not right.

    It’s hard to explain but every thing there is so huge that the group just doesn’t feel big.

    Maybe I’m blinded a bit by this being my favorite trip so I asked the family and they also said the same thing. Group size here was not a problem. Large meals and bathrooms were not a problem. Domestic flights-we owned half the plane. There was some power in the numbers.

    Take the leap. Australia is that good. Go, while they will still let us in. There are some good trip reports that will help you as well.
     

    carpenta

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 26, 2010
    After traveling with other companies that have much smaller group sizes I think it would be tough to return to a company that travels with such large numbers. The time that put us to look at other companies is our trip to Southwest Adventures and a full bus. People would show up 45 minutes to an hour early to get a seat on the bus. We were stuck in the last seats the whole trip because we refused to give up such a large time segment of our vacation for a seat. And it was HOT, HOT, HOT. Other companies deal with this issue much better. Good luck with such a large group for us we have found a better remedy.
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    I agree, the numbers have been quite a topic of consternation and it really depends on the infrastructure of the locales visited. I was most recently on the London/Paris/DLP podcast trip and the group size was absolutely a non issue. I can see where it could be on some adventures but it wasn't a problem at all there.
     
  • DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    Wow! Thank you for all of the great feedback everyone! I'm a bit torn. On the one hand, my DS12 has been begging to go to Australia, the March 2020 trip fits exactly into his spring break schedule, the price is better than it will be next year (or years to come, I'm sure) and March seems to be a lovely time to go to Australia! I should add, I've researched other tour company itineraries and really think ABD is the one that hits all the points of interest we are looking for. On the other hand - group size - though, GrifDog22 and DCPhotoGal, your comments regarding the capacity on the Australia ABD are heartening. Ok, I'm presenting my findings to DH and DS12 tonight. Thank you all for your help!
     

    melissaao

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Nov 19, 2019
    I called today and placed a hold on the March 2020 Australia ABD. I found out, during the call, that that tour is now 2 guests shy of being at capacity making it quite a large group (currently 36 guests). For those that have been on the Australia trip (or any ABD really!) with a group that size, could you give me some feedback on your experience? Did it feel too big? Did you feel kind of lost in the shuffle? Or do the guides do a good job managing the group? I just want to make sure I'm making a good choice for my family before we fly 20 hours and plop down all that cash, LOL!
    Hi! This might be much too late, but just this past summer a couple months ago in June I did the Australia trip. We had a HUGE group, but it honestly wasn't bad at all. We were able to meet so many people and since there weren't many activities where we had to be compacted together, it was really nice having a big group. Say hi to Judi for me if you go!!!
     

    abdgeek

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 29, 2012
    I did the Australia ABD a couple of years ago with a similar number of people and it was no issue. Because I usually travel during high peak times (summer and holidays), the ABD’s (Med Cruise add on, Greece, Italy Signature, China, Australia, NYC Short Escape) I’ve taken have all had about 35 guests on them. The Australian itinerary has changed since I did it, but we were usually broken into two groups for activities and each group went with one of the guides. To date, it’s never been an issue and the current maximum number doesn’t deter me from booking ABD’s. It’s hard to explain the amount of personal attention you get on an ABD if you haven’t experienced it. Hopefully, your family will have a positive experience if you decide to do the Australia ABD. It definitely ranks as my favorite ABD so far.
     
  • TravelJunkieHubby

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 28, 2019
    We did Italy in July 2018 and it was maxed out at 43... I think the guides as well as all the attractions are used to the crowd so it didn’t feel that abnormal. The farewell dinner/party in Venice is by far the most impressive of the 7 trips we’ve done so far, you’ll feel like you’re partying like a rock star.
     

    Donalyn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 2, 2008
    We had 34 on our Italy trip this last summer. That was a good number. The bus wasn't packed - room to spread out. The lines for the bathrooms and gelato weren't too long.

    I agree - loved the farewell dinner in Venice. (I sort of expected it to be corny, and found it to be lovely.)
     

    DCPhotoGal

    Photographer and Mom to 2 Princesses
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2011
    In a few weeks!
    My daughter and I are going in March (the first time we're splitting the family due to different spring breaks for my 2 girls), so I would love to hear your review and tips when you get back.
     


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