Arizona/Utah trip "mimicking" ABD to save $$$

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by mickeymom629, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. mickeymom629

    mickeymom629 DIS Veteran

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    So, DH and I would love to do a trip like the ABD Arizona/Utah trip in 2019 (we'll be 60) but there is no way we are spending what it costs. So, I thought it would be fun to create a trip for ourselves that is similar in route, as this is definitely on our "bucket list".

    Have any of you ever done this - "copied" an itinerary on your own?

    We would love any suggestions! DH would love to raft in the canyons, but it's not something I want to do with him, unfortunately. Our dd recently wen to Utah and her photos of the Arches area are amazing, so I want to see that, too! I was wondering if it was just better to stay near the Nevada/Utah area rather than trying to go from south to north in about a week, though my plan was to fly into Arizona, rent a car...

    I really love the Red Cliff's lodge description and thought it maybe it would be nice to have a few nights there - is that a somewhat "central" location to sites?

    It seems hard to keep the costs down...
     
  2. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    I've never copied an ABD itinerary myself.

    You could certainly go to Arches and hike it yourself. There were other people hiking it while we were there, so I suppose you could just follow the crowd.

    I'm not sure what you mean by the "Nevada/Utah area". None of this ABD is in Nevada. It's Arizona and Utah. If you're doing the Grand Canyon, you want to do the part that's in Arizona. The part that's relatively close to Las Vegas is OK, but it's nowhere near as spectacular as the parts in the National Park. I do believe a lot of the area near Las Vegas is Reservation land that you need to get permission to go through.

    The Red Cliffs Lodge is really only central to Arches. It's really kind of out in the middle of nowhere (which is part of it's charm) and about half an hour outside of Moab. Arches is relatively closeby, and the Colorado River goes right next to it, so that's what makes it a great location. But it would not be a good central location for anything but Moab, Arches and the Colorado River. It takes a long time to get there from the Grand Canyon, and a long time to get to Grand Junction. The Red Cliffs Lodge is beautiful, and well worth visiting and spending time at, but you're not going to be able to do day trips out of there to much else beyond the immediate area.

    Sayhello
     
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  4. lucky1

    lucky1 Face Character

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    We live in the southwest and have done many of the adventure that is on the Arizona/Utah ABD. You can get to Grand Canyon from Phoenix easily but it is a drive and stops along the way can be Montezuma's castle (National Monument - Cliff Dwellings) and Sedona (I can not recommend any lodging there). Then up to through Flagstaff, you can take a detour and go to more national monuments Walnut Canyon - cliff dwellings) and Sunset Crater (volcano) and Waptaki (Native american pueblo dwellings) as you head up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon ( I would suggest you stay in the National Park, verse outside, since you want to spend your time seeing the Grand Canyon verses driving each day). Most of the lodging in the national park is moderate level and you need to book at least a year in advance if possible. Right on the Rim: Historic bright Angel Cabins, Thunderbird and Katchina lodges and the Grand daddy of them all El Tovar. A slight walk is Maswik lodge. Even further walk is Yavaphi lodge. Southwest Utah should not be missed (while not on the ABD tour, Bryce Canyon and Zion are so beautiful). In Moab, there are lots of places to stay and right in the center of town and easy drive into Arches. Red Cliff lodge is just beautifully situated along the Colorado river. In Moab, we used the Moab adventure center to take a 1/2 day Colorado rafting trip, this was very low key and not the Whitewater rafing trip you might experience going into the grand Canyon on a raft.

    Other places to see if you are heading SW Utah, is outside of Page, AZ is antelope Canyon, which you need to book in advance, because you must have a tour guide and they do book up. Also you can stop by Horseshoe bend (where the Colorado River
     
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  5. Woodview

    Woodview DIS Veteran

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    Of course you can ........ and why not .

    To start go to your local AAA and ask for fold out paper Maps for Arizona & Utah ( Old fashioned Maps are the best )

    Plan your Route using the maps ( Direct route from A to D OR the Indirect way A to B to C to D { this is a far better Option }

    How far do you wish to drive in a day ? 200 Miles is good including sightseeing

    Hotels use the same hotels OR Look up the city on " Google Earth " Type in city & when it appears search for Hotels

    Pick one & see what it looks like . does it have a swim pool & breakfast & an eating place nearby ?

    ....................

    Yes we do this ourselves in Europe & Canada & Australia & Scotland & some parts of Florida

    We do not live in USA but in Ireland.

    We DO rent a car ( Full to Full fuel & Unlimited Mileage ) as we fly to our destination

    We have being doing this for 40 + years with the children & now just the 2 of us.
    ............................................................

    April 10th fly to Florida , late May ,3 days, fly to Berlin (no car ) June Pau in France + into Spain ,

    Munich & Austria in September & Then 11th November ( 100years of the ending of 1st W W )

    In Amsterdam & Mons in Belgium with Floursies in France
     
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  6. Cassamenia

    Cassamenia Earning My Ears

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    I am glad that you started this thread because I have been too embarrassed to say that I am copying pretty much day to day the listed activities and restaurants for their Washington DC Philadelphia tour. For me this is a bucket list trip for my family but I cannot afford the price for the four of us. I wish I could. That said I live in a suburb of Phoenix and was raised in Southern Utah. Yours is a very doable vacaton by car. It is going to take you 4 or so hours to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix. Williams and Flagstaff and Sedona for that matter are beautiful and Arches and Zion are incredible. I find I cannot recommend Nevada at all unless Las Vegas appeals to you.
     
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  7. AquamarineSteph

    AquamarineSteph DIS Veteran

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    This is a great thread. When I am planning trips - in the US or abroad - I will often look at ABD touring plans or other companies' ideas to get a feel for what is a must see in certain areas.
     
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  8. AdamEfimoff

    AdamEfimoff DIS Veteran

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  9. AdamEfimoff

    AdamEfimoff DIS Veteran

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    You really should get a guide book. And do lots of research. And not just look at abd. I love researching. In fact this California trip I am working on took 10 years worth of research . But mine is not to save costs. Its to be more 'academic' and serious
     
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  10. DizMagic

    DizMagic DIS Veteran

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    We are on the upcoming adults only departure for this tour in May. very excited. But we were bummed it did not include Bryce Canyon and Zion. For those locals on those thread, we are looking to do this on our own. Do you recommend before or after? (We are thinking, after) And could we do both of those in 1 day or will we need 2 days for them both? Last question - where should we fly out of if we do these on back end? It almost looked just as easy to head back to Grand Junction and just fly out of there. Other recommendations?
     
  11. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    If you're doing them after the ABD, your other 2 options would be to fly out of Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. Grand Junction is a pretty small airport, with not a lot of flight options. Your only advantage to going back to Grand Junction would be doing a round-trip car rental vs. a one-way. Las Vegas is definitely closer.

    Sayhello
     
  12. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    We did a trip from Jacksonville, Fl. toCharleston, S.C. Similar to the Tauck itinerary. We rented a car at the airport and dropped it off at the other airport when we returned home from S.C.. We planned all our hotels and dining as well as tours. Saved a bunch of money and had a wonderful time. Within the U.S. it is quite easy and you can get all the tour books from AAA or and purchase on Amazon used...quite cheap.
     
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  13. mickeymom629

    mickeymom629 DIS Veteran

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    I appreciate the responses and, particularly, the detailed advice! I am thinking of a trip in early October 2019, so I hope I'm giving myself time to learn before needing to book things.

    Thanks for that advice! Good luck with your trip! I have lived in the Washington DC area and never thought to look at ABD to see what sites I may not have seen in my own "back yard". :)
     
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  14. Amanda999

    Amanda999 DIS Veteran

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    FYI Disney's site has pretty detailed daily itineraries for every trip - even names of hotels. (Also look at Tauck's and similar DC trips - they list out alot of the daily activities.) Of course some activities aren't available to the public, or you have to wait in a line, or buy tickets months ahead. HTH - I've done this exact exercise!
     
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  15. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    I agree that some of the hotels such as the Grand Canyon rim hotels reservations must be made months if not years in advance. Again it is about the preplanning and releasing yourself of that "burden" is a part of the appeal of companies such as ABD.
     
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  16. lucky1

    lucky1 Face Character

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    Agree... Las Vegas would be the best option to fly out of (after) or into (if before). If before then head down to the Phoenix airport, that is not that difficult of a drive, maybe about 6 hours. I would not suggest doing both Bryce and Zion in a day. While they are within reasonable driving distance from one another to make it doable, going out of the east entrance on zion on highway nine is very congested and they may shut it down from time to time to allow motor homes through the tunnels. I would give at least a full 2 days at Bryce, there is just so much to see and you will want to go into the canyon (much more doable than the grand canyon). For Zion, this national park is very tight and congested, we spent 2 days there each time we have gone, but if you are not going to hike, you can easily take the shuttle to each stop and look around and finish it in a day. Springdale is the cheapest place to stay. (just outside the west entrance) I know that inside Zion they book up quickly.
    For Bryce canyon, we like the lodge there because it is right on the edge of the canyon, there are a few options outside of the entrance at Bryce (best westerns, etc)
     
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  17. carpenta

    carpenta DIS Veteran

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    A couple years ago we tried to rent a car in Grand Junction CO. and return it in Las Vegas. We were unable to find any of the rental agencies to rent one way vehicles. Again do the research about the little things that you think would be possible but find out companies don't want to cooperate in your plans. I agree with Lucky1 that you must be at the parks first thing in the morning to avoid being shut out of touring due to high numbers of tourists.
     
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  18. DizMagic

    DizMagic DIS Veteran

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    good point. I do think we will probably rent from Moab and forgo the transfer the last morning to Grand Junction. Looks like it would save a little time. Right now, we are looking at changing flights to leave out of Vegas. that makes more sense. And would give us 1 day each for Bryce and Zion. Would love to spend more time, but atlas, won't work with our schedules.
     
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  19. quinnc19

    quinnc19 DIS Veteran

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    Regarding one way car rentals, I have been able to get reasonable rates when booking way in advance. I've mostly done it through Costco and found their rates were better than what I was finding on my own. I rented a car at Grand Junction and dropped it off in Denver, lovely drive by the way. I also have rented in Reno and dropped off in LA, and rented in Boston and dropped off in Philadelphia. I recommend checking picking up in a city and dropping off at an airport, in addition to just looking airport to airport. For Boston I saved several hundred dollars by picking up downtown versus the airport and it was more convenient for me anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  20. kristilew

    kristilew DIS Veteran

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    We did the Arizona/Utah ABD in 2009 and kind of wondered why we paid to do it with Disney. This is the one ABD we felt did not have enough special service to warrant the price. (I know others loved loved it, but for us, not so much)

    We have since returned to the area several times on our own. It is so easy. It's a beautiful drive from Sedona up through to Lake Powell (Page, AZ) - where, as Lucky1 says, you should definitely go to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, and to take a boat ride through the canyons. We easily did Sedona to Flagstaff, stopped for a yummy lunch, on to the cliff dwellings, then to Horseshoe Bend before checking in for a night in Page, then Antelope Canyon the next morning, lunch at Lake Powell Marina and a ride on the tour boat, and back down to Grand Canyon, ending up back in Sedona on that particular trip.

    You could also stop in at Grand Canyon on the front end, then keep going north. Everyone made a big deal about the ABD making sure we were there to see the elk, as though this was Disney magic, but honestly all 3 times we've visited the GC, the elk have been everywhere, including the parking lot.

    We haven't done Utah again, as we are thinking about a Utah-centric hiking trip one of these days, but again, not hard to do on your own. (We did it years ago for mountain bike trip, before tripadvisor and yelp, and even then it was easy-peasy.)

    If you like to hike, give yourself extra time in beautiful Sedona, where it there are many well-marked trails around the rock formations.

    Even if you hate to plan and organize, this is a trip you can do on your own with google maps and trip advisor.
     
  21. Jess_S

    Jess_S DIS Veteran

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    Since we're off the topic of following the ABD itinerary and just discussing Arizona/Utah travel more generally, I have a few suggestions. First, if you want to see Zion and Bryce, there are plenty of hotel and B&B options between the parks. You can then stay a few nights and choose which park to visit each day. I've visited the area twice, staying at B&B's both times. On one trip, I went with my parents and they were able to rent a small cabin on the property of one of the B&Bs, which gave us more space but we still got the B&B amenities.

    We did an Arizona road trip a couple of years ago. I will share my itinerary in case it's helpful. Our trip was 7 nights. We flew into and out of Phoenix. From Phoenix, we drove to Williams AZ, stopping off at Montezuma Castle and Fort Verde State Historic Park on the way. We booked a 3 night package through the Grand Canyon Railway that included 2 nights in Williams at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and an overnight in Grand Canyon National Park. The railroad was a fun way to travel to and from the canyon and the overnight gave us 24 hours in the park. That probably wouldn't be enough for serious hikers, but we felt like we saw a lot. The pizza pub at Maswick Lodge was a surprise trip highlight for me. It was very cozy after being outdoors all day. (I will say that the beds in the Maswick lodge are ridiculously uncomfortable). From Williams, we drove to Sedona the long way via Prescott, a cute old gold mining town in the hills. Then we spent a few days in Sedona hiking and relaxing.
     
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