Is it still a Disney vacation without the theme parks?

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I have been to Disney’s Vero Beach resort.  I have toured the one at Hilton Head, as well.  And while, yes, these resorts are beautiful and the level of customer service is everything you would expect from the Walt Disney Company…I cannot bring myself to say that I, personally, would consider at stay at either of them as a Disney vacation.

I’m sure I am in the minority here because really, the Walt Disney Travel Company offers so much more than just theme park vacations.  With the Disney Cruise Line and the ever expanding Adventures by Disney, there is so much to offer families.  But for me, if I am going to book a “Disney Vacation” you can be sure that at some point, I had better be skipping down Main Street USA or being dropped thirteen stories from the Hollywood Tower Hotel!

I think it’s great that Disney has branched out to offer so many different kinds of vacation experiences and believe me, some of them look amazing.  If I had the money, I might be tempted to try several of them – just as long as there was a stop for a day or two for the parks.

I’ve gone on trips to Orlando and to the Walt Disney World Resort where I’ve scaled back my time in the parks.  I’ve spent the day shopping in Downtown Disney, I’ve stayed poolside for an afternoon but as sad as it may sound, if I had the choice I would opt to just spend my time slowly touring the parks and restaurants and resorts that are there on the Florida property.

Is that lame?

On the cruise, you can book a land and sea package and while you are on the ships, you are surrounded by all-things Disney.  If I wasn’t afraid of the water (and sinking!) I would totally try this and be very happy. I could easily find happiness dining with the characters, watching fireworks at sea and seeing Disney-based Broadway style shows.

But the Adventures by Disney are still a bit foreign to me – mostly I think the word “Adventure” scares me.  I’m not adventurous or “outdoorsy” so these vacation packages don’t really speak to me.  I consider sprinting through the rope drop to get to Space Mountain first the most adventurous part of my trip or perhaps riding the Kali River Rapids without a poncho!  Real white water rafting?  No…no thank you.  Most of these packages that are being offered are also not anywhere near the “value” vacation that I come to equate with Disney.  I know that I can get an all-inclusive vacation for my family for under $2500 – especially during a free dining promotion.  These adventure vacations?  That $2500 is sometimes the cost per person!

Granted, I know that these trips take you to other countries, they are for 10-14 days.  I get it.  To me, they are just glorified exotic destination packages with Disney’s name on it.

So what do you think?  Are these non-theme park destination a real Disney vacation or do you, like me, crave being in the parks for at least part of the time?

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