Viva Italia!


Cindy Richards


To tour or not to tour? I never debate that question when I’m traveling in the United States, but when it’s time to head to a foreign country, I wonder: Is it better to let a bus driver and tour director guide me through a land where I’m not fluent?

Believing that traveling with children is an adventure in and of itself, when it was time to introduce my kids to Europe, I opted for a tour put together by the company that knows how to entertain kids—Disney.

Our nine-day, eight-night "Viva Italia!" tour by Adventures by Disney was a great adventure. It included a taste of Rome, Tuscany, Florence (where my son gazed up at Michelangelo’s "David" and blurted out: "I don’t get it. It’s just some naked guy.") and Venice. The other families also had kids who were young teens, which was no doubt a key to my kids’ enjoyment.

The tour itself was organized and efficient, with adequate down time for the kids, exactly the sort of thing you would expect from Disney. Our only complaint was the food. Generally, the tour included two meals a day but mostly they were pre-ordered. It shouldn’t have been a problem in a country famous for kid-friendly fare such as pizza and pasta, but the kids’ meals on our tour were more often burgers and fries that didn’t taste anything like the burgers and fries back home.

But it was nice to relax while someone else drove, particularly since I was traveling alone with the kids and would have been doing all the navigating myself. Leaving the work to James and Cynzia, our terrific tour guides, meant I got a vacation, too.



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