We had done most of our packing last night so we were able to sleep all the way until 6am for a 7am baggage pickup. After a quick breakfast (1 more chance for those awesome cinnamon rolls before we went back to healthy food), we loaded the motor coach and were on the road by 8am.

The drive from Moab UT to Grand Junction CO (another state I had never visited!) was about 2 hours in the rain. Yep, after absolutely perfect weather every single day of our trip, it finally was sucky and miserable on our day of departure. Cold (40-something degrees), wet and dreary. Welp, if it had to happen, let it happen today.

A dreary, wet, cold, miserable day

It was hugs all around when we left the bus…Tom had another bus tour to do, Chris and Mike were spending 1 more day in the area to finish up paperwork, some people were renting cars to continue their adventures (or just to fly out of Denver Airport) and the rest of us were flying towards our final destination. Janet and H., Tom and Melissa and Joe and I all had long (5-6 hours) waits for our planes (Janet & H. were actually going to be on the same plane as us, on the way to SLC) so we decided to take a Cab into the town of Grand Junction to walk around and maybe find something to eat, since the airport was tiny and only had a small snack bar that, as it turned out, was closed (the person who was supposed to man the snack bar apparently called out today. We’re talking TEENY TINY airport. Like “you can’t get to your gate early because the X-ray machine doesn’t get turned on until 45 minutes before your flight” teeny tiny). The taxi company couldn’t accommodate 6 people (there were only 3 drivers and no one was driving the van today) so Ed and Diane, who were renting a car, offered to take 2 people downtown.

After waiting for the taxi for 45 minutes, we finally met downtown. Janet & H immediately went shopping since they still needed to buy gifts for family. The rest of us had lunch at Weaver’s, a local tavern, where Joe and I both had bowls of chili. After that, Joe and Melissa decided to check out the Oktoberfest celebration they were having in town, while Tom and I decided to relax in the warmth and dryness of a local hotel lobby (Sharon + 40-degrees in Crocs in a sweatshirt = not good). Tom & Melissa left for the airport about a half-hour before us (their plane was actually after ours, but they had had bad plane karma so they wanted to give themselves plenty of time).

Grand Junction airport

If you turn your head to the left:

On the way home

The flights home were uneventful, except for the happiness of having an old “Song” plane as our flight from SLC to MCO, so we were treated to free music, videos, games, etc. My FIL picked us up at the airport and we picked up Pippi the following day.

Home

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MY IMPRESSIONS

This was our first Adventures by Disney tour and turned out to be one of the best vacations we ever went on. And we go on a LOT of vacations (grin). I think that Adventures by Disney definitely has a “winner” with this concept and hopefully they won’t dumb it down to mediocre quality as the years go on. I don’t think they will though….as with DCL, they have a LOT of competition out there so they have to keep the quality up in order to keep the Guests coming. Whereas at the parks, especially at WDW, they’ve “allowed” themselves to decrease the quality because other parks, like Six Flags and even Universal, don’t have that quality to begin with…with no competition comes complacency (the best thing that could have happened to WDW, from a Guest’s POV, is that USF would have lived up to its hype so that WDW would have to work to “keep up” with their neighbor down the road. The second best thing that could happen to WDW, which hopefully might happen someday, is that Lasseter turns an eye our way). Their being run by Imagineering, who tends to have their act together better than most other divisions of the company should also help to keep exceeding guests’ expectations. At least let’s hope so.

Our Adventure Guides, Chris and Mike, were just amazing. Friendly, funny, knowledgeable, always thinking ahead and and always willing to take that little extra step (or sometimes that medium-sized step) to make our vacation as magical as possible. They were hand-picked from hundreds upon hundreds of applicants and the quality really showed. We also lucked out that our bus driver, Tom, and just about all of our “local experts” were particularly good at what they did (which bus driver and “local expert” you got was the luck of the dice…who was working that week).

Chris B.

Mike C.

Tom K.

Tom at work

We like the bus!

Not that anyone could have planned it, we also couldn’t have asked for better weather. Pleasant temperatures, no rain, barely any clouds. Chris and Mike told us the horror stories of being in the desert in 110 degrees in the summer, or being on tours where the rain just never stopped. Our weather was just perfect.

Finally, we also couldn’t have asked for better people to tour with. Having an option of going on an Adults Only tour was a beautiful thing. We were lucky in that our group was small, so instead of being 40 people who broke up into smaller groups, we were 16 people, ranging in age from 30’s to 60’s, who switched between each other most of the time. Everyone was friendly and pleasant…no freaks, no drama queens, no pricks, no personality disorders. So I also thank Cindy & Mike S. from Oveido FL (our neighbors!), Diana and Ed P. (a.k.a. “Steve’s mom” and “Doc Severinsen”) from Ube PA (Bucks Cnty), Maribeth W. & Stephen K. from Canaan CT (nowhere near New Canaan), Janet and H. B. from Hudson Valley NY (our old neighbors!), Marcia V. and Chuck J. from Orange Cnty CA, Jackie G. and Mark J. from Arlington MA (near Boston) and Melissa (a.k.a. Gail H.) and Tom C. from Indianapolis IN (hopefully to be retired soon ). Without you guys, our vacation wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun as it was. Thanks so much and we hope to travel with you again, on future Adventures by Disney vacations!

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