NYC - Adult Only 25 - 28 2017 Trip Report

Discussion in 'Adventures By Disney' started by RebelHawk, May 23, 2017.

  1. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Pre day -2.

    After getting back from our first ABD Peru trip in 2016 my wife and I knew we were hooked on ABD. Just 48 hours after we returned home, we booked our next trip for 2017 to New York City.

    https://www.disboards.com/threads/peru-–-adult-only-20-–-29-sept-2016-trip-report.3549595/

    Being that my wife Brigitte never had a proper NYC trip and I hadn't been as an adult we decided to book a couple of pre days to do some sight seeing that wasn't included in our ABD itinerary. Doing a couple of quick google searches we came across New York 1 tour company and after reading many glowing reviews we reached out to them. We went ahead and booked an eight hour private tour so we could tailor the trip to exactly what we wanted. They were great to work with and we hammered out a schedule and were told we would hear from our guide the day before our tour. We booked our ABD trip, the pre hotel days and our flight through our awesome Dreams Unlimited TA and then came the nine month wait after we booked the trip.

    The day finally arrived and we had an early morning direct flight and arrived at LaGuardia at 8:30AM EST. After disembarking we made our way to the baggage claim with me focused on scanning the arrival boards to see where our luggage was meeting us. My wife starting yelling my name and as I spun around to see why she was trying to get my attention I noticed the gentlemen standing right beside me holding a sign with my name, our ABD trip had begun. Our very polite but oddly silent driver helped us with our luggage and expertly delivered us to the Intercontinental Time Square hotel. Since we arrived at the hotel just before 10AM it wasn't a surprise that our room wasn't ready so we headed around the corner to a local diner recommended by the hotel concierge. What do you get for breakfast on your first day in NYC? Well I got pancakes but Brigitte did it properly and got a bagel all the way.

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    We went out to wander the city and it wasn't long before we got a text from the hotel notifying us that our room was ready. We made a bee line over to the room, received an ABD welcome letter, unpacked and relaxed before meeting up with our AWESOME New York 1 tour guide Eric. Obligatory photos of the room.


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    Since our pre day tour isn't focused on ABD I'll skip the details but we clocked a total of 13.1 miles (I should get one of those marathon stickers for my car) and got to see most of midtown to south manhattan finishing with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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    Tomorrow is pre day -1 with the Statue of Liberty, Natural History Museum and a Yankees game (if we can make it that long).
     
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  2. tink1970

    tink1970 DCL Platinum

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    Thanks-we've looked at this ABD but have held off...your TR might be the tipping point :)
     
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  4. AquamarineSteph

    AquamarineSteph DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to read more about this one. It's been on my radar.
     
  5. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Pre day -1

    Again since this isn't part of the ABD trip I'll be brief. We had an early start with another packed itinerary. After our guided tour the previous day and a handy NYC Subway app on our phone we felt confident that we could navigate this city of 8.5 million people, we were mostly right. After a couple of missed cues on finding and boarding the correct trains we finally started making some headway. Our first stop was the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I can't even say how much of a must do item this is on a trip to NYC. I get that the complexity of dealing with a large group of people through security can be difficult but if ABD can handle connecting flights on trips in Peru (and other countries) I think they could coordinate getting a group through security and around a national monument. As an added bonus it is Fleet Week here in NYC so we were treated to a parade of ships pulling into the ports. The sailors were lining their deck's and with the Statue of Liberty in the background it was a sight to behold. Make sure you book your Statue of Liberty trip WAY in advance, we booked out a few months prior to our trip and we were only able to get Pedestal Tickets and couldn't go all the way to the Crown of Lady Liberty. We did get to see the stairs leading up to the crown and with all the walking from the previous day and the looming miles for the trip ahead, I think we were okay with missing this one.

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    After returning to the city on the ferry, we boarded the subway and headed to Grand Central Station. We wandered around for a bit grabbed lunch in the dining concourse before heading back out. We made it up to Central Park and got wonderfully lost before making it back out to the Natural History Museum.

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    Our last stop for the day was Yankee Stadium for our first MLB game. Being that we are not only not Yankee fans, we aren't really baseball fans, so the cheapest seats in the house were in order. We stayed for the first 4 endings before grabbing a "traditional" hot dog and a beer and got to enjoy watching Aaron Judge hit a home run before heading back to the hotel.

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    Tomorrow between 9 - 2 we meet our ABD guides!
     
  6. OhanaCuz

    OhanaCuz Take me away mouse!

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    I've never been to NYC. This interests me greatly.
     
  7. Chirple

    Chirple Mouseketeer

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    Great pictures! One tip for those who might want to catch a baseball game while in NY--Citi Field where the Mets play is less expensive than Yankee Stadium, and it's a direct ride on the #7 train from midtown. If your only option is the Yankees, by all means take advantage of the opportunity.
     
  8. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Day 1

    Finally our first official ABD NYC Adult Only trip is here! We started our first day with a huge bang by sleeping in, yeah! Our guides were setup in the lobby this morning and greeting all of the guests between 9AM - 2PM today. After waking up we did a quick check on the weather and just as was predicted it was going to rain all day long. We did a quick plan revision for our non-ABD stuff in the morning and made our way to the lobby around 9:30. We were the first guests to check in with our guides Monique and Stefan and there are a total of 20 guests on this trip. We sat around and chatted with them for a few minutes and discussed what we were doing and what was happening for our trip. After delaying heading out into the rain as long as we could we finally put on our rain jackets and made our way out into the city for our third day of self touring.

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    We made our way over to Rockefeller Center and wandered into a few shops before walking over to the New York City Library. What a beautiful and historic building. I think that if we did that again we would look at doing a tour as I think it would be that interesting (or maybe I'm that boring). After we were mostly dry we suited back up and headed back into the rain to walk down to the Empire State Building. As we were walking we noticed through the rain the Flatiron Building coming up a few streets away. While I certainly don't know my way around the city I knew from our mapped out plans that we somehow missed the Empire State Building completely. Well we walked the rest of the way down to the Flatiron before turning around and heading back the way we came. Once we got close to the Empire State Building we quickly saw why we missed it as we walked past, only about the first ten floors were visible. The clouds were so heavy that we couldn't see the top at all. We figured on another modification to our plan and didn't go to the top as there would have been zero view. Plan B, I followed my lovely wife around Macy's while she shopped. After picking up a few pretty items we headed back to the hotel for a nap before our group assembled for our welcome dinner at 5PM.

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    We had a nice but relatively forgettable meal in one of the hotel's conference rooms and got to meet everyone. The demographic of our group trended older than our Adult Only Peru trip last year with only 25% of us being in our 20s to 40s. This was a big question we were asked on our Peru trip but I just don't see this being a factor for the NYC trip. After dinner we took a short break before reassembling and meeting in the lobby to do our first guided tour, Experience The Ride. This bus tour took us around the Times Square and downtown areas with the high energy tour guides on the bus in an interactive, comedic, informational and just plan fun tour. I can say hands down that I will book this tour on my own if we come back to NYC in the future. We were out and around town for 90 minutes of non stop laughs and entertainment before being brought back to our hotel. We circled up in the lobby for a quick review of tomorrow and sent off on our own before meeting up for our 6:15AM meet time for tomorrow.

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  9. Chirple

    Chirple Mouseketeer

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    I like your wife's Plan B!
     
  10. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel

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    Glad you're still having fun despite the rain! Weather is one of those things even Disney can't control! :)

    Sayhello
     
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  11. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Day 2


    We had an early morning wake up so we could get down to the Good Morning America ABC studios. Everyone circled up in the hotel lobby at 6:15 before going for a short walk over to 42nd street. We arrived to see a large crowd of people hanging out on the street hoping for their shot to get on TV during the broadcast. We were quickly whisked past them and into a side entrance to the building. After being told repeatedly by multiple people to make sure that our phones were on vibrate and no flash photography would be allowed we were escorted inside. We were taken upstairs and walked through the studio that they use for the 2nd 8AM segment and got to see all the staging and setup before heading down to the Green Room where we were going to wait before going into the main news studio on the first floor. Our guides brought in some bagels, donut holes and waters for us and we settled in for a short wait. Once our escort came by we followed them quietly down to the stage entrance for another short wait. it didn't take long before our guides came back out to inform us that we wouldn't be allowed into the studio this morning due to a couple of factors. I heard two different reasons but the bottom line is ABD isn't in charge of everything that happens and the stage manager thought it wouldn't be worth the short time we would be allowed in before being sent to Central Park for the Summer Concert Series featuring Florida Georgia Line and Nelly.

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    Our guides in true Disney fashion fixed another issue before we even knew something was wrong. The bus driver that was taking us to Central Park was asking us to load into the soaking wet cold top open air section of the bus prior to filling in the dry warm lower section. Stefan and Monique jumped into action and convinced them to let us load first and into the bottom section. After loading in we were whisked off to Central Park where we had a reserved section of the viewing area just for us to watch the concert from. While this was off to the side and not directly in front of the stage we also weren't blocked in. As the show anchors arrived from the studio we were allowed to move around the areas and many of our group were on air during different segments. Brigitte and I opted to stay as close to the stage as we could get as we are Florida George Line fans and were just lucky enough for Micheal Strahan to stop long enough to shake hands before heading off to one of this filmed segments. It happened so fast that my wife didn't get her camera out in time but that wasn't the reason we were there.

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    After GMA went off air we were treated to a few more songs by GFL. Once they officially wrapped, our guides brought us back to our awaiting couch and headed off to the New Amsterdam theatre for a privately guided tour and a special treat. After arriving we paused out front of the theatre where the Genie's lamp was setup for a perfect photo opportunity. We did group and individual photos before moving inside where a group of three theatre cast members lead us on a vivid tour of the amazing history behind the venue. Once we were finished we were lead up on stage where we were able to see what the broadway stars get to enjoy every day. While no one decided to belt out a rendition of "A Whole New World" we did get to see how some of the back drops moved and were stored and some autographs where many celebrities have signed the stage walls.



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    Then came our first big surprise. We were able to handle and even wear some of the props from previous shows that had graced this breathtaking stage.

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    After we "wrapped" our Boardway stage debut we boarded our chariot for lunch at John's Pizzeria. We had an all you cared to eat selection from across their menu and were advised to eat our pizza like a New Yorker, folded. But if we chose to eat it with a knife and fork we were assured that no one would mock us (to our faces). After a huge carb load we headed back out for a private Broadway workshop where we go to learn one of the opening acts from Aladdin. Now that we were all tuckered out and still over stuffed from lunch we were released for some on our own time. For my wife and I this meant a walk back to the hotel and a nice little nap before heading out to for dinner on our own. Once we woke we didn't really want a big meal so figured that we would pop into the New York Beer Company that was located across the street from the hotel. If you are looking for good service, okay atmosphere and HORRIBLE food then this is the place for you. Once we finished we headed back up to our room, freshened up and meet our guides before walking back over the the New Amsterdam Theatre for a truly magical show with the best seats in the house, front and center of the stage. Now here we are 48 hours later and we're still walking around singing some of the songs. While all of the cast were great Genie stole the show, this is a must do show even if you don't do it with ABD but good luck getting those fantastic seats for the nearly sold out show.

    After the show it was time to head back to the hotel and fall asleep for a much needed rest.
     

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    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  12. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Day 3

    We got to sleep in this morning and didn't meet downstairs until 8:45. We slept in for a bit and then went down the street for a breakfast bagel then wandered down to Times Square. It was so silent and peaceful as compared to the chaos that we found as we walked and drove through on previous days. We finished our breakfast on the walk back to the hotel and once again boarded our bus this time to head uptown to Harlem. Our ABD guides kept up a running dialogue giving us the low down on each section of the city as we drove through them. We finally arrived in Harlem where we picked up our local guide for the morning, Mr. Harlem. He joined us on the bus as we made it through the neighborhood that he grew up in and giving us the run down on many of the events that shaped Harlem into the area it is today. After a short drive we arrived at the walking portion of our trip. We disembarked and started a peppy upbeat stroll through history where we heard more stories of local heroes and cultural events of the city. We finished our stroll with a stop at a local fruit stand for a quick snack and we bid Mr. Harlem a warm farewell, next stop the historic Apollo theater.

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    We regrouped and grabbed a few shots in front of the Apollo and were met by Mr. Apollo himself, Billy Mitchell. With his fifty years of history working in and around The Apollo he was a walking encyclopedia of countless stories of some of histories most influential musical stars. After a history lesson of the theatre and some of the highlights of his career we were offered the opportunity to perform on one of the sound stages. Typically we would have been on the main stage for this but Fox was setting up for a relaunch of the the show Showtime At The Apollo. Some brave members from our group plucked up their courage and graced the stage for a few minutes of fame singing or telling a few simple jokes. After we finished our tour at the Apollo we headed for lunch at the wildly popular Red Rooster for some soul food. While all of this was good it was a little bit less exotic for Brigitte and I coming from the south. Fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread and many other sides were in plentiful supply as we ate all that we could hold. Up next was One World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

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    We boarded our bus and headed to what was a tremendously emotional visit that brought up some hard memories but what a breath taking stop. This is something that must be seen and even now writing this trip report I find those same emotions bubbling up again. While I did take many photos I feel that this was more of a personal trip that no photos can do justice. Put the 9/11 Memorial on your to do list. After the memorial we were taken to the top of the One Trade Center for some beautiful views of the city.

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    Our final stop of the trip was the Tenement Museum. We were divided into three groups and sent to three stops in history where we visited some costumed historians who portrayed the residents of 97 Orchard St. With very accurate recreations of apartments from each time period we were encouraged to ask question regarding their lives and views on the world. We then reconvened as a group to discuss our experiences and hear about the the outcome of their lives and their families to date. Afterwards we divided back into two groups and sat down to enjoy a dinner from some of the local eateries and artisanal specialist that are carrying on the food making traditions from the past. After our farewell dinner we said our goodbyes to the group at large and made our way back to the hotel for another much needed sleep. Tomorrow was our departure date and Brigitte and I were getting up a 3:30 for a 4AM car service to the airport.

    This was a great trip and a credit to ABD. The guides were great and the trip well put together. While this was billed as a long weekend adventure, and that is what we got, it should be stretched out to a much longer trip as there is so much to see and do. We loved the pre days we did and would highly recommend this to any first time or infrequent visitor to NYC. If there are any questions regarding the trip please let me know and I'll be happy to try to help.
     
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  13. mmouse37

    mmouse37 DCL Diva!!

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    Nice trip report. We live only about 20 minutes outside of NYC but don't get in enough. I have been to several of the Disney productions at the New Amsterdam and absolutely loved Mary Poppins and Aladdin!! That theatre is gorgeous!!!

    My husband worked for the Port Authority as a PO for 30 years and was involved in the whole 9/11 event losing many friends and fellow officers (PAPD lost the highest volume of police as their police station was in the basement of the Twin Towers). We have yet to make it down to the museum...too many painful memories but I would like to do it eventually. His good friend, John McLoughlin's story was featured in the movie "World Trade Center" and played by Nicholas Cage. It is an unbelievable story of how John and other PAPD officers were trapped in the rubble.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2225418/?ref_=tt_ov_wr

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0469641/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1


    Glad you had a great time in NYC. Sorry the weather was not better...this has been a very strange Spring weather wise.

    I am heading out on my first ABD in July on the Danube River cruise and can't wait!!

    MJ
     
  14. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    We finished up our shadow box for the trip. We've always talked about doing this for any trip we take but we finally finished our first one.

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  15. DISNEYCHICK77

    DISNEYCHICK77 Earning My Ears

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    Thank you so much for the trip report! I haven't been able to find anyone else that has done this before, so thank you for that. Do you by any chance have the actual itinerary for this trip? I'm trying to see the specific time schedule of each day. We'll be traveling with family that won't be on the trip and I wanted to meet up with them on our off times. Thank in advance for you help!
     
  16. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    I didn't keep an exact time diary for our arrivals and departures but it was something like this...

    Thursday:
    • 9 AM Checkin with ABD Guides
    • 9:30 - 4:30 On your own time
    • 5 PM Dinner
    • 6:30 The Tour
    • 9:00 On your own for the evening
    Friday:
    • 6:45 Meet in lobby to walk over to GMA
    • 7 AM Drove to Central Park for concert
    • 10 AM Tour New Amsterdam Theater
    • Noon Lunch at John's Pizzeria
    • 1:30 Broadway Theater Workshop
    • 4 PM On your own
    • 7:15 Meet in lobby and walk over to New Amsterdam Theater for Aladdin
    • 10 PM On your own for evening
    Saturday:
    • 8:45 Meet in lobby to drive to Harlem
    • 10:30 Apollo Theatre tour
    • Noon Red Rooster
    • 1:30 9/11 Memorial and then to the top of Freedom Tower
    • 4:00 Tenement Museum followed by dinner and farewells
    • 10 PM chatting with everyone in the lobby for an hour saying real goodbyes
    Sunday
    • Depart for airport

    Times are far from exact but should be in the neighborhood and I hope this helps with your scheduling.
     
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  17. TXMemaw

    TXMemaw Mouseketeer

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    Thanks so much for your write up! My DH and I are doing the adults only tour over Labor Day weekend and your review has me even more excited than I already was. We're coming in a day early and staying an extra day. Just ordered my Statue of Liberty tickets. Thanks for the heads up on that.
     
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  18. DISNEYCHICK77

    DISNEYCHICK77 Earning My Ears

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    Did you get picked up in your own car, or was it a shuttle with other travelers?
     
  19. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    We were picked up at the airport and returned from the hotel to the airport via ABD provided car service. Everything was arranged on our behalf and worked very well. We flew in 2 full days early and were the only guests being picked up. Also on our return flight we were the first departure by a few hours so were also arranged with a car for just us.
     
  20. DISNEYCHICK77

    DISNEYCHICK77 Earning My Ears

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    Thank you for all the information. I have another question though. Were there any other expenses that you had to come up with? Like lunch at Roosters, or any other things that you had to pay for out of pocket?
     
  21. RebelHawk

    RebelHawk 42

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    Beginning with our first dinner we had to pay for our breakfasts each morning and one dinner on Friday night before going to see Aladdin. Everything else, tours, excursions and tickets were included with the ABD package. There wasn't a ton of time to go shopping on the tour as it was a go go go tightly packed scheduled for the most part. We actually did all of our shopping around NYC prior to the ABD portion of the tour stating up.
     

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