Adventure is out there! My Adventures by Disney Weekend in Nashville!

 

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If you are anything like me you probably never gave  guided vacations much thought.  I know I have always been one to look up what I want to do in a certain destination and I then plan out my days to include these activities.  As a Disney Vacation Planner, of course I am familiar with Adventures by Disney; a selection of guided vacations that Disney offers all over the world.  I decided it was high time to try out this way of travel and see what it was all about! I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to experience the Nashville Long Weekend departure as part of an agent education program and now I can tell you with certainty, that there is no better way to experience a destination than with Adventures by Disney.

Let me take you through my day and tell you a little about what ABD can offer you and your family that you simply are not going to find anywhere else.

Landing in Nashville

Landing in Nashville

I arrived into Nashville late in the evening on a Tuesday. One of my favorite things about airports is that they are kind of similar to reading the back of a book; a sneak peek into what may lie ahead. In Nashville the airport was an eclectic mix of leather boots, live musicians playing in the food courts and gate areas, and moon pies everywhere the eye could see. I have been to many many airports, but this one was incredibly unique! I could only imagine what the city had to offer.

I used a very reasonably priced transfer service to get me to my hotel. If you are looking for a great price on stay near Broadway and all the action, do check out the Holiday Inn Express. Its within walking distance of all the fun, and if you do not care to walk they offer a free shuttle to take you around the town!

The lobby of the Holiday Inn Express

The lobby of the Holiday Inn Express

 

Live music daily at the Holiday Inn Express

Live music daily at the Holiday Inn Express

I finished up some bookings I had been working on and headed to bed.

The morning came quickly and I was ready for my adventure.  I headed to the Nashville Sheraton Downtown to meet my Adventure guides and the other tour participants.

What is an adventure guide you may ask. On each Adventures by Disney departure you will have two guides that are your everything! They are your narrators, your entertainers, your saviors, your personal concierge and so much more. They carry back packs full of things you didn’t even know you needed! Disney’s Adventure guides adhere to every standard set forth for Disney Cast members. They are there to enhance your experience and ensure you have the best time possible.

Adventure Guide Extraordinaire!

Adventure Guide Extraordinaire!

My adventure guides were Kelley and Byron and they were fantastic. From start to finish they never wavered.

We loaded up on our bus around 11am and headed out to the famed Blue Bird Cafe. This little listening room has garnered much acclaim due to the TV show, Nashville. There are performances there nightly and the lines can be quite extensive. When you are with Adventures by Disney you get a private show with some of the very same singers and songwriters that perform at the cafe regularly. There is no waiting, no tickets needed, no crowds. You can see people peeking in the windows as you sit inside the dimly lit cafe.

Blue Bird Cafe

Blue Bird Cafe

We were treated to a delicious catered lunch and then had the distinct honor to listen to two incredible song writers perform. Leslie Satcher and Walker Hayes have written songs for artists such as Martina McBride, George Strait, Willy Nelson and more.  They sang songs and drew us in with the stories that inspired these songs. They told us about life as a song writer in Nashville. I was truly transported into what their lives may be like on a daily basis. It was a really fun glimpse into the world of being a Country Music Star!

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Finally, it was time to move onto our next destination.  We were on to tour the Grand Ole Opry! As an Adventures by Disney guest, you do not enter through the public tour entrance. You enter through the artist entrance!

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This is a good time for me to point out the Adventures by Disney difference.  An Adventures by Disney trip is not about Mickey and Minnie and cotton candy, in fact Mickey was never mentioned throughout the trip. What it is about is the level of service that Disney is so well known for. It is the ability to tell the story that has made Disney so famous.  When you are on adventure in Nashville, you are not a tourist, that is not the goal. The goal is to put you into the story of living and breathing as a Nashville star! This can only be achieved with the level of service and ability to tell stories that Disney has mastered!

Grand Ole Opry Dressing Room

Grand Ole Opry Dressing Room

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At the Grand Ole Opry House we are toured around by a voting member of the Opry board.  A lovely and fun gentleman who showed us the dressing rooms, mailboxes and eventually brought us out onto the stage! Did you know that the Grand Ole Opry is one of only two places that you can send mail to with simply the title of the destination? That’s right ! Just address the label to “The Grand ole Opry” and it will get where it needs to go!  What a special place so soaked in tradition and history.

It was then back on our bus for a ride over to RCA studio B.  If Studio B is a place of magic. Brenda, our local expert is certainly the fairy godmother.  You see, on an Adventure by Disney you are introduced to “local experts” people who are able to tell you the tales of their city or point of interest in a way that truly pulls you in. So, you have your adventure guides narrating the book and your local experts adding color to each chapter of the story.  This is where being on a Disney led tour simply blows self touring or any other private tour out of the water!

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Studio B is the famed studio of 1000 hits. So many stars have recorded here. Brenda began telling us the story of the Studio B in the small entrance lobby. She painted a picture of the history and importance of the very room we were standing in. When we were finally led into the studio and sat down something incredible happened. Brenda began to bring the room to life with her words. The room is kept cool to preserve the instruments, but it is not the chill in the air that raises the hair on your arms. I swear you can see Elvis when she talks about him and the moment she plays his voice over the audio, you can hear the recording studio come to life. You are there. It is well past midnight and Elvis is in the building. Simply magical and an experience that ABD truly hits out of the park.

Elvis' Piano!

Elvis’ Piano!

Sadly we leave Studio B to head to our next destination.  The Hermitage; the plantation home of President Andrew Jackson is our final stop.   The Hermitage closes at 5pm, but we arrive at 6:30. This means, you got it, we are going to have a completely private tour and dinner at this spectacular location.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The Hermitage comes with a wonderful historian who guides us through the home and grounds. It is spectacular. However, the story unfolds when our local expert begins to tell us the haunted secrets of the home. The rain is picking up outside, the air is a little colder and we listen the the story of 3 old women working to preserve the home when the lights went out and they hear the distinct sound of Andrew Jackson galloping full speed ahead on his horse through the house! Glass ware in the kitchen is heard shattering, light fixtures shake. Just as quickly as it started the ruckus ends. When the women  went to check out the damage in the kitchen they found every plate and dish still in tact in its rightful place!  These ghost stories were captivating!

Parlor

Parlor

Bedroom

Bedroom

It is almost time for our private dinner at The Hermitage. However, as this northerner learned, no southern meal is complete without biscuits! This is when a local expert is brought in to help us learn to make our own southern biscuits! We mixed our own buttermilk, flour, butter and sugar and shaped our own dough into delicious carbohydrate treats! This was such a great activity and really allowed you to feel and experience the special southern culture that brings Nashville to life!

Biscuit making!

Biscuit making!

My biscuits!

My biscuits!

Dinner was incredible; braised beef and shrimp and grits with real southern pecan pie for dessert. Every bite better than the next. No detail missed from the open bar to the live music and wonderful company  this dinner reception was the perfect ending to a storybook day.

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I got a chance to sit with Byron, one of the adventure guides, at dinner and really pick his brain. I asked the heavy hitting questions about his job, like what has been his favorite moment and what makes an Adventure so special. When he described to be the ability to take a group out to stand on a glacier and feel the cool Canadian air, take a group of adults on a bar crawl or just meet new and exciting people on every departure It just sealed the deal for me on how special these trips really are.

If you are thinking about a new or exciting destination to explore with your family Adventures by Disney needs to be your first consideration. Anybody can see a city or tour the sites, but to be woven into the fabric of the destinations and treated like a VIP every step of the way is what sets ABD apart from every other way to travel. With destinations all over the US and in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and more there is a trip for you! Let’s talk about how I can help you put together a new story for your family!!! Email me today to learn about some special ABD offers for your next vacation. Jess@pixievacations.com

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