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Small World Vacations’ Agent Karen’s Greek Odyssey Adventure by Disney
Small World Vacations’ Agent Karen’s Greek Odyssey Adventure by Disney
The Adventure by Disney Greece has been on my husband and my bucket list for years. Like most people, life got in the way of taking this once-in-a-lifetime vacation but we were determined to make our dream come true this year. So, we booked it on opening day and waited a year in happy anticipation for our romantic, exciting, amazing Greek Adventure to begin!
Pre-Night 1 – Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 – Greek Adventure by Disney – Our flight from Toronto was delayed about 90 minutes but we weren’t worried in the least. This is why I always suggest a pre-night, if possible, to alleviate any travel day issues. The flight was a smooth 9 1/2 hours and we landed in Athens around 11:00 am local time. After going through a quick Customs line, we collected our luggage and met our driver outside Baggage Claim. 45 minutes later we pulled up to our amazing hotel for the next 4 nights: The Electra Metropolitan.
Official Day 1 – Friday, July 19th, 2019: We met our Disney Adventure guides Chris & Niki just after Noon on Friday and received our initial welcome gifts along with instructions to meet back in the Jasmine Conference Room at 6:30pm for a meet & greet before our official Welcome Dinner. We chose to walk around Athens a bit in the afternoon and headed out towards the Plaka for lunch then onto the Acropolis Museum.
Lunch was delicious (lentil salad with tomatoes)! On our way to the Acropolis Museum, at 2:13pm, a 5.2 Earthquake struck (my first). At first, we didn’t know what was happening – the noise was incredible and everyone in the streets (including vendors) ran to the side of the road under the buildings. After about 30 seconds, everyone cautiously stepped out and the rumblings began (earthquake). We decided that since everyone was acting normal, we would keep our original plans and go to the Acropolis Museum. It was open as normal so we went in. About 45 minutes later, a large aftershock hit and shortly after that, they evacuated the building and we were ushered out the emergency doors, down the escape stairs at the back of the building. We decided to just head back to the hotel after that.
The Welcome Dinner was fantastic at the Rooftop Garden on the 10th floor of our hotel with views overlooking the Acropolis and the Parthenon. Eventually the sun set and the lights came on and the Parthenon lit up in all its glory. After a while of looking at this amazing view, we went to bed.
Day 2 – Saturday, July 20th, 2019: Today we headed out after breakfast to climb to the top of the Acropolis and tour the Parthenon! The weather was perfect and the views spectacular. We were there before the crowds (ABD knows how to time everything perfect)! After a wonderful tour by Niki we had some on our own time before meeting down at the bottom for a treat – Ice Cold Frozen drinks! We then boarded the bus and rode the short distance to the Panathenaic Olympic Stadium. We toured the inside, took some great photos, climbed to the highest seats (many, many stairs) and toured the Olympic Museum which included all the torches from the last 100 years of Olympics!
Lunch was in a small Taverna in the Plaka and included live singers and dancers. The entertainment was festive and really got everyone in the Greek mood – OPA!!!
Dinner was on our own and we went to Aleria (about a 15 minute walk from our hotel). The walk was a bit long but definitely worth it at the end. We had an amazing dinner in an outdoor garden – we called it the Remy of Athens!
Day 3 – Sunday, July 21st, 2019: Today started early with a coach ride to Delphi where we visited the shrine of Apollo, theatre and stadium. Afterwards, we visited the Delphi Archaeological museum and had lunch at To Patrikomas Taverna. The food was very good and plentiful and the view was out of this world (overlooking a valley of olive trees).
Dinner tonight was on our own and we had another fine meal at the Vintage Wine Bar & Bistro followed by some delicious Sorbet in the Plaka and bed.
Day 4 – Monday, July 22nd, 2019: Today we flew to Santorini (goodbye Athens, hello blue domes!). Our flight was smooth (Disney takes care of all the stress). We landed and within 10 minutes of collecting our luggage, we were debarking the coach at a Volcan Winery & Museum. Our lunch was delicious, the wine tasting divine but my favorite part of this tour was the Grape Stomping! We donned bare feet and stomped both red & green grapes to juice “wine”.
Next we stopped in the Capital of Fira to take some photos and enjoy some Sorbet or Gelato. We had some on our own time to shop and take photos. Afterwards, we checked into our hotel, The Majestic Hotel Santorini (our home for the next two nights). After a quick swim & nap, off to dinner we went into town to Ouzeri for stuffed tomatoes, eggplant, french fries, potatoes, chick pea soup and chicken or lamb. Stuffed, we watched the sunset and walked back to our hotel for a well deserved good night’s sleep.
Day 5 – Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019: This morning, after a delicious breakfast, we boarded our own pirate ship for the day and cruised around the Caldera with views on each side of the boat of Oia, Fira and Akrotini. We stopped for a bit to hike to the top of the Caldera which ended up to be a pretty intense 45 minute hike each way but well worth it for the views! Afterwards, we boated to a swimming area where you could either float in the Aegean Sea or paddle over to a warmer area with volcanic mud! Many a mud-fight ensued!
After swimming and cleaning all the mud off, we boated into Thirasia (a nearby village at sea level = no stairs!) and had a great lunch at Captain John’s Taverna. I had the Swordfish Kebabs which were out of this world! The kids, an myself, were humored by the cats and kitten hanging out waiting for their fish treats from the guests (and they weren’t disappointed).
Afterwards, we boated around the Caldera a bit visiting Oia and heading back slowly to the port of Fira. After returning to the hotel, on our own time consisted of a swim, a few pool bar drinks and dinner watching the sunset at Ristoni in Fira (best seats in the house, upper level on the edge).
Day 6 – Wednesday, July 24th, 2019: Today we visited Akrotini – a dig site which shows a civilization frozen in time from an earthquake / volcano eruption dating back to 1600 BC. It was pretty intense looking at buildings THAT old when houses in our little town get a plaque when they turn 100 years old. 🙂
Lunch was on our own in Oia after checking out the Blue Domes (famous on Santorini). Our view from our corner table was just perfect! So relaxing, great breeze – we never wanted to leave! But alas, more sorbet called and off we went to meet the guides to head back and get on our ferry for Crete.
The ferry ride was fast, calm and an easy 2 hours (Santorini to Crete). Once we arrived in Crete, a short 1 hour 15 minute ride on the coach got us to our hotel. Checked in and bedtime!
Day 7 – Thursday, July 25th, 2019: After a quick buffet breakfast at the hotel, we jumped on our bus and headed to the nearest town – Elounda (about a 7 minute drive). Here we boarded a boat to sail over to the Island of Spinalonga. This island was a Leper colony for quite a few years in the early 1900’s (1903 to 1957). People from all over Europe with Hansen’s Disease were sent to this island to live the rest of their lives in “quarantine”. Eventually, there were enough people of all occupations on the island to make their own community (lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses) – they built schools and even a hospital! A great book to read about some of the stories of this island is The Island by Victoria Hislop. We bought a signed copy on our next stop – the small fishing village of Plaka.
After a short boat ride to Plaka, we enjoyed a fresh fish lunch (we chose the specific fish they had caught that very morning) and of course some Sorbet for dessert. After a bit of shopping, we headed back to the hotel on the bus for a quick nap and Spa Appointment!
Tonight was the Jr. Adventures Night so the adults had a Dine A Round which meant we could eat at one of the three Sister Hotel’s restaurants. We chose the Old Mill and were not disappointed. Flowing wine, appetizers, entree and dessert – all amazing (and the Mouse picked up the tab!).
Day 8 – Friday, July 26th, 2019: Today we visited the ancient Palace of Knossos, a complex of 1,000 rooms originally dating back to 1900 BC. Although leveled in 1700 BC by an earthquake, the ruins are being brought back to life by a British architecture early in the 1900’s.
Lunch was on a Terrace at a beautiful boutique hotel in Arolithos where we learned how to make our own Tsaziki and afterwards, our own set of Worry Beads (the Greek Fidget Spinner). After a bus-ride back to our hotel, some beach & pool time and a nap, we went into the little town of Elounda and had a great dinner at The Ferryman. We had an oceanside table and it was just majestic watching the sun go down and the lights in the town come on as we enjoyed a delicious dinner.
Day 9 – Saturday, July 27th, 2019: Today we visited a very small, quaint Greek village and watched The shepherd make cheese, learned how to make an official Greek Coffee and had a great lunch cooked 4 hours in an outside oven. We even got to watch Maria make her famous Honey Pies! This little village had so many plants, herbs and trees (pomegranate trees, fig trees, olive trees, lemon, basil, mint, thyme, oregano, cypress trees – too many to try to list).
A little bit of time was available to rest at the hotel before the Farewell Dinner, dancing, wine and tears. It was an amazing evening – one I’ll remember forever!
I would 100% recommend this Adventures by Disney for all ages. This itinerary covered history, nature, relaxation and fun (OPA!). And let’s not forget about the cats of Greece! These feline friends were well loved by everyone on this Adventure. 🙂
Contact Small World Vacations’ Agent, Karen at Karen@smallworldvacations.com for assistance with your Adventure by Disney.