This is Day 1 of my Adventures by Disney – Wyoming, Quest for the West trip report for the adventure we took July 19-25, 2023. Our traveling family was Doobie (52), Rebekah (50), and Gideon (14). This particular adventure was a group trip organized by WDW Radio and Mouse Fan Travel, so we did know a few people on it.
To read more, click here for all parts.
Rebekah had been to this area before but it was a first for Doobie and Gideon who are not outdoors type people. So going as a part of Adventures by Disney seemed like a great way to get introduced to some new experiences.
A few weeks before our trip, Disney sent all Adventurers a package of items to prepare them for their trip including a water bottle, luggage straps and pins.
Wednesday, June 19: Arrival
Because no flights could get us from San Francisco to Jackson Hole by noon, we opted to arrive the night before (June 18th), travel via Lyft to a Super 8 to spend the night, then travel back to the airport to be picked up at noon. Everything went according to plan. The Jackson Super 8 was very comfortable with a simple breakfast included, and we got back to the airport in plenty of time to be picked up.
A representative met us at the airport exactly at noon and passed us off to our very friendly driver who took us to our hotel which, it turns out, was only a few miles from the Super 8 we stayed at. But that was ok with us as we really wanted the experience of being picked up at the airport.
The Wort Hotel
Our hotel for the first two nights was the historic Wort Hotel in downtown Jackson. We were met at the car by a bellhop who took our luggage inside and waited while we checked in. We checked in like at any other hotel including leaving a credit card for incidentals. In addition to the key to our room (a real, metal key!), we received a welcome letter from Adventures by Disney that gave us some information about the town and invited us to a welcome reception on the second floor of the hotel. We quickly dropped off our bags, took some pictures of our room and headed to the meet and greet.
This particular Adventures by Disney – Wyoming trip was organized by WDW Radio and Mouse Fan Travel, so there were some familiar faces at the welcome reception – Lou Mongello, his wife Deanna, and Mouse Fan Travel owner Beci. We also met those in our travel party who had already arrived and one of our two Disney guides, Dusty. The welcome reception was a great opportunity to very informally get to meet the people we’d be spending the next seven days with and to get our first introduction to the whirlwind personality that is Dusty. While we were there the second Disney guide, Kaycee, arrived as well.
Exploring Jackson, WY
We spent about an hour there talking before deciding we should have lunch. Dusty and Kacey had many recommendations and Lou and his family and Beci decided to go to “The Local”, located right around the corner, and they invited us to join them. It took us about five minutes to walk there and the food was delicious, a great recommendation. This would be the last meal we’d have to pay for throughout the duration of the trip. All meals and gratuities were included in the cost of the Adventure including tips for servers, bellhops, housekeepers, etc. The only thing we needed to pay for was alcohol, souvenirs and the gratuity for our guides at the end.
Following dinner we spent some time exploring downtown Jackson. The town is so quaint, clean, safe and old-fashioned. I loved walking through it and spent a lot of time doing that during our short stay. Jackson is dominated by tourists, but I didn’t think it felt touristy. After our walk it was back to our room for a little relaxation before heading to our first real activity – dinner.
Day One Dinner
The first night’s dinner was a buffet held in a conference room at the Wort Hotel. There were about five large tables, so everyone had to share with other guests we didn’t yet know. Seating was not assigned and my family ended up at a table with a couple, and with the only solo traveler. Conversation with our tablemates came easy, helped by our common interest in Disney.
Dinner was served buffet style including a wonderful cheesecake for dessert. There was also an open bar for us on this first night. We had a couple of vegetarians in our group (including me), so a pasta dish was brought out for us. We also had a couple of gluten free people in our group so they always had gluten free bread brought out and they had a gluten free chocolate dessert that got great reviews. One very nice touch – Kacey stopped by to learn exactly what type of vegetarian I was. She made a note that I was not a vegan and would always prefer real cheese over vegan cheese. A small touch that I greatly appreciated.
Our Adventure Guides, Dusty and Kacey, did their part to get everyone mingling including facilitating introductions. One member of each family said their names, where they were from and what they were most looking forward to during the Adventure. There was also a fantastic guitar player at dinner who entertained us. Our guides also called four of us up to the front to join the guitar player in an interactive sing-along type thing that was a lot of fun.
This first night’s dinner was all about getting us comfortable with each other and getting us ready for what was to come. We learned basics like how everything, including tipping, had already been taken care of, how we’d move from location to location, making sure the vegetarians and gluten frees knew how we’d be taken care of (and making sure we knew if weren’t happy with our planned meal, say something) and how we’d get breakfast the next day. This was also the first – but not the last – time we were told how incredible the finale of our trip would be, three nights at the Brooks Lake Lodge. They talked the Lodge up so much that I thought there was no way it could live up to the hype. Did it? You’ll find out later.
The final thing we received at the dinner was a list of all the guests on this Adventure. There were 11 families and 25 people in all – 21 adults and 4 minors ranging from 13-17. One of the tasks given to us by Dusty … learn everyone’s name. It took me a few days, but I did it and was glad I did.
Another thing that stood out at dinner – at one point Kacey was talking to us and called us a group. Dusty interrupted and let her know that he preferred the term “family”. That became a recurring joke throughout the Adventure. But, more importantly, Dusty was right. By the end of the adventure, the 27 of us (including the guides) really felt like a family. We experienced so much together, much of it well outside our comfort zones, that I felt like I knew everyone and they knew me just as much as my actual family in a lot of ways. And for me at least, more than the incredible experiences I got to do, it’s the interactions with my new family that I’m going to remember the most about this trip.
You’ll learn much more about that when I write about Adventures by Disney – Wyoming, Quest for the West – Day 2.
To read more, click here for all parts.