The World According to Mickey

Disney offers guided tours far from any theme park, but are they worth the Magic Kingdom prices?

Photo-Illustration: Corliss Elizabeth Williams for TIME; Todd Anderson / Disney

On Disneytrips to places like Machu Picchu, families aren't greeted by costumed Mickeys.

I kept looking for mouse ears, but they weren't there. I also expected Snow White or Donald Duck to pop up unannounced during our meals. But despite frequent glances over my shoulder, I saw only our happy tour group. "When Adventures by Disney first started, Mickey and other characters would show up out of nowhere on our trips," one of the guides confided to me. "But the guests didn't really appreciate it. It was too out of context to have Mary Poppins greeting you in Italy."

I noticed a related issue when I told friends I was taking my 12-year-old niece...

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