Adventures By Disney Review: Italy & Switzerland | Day 2 – Lake Como
Let’s continue on the adventure to Lake Como… the Adventures By Disney, that is! 😉
WOW, I cannot even express how exciting it is to be sharing this with you guys! I’m so glad you’re loving it so far and I am honored to give you a peek into the reality of what these Adventures By Disney trips are like. I know before the trip happened, my curiosity was absolutely skyrocketing. So let’s keep moving on along so I can show you even more!
One thing I didn’t get to share in the first post was the overall itinerary! So let’s do that right now!
Italy & Switzerland Alpine Magic Itinerary
As far as our Italy & Switzerland Alpine Magic Itinerary was concerned, this was our lineup:
- Day 1: Stresa, Italy (Which I already posted about HERE!)
- Day 2: Como, Italy (Which this post is about!)
- Day 3: Stresa, Italy (feat. Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori)
- Day 4: Zermatt, Switzerland
- Day 5: Zermatt, Switzerland (feat. The Matterhorn!)
- Day 6: Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
- Day 7: Lake Lucerne, Switzerland (feat. An Excursion to Mount Titlis)
- Day 8: Lake Lucerne and Farewell!
*The itineraries of each Adventures By Disney trip are shared on their official website if you’re ever curious!
Now that you have a better idea of where we’re headed, let’s get started on today’s portion of the Adventure! Day 2 in Como, Italy!
Thursday, September 1st, 2022 –
Good morning, Adventurers! Today was the first day we were all leaving the hotel to go explore together as a group! Our meeting time wasn’t until 9 am, so before that, we got ready and headed down to the breakfast buffet to kick off our day!
At 9 o’clock on the dot, everyone was in the lobby and ready to go! We hopped in a motor coach and headed over to Lake Como!
Lake Como is one of the most popular and recommended places to go to in Northern Italy. Celebrities love it, TikTok loves it… it’s definitely well-known and very beautiful!
Our guides told us to take note to see if we like Lake Como or Lake Maggiore better, so I will report back later with final thoughts!
Off to Lake Como!
Our coach ride was about 1.5 hours from our hotel to Lake Como. However, it was relaxing and we got to see Lago Maggiore out the window on the way there! So beautiful!
Miki and Alica narrated our entire bus ride (and every bus ride thereon after!) with tons of background information about the area. They also had a GIGANTIC basket of snacks to pass out! (featuring some Nutella B-Ready bars that I could really go for right now…)
Miki gave us a very fantastic Italian lesson on the way there! Both with basic phrases and also some common Italian sign language! You probably know the stereotype that Italian people talk with their hands a lot… well I’m here to report that this is not a stereotype and it’s actually a very real thing! She gave us specific examples and it’s like a whole aspect of the language itself.
One of my favorite words I learned during this lesson was “Andiamo!” which means “Let’s go! ” in Italian. As you can guess, with a large tour group “Andiamo!” was said quite frequently to keep us all going!
Time for a Cooking Class!
When we arrived in Lake Como, we went right to our cooking class. It was set up outdoors at a beautiful Italian Villa. We all stood outdoors and our chef, Stefano, took us through the process of how to make pasta. They provided us with all of the ingredients we would need (flour, eggs, salt, and olive oil) as well as little Adventures By Disney aprons to keep us clean!
Stefano spoke Italian during the whole lesson, and Miki translated it into English! It was a beautiful balance and very authentic to hear the process straight from a real, Italian chef.
Stefano first showed us how to make gnocchi and then regular pasta! You use flour to make a little volcano for the egg, and then it’s important to properly knead the dough!
My favorite part, though, was when we rolled out a piece of dough and put it through the pasta machine. I totally want to get a pasta machine at home now!
The chef who was helping us out absolutely loved Jon. He told him he was number 1! Best pasta!
Lunch Time and Making Friends
Once we earned our white belts in pasta making, we went into the restaurant where they had tables set up for us with lunch! We started with bread and cheese and meats, then a lasagna, some pesto gnocchi, and Tiramisu for dessert.
I got to chat with my new friend, Shawn, who worked at Disney back in the ’80s. He was working in operations, took a seasonal entertainment contract, and then ended up opening Hollywood Studios! Hearing stories from that era absolutely lit up my Disney-loving heart. Later in his Disney journey, he even worked at Disneyland Paris for a year and drove the parade floats! At another point, he was a VIP Tour Guide at Walt Disney World, and we knew so many of the same people who were there since the early days like my trainer, Laurie. What a small world! I absolutely love Disney synchronicities like that, you just never know who you are going to meet!
Lake Como Walking Tour & Boat Cruise
After lunch, we met up with a local guide for a walking tour. Another thing they do on Adventures By Disney is organize “tours within the tour” with local guides specific to an area. That way, our Disney Adventure Guides can really focus on their overall strengths & knowledge overarching all of our destinations, and then the local guides really hone in on specific details of an area. It gives another layer to the authentic experience, so it’s an awesome way to kick things up a notch.
One of the tough things we learned about Lake Como, though, is that although the mountains look like they’re covered in beautiful fall leaves… they’re actually not. Sadly, it was only September 1st so fall wasn’t even close. The leaves were actually dying because it was such a dry summer. At this time of the year, the hills should actually still be vibrant green!
The more you travel, the more you learn about the effects of global warming on our planet and see examples right in front of your eyes. It was a really great reminder that being as intentional and environmentally conscious as possible is critically important during our lifetimes here on Planet Earth!
Our guide took us for a little walk after lunch and then lead us to our boat tour around Lake Como! The sights were absolutely otherworldly. There’s just no way to articulate it.
We passed by so many villas along the lake – most notably, George Clooney’s house and guest house! He even came to visit us on our boat! (LOL I told you this tour was full of theatrics)
Visiting Padme & Anakin Skywalker’s Wedding Venue
One of my favorite things about the Adventures By Disney itineraries is that they incorporate Disney ties out in the world. Whether that be filming locations, movie or park inspirations, etc. In my own personal travels, looking for Disney ties is something I love to do as well. So it’s right up my alley!
During this tour, one of the Disney ties was that we were visiting the filming location of Padme and Anakin Skywalker’s wedding from Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. It is called Villa del Balbianello. It was even more beautiful in person and I totally recognized it. (and I haven’t watched that movie since early 2016, which proves how stunning this place is.) Alica and Miki made sure to give everyone the opportunity to live out their Star Wars dreams by even bringing along lightsabers! There’s that sprinkle of magic! ✨
Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, this is a very popular photo spot with visitors. We made sure to get our fill of pictures here because it was one of the most beautiful views we’ve ever seen!
The craziest part was, not only was this Anakin and Padme’s wedding spot but there was actually a wedding going on today. And we got to see the bride! What a DREAM!
They gave us a good amount of free time to explore the area and walk around before getting back on the boat. It was so serene and gorgeous here, photos can barely capture the beauty. (as you can tell, I was pretty speechless!)
Dinner in Como Itself!
After our Star Wars-inspired adventure, we got back on the boat and then they took us into Como itself!
Mom and Dad went to go look in a church and Jon and I walked around town. We went to a cafe, I got water, and Jon got a hot chocolate, and then we wandered around to try and find magnets and postcards.
After that, it was time for dinner! Stefano returned and we went to his actual restaurant – Visini! The whole restaurant was closed for our Adventures By Disney event, which felt really special. We sat outside (thankfully the rain held off all day for us!) and got to go indoors every time we wanted to get something from the buffet.
We got to sit with our New England crew again and reflect on all of the fun we had during the first day!
The buffet contained all of the aspects of a deconstructed charcuterie board and it was soooo good and fresh. There were breads, cheeses, meats, little ham and cheese sandwiches, vegetables, pizza, and fruit! One of my favorite things that they served was pineapple that was marinated in cinnamon. It was AMAZING. (I need to remember to do that at home)
But, of course, in Italy, there are always multiple courses! So besides all of that delicious food, they also gave us Saffron Risotto for dinner! I genuinely don’t think I realized how wonderful Saffron was until this trip!
To finish off, we had to have something a little sweet! Only a short walk away from our dinner tables was a cute little gelato cart ready to serve us gelato! The most beautiful part about gelato is that you can typically choose multiple flavors – so I got a white chocolate and hazelnut combo. It was absolutely lovely!
Heading Back to the Hotel
After that, we got back on our hour-and-a-half bus ride back to the hotel. Our Adventure Guides were always so good at dripping in the information we needed to know when we needed to know it, so they would take these opportunities to get details sorted for the next few days. On this bus ride, they had us do a pre-order for a meal and had us pick our restaurant for our on-our-own dinner tomorrow! That’s also when we found out our meeting time for the following day.
Like I said earlier, the best part of these trips is that you don’t have to plan anything. You just show up, listen, and enjoy! They truly take care of everything.
We got back to the hotel and went back to our rooms to go to sleep! I found a fluffy blanket in the closet and it was the coziest thing ever. 🥰 My heart was full and I was ready to be well rested for tomorrow’s activities!
Final Thoughts on Lake Como vs. Lago Maggiore
Okay, this may be controversial… but I think I actually enjoy Lago Maggiore more than Lake Como! Don’t get me wrong, the views at Lake Como blew me away and I absolutely love it there. I just think I enjoy hidden gems more than hyped destinations.
Lago Maggiore seemed to be less crowded and expensive, and I think Lago Maggiore’s views had both grandeur and charm! Lake Como’s views are pure extravagance, which explains why everyone is so drawn to it.
My expectations for Lake Como were very high from the get-go. My expectations were met, of course, but I think I found more joy in the ultimate surprise of the alternative Lago Maggiore destination.
That being said, I would return to either Lake in a heartbeat. There’s something so serene about these locations and they’re some of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on this earth!
Tomorrow we have another big day in Stresa and we will be visiting the nearby islands! You will be getting plenty more views and insights on Lago Maggiore so stay tuned and I’ll see you next time. 🙂
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