Before booking our trip to Wyoming I did a little reading about fun activities to do on our own in Jackson, and saw a recommendation to try a hot air balloon ride by the Tetons. After reading some reviews on Trip Advisor I decided to call the Wyoming Balloon Company and inquire about setting up a balloon ride for the family. The gentleman I spoke with was extremely helpful in setting up a reservation for me–we reserved one morning and were sure to have another as a back-up in case of bad weather. In order to fit in the 6am departure for the balloon ride, we decided to arrive a day before our Adventures by Disney tour was due to begin, and we were able to add the pre-day directly through ABD.
We were staying at the Wort Hotel, which was right in the middle of the town of Jackson. The balloon company picked us up promptly at 6am and then picked up a few other people in Jackson and headed out toward the Tetons where we would meet up with the balloons. Luckily the weather was good, and while waiting for them to get the balloons ready we got to watch the sun rise over the fields.
We were in one of three balloons that the company was taking up that morning. The balloon baskets are divided into 4 sections, and my family of 4 had one section to ourselves. Other families were in the other sections. The pilot took us up and around over the fields with great views of the mountains and the countryside. He seemed very skilled at using the wind at different elevations to move around, and we landed right where we had started. After the ride he offered us orange juice (for the kiddos) and champagne, and then drove us back to Jackson. We were back at our hotel by 9:30am, in plenty of time to take advantage of the included breakfast.
Our Adventures by Disney package included breakfast at the Silver Dollar Grille. We were able to order anything we wanted from the menu. My husband and both I opted for the Wild Game Skillet, which included buffalo and elk tips, along with eggs, cheese, and potatoes. It turned out to be the perfect brunch option–we were both so filled up that we didn’t end up needing lunch. Our kids opted to shared the Belgian Waffle with strawberries, and they liked it so much that they ordered the same thing all three mornings we ate there.
After breakfast we decided to take a walk around the town of Jackson. The hotel was only a block from the town square, which was full of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Each corner of the grassy town square had signature antler arch where families all stopped to take photos.
We took a look at the stores, which had a large variety of Jackson Hole souvenirs, ski-resort-style sportswear, and Western-style clothing and boots. We also took the time to look through the many art galleries, and appeased my teenager with a stop a the local Starbucks.
After our first round of shopping we stopped back at the hotel to drop off our bags and check in with of Adventures by Disney Guides. There we met Stephanie, who gave us a brief overview of what we needed to know. The other guide, Mark Chris, was meeting other families at the airport.
Later in the afternoon we headed back to the shopping area and I was able to convince my kids (but not my husband) to pose for Old West-style portraits. The first place we tried (Jackson Hole’s Old Time Photos) was closed that afternoon. They had a sign on the door that they were closed for technical difficulties. The staff at the clothing store next door were kind enough to direct us to another photo studio which offered the same type of photos just a short walk away. We ended up at Judge Roy Bean’s Old Time Photos, which for some reason doesn’t have the Google presence that the other shop had, so we didn’t see it on our online searches. But there were just off the main square and available to take us immediately as walk-ins, so it worked out well.
In the evening we headed back to the hotel to meet the rest of our tour group at the Welcome Dinner. We found out at dinner that there was an extended family of 13 people, which was about half of our tour group. The other folks on the tour were a couple traveling without children, a father and son on a “dude’s trip” and a mother with her young son and his grandparents.
There was a guitar player providing live music, and a dinner buffet. We did some introductions, and played “two truths and a lie” to get to know the other families a little better.
After everyone headed back to their rooms, we got the kids settled and then checked out the hotel’s Silver Dollar Bar, where is was whisky night.
The second day of the trip begins with some free time in the town of Jackson. Since we had explored the town pretty well the day before, we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel and then relaxed at the hotel until it was time to meet up with the group at 10:45.
The group walked over to the Jackson Hole Playhouse, which was only a block away from the hotel. We got an introduction into the history of the playhouse from the owner, and then got to take a look around the stage and take some photos with the set. After taking a look around the theater, we headed over to the dining room for lunch.
We had pre-ordered our meals with our guides the day before. Three of us had ordered the buffalo burgers and my younger daughter opted for the salad. The meal was nice, and as it turned out, our wait staff was more than just that–they sang and danced and put on an interactive show between delivering food. Everything had a fun, old west style to it.
After lunch we had about an hour of free time before our white water rafting trip. Our family opted to head to the town square for a stagecoach ride. It was about $20 for all 4 of us to ride, and they were able to take us without much of a wait. We had the coach to ourselves and we took a ride around the middle of town, going about a block outside of the main square.
Our afternoon activity with the group was white water rafting on the Snake River. We caught a bus from the hotel which took us to the rafting company‘s storefront where we got outfitted with wetsuits (as needed) and helmets. I opted to just wear quick-dry pants and top and not use the wetsuit. Disney required us to use the helmets. We then headed back on the bus with some other rafters who weren’t with the Disney group and headed out to the river. The bus ride to the river wasn’t short–I don’t recall exactly how long we were on the bus, but I believe another 45 minutes or so. From there we got on the rafts and headed on an 8-mile ride in class III rapids. We were in larger rafters than I had ridden in on past trips, and we were able to fit the entire tour in 2 rafts. Along the way we played games which included having the kids stand on the front of the raft while it spins (called “wheel of fortune”), and they also offered the option of “riding the bull” which was sitting on the front of the raft while headed into the rapids and trying not to fall off. After watching a couple of the kids fall, I decided to give it a shot, and earned some respect from the kiddos for being able to stay on through the rapids.
After rafting we were bused back to our hotel where we quickly changed and headed out to the town square to catch the shoot-out. The actors from the Jackson Hole Playhouse put on this free event every evening and we were glad to make it in time to watch. After the shoot-out we had dinner on our own in town. We had looked online for reservations at the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse, but the earliest they had an opening was 8pm. We decided to try walking-in instead and lucked out to be able to be seated right away at 6:20. We ordered the 33oz bone-out ribeye “John Wayne and Friends” special for the family. The steak was wonderful, and we also really enjoyed the bread with shallot-oil that came early in the meal. The place was great for a high-end steakhouse meal. Then as an added bonus, we found two real-life cowboys had come into town to eat at the Cowboy bar and tied up their horses right in front. My daughters enjoyed meeting the horses.
The trip continues here.
This trip review is from our Adventures by Disney Wyoming trip. I book my ABD trips through Archer Luxury Travel. My camera for this trip was the Fuji X-T20 with with the 100-400mm lens for wildlife and the 18-55mm kit lens for around town.Share on Facebook