CINEMA giants Disney have unveiled their first ever tailor-made holiday to Scotland - costing $5000-a-head.
The nine-day trips, which have just gone on sale, have been created to capitalise on the new Disney-Pixar film Brave which is being released in the US next month.
Geared for small family groups, they will have their own two dedicated guides, VIP access to leading attractions and historic sites and the chance to try out activities featured in and inspired by the film.
Under a £7m marketing deal struck with Disney, VisitScotland has helped organise the trips, the first of which will be run next March. by which times millions of cinema-goers are expected to have seen Brave. The stars of the film, including Billy Connolly, Robbie Coltrane and Kelly Macdonald are expected in Edinburgh next week to promote Brave, an animated fantasy set in a fictional part of the Highlands.
Disney has its own dedicated tour operator, Adventures by Disney, which already organises trips around the world. The Scottish Government and VisitScotland have pledged £7m between them to help capitalise on the film, which will get its European premiere at next month’s Edinburgh International Film Festivla.
The Brave holiday packages include stays at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, the Cuillin Hills Hotel, in Skye, and the KingsClub Hotel, in Inverness.
Disney has declared that the trips offer the chance to “become immersed in the world of Brave,” with its first ever holiday inspired by a Pixar film.
Places will cost $5000 each for adults and $4749 for children, although the cost does not actually cover flights to Scotland.
The trip will feature visits to key locations the film-makers visited, including the Old Man of Storr, Quiraing in Skye, the Callanish Stones in Lewis, Dunnottar Castle, in Aberdeenshire, and Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness.
Among the activities inspired by Brave’s main female character, Merida, and her adventures, are horse-riding in the Rothiemurchus Estate, near Aviemore, canoeing on Loch Ness, archery in the grounds of Glamis Castle, and a mini Highland Games in Skye.
A private tour of the National Museum of Scotland will offer a chance to see some of the treasures which made it into the film, including the priceless Lewis Chessmen, while the trip will be rounded off with a private tour of Edinburgh Castle, and “farewell banquet”, after it has closed to the general public.
A spokeswoman for Disney said: “Our trip-planning specialists worked directly with the expert storytellers on Pixar’s “Brave” production team to incorporate the castles, landscapes and legends that inspired the lush settings and memorable characters in the film – creating a Scotland experience that could only come from Disney.
“Beyond the drawing board, the culture of the Scottish Highlands will come to life through authentic, hands-on activities – a hallmark of Adventures by Disney itineraries.
“Each trip features two knowledgeable Adventure Guides who will serve as leaders, storytellers, companions and personal concierge – taking care of all the details for a truly hassle-free travel experience.”
Josh D’Amaro, vice president of Adventures by Disney, added: “Brave’ is the perfect tale for Adventures by Disney to share; Merida’s experience speaks to the importance of the family bond – a cornerstone of any Disney vacation.”
A spokeswoman for VisitScotland said: “We are incredibly excited about this as it is the first time that Disney have done anything like this in Scotland.
“We have spent a lot of time working with them on the programme for these trips. Although they may seem quite expensive you have to remember people will be staying at the Balmoral in Edinburgh and getting money-can’t-buy experiences and VIP tours.”