Disney Launched New Vacations in Sicily, with Cannoli-Filled Market Tours and Wine Tasting on the Slopes of Mount Etna

This isn’t what you might expect from a Disney vacation.

Various cannoli

Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

Adventures by Disney, part of the Walt Disney Company, unveiled its latest vacation itineraries, and they all take place in the land of cannoli and The White Lotus

The company operates group tours on all seven continents, from Alaska to Antarctica. While it already offers trips through Rome, Venice, and Tuscany, in late May, it launched its first foray into the southern Italian island of Sicily, which sits just off the toe of the boot-shaped country. 

Chantel Pevey, the lead trip developer for the Sicily adventure, says that while the company is always looking for new places to take families to explore, Sicily felt like the perfect choice this year. 

“Families love traveling to Europe with Adventures by Disney – especially Italy – so we wanted them to experience the storytelling of this unique part of the country,” she told Food & Wine. 

The 8-day journey dives into the island’s culture and 10,000-year history, including visits to five different UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The itinerary kicks off in Palermo, with visits to the Monreale Cathedral and Teatro Massimo, Italy’s largest theater and opera house, then winds across the island with stops in Agrigento for a tour of ancient Greek architecture at the Valley of the Temples, Siracusa for a backstage tour at the storied Opera dei Pupi, and Mount Etna for an off-road Jeep tour of the island’s iconic volcano. The tour finishes on the Ionian coast in Taormina, famed for its idyllic vistas and, more recently, as the backdrop of The White Lotus. In the Disney version, though, a privately chartered boat takes guests on a more relaxed outing — around Isola Bella and the Blue Caves, with ample opportunities to swim and snorkel. 

A wine tasting at Barone Villagrande Winery

Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

And since this is Disney, the storytelling aspect is ever-present, with immersive activities — like a puppet-making workshop in Siracusa and ceramics painting in Caltagirone — woven into each day. But perhaps the best part of the island adventure is the food. 

“We’ve purposely designed this trip with a lot of experiences that foodies would enjoy – and to showcase the flavors of the island,” says Pevey. The trip developer adds that one of her favorite food-focused experiences is a visit to a village in Sant’Angelo Muxaro, where travelers make stops at places like the local bakery and meet artisans like a shepherd they might watch making cheese, sampling foods like olives, bread, honey, and almonds along the way. Afterward, they’ll enjoy a traditional lunch prepared by local families. 

Besides the village-to-table lunch, the itinerary delves into Sicily’s culinary treasures with tours of Palermo’s Capo market, tasting around stalls selling panelle, or fried chickpea fritters, caponata, and cannoli, and lunch at the Barone Villagrande Winery in the Mount Etna region. At the 10th-generation family-owned winery, the adults can taste Nerello Mascalese made with grapes grown in the volcanic soil and aged in chestnut barrels, while the kids do their own tasting of regional foods. 

A scene from Capo Market

Courtesy of Adventures by Disney

A hallmark of Adventures by Disney trips is what’s known as adventure guides, i.e., embedded tour guides, or the trip’s “secret sauce,” as Pevey calls them. “They are really what brings the magic of the destination to life with their signature Disney storytelling and impeccable service,” she adds. On each trip, one of the guides is a local from the destination, which means travelers are guided by an expert who speaks the language and knows the ins and outs of the culture.

During the trip’s inaugural summer, an Adventure Guide named Davide got to show off his homeland – and some of his favorite Sicilian specialties, including pasta con le sarde, arancini, and cannoli. “The wineries, meeting with locals and farmers, food market tours, and street food experiences — these activities give our Adventures by Disney guests a true taste of Sicily and allow them to connect with the local culture,” he says. “Sicilian food is some of the best in Italy!”

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