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Old 12-27-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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Very difficult decision!

I don't know if this is the proper section of the boards to post on but I thought that it might be the best for the most varied opinions. My family and I are regular WDW visitors, but I have a new school job that only allows me to take vaca's (like most schools) on school vacation times. This really limits my ability to take "affordable" vacations. We have been lucky enough to have been taking two a year for the past few years. We are going this January for a mini vaca and then for April vacation (which is different then most schools, for some reason Maine's is a bit different) Anyways....my difficult choice comes down to this.....

After this April ONLY school break vaca's.
*NO summer vacations because of my and my DH summer jobs don't allow
*We don't want to attempt to be there for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
*Do we do a Cruise in Feb 2014?
*Do we go to Aulani in Feb 2014?
*Do we go to Disneyland Feb 2014?

We want to try something different and since it will be the ONLY vacation we take instead of the two we normally take we can splurge a bit. We have NEVER done any of those options. We are DVC so the possibility of getting a DL California rooms is possible but limited, same goes for Aulani but not as bad. Disneyland is the most expensive option, Cruise coming in second and Aulani being the cheapest option as far as we can see as of now.

My question is....if you could pick one what would you pick???

There are too many variables and I'm getting stressed!!!

I would really interested in hearing opinions!!!

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #2
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If the airfare is not outrageous than I would choose Aulani without a oudbt. But I have always wanted to go to Hawaii! I've been to the Caribbean several times but the price of airfare of for a family of 4 keep me from booking Hawaii. Which ever you choose I'm sure it will be wonderful! Why is Disneyland so much more than Aulani?
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:18 PM   #3
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You're finding Aulani is the cheapest option? I'm surprised at that. We have been looking at Aulani for three nights prior to a Hawaiian cruise and it's outrageous, not to mention the airfare. Since you have DVC, I'm sure the room portion is more affordable but there's no affordable time to fly to Hawaii from the Northeast, at least not that I have found. I'm sure it wouldn't be over February break either.

When you say cruise, are you looking specifically at Disney cruises? If you are open, I have found that cruise lines other than Disney are much more affordable. Sure you lose out on the Disney factor but Royal Caribbean, for instance, is so over the top and entertaining at a much more affordable price. You'd be surprised at how cheap you can do a cruise.

I don't know much about Disneyland, but I was surprised to hear that is coming out most expensive. Just didn't expect it I guess.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:48 PM   #4
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I would go with the cruise if you are considering a Disney cruise!! We did 2 on the old ships and they were some of my favourite holidays ever. We did one on the Carnival Cruises and I did not like it very much in comparison.

I am a local at Disneyland and love it, but I think a Disney cruise would be more special. I also don't think Disneyland would be enough to take up a lot of time (it's very different to WDW) so if you would be interested in traveling around CA then that would be different! But my vote is still with the cruise!
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Here is my break down of numbers....hope this makes more sense. Thanks everyone for the replies so far.

We are a family of 4 DD9 DD6 myself and DH. We are DVC and PAP holders for WDW. We live in Maine so airfare to Orlando is fairly cheap at certain times.

These are rough estimates since exact prices can't be given for all areas at this time.

DCL Dream
Cruise = 2700.00 for inside stateroom on a 4 night Bahamian Cruise.
Airfare = 800.00 round trip to Orlando for 4(typically get it cheaper but I'm estimating it high since we are looking at Feb break)
Car rental = 200.00
Room while going to and from cruise = 0.00 DVC (at least 2 nights)
Park Tickets = 0.00 PAP holders
Total Cruise cost est = 3700.00 (includes food but NO souvenirs)

Airfare = 1000.00
Lodging (w/out DVC since it's VERY hard to book) 7 days 6 nights = 1800.00 for Paradise Pier
Park tickets since PAP don't cover DL = 800.00
Rental Car = 200.00
Total DL = 3800.00 (w/out food and souvenirs)

Airfare = 2100.00 out of Portland (these were today's prices but i've seen much higher)
DVC = 0.00
Car rental = 200.00
Park tickets = 0.00
Total = 2300.00 (w/out food, souvenirs and extra charges)

So as you can see Aulani is the cheapest as far as I can tell but I have heard that there are lots of hidden fees like parking costs, and food is extremely high, and activities cost extra too. PLUS the airfare is decent right now but it was hanging around 800.00 per person for a while so that is subject to change too. So the Aulani price could certainly go up. The upside to the cruise is the fact most food and activity is included and we could pay on that over the years time, and price costing it out DL almost seems to price it's self right out of the equation.

I hope this helps with the opinions....we are definitely leaning more towards the cruise right now but Aulani is holding strong. I am just not finding much for total reviews and such on Aulani. I wish there was just an Aulani thread.

Let me know what you think. Thanks guys...with all that's going on in the world this seems like a very silly problem to have and many of our friends and family don't quite get it so I appreciate the support and feedback from our fellow disfanatics.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:58 PM   #6
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You can cut that Disneyland trip by a LOT if you stay off property. You can stay at HoJos across the street Nd save a ton on your lodging. Staying on property at Dis eyland isn't the same as staying on property at WDW. There is also a lot that So Ca has to offer other than DLR.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:36 AM   #7
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Another vote for the cruise...but you could save some money by booking Royal Carribbean. You could still use your DVC and your park tickets in Orlando. Then take the 1 hour shuttle on cruise day down to Port Canaveral and hop on the Enchantment. It has a 4 night bahama cruise.

I will say this....my first cruise was just 4 days and I was heart broken to get off the ship. It wasn't long enough. It seemed like we just unpacked and got settled in and relaxed when it was time to pack it back up.

You might look at some week long eastern carribbean ones.

We just got back from a wonderful New England cruise for fall break. It started in Boston, and had a couple stops in Maine and 2 stops in Canada. Had a grand time. Our son only had dinner with us one night. He was crazy about Adventure Ocean which is the kids program on Royal Carribbean. He had dinner with them every night but the first night. We had strict instructions from him not to go get him until 10pm.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:53 AM   #8
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I'd suggest looking beyond DCL as well.

DH and I are booked on a 7 day interior stateroom on the Freedom for Mar 17, 2013 for 2100 total. We probably could have gotten it for even less, but we didn't book until a few weeks ago.
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:38 AM   #9

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Having done all 3, I'd pick Aulani by a huge margin.

I've been to Hawaii many times and was sure I'd dislike Aulani since Oahu isn't my favorite island and I'm partial to the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons on other islands. However, I fell in love with Aulani.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by rjvose17 View Post
We are going this January for a mini vaca and then for April vacation (which is different then most schools, for some reason Maine's is a bit different)
FYI rjvose, spring vacations for schools in Maine and Mass. are based on Patriot's Day. They are the only states that recognize that holiday. I have no idea how other states decide when vacation will be.

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Old 12-28-2012, 09:10 AM   #11
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Here are my two cents...if you are only planning on Aulani for 1 week you might want to reconsider. It is a very long way to fly from the East coast and the jet lag can be a killer (especially on the return trip). I have been to HI 2x over the past 2 years and for not less than 2 weeks. That really is the best time frame to spend in HI. Plus, if you are going to go all that way you have to take some time to check out at least 1 of the other islands. I agree with PP that Oahu is probably most peoples least favorite island, but I too loved Aulani. I had been to Oahu the previous year so felt no need to leave Aulani and just spent my time at the resort. However, on that trip also spent a week on Maui (trip the year before was to Kauai and Oahu). I think the other HI islands have more to see and do than Oahu.

Also, please take into account the cost of food. HI can be very expensive. I stayed in a studio while I was there and really no place to cook food so ate out most meals.

But all that being said it really is a beautiful resort and if you can make it work, go for it.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:35 AM   #12
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Don't forget about $200 in tips for the cruise. Also, any excursions.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:55 AM   #13
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Have you considered one of the classic DCL ships, the Magic or Wonder? I have read a lot of posts that say they love the classic ships more than the new ones, and I booked a Bahamas cruise on the Magic for less than the Dream would have been. Also, as far as excursion costs, on the 4 night there won't be nearly as much because there aren't a lot of ports.

Hard choice! Good luck! I'd love to do any of the three choices!
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Old 12-28-2012, 10:21 AM   #14
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Have you considered that you might not want to do 7 days at Disneyland? You could probably get through absolutely EVERYTHING in 4 days, leaving more time to do other CA things, such as Universal Studios (I love Disney but as a lover of entertainment, I ADORE Universal Hollywood), the beach, possible studio tours. Those could potentially add costs, or possibly save if you can't get as many days at Grand Californian and could stay off property for about 100 bucks a night.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:38 AM   #15
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You could consider the Southern California citypass. This ticket includes multiple tours and tickets to area places. Another option would be to hook up with a dvc member with home priority to grand Californian and transfer the required number of points to them for them to make the reservation at the 12 month mark.
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