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Old 01-04-2013, 11:33 PM   #16
SunshineCruiser
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I vote for the cruise (if you're counting)! Especially if you have never been on a cruise. Our family of 5 has been to WDW twice for a week and a half at a time, and we have been to Disneyland for about 4 days. We added a 4 day cruise on our last WDW visit, and we have been hooked on cruising ever since, and our kids now like it way better than the parks.

I do admit though that hurricane season does freak me out a little. Not the easiest decision - go with your gut!
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:03 AM   #17
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For me, it would come down to a few things not mentioned or asked previously. You say you have always wanted to go to CA. You can now get cheap flights through work. What if you were let go from your job in a year? (Sucks to think about, but in this day and age...) Would you kick yourself for not going to CA when you had the chance to do it cheaply?
How long would you stay in CA? If you'd only do like a 2 day pass and turn around and go home, I'd say do the cruise. If you do a 2 day pass and then go to Sea WOrld or Legoland(which the boys would LOVE LOVE LOVE) another day, a beach day on the Pacific one day, a tour of Los Angeles another and have an actual S. CA EXPERIENCE, then I'd do that, especially if this time is THE time when it will be cost effective and perhaps a once in a lifetime thing.
THen ask yourself the same for the cruise. Being you live on the East coast, my guess is it will be easier to get a cruise in the future than it will be to go across country.
The only times I've regretted not taking trips is when opportunity presented itself for a once in a lifetime thing and I didn't do it. (I should have gone to Australia for my honeymoon-had the time off, had the money, but didn't want to spend it on "a trip"-STUPID PAST ME!)
I think ages of kids have a lot to do with it too. I would have chosen a cruise for a kid who was 11+. By that age, I think DL and CA would be bordering on "babyish". The ages you mentioned, however, are PERFECT for those parks and Legoland, Sea World, San DIego zoo....
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:16 AM   #18
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We had the same options last April. We chose the cruise... We are very happy we did. Not only did it bring us closer as a family, it did not hurt the feet as bad. My son was 9 last yr,and was so happy with the cruise choice.
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Old 01-05-2013, 12:23 AM   #19
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If you do DL, especially with little kids, do at least 3 days (one for each park and one to go back and do what you missed or what the kids loved the most - you need more time with kids then you would as adults). Last time we went we spend 5 days in the parks and it still wasn't long enough for us!
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by MamaToDavis View Post

. . . We've always wanted to see DL in CA. I've never actually been to CA ever. We would be flying from GA, but airfare costs are not an issue since we fly on employee passes for cheap.
Since you can "fly on employee passes for cheap," I recommend using that perk and going to DL. For a family of four, that would be a huge savings.

You could always go on a Disney cruise another time.

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Old 01-05-2013, 02:30 AM   #21
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I've been to DL in mid September and it was fantastic! Just check the refurb schedule before you pick your dates (usually at some point HM is down and it's better than the one at WDW from what I hear). With kids that age I would do DL, there is so much more magic in DL at that age.
Yes, I just read in our local paper of the dates of ride closures today. Don't know if that's important to you. There is so much to do in So Cal. It's a bonus you don't have to pay for air fare. The weather in September is gorgeous and everyone goes back to school
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:12 AM   #22
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Another vote for the Cruise - get trip insurance - and don't fret a storm. Disney will reroute the ship around any storm - and you won't even notice it (Unless it is covering the entire area, which is unlikely).

DL was made to fit available space - unlike DW, where the company bought up as much land as they could using covers and false names. We've been to all 3 and by far prefer the cruise experience. Less hassle, fewer lines (they still exist), and all included.

No thrill rides - unless you para-sail or jet ski - but good family time!
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:23 AM   #23
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Thanks so much for the replies! You've given me a lot to think about. Still not sure! I'd love to do both. Honestly, the one thing holding me back from the cruise is the idea of claustrophobia in those tiny guest rooms. How much of an issue is this? I'm assuming we won't be in the room much?

Quick question about DLR... Could we easily get to the other SoCal attractions (Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, beach) from a DLR or neighboring hotel. It would be fun for our boys to rent a convertible during our stay. Sorry, but I have no clue regarding west coast geography.

Thanks again for your input!
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Old 01-05-2013, 10:54 AM   #24
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It, honestly, depends on what type of a vacation you want. When we do Disney World and Disney Land, there is little to no 'relaxing/sitting back' on those vacations. We go (and go and go and go and go)...

We've done Disney World several times. Last summer, we went to Disney Land. I was told by MANY people that we would be 'dissapointed' because DL is A LOT smaller (2 smaller parks) and because there are a lot of repeat rides. First of all, we weren't dissapointed. We are huge Disney fans and if we WANT to experiance all forms of Disney!!! We just planned for a shorter stay there. I think that every Disney lover should experiance Disney Land, Disney World AND Disney Cruise line. In fact, Disney Land is where it all started, so there is a bit of extra Disney history when you go there.

The one thing we HATED about Disney Land is the night time shows. The shows themselves were GREAT...BUT the SEATING IS A MAJOR ISSUE!!!! For the Adventureland light/sound/fireworks show, everyone is in a big mass of piles of people and most people stand for it. You need to get 'fast passes' to get into a line many, many minutes before they even allow you to go into the area to stand for the show. People are crabby, because their kids are crabby and if you don't get a front row or front section seat, the viewing can be very blocked (especially for kids) because everyone is standing. My husband had to hold our 10 year old daughter so she could see and I had to hold up my 8 year old daughter. There are people who really don't care about others at all and put their kids up on top of their shoulders which completly blocks everyone behind them.
For the night show in Disneyland...well, you MUST sit on the ground- which is hard cement. And not only do you have to sit there for the show, you NEED to show up at least an HOUR early to even GET a full view seat. AND, if you send one person to save your spot, good luck with that- because people crowd in and don't care. I did like the show, but we had been sitting on the ground with 2 kids off and on our laps for over an hour by the time it started and it was raining.

Disney world, BY FAR, has better seating for these shows.

We are doing our first Disney Cruise in the end of Feb. We chose to do the cruise, because we want a more relaxed vacation where everything is pretty much included besides the excursions or extra add-on's. More things are included in a Disney Cruise than most other cruise lines. Pop and juice are included- which you have to pay extra for on other cruises...Also, we were looking to do something different.

I am really excited to go to Disney World again to see the new fantasy expansion, but we're going to wait a year to do it. We were at DisneyLand just after CarsLand opened and it was INSANE- we had to skip EVERYTHING in that area, except for the Radiator Springs ride. We had fast passes for the ride that we got as SOON as the park opened. My DH stood in line for about 45 minutes just to get the fast pases. Then, we waited in the Radiator Spr. line for about 1 1/2 hours because the ride kept shutting down for problems. We did get to ride it though. We didn't get to do ANYTHING else in that area. It was just tooooo packed! It would probably be better now, but you'd still NEED fast passes.

When we do Disney World, we get up early and go late. We get as many things done in a day as we can. It is a GREAT vacation, but not a relaxing vacation...if you are like that, it will be the same for you at Disney Land. It will just be a shorter stay. If you end up going to Disney Land, in order to make a full trip out of it- you'll probably want to do more than just Disney Land. It really doesn't make sense to fly all that way JUST for DL. We bought the California Pass- it included 3 days at Disney, 2 days at Sea World, 1 day at Universal Studios. That was a great way to add variety AND we added a few days in between just to hang out at a nice hotel and relax. It worked out well.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:05 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by MamaToDavis View Post
Honestly, the one thing holding me back from the cruise is the idea of claustrophobia in those tiny guest rooms. How much of an issue is this? I'm assuming we won't be in the room much?

Quick question about DLR... Could we easily get to the other SoCal attractions (Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, beach) from a DLR or neighboring hotel. It would be fun for our boys to rent a convertible during our stay. Sorry, but I have no clue regarding west coast geography.

Thanks again for your input!
I've heard that the Cruise ship rooms are a lot like a hotel room...PLUS, there are two bathroom areas in each room, so that is a huge help! Besides, you all don't really need to be in the room that much anyways. Most kids want to be in the Kids club or tweens/teens clubs for a large part of the day anyways. That's another plus to the cruise. your kids get supervised entertainment so you and your spouse can do a few things and relax on your own. Even if they only use the clubs for an hour or two each day, it's still a nice plus!

When we did SoCal, we did Sea World first...we stayed in San Diego three nights. Went to Coronado beach (on an island and one of the nicest family beaches in the entire U.S.A) and sea world for two days. THEN, we drove up to the L.A./Disney area to do the other things and we stayed at Disneyland.

If you end up going and staying in ONE place, it can be A TON of driving. It takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours to get from Disney down to San Diego...and that's with no traffic! There's traffic EVERYWHERE there! It took us 2 1/2 hours to get from the LAX airport to our hotel in San Diego the first night!

We went to Universal Studios one day and we had to wake up quite early to get there that morning. And, we got back to the hotel very late that night and had to do Disney Land the next morning. It's easier to stay closer to the attraction that you are visiting the next day, or you'll spend hours in the car! And HOURS in the car in heavy L.A. traffic is NEVER a good thing when you aren't used to it!

An idea: Since you aren't worried about flight costs- it would be better to fly into one place (like San Diego for example), stay there 2 or three nights, THEN drive up to Disney area and do Disney, then fly OUT of LAX to get back home...or the other way around! It will save you time. The only thing that would MAYBE add a few extra dollars would be renting a car from one place and dropping it off at a different place, but when we checked on doing that it wasn't much of a difference in that area!
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:07 AM   #26
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Quick question about DLR... Could we easily get to the other SoCal attractions (Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, beach) from a DLR or neighboring hotel. It would be fun for our boys to rent a convertible during our stay. Sorry, but I have no clue regarding west coast geography.

Legoland is about 1.5 hours south of DLR. Go another 30 minutes and you'll hit San Diego with Sea WOrld and San Diego zoo.
PERSONALLY, If you do San Diego and Carlsbad(where Legoland is), then I'd book a hotel in San DIego and stay there 2 nights. If you skip legoland, you could do a 1 night stay-hit the zoo first and then sea world(the zoo is more hilly and more walking where Sea World is easier to rest with shows and such)
If you only want to do 1 down that way, you can leave early in the morning and then come back late at night, but it will be a LONG day.
Huntington Beach is my fav beach. Surfers, volleyball players. Not a good beach for beginning swimmers, though. For that, Newport or Laguna are better for that. Only takes about 15 minutes from DLR to get to Huntington Beach. THen you can take PCH(Pacific Coast Highway) down along the coast to visit other beaches if you wish. THIS would be the day to rent a convertible. WHen you head down to Newport, you'll probably see the high end car dealerships(Ferrari, etc) and I don't think i've ever been down there without seeing someone cruising in their hotshot car. TONS of great dining along the beaches as well.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:11 AM   #27
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I have never been to DL but I have been to DW so many times. Taking our 2nd cruise on the DCL (actually 2nd cruise ever) and I think we all agree in this house that we will be cruising for awhile before heading back to the parks.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:20 AM   #28
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We took our first cruise when the kids were 3 and 10. We rebooked a 7 nt MR while on board and planned to tack on a few days at DL while there. The opportunity to take the 15 night Panama Canal cruise (w/no DL) came up instead and both the kids decided on the PC cruise as they had loved our first cruise so much! They were almost 5 and 12 during that cruise and neither of them (including us) got bored or tired of being on for 15 nights.

Since then, they've been back to WDW twice and they're both begging for another cruise! They LOVE WDW and both want to visit DL but there is just something about the cruise. Little do they know that in 9 weeks from today well be boarding the Fanatasy for their 14th and 7th birthdays!

So, needless to say, I vote CRUISE! Still the awesome Disney experience yet completely different and just as wonderful!!!

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Old 01-05-2013, 01:32 PM   #29
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DCL has the biggest staterooms out of all the cruise lines. They are a little smaller then a hotel room. They do a great job and making every inch usable to make it seem bigger. Example you can store your luggage under the bed. 1st cruise I fit my family of 5 in a family veranda room. We all fit nicely. This cruise we are doing two rooms only so me and the hubby have a little more privacy
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:47 PM   #30
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With your boys' ages- Disneyland in a heartbeat. They will love Carsland and September is a great time. DL is a lot more laid back than WDW. My family absolutely hates the go, go, go, need restaurant reservations, etc of WDW. DL is not in any way an inferior experience, especially if you stay onsite. DLR actually has almost as many rides in 2 parks as WDW in 4. Check out the sticky on the DL board, Hydroguy's Tips For WDW Vets.

The Disneyland Hotel has been beautifully refurbished and the slides and pools are fantastic. September is the perfect time to enjoy them!

Now I love DCL- we have done 9 cruises and 2 more upcoming in 2013. But given that you can cruise on a 4 night in hurricane season, or go to DL in a low crowd/awesome weather time - Disneyland is the no brainer.
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