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Old 01-05-2013, 03:32 PM   #31
Keyser
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I agree with one of the first posters - if you want a go-go-go vacation, visit DL, if you want something more relaxing, try the cruise. But really, it is mainly an issue of if you want something similar to your previous WDW experience or something very different.

We were also WDW frequent visitors, but last summer we chose to spend a bit more than a week in Southern California, including Disneyland. It was a great trip, but we wouldn't have done it just for DL (with your cheap flights, it might be less of an issue for you). Others have talked about the difference with WDW - I would say that you should think of Disneyland as a new variation on what you've already done. Sure, there are lots of differences, but the basic vacation is similar in a lot of ways, most of the rides are the same or quite similar, etc. Basically, it's going to be a different version of the same thing you had at WDW, though.

The cruise on the other hand will be something very different. We did a 3 day cruise, and will be doing a 6 day one soon. It's true that it is run by Disney and that there are certainly Disney elements and themes throughout, but it's a totally different experience than WDW.

Honestly, I'd think of it like this: Amusement park or cruise? In the spectrum of all possible vacations, a random big amusement park experience is gong to be closer to your WDW experience than the cruise will be. And, a random cruise is going to be closer to a Disney cruise than WDW or DL would be. If it were me, I would probably choose the cruise - it gives you a chance to see if you like cruises. Also I would probably want to wait on DL until I could spend longer in SoCal, but that is because our family basically gets to travel once a year, and that would probably be our only trip to the area.
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:00 PM   #32
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Wow!!! Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. I'm leaning towards the cruise, mostly I think I'd like a relaxing vacation vs. go-go-go. The 4 day trip I priced out a few days ago seems to have gone up by $500. Apparently, discount rooms sold out. Bummer.

It looks like I will start reading the stickies at the top on how to find the best deal. Travel agent or book it myself? Just surfing around the web looking for tips on getting a deal is overwhelming! I read that RCL is cheaper but when I priced it out against Disney, it didn't seem to be much cheaper. Also, our September date isn't set in stone. We're open to travel during spring break (the week of April 8) and all of summer, but I assume that the Sept. date would be cheaper and least crowded. Is that correct?

Thanks again SO much for your help!!
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Old 01-05-2013, 05:05 PM   #33
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. . . We're open to travel during spring break (the week of April 8) and all of summer, but I assume that the Sept. date would be cheaper and least crowded. Is that correct?
Yes, much cheaper.

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Old 01-06-2013, 12:46 AM   #34
DahliaRW
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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!
As others have mentioned, it's not too far. Just don't drive at rush hour. I would recommend staying further south and doing what you want down there and then staying by DL when you are there. It's just easier, and car rentals are not too bad. One thing to know about a one way car rental is that the fee for returning it to a different place goes up with every day you rent. We once saved $500 out in Pittsburgh (we drove in from Detroit) by going to the airport when we got there, returning one car, and then immediately renting another we had reserved! The other option is to fly in and out of the same airport and just make a round trip to whatever destination. It's easy either way. It's a bit more of a drive than SD, but San Francisco is really a nice place to visit too.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:32 AM   #35
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As others have mentioned, it's not too far. Just don't drive at rush hour. I would recommend staying further south and doing what you want down there and then staying by DL when you are there. It's just easier, and car rentals are not too bad. One thing to know about a one way car rental is that the fee for returning it to a different place goes up with every day you rent. We once saved $500 out in Pittsburgh (we drove in from Detroit) by going to the airport when we got there, returning one car, and then immediately renting another we had reserved! The other option is to fly in and out of the same airport and just make a round trip to whatever destination. It's easy either way. It's a bit more of a drive than SD, but San Francisco is really a nice place to visit too.
This is how we did it, and the driving is really not too bad. We flew in and out of San Diego, rented a car at the airport, stayed in Carlsbad for a few days and did SeaWorld (maybe a 25 minute drive) and Legoland. Then we drove up to Anaheim and stayed there for several days doing our DL portion of the trip and a couple of beach days. Then we moved up to LA and did a few things there. In the end we drove back to San Diego, returned the car and flew home. The driving was not bad at all, we took a GPS and had no trouble. Others had told me that if you visit LA on the weekends, there is no traffic and they were right. It was nothing like I had expected.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:24 PM   #36
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I read that RCL is cheaper but when I priced it out against Disney, it didn't seem to be much cheaper.
Thanks again SO much for your help!!
I priced out several different cruise lines as well. You really need to factor in the 'extra costs' that build up on other cruise lines. We were all ready to book a Carnival cruise, then We found a great deal on a Disney cruise and it would have been the same price!

When we made our 'lists' of pro's and cons here's what we came up with. We have two kids.

carnival, RCL, NCL:
-rooms over all are smaller
-no second bathroom area in every room
-pop & juice NOT included (EXTRA FEE FOR THEM so ADD $$$ there)
-less hours for kids clubs being available
-less 'kids activities and shows'
-OK food to good food...but the GREAT food only comes in the form of paying Out of pocket for special dinning rooms. More than one or two restaurants on board have an "up charge" to eat in them.

Disney
-pop, juice ARE included on all ships (at the soda fountain, durring meals and JUICE is included in room service)...this alone saves $$$, because those soda packages are expensive for a family.
-Rooms are larger or feel larger and include two bathroom areas in each cabin
-most available kids club hours on any cruise line
-The MOST family centered shows (AND adult centered shows!!!)
-Disney themes/characters
-Great food in all dinning rooms- with the option of having a special restaurant that is OOP, but 1/2 of the restaurants don't have an up charge.


A lot of great cruiselines out there! I have friends who LOVE RCL and NCL, but they rarely go with their kids. They said that they'd be good for kids, but they'd do Disney cruise with kids OVER RCL or NCL. Simply for the fact that the kids clubs are more expanded, the rooms offer 2 bathrooms AND there's more family themed entertainment available.

PLUS, for Disney lovers...and if it's about the same cost...Disney is a wonderful cruise!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #37
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Thanks for the cruise info pannm! The RCL Oasis is only $200 cheaper w/ a comparable DCL room. Sure would be nice to score a deal on the DCL! I'm going to contact a travel agent to help...this is too much for me! Thanks again.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:12 AM   #38
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We have never travelled in an inside room, but the ocean view and balconies don't feel claustrophobic at all. It's squishy as we travel with 5 in a room with 3 tween/teens, but not claustrophobic.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:50 PM   #39
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Thanks for the cruise info pannm! The RCL Oasis is only $200 cheaper w/ a comparable DCL room. Sure would be nice to score a deal on the DCL! I'm going to contact a travel agent to help...this is too much for me! Thanks again.
Oasis inside rooms are TINY and with a horrible sofa bed. I have been on 6 cruises with an inside room. After a week on the Oasis, I am ruined for an inside room. I could not sleep at all the last 2 nights. I did not like the Oasis overall. The smoking section was one whole side of the ship right beside the best pools.
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