Disney Cruise or Disneyland?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by MamaToDavis, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. MamaToDavis

    MamaToDavis Mouseketeer

    Jan 22, 2006
    Hi all! I posted this in the DL forum as well, hoping to get as many responses as possible...:)

    Help! We have visited WDW several times and are looking for a new Disney experience. Our boys, ages 6 and 9, get a nice break from school in mid September 2013 and we're trying to figure out our vacation plans. I priced out a 4 day Disney Cruise on the Dream in a verandah room and the price comes to about $2100 for our family. It's a risk because that is smack dab during hurricane season.

    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.

    Any advice? I like the idea of going to DL in September due to lower crowds, but the cruise sounds fun too. I definitely don't want to do WDW in September...still way too hot and humid for me at that time.

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  3. cypressmom

    cypressmom Love my Disney vacations!

    Jun 10, 2009
    I am a huge DL fan and a mid Sept trip would be amazing! We loved our cruise.Either would be great.
  4. Started With a Mouse

    Started With a Mouse DIS Veteran

    May 25, 2012
    If you want a relaxing time, all-inclusive time, pick the cruise. If you want to go go go, I'd choose DL. Both will be an absolute blast, as Disney is the best at entertaining you!
  5. Meghatron

    Meghatron DIS Veteran

    Oct 26, 2010
    DL would be a "new Disney experience", but maybe not the one you're looking for after WDW; for many people I've met the size difference is quite a shock and often a disappointment after WDW. It is only two parks and there is a lot of crossover when it comes to rides and theming. And I say this as a devoted DL AP! The changes made to DCA this year IMHO would be the only reason to choose DL over DCL if you are actually looking for "new".
  6. kimberlyelayne

    kimberlyelayne Mouseketeer

    Jan 2, 2011
    I like DL better then DW... less walking and more rides :) But I would pick Dis Cruise over DL or DW any time and so would all three of my kids ages 7, 11, and 14. Regardless what you pick you and your family will have a blast... We are a go go go family and I still pick cruise...
  7. DahliaRW

    DahliaRW DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2008
    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.
  8. CaliforniaGirl09

    CaliforniaGirl09 DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2009
    Ditto from me! Much prefer DL! September is a great time to go. I'd save the cruise for when you have time to do 7 nights and not risk the hurricane.
  9. wallawallakids

    wallawallakids DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2012
    We are going on our first cruise this April, so I can not really comment on that, but I wanted to support the comments for DL. My family and I LOVE DL. In fact we are going again this August. Nothing beats DL in my mind. September is an amazing time to go. Great weather, not too crowded. I would not want to risk a hurricane on the cruise at that time any way. I am sure that my family will love DCL as well, and we have always enjoyed going to WDW but there is something beyond magical about DL. It is the one place in the world that holds my heart. I can't explain it. Plus at your boys' ages, I bet they would LOVE cars land. My youngest little guy loves all the cars and getting his picture taken with Lightning. :) Good luck with your decision and have a great trip!
  10. sayhello

    sayhello Have Camera, Will Travel Moderator

    Oct 28, 2006
    Absolutely, positively go to Disneyland! It's wonderful and a really special place. And you can see the new Carsland! Go for it!

  11. MAJPLO

    MAJPLO DIS Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Have you looked at any of the kids sail free options? I believe the offer code is DRM and there are September dates available.

    I LOVE Disneyland but if I could afford a cruise I'd take that way before DL. Definitely check the calendar, great weather, low crowd like pp's have said.
  12. alex881

    alex881 Mouseketeer

    Oct 24, 2012
    We have been to WDW 5 years in a row and moved to ca in August. We quickly got APs for DL and neither my wife or me like it nearly as much as WDW. We'd choose DCL in a heart beat.

    If you do choose DL, be prepared that it doesn't seem quite as "magical" as WDW. You see cast members in the wrong lands, the castle is tiny (shocked us). There are some pluses (Fantasmic, Space mtn). My vote still is DCL (with trip insurance).
  13. WeLoveTheMouse

    WeLoveTheMouse <font color=blue>Earned My Ears<br><font color=pur

    Jul 27, 2005
    We are WDW regulars. We spent 2 days in DL a few years ago. We loved seeing it and comparing it to WDW. Love them both. With everything right together and low crowds, 2 days was plenty of time to see all of DL and CA. The first major difference was how close all the non-Disney hotels were. It was such a short walk. We stayed at Howard Johnson and would definitely stay there again. The second difference was how laid back everyone was. We were at the gate 30 minutes before opening and there was hardly any one there. We walked quickly to Toy Story Mania and were easily the first there. So different from WDW pace. We loved looking for the differences in the rides. Fantasyland and Toon Town were so much better! We loved being in the original park. Where else can you go for something different and still have all the wonderful Disney Magic?

    You could also take some time and see the beach and some of Hollywood. The drive down to San Diego is easy. Great zoo there. So much to enjoy in California.

    We have also been on a 3 night cruise on Disney. It was an awesome cruise. That was way too short. I said I would never do one that short again. We were so exhuasted when we got off. Did not like the Bahamas. I would stay on the ship if I went again. The entertainment, shows, games and service were incredible. I am not sure if you have ever been on a cruise but the pools are all small on a cruise ship. My kids were surprised at that. We are going on a 7 night in May and can't wait.

    2 totally different experiences. Both incredible.
  14. Goldiepie1

    Goldiepie1 Earning My Ears

    Sep 20, 2011
    I would think the Cruise would be less crowded during that time frame too.

    I live in So Cal and visit DLR often. DLR is great... but if you have been to DW, you may find DL much smaller, hotels much more expensive and not as nice.

    But there is so many other things to do besides DL... so if you really wanted to visit So Cal and do the many other things as well as DL, then a trip to So Cal is a great option.

    But if I had to pick between DLR(and stay on site) or DCL... I would pick the cruise.
  15. Wilver

    Wilver Mouseketeer

    Jul 16, 2005
    DL is a much smaller version of WDW with not as many parks and a big city surrounding it. Don't get me wrong, for its size and location Disney does a good job of extending the Disney magic. I just know that we were disappointed visiting DL the first time after visiting WDW many times previously - there just isn't as much to do. That being said, we have since returned several times and with more realistic expectations we now enjoy our stays. We do very much enjoy staying at the Grand Californian Hotel.

    We've done both the DCL 5 night cruise to the Bahamas and the 11 night Mediterranean cruise. Personally I enjoy relaxing on board the ship and sometime our shore days seemed to be too busy. You get 6 to 8 hours on shore so not a lot of time to sight see. I did enjoy Castaway Cay.

    All that being said, I think I would go with the cruise over DL.
  16. erocrobro

    erocrobro DIS Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    We have not been on our cruise yet, so I can't say for sure, but I think since the cruise you are looking at is only 4 days I would go with DL. We visited this summer after only having been to WDW and absolutely loved it. I could not get over the laid back approach, it was so much more fun than we had at WDW just because I wasn't stressed out about being somewhere on time or seeing everything or allowing time to hop from park to park. You can also take some time to have a couple of beach days so you could still get that aspect of a cruise vacation.
  17. SunshineCruiser

    SunshineCruiser Mouseketeer

    Nov 17, 2012
    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! :)
  18. bahacca

    bahacca Mouseketeer

    Aug 18, 2012
    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....
  19. sjlnv

    sjlnv Mouseketeer

    Feb 2, 2012
    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.
  20. DahliaRW

    DahliaRW DIS Veteran

    Jul 17, 2008
    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!
  21. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    Jun 7, 2005
    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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