First time to Cruise and first time to Disneyworld ????

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by KCS, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. KCS

    KCS Earning My Ears

    Jan 16, 2004
    I am trying to plan a Disney Cruise in 2005 for our 15th anniversary. We will be taking our children (10 & 4) We have never been on a cruise and have never been to Disneyworld!!
    Should we do a 4land/3sea or 3land/4sea????? I know nothing about which resort to request,probably a moderate one and I know nothing about what cat to request???? We can travel anytime in the year,but I am thinking Sept or Oct..??? Any suggestions and advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!::yes::
    Please help.... We are soooo excited, and I really want this to be a wonderful experience for all of us.

  2. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 1999
    If I had never been to WDW before, I'd do the 4 land / 3 sea, especially if you can do the sea after the land. (The sea sounds great after the craziness of the parks.)

    We're going on our first cruise in March, 2005. We chose a category 6 because we wanted a verandah and we wanted enough space to stretch out.

    Hope that helps a little.

    Oh, one last thing. I'm sure a lot of other people will tell you this, too. I wouldn't book the land / sea thing through Disney. I'd book them separately. Then you can have your choice of resorts, packages, etc. You should be able to get some good room rates on-site in September or early October.

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  4. minnieandmickey

    minnieandmickey Queen of the run on sentence!

    Apr 28, 2001
    Welcome to the boards Karen. It all depends on what you want to spend. Personally if you can book separate and do 7 days at WDW and a 3 or 4 day cruise I think you would be happier. Maybe book October for the Mickey's No So Scary Halloween Party, that runs all month. It is so hard to do Disney in 4 days especially for the first time. You could book one of the cheaper onsite hotels and get a nicer stateroom on the ship, or even an inside Category 10 is really nice, and economical. If you are lucky you can get a secret porthole cabin.
  5. JulieWent

    JulieWent DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 1999
    Just went back to check to see that you'd gotten more helpful advice, so I'm bumping you up.

    Also, reread to see that you'd asked for advice on resorts. All the moderates are nice. My family loves Port Orleans French Quarter, but we've never stayed at Coronado Springs or Carribean Beach. Carribean Beach might be a nice way to start "getting ready" for a cruise. The bus service from each of the mods to the parks works nicely.

    Have you gotten a copy of Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to WDW or the Passporter? If not, I highly recommend getting a good guide. I still look over the Unofficial Guide when I plan, and I've been to WDW more times than I can remember.

    About the cruise end, just keep asking questions. I've found the people on this board are infinitely patient. I've asked some questions that I thought were pretty silly. ("Where do I park?") And they've been VERY helpful.

    You'll get some great help about resorts and how to get great rates over on the resorts board. They're an extremely helpful bunch, too.

  6. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    There are advantages either way. The advantage of a land/sea package is that everything is arranged for you--you have very few choices or decisions to make, and the whole thing is one package. This only works if you have exactly 7 days and you want to do it "their" way. The land/sea limits you choices of WDW resort based on your cabin category on the ship.

    The advantage to booking things separately (a land package and a sea package) is that you can customize things the way YOU like them, and depending on your preferences, you can save a lot of money.

    For instance, I understand that there are 4 of you. Did you realize that it is cheaper to book a private limo service for that number of people than to take Disney transfers? Also, the private limo service will run when YOU choose, not when DCL chooses. (The break even point on limo service is 3 people...for 3, the cost is the same either way, for 4, private is cheaper).

    OK, if you choose private limo service, that means you can choose any hotel. You could save $ by staying at an All Star resort...maybe enough $ for an extra day! We've done 10 cruises on the Magic, and I've stayed at a wide variety of WDW resorts. If you only have 3-4 days, you can't possible "DO" Disney (not all of it!), and you will probably pack your days full of parks. In that case, you'll use your hotel for little more than I'd go low end. You could turn that around and decide that you LOVE the pool at Beach Club (we do!) and that makes it worth the extra $ to stay there....or you might choose to do water parks instead.

    The Land/Sea packages include Ultimate Park Hopper passes. That means you have admission to everything from the minute you check in till the minute you check out. That's nice if you'll use it, but it is also pricey. Will you go to a park on the day you board the ship? We usually don't--we do a character breakfast at one of the resorts. However, on the UPH pass, you have paid for park admission that day. Will you go to a park the day you check in? That probably depends on what time you arrive..... Again, you might consider purchasing Park Hopper Plus passes for the number of days you will use them. These are available in advance at the Disney Store or on line. If you choose not to do parks one day, the days never expire...and they are cheaper than UPH passes to begin with.....if you don't use one day of the UPH, you would save major $ on the Park Hopper Plus.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is that which is "better" is a personal decision issue. Is it better to have everything easy and convenient? Are you willing to give up some choices to do that? Or are you interested in more flexibility? Or is saving money important to you?

    You'll have a great vacation either way, and a good TA should be able to put together a full "package" no matter how you book it...she can combine the sea into one vacation. You can private message me if you want more info.

    Do remember that if you book things separately, you probably do not want to buy the Disney cruise vacation insurance as that would then cover only the cruise portion of the trip. Private insurance is available that will cover the whole trip. Ditto, if you do not book your air thru Disney, it is not covered on the trip insurance, but is covered if you choose to insure privately.

    Good luck and have fun,
  7. Land-and-Sea

    Land-and-Sea Mouseketeer

    Jun 5, 2004
    Whatever you'd do I'd strongly suggest spending more days in the park than on the cruise. There are just so many things to see and do. Ideally, if you had the time and resources, I'd suggest 5-7 days for parks and a 4 or 7 day cruise but I understand that's pretty expensive on both accounts. Sidenote, I overheard on our last 7 day cruise that one family did a week at the parks before AND after the cruise. Now THAT's a vacation.

    Anyway, have fun with planning your trip!


    PS: October is a great time in the parks as the weather has usually subsided a good deal by then.
  8. DMS_cruisers04

    DMS_cruisers04 S@H DAD

    Oct 22, 2003
    Karen, welcome to the DIS! :wave: Kathryn has already given you some great ideas to start. Hit the nail on the head :badpc: about better being personal choice.
    An idea :idea: for deciding on how many days you might need at WDW, get maps of the parks, either on-line or from one of the books Kathryn mentioned, and have everyone decide what are the things they absolutely must see for each park. Thus the more everyone wants to see, the more days you'll need. And since you haven't been, the 5-7 everybody has said sounds about right.

    We nearly always travel WDW in Sept., crowds are usually low, weather, for the most part, is good and for us, it's our anniversary. On our last trip, we spent 6 days (including arrival and departure days) and visited 3 parks and used a day to shop and visit relatives. But we've been several times and only did attractions my DD4 wanted to see, except for Rock'n'Roller coaster @ MGM. A lot of the things we skipped will be things you'll want to see, ie. Space Mountain, Test Track stuff like that.

    And definitely do the cruise after, you'll enjoy the relaxation factor. And I would plan for as many days on the cruise as you can afford, both financially and time-wise.
  9. TheWog

    TheWog <font color=indigo>The Curse has been Reversed<br>

    Apr 1, 2004
    Funds are definitely a variable here. I recommend a verandah. Especially with younger ones. You can relax out there while they nap. Fun to watch docking from it and here the ocean while you sit at night. Cat. 7 is the first one, with a 6 begin the best value (I think). Not sure about parks so good luck there, but everyone says to book separately. Book your own air too.
  10. Sarangel

    Sarangel <font color=red><font color=navy>Rumor has it ...<

    Jan 18, 2000
    My DH & I did the 4-day land/3-day sea package for our first Disneyworld trip, and we nearly killed ourselves on the land part and the sea part was too short...

    If I could do it over again, I'd follow kcashner's advice & book time at WDW with a park hopper for 5 or 6 days and then a nice relaxing 4 (or if I could afford it 7 day) cruise. I was very surprised at how *big* WDW is, even though I'd been going to Disneyland for years. There's so much to see that you really need more than 4 days to get anything but the four major parks (and, having done it, 4 parks in 4 days is a killer - especially with a 4 year old).

    There's a lot to be said for doing some major planning, that way you won't miss anything that you'll be upset about later. You may not see everything that you want, but at least you'll know what you're missing (and you can plan to see it next time :teeth: ).

    Good luck & enjoy your trip whatever you decide.
  11. jrabbit

    jrabbit DIS Veteran

    Jun 13, 2002
    Definatly plan on more than 4 days at the parks. Magic Kingom takes 2 days, Epcot between 1 and 2 days (of more interest to mom & dad, lesser extent to the 10yo, 4 yo will be wondering "Where's Mickey?"), Disney/MGM Studios generally only takes a day and 1 day for the Animal Kingdom (4yo may really enjoy looking at the animals). So that's a minimum of 5 days and I would take another day to hit the attractions you really enjoyed.

    THen there's the water parks. My 7yo really enjoyed them and was able to do most of the rides. As he's gotten older he loves ALL of the rides (includeing Summit Plummet - 120 feet almost straight down on your back:scared1: )

    The cruise is very nice. Your kids will probably love the kids clubs and will have a blast there. THat will give mom and dad some time to relax and enjoy one another;) and some of the "adult" classes/activities. I my thinking a 3 night cruise is too short. Our first cruise was 4 nights after about 10 days at the parks. The cruise really flew by. We now are 7night cruise bigots (with the exception of the CA->FL repo cruise next year:D ) But for your first cruise, 4 nights is a nice test run if you've never cruised before.

    If time and money are issues here (and for most of us they are) spending 5 days at WDW and 4 night cruise is a nice "compromise". You should not count the day you leave the parks to go on the cruise as a "park day" because you will want to get to the port by noon (we try for 11am). This gives you a day to travel to Orlando, 5 days (6 nights) at WDW and 4 nights on the cruise and a day to travel home:( for a total of 11 days away from home.

    If money is an issue (it is for me) stay at one of the value resorts. The All Star's have nice/functional rooms (2 double beds). They are clean, have huge food courts, nice swimming pools and decorations that are huge and a lot of fun. All Star Movies is layed out better than AS Sports (don't know about AS Music yet). I imagine that Pop Century is in the same category as far as layout, food, pools, etc. And they will save you $30-$90 PER Night!! over moderates. Our philosophy - you're not spending much time in your room, why pay a lot for it. THere are advantages to staying on property, but if money is more of an issue there are always nice off property hotels for less money.

    I'll second (or third) the point about getting a guide book for WDW. In the past we have purchased both Birnbaums Official WDW guide and Bob Sehlinger's Unofficial Guide to WDW. Your local library should have recient copies of them to look over before you purchase. I prefer the Unofficial Guide because 1) it's unbiased, 2) great touring plans, 3) good descriptions and ratings of the attractions and 4) it's got a lot of funny stuff in it (or at least it used to - "Chuck Bubba's baby toss") so it's not a "boring read"
  12. puffkin

    puffkin DVC Owner- SSR & AKV

    Apr 30, 2001
    Also consider that you may not want the category hotel room that corresponds with the type of stateroom you want on the cruise. For instance, if you would want a Cat. 6 with verandah for the Sea, you would get a deluxe for the land portion. However, you may only need a moderate or value, so booking both parts separately may be cheaper.

    I also second the opinion that 4 days for your first visit to WDW is not enough time. I would at least allow 5-6 days, which the package does not offer.
  13. cforsythe

    cforsythe Mouseketeer

    May 6, 2004
    I agree with all of the others about 4 days not being enough for WDW.

    My favorite planning tool is the Passporter WDW and now they have a new Passporter guide to Disney cruising. Their website is You can get their books there but I buy mine at the local bookstore.

    Now about the cruise. We went on the 3 day and that was definately NOT enough time. As soon as we got on, we got off. I would not do less than 4 days. If money is a factor, I would skip the verandah because you really may not use it enough. We had on and we did NOT have time to sit out there due to all the activities that are available. If you plan on only getting rest then it is a great option. We are going on the 7 day Western in August and we are getting a category 6 room to have the verandah. Hope this helps!!!
    :earsboy: :earsgirl: :earsgirl: :earsgirl:
  14. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    Last November we went to WDW MK for the first time. We spent one day at the partk & then cancelled our plan to hit Sea World one day because it was so hectic. We spent the day at the AS Movie pool & DT Disney. We were much more relaxed for the ship the next day that way. We took a 7 day for our first cruise. As a SAHM of a 5 & 3 yo those were the best 7 days of the trip. Honestly, if I could spend a week (or more) on The Magic, I would be perfectly happy not going to WDW again for a few years anyway.

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