Parks before of after cruise?

jtntx34

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
I generally would say active days at park before a relaxing cruise, but...

1. I haven’t been to the parks since 2009, and I hear the cleanliness and service have slipped. Would it be more noticeable or annoying AFTER a cruise than before?

2. I am considering a 3 day cruise so my park days can be during the week and hopefully less crowded. Would the cruise then feel hectic instead of relaxed?

3. I will be with my mom who will probably use a wheelchair or mobility device most of the time. Will one experience be easier or more accessible than the other?

If you’ve done parks plus cruise, feel free to chime in.

Right now, target dates are late April 2021.
 

cvjw

DIS Veteran
Joined
Dec 22, 2005
We did the 8 day southern Caribbean in October with 1 park day before and 2 after. I would say do the parks before the cruise. After our cruise, it was hard to go to the parks and find them enjoyable. We went from being totally relaxed on the cruise, to fighting endless lines and hoards of people at Disney. We were so ready to leave the parks and go home.

We just cancelled the disney portion of our upcoming September cruise and booked an additional 3 day cruise instead.
 

allears

"If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!
Joined
Jul 20, 2002
This is really total personal preference. We've done both. It's a lot of fun to kick off the vacation with some park time and it really makes you appreciate the less hectic life once on board the ship. But we also like spending time after the cruise, as we will in April. Going from Disney to Disney makes the re-entry to the real world a little softer. It extends the magic, while preparing you for the world by getting you back into dealing with lots of people.
 

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  • AngelDisney

    Dream a Disney Dream 0[;)
    Joined
    Mar 22, 2011
    We did parks before cruise in 2004 & 2011, and parks after cruise in 2017. I prefer parks before cruise. It’s a break from the intensive park touring and we got to rejuvenate before going back to work/school. However, parks after cruise could help to lose the additional weight we had gained from all the eating on the cruise. We are doing both next time: parks before and parks after a cruise during Christmas. I think there are pros and cons for each option, and we just have to adjust our expectations accordingly to enjoy our time at the happiest place on Earth!

    Have fun planning!!
     

    allears

    "If I were not upon the sea..." I'd want to be!
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2002
    Expectations are everything! We have found when going to the parks before the cruise heighten our anticipation for the ship, especially if the parks are crowded and once we've spent way too much money on food! The lines can be aggravating and the pace can be exhausting, so we look forward to the relative peace of the ship and the fact most of the food is already paid for!

    On the return side, we find it a lot less depressing to be heading off to WDW rather than the air port when we disembark. Extends the vacation and the magic a wee bit longer.
     

    JaimeInParker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    May 26, 2014
    we always do PARK before - as we use the CRUISE to recover from the hussle-n-bussle of the park - IMHO
     

    Karin1984

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 5, 2012
    I think you notice negative things quicker when you are tired and as mentioned, it depends on your expectations. 10 years is a lot of time, and I think the longer lines etc. will bother you more than cleanliness as it impacts you more drectly.
    I would do park first to have the most energy.
     

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  • Quellman

    Donald Duck
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2014
    I have had the luxury of doing 2 B2B cruises. I can directly compare the 3 Night vs the 4 night cruise. The 3 night cruise is certainly a much more hurried cruise. You can feel it in your fellow passengers, the crew, and the atmosphere. By the time you get your luggage unpacked the first night, 2 nights later you have your bags packed for disembarkation. That is to say that you can certainly relax and unwind on a 3 night cruise. It is how you set your expectations. If you try do do all of the shows, pirate night, bingo, trivia, animation class, Palo brunch, you would be worn out.

    I've also done parks before and after a cruise. It really doesn't matter to us. Overall we prefer the parks first. The cruise is the cherry on the icing. I very much sympathize with the need to take your time in the parks to experience everything and the time to navigate with someone with limited mobility. I think in April, you'll be seeing a lot of spring breaking families make their way down. But usually Saturdays are arrival days for many travelers, so that is a good day to be in the parks.
     

    jtntx34

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 4, 2008
    I appreciate the replies.

    To be honest, I always do some relaxing with my park time. I just cannot go breakneck speed from dawn to dusk; it’s not in my dna. I am a tortoise, not a hare.

    As for the lines bothering me more than cleanliness, I do not think so. I have always HATED the lines and cannot hate them more than I did; but I learned a long time ago that I must pack an extra load of patience when at Disney and view each line as it’s own type of “ride.” Each is an experience, a chance to watch people, and an opportunity to sometimes meet new people. Thinking of the lines as part of the Disney experience helps me maintain my sanity and keep from tearing my clothes, pulling out my hair, and running around screaming.

    THE most important “ride” is the first one we must go on FIRST thing when we enter the park. That is the “ride” my family affectionally calls “the pee pee train.” Riding this first allows us to stand in the long lines. 😂 So, if that ride is ruined by nastiness, it would set the tone for the entire trip. So, yes, I would be interested to know the cleanliness of the parks vs ships.
     

    Mainsail Minnie

    Momketeer
    Joined
    Jul 28, 2019
    Public area bathrooms are a lot nicer on the ships than in the parks (or any other public place you could go, really). That's the biggest difference we noticed in quality between the parks and the cruise. Otherwise, we enjoyed the parks and ship equally on our recent Fantasy cruise and WDW park & resort visit over Christmas vacation.

    We didn't find WDW to be dirty. The parks are well-kept and as pretty as ever, and the resorts are lovely. It isn't perfect: the public bathrooms & trams could be nicer, and cleaned more often, but that is nothing worse than what you'd get in any similar public area, and not terrible. They just aren't outstandingly clean and pretty like the bathrooms on the ship and the tram on Castaway Cay.

    We visited WDW both before and after our cruise. We enjoyed both visits, but as we tend to get homesick, we were quite ready to go home by the latter visit, though we did enjoy it.
     
  • Geomom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 17, 2010
    With what you've written, I'd do the parks first. As far as cleanliness and low(er) meet and greet lines, the ship wins. The ships are constantly being cleaned--sanitation is extremely important on the ship due to being a contained space and DCL does a great job with it! You would most definitely notice WDW flaws more after your cruise. A part of WDW's 'cleanliness' issue is just the amount of people coming/going in the parks, it's just hard for staff to keep up with it. The restrooms at WDW are definitely not the worst that we've experienced, it's just the ship ones are immaculate!
     

    kiford

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2012
    We've done both before and after, just before and just after. My preference is both before and after but schedules don't always permit that. My next preference is before. As others have said, it's much more relaxing after running around the parks although we take our time and do lots of more leisurely things in the parks now and at the resort. There is, however, something to be said about not going from the cruise to the airport but going back into the Disney bubble which is what we're doing in a couple of weeks.

    We don't personally feel that the cleanliness and service have dropped in the parks but that's just our opinion. The thing we find the most difficult in going to the parks after cruising is remembering that you have to pay for your food. You can't just grab and go! It really does take some thought when you pass by a cart and think "oh that looks good" and then you remember that you have to pay. It gets very easy on the ship to just stop by for a drink on deck or some food or just grab a bag of chips that are sitting in a basket and not think about it at all.

    In the end, I think it's just how you prepare yourself. There are pros and cons to both before and after.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    1. I haven’t been to the parks since 2009, and I hear the cleanliness and service have slipped. Would it be more noticeable or annoying AFTER a cruise than before?
    --I think the experience of the parks varies so much depending on when you go, due to crowd levels. High crowds produce more mess, hence cleanliness issues, and are stressful for staff and make it harder for them to do magical extras on service. We avoid peak times and are always impressed by the service and state of the parks.

    2. I am considering a 3 day cruise so my park days can be during the week and hopefully less crowded. Would the cruise then feel hectic instead of relaxed?
    --Possibly. Sort of depends what you want from the cruise. If you have a lot of must-dos (e.g., excursions, ride aquaduck more than once, specialty dining, lots of character meets) it make make a short cruise super hectic. If you just want to chill by the pool, and catch a show in the evenings, it's relaxing.

    3. I will be with my mom who will probably use a wheelchair or mobility device most of the time. Will one experience be easier or more accessible than the other?
    --You should definitely make sure to book an accessible room on the ship as most regular rooms are a pretty tight configuration. I have also seen some pretty intense frustration from guests with mobility devices about having to wait for the elevators on the cruise ship to get anywhere (tip: forward and aft elevators are usually less crowded than midship). But i've also seen frustrated guests complaining about scooter limits on buses and difficulty navigating around crowds at the parks. So I guess the answer is both are accessible, but neither is perfect.
     

    kammom18

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 19, 2010
    We did a 5 day in the parks and then a 3 night cruise. It was our first DCL trip. We all agreed we would never do parks before because by the time we hit the ship, we were exhausted and didn’t really get to enjoy the ship. My youngest (at the time was 4) and I were sitting on the ground the night of the pirate night practically falling asleep. Also on a 3 night cruise if you are doing an excursion in the Bahamas and then doing castaway, it doesn’t give you much downtime. If you plan on doing parks and cruise, I would suggest doing a 4 night cruise so you can have a down day on a sea day. And 5 days was likely too many to be at the parks with adding the cruise. Whichever you choose, have fun and enjoy every second.
     

    LadyMar

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 5, 2006
    Me & my sis are lucky enough to have done both an Eastern & Western Caribbean & both times we did Disney World after the cruise. The sadness of disembarking is completely wiped out with the excitement of boarding magical express to Disney's Port Orleans Riverside. The luggage handlers will get your bags and pass you right off to the bus. Soon we arrive at the hotel & can now spend this day relaxing, visit a park the next day, another relax day etc. We always head to Port Canaveral a day early pre-cruise. We couldn't handle the stress of thinking something would go wrong with our flight on embarkation day :duck: and we would miss the ship :scared: . Getting off the ship and not having to go directly to the airport to do all the travel business of luggage, security, cabs & thrust right back into reality is definitely a big part of why we decide to go after the cruise and not before :wave2:These days it's all about reducing any travel stress & anxiety if ya can, right?::yes:: Have a great time!
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    The sadness of disembarking is completely wiped out with the excitement of boarding magical express to Disney's Port Orleans Riverside.
    I would second this point. We've done pre- and post- cruise stays and with the post-cruise, it is nice not to have to go to the airport after cruise and wait around for your flight, but instead get to start on round 2 of vacation.

    Also, one more thing occurred to me--when we did the parks before, I was so worried about someone getting sick and us being denied boarding, it really stressed me out. My DH got quarantined on our very first cruise which was really stressful and he was sure it was from something he ate in Magic Kingdom the day before that tasted off (but I suspect he just caught a bug from someone at the parks--there are so many germy people crowded together there).
     

    Mommb

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2010
    As others have said, the crowds and cleanliness on the cruise will be better than at the parks. Even a slow day at the parks will have more people than the cruise ship.

    I haven't noticed cleanliness issues at the parks, but I agree with Geomom that there is excessive attention to cleanliness on the ships. It feels like more often than not when I walk into a womens' restroom on the cruise ship, there is a castmember in it cleaning. Having cabin stewards servicing rooms twice a day (and constantly in the hallways throughout the day) makes the rooms feel cleaner than rooms at the resorts.

    My family has mitigated the post-cruise letdown by renting a car and driving to Disney Springs for several hours after our cruise and before our flight home. That may not be the best option if you want relaxation, though.
     

    WDW_fan_in_TX

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2015
    We did our first half and half trip in September (our first cruise of any kind actually). We did a 3 night Bahamian cruse out of Port Canaveral. Got back on Monday then headed to Disney World. We didn't do a park that day, but we did go to Grand Floridian to eat dinner and watch the fireworks. Then Tuesday we hit the parks running and stayed through Friday. We really enjoyed going to the parks afterward because we were relaxed.
     

    aaronamy

    DVC members since 2002
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2000
    We like to do the parks before and then we have a relaxing cruise to look forward to. The one time we reversed it we felt like it was kind of a let down.
     


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