Preferring DCL to WDW for the Disney Fix - Anyone else?


Jul 3, 2007
We are looking to plan our next Disney fix. After numerous WDW visits and about 3 - 4 DCL cruises, I am really starting to feel like DCL is becoming my first preference for Disney vacations. Allot of reasons go into this but a few are; we have seen and experienced allot in the parks and the new stuff is not as interesting to us, the relaxed and easy vibe of the ships as opposed to the crowds and large amount of planning for a WDW visit, the introduction of FP+ (not looking to debate just liked the original FP), and other reasons.

WDW is still great and we are thinking of a small amount of DVC points for future visits, but I think the ratio of more WDW to less DCL is about to flip for me. Anyone else have this feeling and how did it workout for you?
My short answer is: I still love and enjoy going to WDW, but right now DCL Is my preferred vacation method.

I like doing a few days at the parks now before hopping on the ship. So much to look forward to at WDW over the next few years though so it is an exciting time....HOWEVER...Disney also has three new ships coming.

All the latest mergers and acquisitions, live action movies along with Disney+ and theme park updates + new rides and lands, etc. it’s just overall an awesome time to be a Disney fan in general.
Our answer... when WDW became stale with little money being put into it a few years ago, we did DCL. Now that there's been some investment in WDW, we're going back. We've got one cruise scheduled for next year and then will probably schedule one for a new ship after that

To me, I am starting to look at how much it would cost to stay on site at concierge level, like the Yacht and Beach club with tickets to the parks and compare it to a DCL cruise.
Enjoy both immensely.
Very relaxed after the DCL cruise.
Relaxed, but exhausted after a trip to WDW. Guess I should not get the park hopper option and try to open and close the parks. Plus incorporate a few extra days off before returning to work.
I love WDW and I really enjoy cruising. But for my Disney "fix" - I prefer to get it at a Disney theme park.

On the other hand - sometimes I just want to go on a Disney cruise. My friend and I sailed on Oasis of the Seas last November. We were docked next to the Disney Fantasy in Cozumel, and we both had Disney cruise envy! I booked the Feb. 2020 Wonder repo cruise shortly after that, but we'll also spend 6 days at WDW just prior to the cruise.
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I have not enjoyed the parks since the introduction of FP+. We get our Disney fix by boat now too.

DCL without question. I spent time in WDW in early November when crowds were projected to be relatively low (I know "projected" doesn't mean much these days) and even my 8 year old couldn't take the people. You can't compare the service between the two, either. I'm glad he's experienced the 4 parks, but neither of us is in a rush to go back.
My son loves cruising more, I love the parks more. DH and DD like both. I can usually do the parks cheaper so we have been choosing to spend our money at WDW.
We do both fairly regularly, and I can’t say I’ve developed a clear preference.

It really just depends on how my day/week/month has been going when you ask me. If it’s been hectic, the cruise sounds awesome. If it’s been quiet and boring, the parks sound awesome.
Uh, DCL. The parks are not a vacation for me. Dealing with busses and strollers and crowds and whining and walking and carrying sleeping kids.
WDW has become an all encompassing, laser focused, myriad of logistics. I can't handle that anymore. I still love WDW but I HATE all the pre planning and trying to get to FP and dinner MDE is horrible!!! DCL is so stress free. That said it won't keep from WDW. Just spent 3 nights there in May (Coronado Springs) and will be spending 3 more nights there (at the Poly) in August.

I would pick DCL without any hesitation. As I get older, I enjoy the ambiance of the parks, but the rides are becoming less and less entertaining. I still love a day in the parks with my teenagers, but there is something near perfect about cruising for us.

I love that I am disconnected from work and the world (and hope Disney never offers better internet access). I love the small amount of planning that goes into a cruise versus WDW. I love the low-effort cruising takes once you walk on the ship. I love that there is food to fit everyone's tastes at every meal (my 14 year old had two cheeseburgers for dinner most nights, while I enjoyed seabass). I love not trekking into the parks and out every day. I love the feeling of not trying to pack the day with plans from morning until late night so that we don't miss anything in one of the parks. I love the feeling that I am not wasting vacation time when there is a sea day, because it is designed to do very little. I love the ocean breeze and warm sun. I love sitting in the Walt Disney Theater at night with my entire family by my side, nobody arguing that they are missing out on the thing they wanted to do. I love that the family can split up in a safe environment. If my wife is tired, she can be in the room resting in minutes, while I can sit out on the deck with my daughter enjoying the sunshine. I love the feeling of having paid for nearly everything up front and not being concerned about whether I am staying on budget all week. I love not spending most of each day standing in lines. I love the motion of the ship while sleeping at night. I love that my social daughter can make friends in the Vibe, and my reserved daughter can hang with us. I love the view from Cabanas for lunch. I love that most people on the ship wear smiles and are polite, versus a good dose of over-stressed parents and grumpy faces at the park (not everyone, but it seems fairly prevalent, and I have been that dad at times when the kids were young despite my best efforts). I love Castaway Cay, which is an amazing beach without many of the discomforts some days at the beach require. I love the gentle Disney music as you walk the halls of the ship. I love the way the outdoor decks look, all clean and ship-shape (odd, I know). I love the solid state room and bathroom doors (again, odd, I know). Speaking of that, I love the public bathrooms on the ship (even better and cleaner than the parks). I love waking up and seeing a new place outside. I love the cozy feeling of the entire family in that small stateroom at night, watching a classic Disney movie. Even with teenagers, there is something really comforting about it.

There is so much of DCL that hits all the right notes for me. Some vacations are more interesting, educational, or even "fun" at times, but DCL is still my top pick.
DCL- way more relaxing. We did make a stop at the Polynesian before our last cruise. My heart- my favorite place on the property. But... it had a different feel than all those years ago. I am sure we will go back, just not sure when.
We just got off our first cruise two weeks ago. My husband greatly preferred it to going to the parks, but it may have been Alaska and not DCL that really sold him on the cruise. But he preferred the slower pace vs the parks (I may be slightly militant about keeping to my touring plans at the parks so that we don't miss a FP or ADR) I was shocked when he said he would much rather do another DCL trip than a WDW trip, because he does enjoy some of the rides and lands, especially Pandora. But DCL is definitely easier with small kids. My eldest loved the Wonder so much and said it felt like home. He's never said that about a resort at WDW. I was going back over our videos and he had this cute exchange with Spiderman where Spiderman mentioned seeing him in the kids club. It's a different experience for the kids, they get to feel like they get to know the CMs and the characters, where at WDW you can just feel like a face in a huge crowd. I do hope to get back to WDW at least once before my eldest turns 10 and becomes a Disney "adult".
My kids are now 19 and 22 but around the time they got to the Edge/Vibe age, they could have cared less about the parks. All they wanted to do is cruise. I will admit, I love the parks, and if I could be transported there right now, I would be thrilled, however, when it comes down to choosing a vacation, I lean toward the cruise now too. I have always been a huge planner, but even I feel the amount of planning needed for WDW, especially with FP+, is just too much work and not enjoyable to me at all. The new additions to the park (Star Wars, Marvel...) are just a total turn off to me. Not only do I not like them but I dislike them.

I do still like to visit for the Food and Wine Festival, and more specifically for the W&D 1/2 marathon, but cruising is my #1 choice.
We've dropped down to visiting WDW as a family every 3ish years. Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line are our preferred Disney destinations these days! I love the relaxed vibe of DLR and DCL that allows for more family chill time. I also don't do well in hot, humid weather, and Florida is hotter and more humid than ever. We can visit DLR in the winter when it's cooler, and when we cruise, I can always go indoors and enjoy the view from an air conditioned environment. :)

That said, we own a small amount of DVC points at WDW and are planning a trip in December 2020.
My daughter prefers WDW (I think), but at this point I definitely prefer DCL. I NEVER used to relax on vacation, but on DCL I do and I love it. I also have been to WDW many times over the past 27 years and it has become so much more crowded and so much more work than it used to be. If I were a first time visitor at this point, I don't think I would ever go back again. Because I have been so many times, I know how to "work" WDW, but it is a lot of planning and knowing how things work to do that. I like Universal much better right now. It is so much easier and more relaxing than WDW. We did stay at Beach Club Villas 2 years ago and were upgraded to a fabulous room. I have fond memories of that WDW trip, but the two I've taken since then haven't been all that enjoyable.
@brentm77 made me all nostalgic with all he said about DCL above. I also love that I can go see so many new places in the world with my daughter and our hotel goes with us.
To me, I am starting to look at how much it would cost to stay on site at concierge level, like the Yacht and Beach club with tickets to the parks and compare it to a DCL cruise.
Enjoy both immensely.
Very relaxed after the DCL cruise.
Relaxed, but exhausted after a trip to WDW. Guess I should not get the park hopper option and try to open and close the parks. Plus incorporate a few extra days off before returning to work.
We find staying club level at WDW and taking things at a relaxed pace there give us an experience that is just as fun and easy as a DCL cruise, without causing exhaustion. There are more activities available at WDW than on a cruise, while the advantage of the cruise is the other places it can take you.
Besides that both are owned by Disney and some activities are the same/similar, they are completely different vacations. Both with pros and cons, and it depends where you are in your life what you prefer, but also who you are with. Solo I would prefer cruises, with friends I would prefer parks.


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