Adrift With Disney: Disney Cruise or Disney World?

Editor’s Note: Welcome to a new series about planning an affordable Disney Cruise: “Adrift With Disney”, courtesy of our friend Brenda. :) Brenda is starting to plan a Disney Dream Cruise because….well….I’ll let her tell you!

photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/sierraandi/5425751383/in/photostream/

Disney Cruise or Disney World?

That is the question…my answer? How about a little of both?

As my life continues its metamorphosis, so do the plans for our annual Disney family vacation. As you may have read in my previous post, our annual Thanksgiving trip has changed to December this year as my youngest will be graduating from high school and so we will be planning around a college vacation schedule. The latest development in my family is that my oldest son will be marrying his sweetheart this year and, since they will use their vacation days for a honeymoon, they will not be joining us this December.

So, the question is what to do this year. We had planned on a family of 6 at Walt Disney World for 10 days/9 nights and now there will be only 4 of us. Is this an opportunity to try something new? Well, yes it is…and what is newer and grander to try than the brand new Disney Dream? My family has never been on a Disney cruise, so we were excited by the prospect. But, to give up our fun time in the parks was holding us back.

How would we decide what to do? We compared pricing and experiences and we have decided on a 4-day Bahamas cruise combined with 3 days at Walt Disney World.

Pricing the Options

If you are under the impression that a Disney cruise costs more than a Walt Disney World vacation, you might be surprised by what I found during my research.

Price Comparison

I priced out our planned trip to the Wilderness Lodge for a family of 4 based on the current Spring/Summer special, assuming that a similar offering will be announced for December. The cost of 9 nights in a Courtyard View Room, with 8-day park hopper tickets plus regular dining was $5492.

I then priced the Disney Dream 4-day Bahamas Cruise plus 3-day stay at WDW. The cost of a Deluxe Family Stateroom with Veranda in category 4B, plus a 3-night stay at the Wilderness Lodge was $4072. This does not include 3-day park hopper tickets nor food, but I plan to possibly purchase the land portion separately on a special as the deals come out. So, for the cruise only (minus the land portion) the cost is $3075. The land portion priced on the current Spring/Summer offer (including the 3-dayPH tickets and regular dining) was $2586. This makes the estimated cost of the 4-day Bahamas cruise plus 3-day inclusive land package $5661.

What is included in the cost?

The package price includes almost everything on board: the stateroom; breakfast, lunch and dinner every day; soft drinks served at meals and at the beverage stations; snacks and ice cream throughout the ship; and all onboard activities and entertainment. Things like the spa and alcoholic beverages are not included, but we do not spa on vacation anyway and we can use our $75 onboard credit* for special drinks, internet usage, and such.

Familiar Favorite vs. New Experience

After pricing out both options, the choice became whether to stay with what we know and love, or opt for a brand new experience and go somewhere we have never been, the Bahamas. Every time I see the commercials on television, the ship looks so beautiful and I can just see myself shooting along in the clear tube of the AquaDuck waterslide going over the water — it looks like such fun. Then there are the pools; the entertainment which includes musical live shows, first-run films, Digital 3-D movies and family deck parties; dancing in the nightclubs and lounges; and numerous opportunities for both fun and relaxation. Seeing the water and enjoying the tropical atmosphere at Nassau, Bahamas and basking on the beach at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is a turn on too. All this, combined with spending time together, and apart, while offering everyone the opportunity to experience new things sold me.

Additional savings available to you

As you may have read in one of my previous posts, we always capitalize on the 0% interest for 6 months deal offered to all Disney Rewards Visa cardholders, and we then use our tax refund to finish paying for our trip. This worked the same way for our upcoming cruise/land deal. We had to pay a down-payment, which we will pay back to the card before we leave, and then the rest of the trip we can charge at 0% and pay off in March.

*Booking online offered us a $25 onboard credit. Using our Disney Rewards Visa card offers us another $50 onboard credit. That is $75 we gain just from doing what we would normally do anyway. Not too shabby!

If you are at all interested in cruising Disney-style, check into the cost yourself. Even better, post a comment and we will be happy to help in your planning. You might be surprised at what a great trip you could get for the money.

I will write more about the Disney Dream and the 4-day Bahamas cruise next week, so stay tuned.

Brenda is a native Texan born and raised on the Gulf Coast. She visited Disney World twice as a teenager and always dreamed of growing her family Disney. She took her first-timer husband and their three children to Disney World in 2000 and they now spend every Thanksgiving there. Brenda writes with a comedic twist on various Disney topics. She will be sharing tips she has learned during her travels and also hopes to enlighten people on little-known freebies that Disney has to offer. She wishes she could have met Walt Disney and considers herself to be a student of Walt. In parallel to his dream it is her wish that everyone would take at least one trip to Disney World in order to share in its magic with their families.

That is the question…my answer? How about a little of both?

As my life continues its metamorphosis, so do the plans for our annual Disney family vacation. As you may have read in my previous post, our annual Thanksgiving trip has changed to December this year as my youngest will be graduating from high school and so we will be planning around a college vacation schedule. The latest development in my family is that my oldest son will be marrying his sweetheart this year and, since they will use their vacation days for a honeymoon, they will not be joining us this December.

So, the question is what to do this year. We had planned on a family of 6 at Walt Disney World for 10 days/9 nights and now there will be only 4 of us. Is this an opportunity to try something new? Well, yes it is…and what is newer and grander to try than the brand new Disney Dream? My family has never been on a Disney cruise, so we were excited by the prospect. But, to give up our fun time in the parks was holding us back.

How would we decide what to do? We compared pricing and experiences and we have decided on a 4-day Bahamas cruise combined with 3 days at Walt Disney World.

Pricing the Options

If you are under the impression that a Disney cruise costs more than a Walt Disney World vacation, you might be surprised by what I found during my research.

Price Comparison

I priced out our planned trip to the Wilderness Lodge for a family of 4 based on the current Spring/Summer special, assuming that a similar offering will be announced for December. The cost of 9 nights in a Courtyard View Room, with 8-day park hopper tickets plus regular dining was $5492.

I then priced the Disney Dream 4-day Bahamas Cruise plus 3-day stay at WDW. The cost of a Deluxe Family Stateroom with Veranda in category 4B, plus a 3-night stay at the Wilderness Lodge was $4072. This does not include 3-day park hopper tickets nor food, but I plan to possibly purchase the land portion separately on a special as the deals come out. So, for the cruise only (minus the land portion) the cost is $3075. The land portion priced on the current Spring/Summer offer (including the 3-dayPH tickets and regular dining) was $2586. This makes the estimated cost of the 4-day Bahamas cruise plus 3-day inclusive land package $5661.

What is included in the cost?

The package price includes almost everything on board: the stateroom; breakfast, lunch and dinner every day; soft drinks served at meals and at the beverage stations; snacks and ice cream throughout the ship; and all onboard activities and entertainment. Things like the spa and alcoholic beverages are not included, but we do not spa on vacation anyway and we can use our $75 onboard credit* for special drinks, internet usage, and such.

Familiar Favorite vs. New Experience

After pricing out both options, the choice became whether to stay with what we know and love, or opt for a brand new experience and go somewhere we have never been, the Bahamas. Every time I see the commercials on television, the ship looks so beautiful and I can just see myself shooting along in the clear tube of the AquaDuck waterslide going over the water — it looks like such fun. Then there are the pools; the entertainment which includes musical live shows, first-run films, Digital 3-D movies and family deck parties; dancing in the nightclubs and lounges; and numerous opportunities for both fun and relaxation. Seeing the water and enjoying the tropical atmosphere at Nassau, Bahamas and basking on the beach at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is a turn on too. All this, combined with spending time together, and apart, while offering everyone the opportunity to experience new things sold me.

Additional savings available to you

As you may have read in one of my previous posts, we always capitalize on the 0% interest for 6 months deal offered to all Disney Rewards Visa cardholders, and we then use our tax refund to finish paying for our trip. This worked the same way for our upcoming cruise/land deal. We had to pay a down-payment, which we will pay back to the card before we leave, and then the rest of the trip we can charge at 0% and pay off in March.

*Booking online offered us a $25 onboard credit. Using our Disney Rewards Visa card offers us another $50 onboard credit. That is $75 we gain just from doing what we would normally do anyway. Not too shabby!

If you are at all interested in cruising Disney-style, check into the cost yourself. Even better, post a comment and we will be happy to help in your planning. You might be surprised at what a great trip you could get for the money.

I will write more about the Disney Dream and the 4-day Bahamas cruise next week, so stay tuned.

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Related posts:

  1. Adrift with Disney: A Plethora of Activities, Part II: In Port
  2. Adrift with Disney: Staying Onboard While In Port
  3. Adrift With Disney: All About Passports
  4. Adrift with Disney: Choosing the Perfect Stateroom
  5. Adrift with Disney: A Plethora of Activities, Part I: At Sea
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