When planning a vacation, a lot of people just know they want to “do Disney”, but a lot of people get stuck on trying to decide between Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line. The first thing I say is “do both!” You can do a 3-4 night cruise and spend 3-4 days in Walt Disney World and have the best of both. However, if that is not possible, here are some things that might help you decide which to do.

Walt Disney World vs. Disney Cruise


Disney Cruise Line Advantages:

1.) Relaxation: When I think about a cruise, I think of relaxation, laying out by the pool, reading a book, eating, and just taking it easy. It seems to be an all around slower paced vacation.

relaxing on deck


2.) Kids clubs: For those wanting the option of spending some time away from their kids, you can simply send them to the kids clubs and enjoy some adult time. The clubs are amazing, and I would love to hang out in them, so it’s a lot of fun for them too. Everyone wins! Family vacation is great but when the togetherness seems to be too much, this is a great option.

DCL kids club


3.) Gourmet Food: You will never go hungry on a Disney Cruise ship. This all inclusive type of vacation is great, as I enjoy not having to pull my wallet out at every meal. Eat as much as you like, whenever you like, and the service and atmosphere at dinner is top notch. This would cost you a small fortune to do every night in Walt Disney World.

Dining on DCL


4.) Character experiences: If character interaction is what you are after, then the cruise is your best choice. Think about it. Way fewer people, and lots of opportunities means smaller lines and longer interactions. There have been many times when I was just walking around the ship and came across a character and got to have my own little special interaction with them, with no line.

Buzz Lightyear


5.) See the World: A cruise is a great way to see a bunch of places without having to fly around on a plane. We have very much enjoyed visiting places like the Cayman Islands, castaway cay, Nassau, and Cozumel all within a few day’s time. Disney has cruises in Alaska as well as Europe for those looking for a grand adventure.

Castaway Cay

Walt Disney World Advantages:

1.) Space: While Disney Cruise Line boasts some of the industry’s largest staterooms, let’s face it, a room on a cruise ship is still smaller than most hotel rooms. If you get claustrophobic easily or the thought of not being able to get off the boat as you please makes you nervous, than maybe WDW is for you.

Space at the resorts


2.) Theme parks: There are some folks that just love a good thrill, so the rides at the theme parks cannot be beat. If your favorite part about a vacation includes the Tower or Terror or running from a yeti, then a WDW vacation might be your best choice.

Animal Kingdom


3.) Endless options: I have been to Walt Disney World more times than I can count, and I STILL haven’t seen it all. There is so much to do that you never get bored or run out of options. It’s a great place for those that like to go, go, go.

4.) Price point/discounts: Disney World does a great job of catering to different budgets. If you are able to snag a discount and you don’t have to fly to Florida, then you can travel to Walt Disney World on a strict budget. There are a lot of ways to save like not getting park hoppers or sharing meals, but on the cruise it’s one price and you can’t really make it cheaper. The cruise line very rarely offers discounts.

Magic Kingdom


5.) Ease of travel: A passport is highly recommended, and packing restrictions are a bit different on a cruise ship than at Walt Disney World. You also have to think about ease of contacting people back home, and ease of leaving the boat in case of a family emergency. If these are concerns that you have, then you may want to stay on land.

I would love to help you plan your dream Disney cruise or WDW vacation! Contact heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free, no obligation quote. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter.