Where to Start?!
So...You're thinking of planning a Disney Destination getaway?! That's Amazing! Hopefully this blog post will help you get started off on the right foot.
Well, the first step is deciding where to go. While most people automatically think of Walt Disney World (WDW) as the perfect destination there are so many options. One size does not fit all! Each destination has something for everyone, yes, but each destination is also very different. A large part of enjoying your magical getaway will be choosing the best place for your family's needs and wants. I encourage you to keep an open mind. Disneyland (DL) and Disney Cruise Line (DCL) may just surprise you with all they have to offer.
Disney Cruise Line
Let's start with Disney Cruise Line. It seems to me that Disney Cruises are "The Perfect Mix of All the Best!" Disney Cruises have just a bit of everything to make it one of the most perfect options for anyone! It has world class food options, kids clubs and nursery's for the littles, pools and splash pads and Disney treats galore. All of your food and drinks (non alcoholic) are included PLUS all you can eat ice cream. (Um...Yes Please!)
There are 4 Ships, 6 Ports of Departure in the US (plus more in other countries as well) and so many options for sailing itineraries. You can choose between Carribbean Sailings (Western, Eastern or Southern), Bahamian Sailings, European Sailings (Northern, Western and Mediterranean) and Sailings to Alaska. With multiple stateroom options and sailing times starting at 3 nights there are tons of options to fit everyone's budget.
A Disney Cruise may be the option for:
Families with young kiddos. There are kids clubs for ages 3 and up (FREE!) where the young guests in your party can play, explore and learn while the adults spend some much needed quality time together. You can take as much time in these areas as you see fit for your family. There is a never ending list of family friendly activities spanning from pools and splash pads, to movies and shows, to ship wide scavenger hunts. Kiddos 3 and under can also play in the Nursery area for a small fee.
Families who want a little less hustle and bustle. Of course the ships are smaller than Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Theres no busses to get on and off, no long commutes to get to the activities and less people in general. The ships may be smaller in size but they are still PACKED FULL of activities for all ages. You'll have to work hard to be bored. This is also beneficial for families with kids who may still need naps during the day. Travel in and out of the parks can take a lot of time and that is not the case on the ship.
Guests who want the beach or exotic destinations mixed with Disney Magic. Choose your cruise based on your desired destination. Disney's Castaway Cay (their privately owned island) has enough activities to keep you busy but also plenty of ways to just chill on the beach.
Shorter Trips. Sailings start at 3 nights (4 days) so it's a perfect option to be able to get all that Disney Destination's have to offer on a shorter timeline. But don't worry, you won't be missing out on any of the magic. Even with fewer days you will find that you're able to pack way more into your time when there isn't travel times and long lines involved.
Next let's touch on the ever underrated Disneyland California. I personally LOVE LOVE LOVE the parks on the West Coast. They have the perfect mix of Chill and Thrill. Tons of rids and experiences but not crowded and no advanced timeline planning needed. There are 2 parks here and while they are much smaller in overall size than those in Florida, they are seriously PACKED with fun. I 100% suggest that everyone visit both WDW and DL Resorts at least once in their lives.
Disneyland might be a great option for you if:
You are planning a last minute trip. Walt Disney World, Florida opens dining reservations at 180 days in advance and Fast passes at 60 days in advance. While Disneyland does offer advanced dining reservations it's often not absolutely needed, even for character dining, like it is at WDW. Fast passes are also scheduled once you actually walk into the parks, not before! So its much easier to maximize the experiences when you don't have to stand in long lines due to not having advanced plans.
You are planning a quick getaway. In my opinion, any trip to Disney is better than no trip to Disney... but a 3 night getaway to Disneyland, CA is just right. There are two parks to explore and the entrances are right across from each other. It's even better when you are able to stay on Disneyland property in one of the three resorts within easy walking distance to the back entrance. No travel time wasted! Adding a park hopper as well will let you really dig into seeing as much as possible during that time.
You enjoy the low key feeling but want to make alllll the memories! There's very little I can say to explain the overall different feeling between the two US Disney parks. Both are amazing and so much fun, but very different! CA is known for being more...chill...and you can feel it all around you in the parks. While there are a lot of similarities between the two destinations, I think there are a lot more differences. The feeling of hustle and bustle and the GO GO GO isn't felt here.
You have littles that may want to get up and explore. There are so many hidden gems around the two parks in California for families and kiddos to get out of their strollers and explore without Momma's needing to worry about them getting lost in the crowd. Sure, Disneyland has it's busy seasons where there will be more people around, but these nooks and cranny's will still be a great place to escape all of that.
Walt Disney World, Florida
And Finally we have the Mother of all Disney Destinations. Walt Disney World Florida is the most popular of all of the destinations and most well known. For good reason too... it's pretty awesome. The property itself is H.U.G.E. There are over 25 Walt Disney World Resorts, 4 parks plus Disney Springs shopping and entertainment center and 2 water parks (and honestly.... so much more but those are the big ones.) There's just no way to fit all there is to see and do here in one post, but I'll go over some of the bigger details for now.
Walt Disney World may be a good pick for you if:
You are planning a longer trip. As listed above, there are 4 parks at WDW. With so much to do and see at each park, plus the popularity of the location, minimum one day at each park is always my suggestion. Between 5-6 park days are most ideal, but with that being said, less days are 100% still worth it (remember... any Disney day is better than non Disney days). Adding in non-park days is always smart to help your mind, body and budget relax a bit. I highly suggest taking advantage of all WDW has to do outside of the parks.
You have a smaller budget. While there are a ton of ways to help fit the perfect vacation into all kinds of budgets, Florida is typically on the lower end of the cost spectrum. Your food and park tickets are typically the biggest expenses, so taking some non-park days may help keep you in the right price range.
You love that Disney Dining Plan! I mean.... WHO DOESN'T? This benefit however is only available on the East coast and is only an option for those staying in a Disney Managed Resort. This plan is a fantastic way to experience all of the foods without needing to watch every penny you spend. You will be amazed at how much this adds to your experience! Tell the kids YES to that Mickey shaped snack while you say YES to that second Starbucks drink of the day.
You want to SEE. THE. CASTLE! I can't tell you how many people I meet that tell me that they just want to see the iconic beauty there at the end of Main Street USA. It's absolutely stunning and while it's not everything, it is a sight that you can't ever get tired of. If this is on the top of your list then be sure to catch the opening show at rope drop. Trust me.
There is so much more to say about Walt Disney World, Florida but I'll save the rest for another day and another blog.
All of this boils down to the simple fact that Disney is great for really everyone. The important thing to remember is that using help and planning in advance can greatly impact the success of your trip. Keep an open mind, be flexible and remember that it is all about the fun. It will be a great trip and I can't wait to help you plan.
Contact me today to get started on a FREE Quote for any Disney Destination. Have an awesome day.