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The Disney Cruise Line Difference

What is the “Disney difference” when it comes to cruising?

My family and I took an 8-day Southern Caribbean cruise visiting Aruba, Curacao & Grand Turk back in 2018. We did not cruise with Disney but joined our neighbors on a cruise they had already planned and had the GREATEST time!

We sailed with another cruise line, “OTHER”, as it will be known going forward and it was an amazing time had by all! This was our very first cruise and I have to say – I’m hooked!

However, being a Travel Designer with most of my work associating with Disney, I had to compare based on what I know, to the experience I had with “OTHER” cruise line.

The most common statement I hear when talking about a Disney cruise is – “it’s SO expensive!”  While cruising, I planned to research and try and find out “why is Disney priced higher than other cruise lines, what makes them different?”

During my research, I spoke with another couple on the ship who were avid cruisers with many different cruise lines. I asked “what is your favorite cruise line that you have sailed on and why?”  They did not know what I did for a living, so it was just a few people talking.   Their response “Hands down, Disney, no other line beats them, you pay a higher price, but you get what you pay for, their service is absolutely amazing.”

So, what makes Disney different from the cruise lines that offer better pricing? Here are my observations sailing with “OTHER” cruise line and how they compare to Disney.

STATEROOMS
OTHER – We stayed in a room with a verandah – 1 bathroom – 185 sq ft
• DISNEY– Room w/ verandah – split bathrooms (2 toilets) – 268 sq ft (BIGGER)

DINING – Do you like options when dining?
• OTHER – You have other options but they were an additional cost and you have different servers 
• DISNEY – Rotational Dining w/ the same servers – 3 different restaurants

ATMOSPHERE
• OTHER – Towel creatures appeared out of nowhere overnight – pretty cool!
• DISNEY – Characters appear during special moments on the ship – even cooler!

BEVERAGES – Thirsty for soda? 
• OTHER – Soda was an additional cost
• DISNEY – Soda is FREE

ENTERTAINMENT
• OTHER – Comedy shows, musical groups, dance parties

DISNEY– Broadway-style Disney musicals found only on board

CINEMA
• OTHER – we had theme nights with movies that had already been released
• DISNEY – 1st run movies at sea – some even in 3D

FIREWORKS
• OTHER – None
• DISNEY – Yes!! 

SERVICE
• OTHER – Everyone was so friendly, always a “hello” no matter where we were, and always willing to help
• DISNEY – Stated by my friend on the ship “They really go above and beyond, it is great for the kids as well as the adults. Whatever you need, they’re on it and catering to your every need, we absolutely love it!”

In conclusion, you are going to pay more to cruise with Disney. But Disney is different, it is their job to make things magical for you. Did I feel magic with “OTHER” cruise lines? No, but I guess I’m going to need to experience a cruise with Disney to feel that “difference”. Who’s coming with me????

Travel Day or Park Day?

Should we visit a Theme Park on the day we arrive and/or the day we travel home?  It’s a question we are asked quite frequently.  We understand you want to get the most of out of your money and your trip.  So, do you hit the ground running or do you pace yourself?

I have found through both personal experience and listening to my client’s testimonials, unless you are local to Walt Disney World Resort or Universal Orlando, I would recommend declaring both your first and last days at the destination, a travel day. 

To put it simply, travel days are hard at any age.  In most circumstances, you have an early flight to catch.  Then you have the hustle and bustle of getting through TSA and your flight to your destination.  With family in tow you know that someone is bound to be hungry as well.  What should the plan be when you finally arrive at your resort? 

I find this is the best time to take a rest, then explore your resort and see all they have to offer.  Take a swim in the pool to refresh and rejuvenate the tired eyes, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on site to keep yourself and your family full and happy.  Perhaps enjoy a movie under the stars to unwind and relax from your day of travel if your resort has that feature.

You can also choose to visit Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort or CityWalk at Universal Orlando.  Both of these are shopping/dining districts where you do not need a ticket to visit.  There are many entertainment venues built in as well that you can visit to keep the family happy.

Once your trip is over, most everyone in the family is exhausted.  You will have walked what will seem like a million miles.  You may just be looking forward to getting back home and seeing your family pet that you’ve had to leave behind.  Some choose to make this last day a travel day so that they can slowly begin the “back to reality” routine.

However, there are many of you that still want to squeeze in those last-minute items that you either didn’t get to or would like to revisit.  If you decide to make a go of it, please be sure you factor in the following things.  Your transportation to the airport from your resort will pick you up anywhere between 2-3 hours before your flight home.  Also, think of everything after you land at home, grabbing bags, getting home and settled.

In conclusion, you as a family have to decide what is right for you.  Only you know your family and what they can handle.  If you are rockstars and can keep going without skipping a beat – more power to you!  If you’re the average family, like mine, I think leaving your travel days as such are the way to go! 

Christine Ruszkay has over 3 + years specializing in all Disney destinations, Cruises, and Universal Orlando.  Her joy of planning your vacation comes from her passion to help others experience the happiness and excitement while making memories on your AMAZING trip!  Her concierge services offer insider tips and tricks, plus helping you maximize your time with your family to experience what matters most to you!  

Walt Disney World

Rainy Day at Disney

One of the commonly asked questions when it comes to Disney is “What do you do when it rains at Disney?”   The answer is quite simple, “you still go to the park!”  Rain drives many people away from the parks, so this is a prime window for you, The Rain Warrior, to suit up and enjoy the short wait times.

This exact scenario happened to me and my family last December, only it wasn’t just rain, it was a Tornado warning!!  Luckily, we were still at the resort and waited the warning out but it left us to think – what do we do? We put some bags over our socks, stuffed them in our sneakers (to keep our feet dry), put on our rain ponchos and made our way to Epcot.

Was it not the ideal weather conditions to be walking around outside?  Of course not, but did it ruin our fun? 

Nope!