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That is a question that is asked quite often by those who are less than excited at the thought of all the crowds in the Magical World of Disney. The one thing that I can tell you from personal experience is that Disney with young children is not really a vacation for Mom and Dad. If you go with the idea of watching your children have the time of their life, the trip is far more enjoyable. My husband and I just returned from our trip with our twin boys who turned 5 at Disney, and our almost 4 year old daughter. We did many of the things that I caution other families against. Our kids stayed up way too late 5 days in a row and we were all exhausted by the end of our trip. But, we all had a wonderful time, even my husband who is NOT a Disney person. We discussed at length that this trip was for our little ones. We even left our teenager at home this time due to their age difference. But now we are taking a Disney cruise in February with all of our kids and extended family and have decided that it is a better fit for anyone that doesn’t enjoy crowds, lack of control and also wants to take advantage of some adult time as part of the trip.
Disney Cruises are perfect for the families that want to experience Disney while enjoying a more diverse vacation. Most activities are included in the price. You can experience original Disney Broadway style productions each night before or after dinner, specialized children’s programs, character greetings, teen and tween only clubs, fabulous pools, spas and fitness centers as well as plenty of adult time. There are many ports of call available.
The dining is truly unique in that they offer a rotational dining program. You will eat at a different restaurant each night but your wait staff will travel with you to the new location. That way, they learn your likes and dislikes and are a step ahead of you. If you prefer, they also have adult only specialty dining that is out of this world. You can take your children to dinner and the show, and after drop them off at the children’s activity center for a few hours. You could also have an in-room sitter come while you enjoy dinner with your spouse and order free room service for the kids.
All of the programs from the youngest child in the ship nursery to the teenager in the teen only club are staffed with amazing Disney personnel. There are also character greeting s throughout the ship everyday and in many of the activities designed especially for the children. Mom and Dad can enjoy the adult only pool, spa time, dinner alone, excursions in port or include their children in every activity. It really is up to the family what works best for them. We have already warned our teenager that he can’t ditch us for the entire trip. We fortunately, will have a full knowledge of where he is at all times, whether he knows it or not.
This type of Disney trip is really great for the families that want their children to experience seeing and interacting with the characters but they are not ready for the overwhelming atmosphere of the parks. You can always add a day or two at the end or beginning of the trip as well just to sample a park or two. These are probably the most well run cruises available today for families. They however are not what you would call value. You may find that a four night Bahamas cruise fits the budget better than the 7 night Alaska cruise. You will also find that if you compare “family” cruises with other cruise lines they can be a little pricier but be sure to compare apples to apples. The older ships on other cruise lines do not offer many of the things that the newer ships do. So be sure you are comparing a newer ship and it’s amenities to a Disney ship when pricing. There are some great values with any of the cruise lines if you time it correctly. As always, don’t expect a great deal when everyone is sailing. Spring break, Christmas and Holidays are not the time for deals. As an example, right now Disney is offering kids sail free out of Galveston, Texas. This is an 8 night Bahamian cruise and even offers a free park ticket per person. Sail dates are Jan – March of next year.
So, if you aren’t ready for Disney World, consider a cruise. It might be the perfect way to get your feet wet!
If you have any questions about cruising or travel please feel free to shoot me an email. I would love to help you plan your next adventure.
If you have any great cruising stories to share, please let us hear them.