Monday, May 23, 2011

Walt Disney World vs. Disney Cruise Line: The 2012 Showdown

Walt Disney World
I have quite the Disney conundrum, and as with most of my Disney conundrums, I'm reaching out to all of my readers for your opinions.  But first, some back story.

As you may or may not know, James and I are graduating college in May of next year (which means the title and domain name of this blog may change eventually, but I certainly won't be deserting it).  Naturally, as big Disney fans, we want to take a celebratory graduation trip. When Disney Cruise Line came out and said that the Disney Magic would be sailing out of New York, and the maiden New York voyage would be May 25, 2012, I jumped at the chance.  I contacted my travel agent to book a cabin for me, and 24 hours later, I had an inside cabin on an 8-night cruise to the Bahamas.  Naturally, the deposit I put on the room is refundable until 90 days before the trip... which is a loooong time from now.

However, while planning our August trip (which will be a Disney Cruise/Walt Disney World extravaganza), I've found myself getting more and more obsessed with Walt Disney World.  I had temporarily switched into a Disney Cruise obsessed mode, but the WDW side is slowly getting me back.  That in addition to talking to Matt Hochberg on episode 14 of Generation Mouse about Star Wars Weekends has got me wanting to go to WDW in May of 2012 instead of doing the cruise.  So I need your help to decide what to do.  Here are some of my thoughts...

Disney Magic
On the Disney Magic...
 - The Disney Magic will be sailing out of New York, which is really convenient since we won't have to fly to get there.  It'll just be a short drive from our houses.
 - The cruise will be a nice, relaxing trip right after finals and right before (hopefully!) getting into the working world.
 - The cruise includes one day at Walt Disney World, with a park hopper.  This day would be crazy commando in order to be as productive as possible.
 - The cruise includes four sea days, which may become old after a while... we're not really relaxed people who enjoy sitting at the pool all day.  Also, I won't be able to drink, since I won't be 21, and supposedly that's a lot of the fun on cruises.
 - On the other hand, there's always a ton of stuff to do on cruises, especially on sea days, and in general, they're always really fun.  I love going on cruises.
 - I have already taken three Disney cruises, and James and I will be taking our first Disney cruise together in August.  We've also been on a bunch of other cruises in the past.

On Walt Disney World...
 - This trip would fall over Star Wars Weekends, which we have never been to.
 - Walt Disney World is really our biggest love, and if we don't do this trip, there will probably be at least a year and a half between WDW trips.
 - If we decide to definitely do this trip, we'll be getting annual passes this August... which may possibly lead to even more trips.  Also it's just awesome in general.
 - I've been to WDW ten times (it will be eleven in August), and James has been four times (five in August).

Most importantly of everything, both trips are roughly the same cost, although the WDW trip may possibly be less if we can get good AP discounts.  So what does everyone think?  Please let me know any and all thoughts in a comment, on Twitter (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook.  We're really undecided, so we're looking for as many opinions as we can get.


  1. Be a big girl & make a decision. Life is made up of a series of decisions. Don't worry about what other people think you should do.

  2. I think you shouldn't worry about that now! (I know it's hard!) Since you're taking a WDW/Disney Dream trip next, you should wait until after it so you and your boyfriend can (try to decide) which one you want for your graduation trip. Maybe you're going to think that you don't need to go back to the Bahamas so soon, or maybe you're going to want to wait to go on the Disney Fantasy another time instead od the Magic. After being on the Dream (it's amazing!!!) I kind of think that the Magic and Wonder wouldn't be so much fun, you know??
    Or maybe you're going to see that you want to wait til they finish the fantasyland expansion to go to WDW again, I don't know. Of course you should make the reservations to get the best prices, but I think that if you decide now, you're just gonna change your mind a million times (I would!) and that's not gonna help!!

    But let me tell you that WDW is lovely in May (apart from memorial day weekend - crowded!) and you'll probably also get the Flower and Garden Festival at EPCOT. It's beautiful and I think every Disney fan should see it! And about the star wars weekends, it's a lot of fun, even if you don't know anything about star wars. I've only seen one of the movies and I loved SWW. Of course I didn't understand a lot of things, but I really enjoyed it.

    Sorry about the huge comment!! I know it's really hard having to choose, specially when you're a college student on a budget! :)

  3. Anonymous, I'm perfectly capable of making my own decision. I'd just like to hear what other people think in case there are any angles I haven't thought of yet.

    Anelise, I know I should wait until after our next trip, but the big thing is, if we decide to go to WDW, we can upgrade to an annual pass before or during the August trip... and possibly save money on the August trip too. I'm glad that SWW is fun even if you're not into Star Wars because I'm definitely not!

  4. I just want to point out that I also said we should wait until after our trip in August and see which one we want to do more.

  5. Of course NOW you read the blog.

  6. I really deeply hate myself for asking this, but is there a chance you or James could be job hunting during this time? WDW might help as potential employers could reach you if need be. Obviously, they're being ignored if you're in a park, but in your resort room it might be useful.

  7. Don't hate yourself! I never thought of that! That's a really good point. Score one more for WDW.

  8. My cruise aboard the Magic in '99 was one of my favorite trips ever. I'd never been on a cruise before (and haven't since), so I didn't know what to expect, and I loved every minute of it. Here's my favorite's list:

    - I saw more characters on the cruise than I ever have at any one park!
    - The food! Animator's Palate is an experience in itself!
    - Castaway Cay! I mean, it's Disney's private island!
    - So much to do on the ship. I don't drink, and I don't swim (although I'm a big hot tub fan). I never once felt like there was nothing to do. In fact, the day we were at Nassau, I returned way early (Nassau was the only downer of the cruise for me), but I got to see Tarzan, just released in theaters the week before (wow am I old), in the Buena Vista Theater, the cinema on the ship! (With no previews; it just... started).
    - Adult-only sections of the ship and Castaway Cay.
    - The ship horn playing When You Wish Upon a Star.
    - The evening shows in the Walt Disney Theater are wonderful!
    - Did I mention the food? I highly recommend that you and James dine at Palo one night (but not the Animator's Palate night).

    I had a very memorable time. Plus, you'll get a day at WDW (which isn't a lot, but it's still a cool addition. And, since it's just a matter of time before you become a DVC member anyway, you'll have plenty of chances at WDW in the future. :)

  9. Sanford, I've actually been on the Magic twice! And James and I are booked to go to Palo (and Remy) on the Dream in August! I'm so excited! I love cruises, but I also love WDW too! Ahhhh!

  10. Walt Disney World. Always. :) Since you're already set to go on the Dream in August, it's kinda gonna put the Magic to shame, you know? I say just stick with the Dream and snag your annuals. Much better in the long run. :)

  11. Jensey, I was thinking the same thing about the Dream vs the Magic. Plus having an annual pass would be so freaking awesome.

  12. I would do WDW simply because the price for DCL out of NY is crazy expensive. I'd rather spend the money in WDW and look for a better deal on DCL in the future.

  13. For us, WDW and DCL out of New York comes out to be around the same price. I am leaning towards WDW though.

  14. That is so tough. But since it's the first cruise out of New York, that would be my choice. But they're both awesome!

  15. Yes, another thing to keep in mind. Such a tough decision!

  16. Hmmm. I'm not sure what I would pick.

    Actually, I do. I haven't been on a Disney Cruise in 13 years but I lived next door to WDW for five months so I would pick the cruise. :-) But as for you, I'm not sure what to recommend. Either trip is bound to be amazing.

    I suppose my best advice would be that if you pick WDW (since you said you're leaning that way!), explore more things you haven't done before like Star Wars Weekend. Especially since you're going to celebrate graduation, it will be a great opportunity to try new experiences there!

  17. Oops. That should say "I do know." Verb missing! :-/

  18. New experiences are always awesome. Good advice. Thanks!

  19. Woahwoahwoah are you graduating early or something? I'm turning 21 right before my senior year and most of my friends turned 21 during their junior year! I'm surprised you won't be 21 by the time you graduate!

    I've never been cruising before, but I think going to WDW after you graduate would be a lot of fun. You would get to wear Mickey ears with the graduating cap on them!! Cute!

    Plus while dining on one of the DCLs sounds amazing, you have SO many more options at WDW.

    You could think of it as a "last hoorah" before y'all go out into the "real world" and get jobs.

  20. Yes, I'm graduating a year early. I won't even be 20 and a half yet! Never thought of the graduation ears... I'll have to remember that!

  21. I would wait and book the 2012 cruise while you are on the cruise in August. That way you get a discount and a larger shipboard credit. Saves a ton.

    Your blog reader in Canada

  22. Yes, I was planning on doing that in case we do decide to take the cruise! We plan on rebooking in August if we can get a lower rate.