Which is better – Disney World or Disney Cruise

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Hi! This is Katja from Skimbaco Lifestyle.

Annie has been reading my Disney Cruise posts, and asked me a question: does the Disney cruise give the full Disney experience like the Walt DisneyWorld.

It depends how you define “Disney experience” and how you like to live life to the fullest. I’ve been to several cruises and visited DisneyWorld several times, and experienced something new each time. In a way this IS the Disney magic: the experience can be very different, and it all depends what you are looking for.

Let me give you a few tips that might help you to choose, but ideally of course I would say do both – fly to Orlando and spend a few days at the DisneyWorld and then take a 3-day cruise only an hour away from Port Canaveral to Bahamas to relax after the park visit.

Thrilling or Relaxing Vacation?

Are you looking for a thrilling, action packed vacation, where you get up early on the morning and explore and experience all day long, or are you looking for fun times, but also relaxing with family?

If you want thrill, action and roller coasters, there is nothing like the Walt DisneyWorld and riding the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith in the dark and taking Soarin’ feeling like you fly, or going through the Toy Story ride again and begging for more (you alongside the kids). Sure the port adventures give you a thrill too, like swimming with sea rays, having a tea party with Alice, or sailing in the ocean, but if you like amusement parks and rides, you have to experience the DisneyWorld.

If during your ideal vacation you want to feel relaxed, and be fully pampered (including the waiter cutting the food on your kid’s plate so you don’t have to), choose the Disney Cruise. I’ve stayed in some of the most amazing resorts in the world, yet the customer service for families on board Disney Cruise Line’s ships is something I’ve never experienced anywhere else. You’ll have the same staff serving you each meal remembering your kids favorite foods and drinks, helping YOU to relax by making sure your children are happy. And with the cruise you don’t have to budget the food cost separately, the price includes everything (except the extra port activities and souvenirs), and you will get the a’la carte meal every day, and try almost every restaurant on board during your cruise.

Combining family fun & romantic vacation?

Haha, I surprised you here, didn’t I?
You probably didn’t even think that Disney family travel could also be a romantic vacation! Yes, you and your husband can sneak some romantic alone time! I think the parks offer some babysitting options too, but having a romantic getaway on the cruise is so easy and no extra cost for you! There are so many children’s activities from babies to teens and your kids will have so much fun while you will have a chance to enjoy some adults only time.

Disney cruises are for adults too, and the cruise ships have adults only pool areas, coffee shops, bars and restaurants.

You’ll be able to find an unique activity for you too, like champagne or whiskey tasting, cooking classes with the chefs, spinning classes in the gym, or yoga on the beach. The ultimate spa experience for couples would be getting a private luxury Villa with a jacuzzi in a verandah, sipping champagne and watching the ocean view with your hubby (just make sure to ask when making the reservation that the ship is on the sea – not docked in one of the ports!) followed by a couple’s massage. Or just get the cheaper option and the spa day pass.

Experiencing Disney

Going back to the original question of “experiencing Disney”.. Your children will be able to meet characters and interact with them in both Parks and the cruises. The big difference is that you can meet the characters in their “real habitat” in the Parks, let’s say to have lunch with Cinderella in Cinderella’s castle, but it’s easier to meet more Disney characters on the cruises than at the Parks. The lines are much shorter, and there is more interaction time. One of the coolest part is the deck parties when children can party with Minnie, Mickey and the rest of the gang. One of the most popular parties is the Pirate’s Night, when everyone on board dresses up as a pirate and there is a huge deck party with fireworks on the sky. Kids don’t just see pirates – they will get to be one.

Make-believe versus the real thing

My absolute favorite park is Epcot where you can visit different countries and experience different cultures, and you can pretty much travel around the world in 8 hours. While the experience is absolutely amazing, it’s still not the real thing. With so many cruise destinations, you can experience the “real thing”. Take a cruise to Alaska to see the whales, or to Canada to see real lighthouses, or to Bahamas to sink your toes in the sand in the Disney’s private island Castaway Cay. In a way you can’t compare the two, but you get the point. You can go to Italy in Epcot and eat spaghetti, and feel like you are transported to another world, but you will not be able to hear Italian spoken, nor how your steps echo in the cobblestone streets like in Italy.

If you want to read more, here are a few of my posts I’ve written previously:
Disney Cruise in the Mediterranean Sea in 2013 and Why it is a Smart Choice
Disney Dream – Luxury Cruise for Adults
Disney Cruises from NYC
Disney Cruise on Disney Wonder – fun for kids

Have you been to DisneyWorld or the Disney cruise? Which one you recommend?

Guest post by Katja Presnal. Katja Presnal is an international lifestyle expert and owner of Skimbaco Lifestyle. Katja has traveled all around the world, and lived in 4 different countries, and 7 different states in the US, and currently lives in Sweden. She inspires women to live life to the fullest, and enjoying every day, regardless where you are. Skimbaco Lifestyle gives tips how to live smart, stylish and sustainably happy lifestyle and covers travel, family, fashion, home and food topics. Connect with Katja on Twitter @katjapresnal, she will answer any questions you may have.

Written by:: Annie

Annie Shultz has written 2054 post in this blog.

She is THE Mama Dweeb 🙂 She created this blog back in 2009 and loves to inspire and connect with others through her writing. She also loves talking, dreaming, 90s pop and country music.


  1. says

    I love this! I have done cruises, though not through Disney. I have done Disney World annually for quite a while now…and I think this just gave me the push that I needed to finally take a DISNEY cruise! 🙂

    • says

      I highly recommend it! It’s experiencing Disney in a complete different way and cruising in a different way – and I just love how luxurious it is without being stuffy, you know what I mean?

  2. Kate F. says

    I’ve been to Disney World several times, but I’ve never done a Disney Cruise. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun, though.

  3. says

    We’ve been on 5 Disney cruises (4 7-day ones and one Transatlantic) and we’d take another in a heartbeat. We’ve been to Disney World and Disneyland many times, but prefer the cruises because in our opinion you get the whole experience but on a more intimate scale. No rushing or a lot of standing in line (although there is still some of that). The service is wonderful, the kids programs are great, and the entertainment is outstanding. Its the one vacation we come back from that we don’t feel we need a vacation from. I always feel frazzled when we come back from the parks, but feel very relaxed when we get off the ships!

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