Disney cruise vs. Disney World: Which is the higher household trip?

For those who’re within the temper for a Disney trip, it is pure in your first thought to go to one of many Disney theme parks, equivalent to Disney World or Disneyland. However as somebody who loves the Disney parks, I am right here to inform you that is not at all times the perfect Disney trip. Actually, it is solely attainable that for some households — and a few journeys — the higher Disney trip is the one you will discover at sea on a Disney cruise.

So, which do you select: a Disney cruise or Disney World?

There are professionals and cons to every alternative. Disney parks have gotten costlier with an a la carte pricing mannequin that now not contains airport transfers, FastPasses and different nice-to-have conveniences. A theme park trip will also be sophisticated to plan, particularly if you have not been to Disney in a number of years and are not conversant in the present guidelines and methods to reduce wait instances.

On the similar time, some improbable new rides have opened in the previous couple of years. You even have your alternative of dozens of resort accommodations at completely different value factors, and it is onerous to beat that feeling of strolling down Most important Road, U.S.A. towards the fortress.


In the meantime, on a Disney cruise, issues have primarily stayed the identical as they’ve been for the previous 25 years, with actions, leisure, lodging and most of your eating included in a single cruise value. And sure, Mickey and his buddies are discovered on board, so you’ll be able to nonetheless get that photograph and hug together with your favourite pal.

Pluto and Goofy in an elevator financial institution between appearances on Disney Want. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE POINTS GUY

However whilst you’ll discover Mickey each on a Disney cruise and at Disney World, the 2 trip experiences are fairly completely different. Here is a take a look at a Disney cruise versus a visit to Disney World that can assist you determine which household trip is best for you.

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Each a Disney cruise and a visit to Disney World are giant monetary investments, so each are going to require some degree of planning to make certain you might be getting essentially the most out of your {dollars} and time.

That mentioned, in each instances, you’ll be able to depart most of the preparations to the Disney trip planning professionals, who can stroll you thru what you really want to know and guide the principle elements of the journey.

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For Disney World, choices to make embody the place to remain and which park tickets are greatest for you (after factoring in what number of days you want to go to, whether or not or not you wish to park hop, and so on.). You may wish to guide your sit-down meals 60 days prematurely and familiarize your self with the Disney Genie+ system for those who do not wish to spend hours every day in line. Though issues may change in 2024, proper now, you’ll be able to’t choose any of your Genie+ points of interest prematurely, so you will be doing that in your journey.

For a Disney Cruise Line crusing, you will should determine for those who want a more recent or extra basic ship, the place you wish to go, which port to sail from and what number of days you want to sail.

For instance, you possibly can sail out of Port Canaveral in Florida on Disney Want for a three- or four-night crusing to the Bahamas, spend every week cruising round Alaska on Disney Marvel or sail in Europe on Disney Dream. At sure instances of the 12 months, you will additionally discover Disney Cruise Line sailings out of Texas, Louisiana and California.

When you choose a crusing, ship and cabin, you do not truly should plan something prematurely except you wish to guide excursions in port. It’s normal to prebook shore excursions for Europe and Alaska cruises, however on Bahamas sailings, many households merely head to the seaside in port or get pleasure from being on the ship. For journeys like that, minimal planning is required when you lock within the fundamentals.



With a Disney cruise, dinner every night time at a pre-assigned sit-down restaurant is included in your fare, and also you solely want to pick an early or late seating prematurely. The buffet, room service and on-deck grab-and-go meals can be found for no additional cost through the day. You solely should plan out meals if you would like a reservation at one of many adults-only eating places on board.

Winner: Each a Disney cruise and a Disney World trip require some advance planning. How a lot planning the cruise requires is dependent upon the vacation spot you choose, so it is perhaps extra planning intensive than Disney World. Nonetheless, some Disney cruises possible require much less planning than the typical Disney World trip.

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As a result of each a Disney World trip and a Disney cruise can differ extensively in terms of price, it is onerous to match the 2, however we’ll do our greatest to offer you an instance.

We’ll evaluate the price of a four-night journey in October for a household with two adults and two youngsters (assuming a keep on the least expensive accessible Deluxe resort resort, three sit-down meals and three park days at Disney World with out park hopping however with Genie+ for 2 days) to a four-night October crusing out of Port Canaveral on the most recent Disney ship crusing, Disney Want, in a room with a verandah.

Disney World trip price:

Disney Cruise trip price:

  • Oct. 7 to 11, 2024, crusing on Disney Want in a verandah room: $5,550.12 (not together with gratuities or extras)

Associated: 11 methods to save cash on a Disney Cruise

The fact is {that a} Disney cruise will be cheaper or costlier than a Disney World trip, largely relying on while you sail — and, in fact, which cabin you select.

Whereas costs differ seasonally at Disney World, they do not differ fairly as dramatically as at sea. For this train, I picked an October week that’s fall break for some colleges for comparability, however a four-night Disney cruise on Disney Fantasy out of Port Canaveral in mid-January 2025 will be bought beginning at $3,479 for a similar household of 4.

Winner: A Disney World trip prices lower than a Disney cruise on this train. A cruise will be cheaper than a park journey, however remember the fact that demand and costs for Disney cruises are presently fairly excessive. The chances are respectable {that a} cruise will price you slightly greater than an identical Disney World journey proper now, not less than throughout conventional college breaks.


At Disney World, you’ll be able to select from Worth resorts with rooms beginning round $100 per night time and three-bedroom grand villas (bookable with money or rented Disney Trip Membership factors) with themes starting from the South Pacific to the African savannah — or an possibility that falls someplace in between.

Two-bedroom room at Disney’s Riviera Resort. SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

On a Disney cruise, most cabins measure between 169 and 237 sq. toes (not together with any verandahs), with only a few very costly cabins coming in bigger.

Winner: Disney World is the clear winner on this class. Whereas the Disney cruise cabins are actually purposeful, it is onerous to beat Disney World’s number of lodging choices with a number of layouts, value factors and themes.

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You’d should attempt onerous to be bored on a Disney cruise. The ships have a lot greater than swimming pools and waterslides.

Every ship gives a sunup to after-sundown schedule of largely included actions starting from trivia, recreation reveals and karaoke to Broadway-caliber performances, pirate events, character meet-and-greets and extra. Onboard youngsters and teenage golf equipment are free to make use of and provide actions for kids ages 3 to 17 years outdated.

When the ship pulls into port, you are able to do every thing from canine sledding in Alaska to gelato tasting within the Mediterranean to enjoyable on a seaside within the Caribbean.

Associated: 10 issues to learn about crusing on a Disney Alaska cruise

Winner: Disney Cruise Line shines in terms of accessible actions. Whereas Disney World has no scarcity of actions inside its theme parks, water parks and Disney Springs leisure space, a Disney cruise gives a fair wider number of actions, particularly for those who rely all of the issues to do at every port.

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Disney World gives a variety of terrific eating places. Choices embody eating “in area,” consuming barbecue with the toys from “Toy Story” and having fun with tremendous French delicacies. Vacationers can splurge on really tremendous eating at Victoria & Albert’s inside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and through a improbable multicourse Japanese meal at Takumi-Tei inside Epcot — it isn’t all rooster fingers and midmarket choices.

And for those who wish to funds your meals prematurely, the Disney Eating Plan has made its return in early 2024 after a four-year hiatus. The Eating Plan permits you to prepay in your Disney meals and snacks for costs that vary from $57 to $94 per grownup, per day and $23 to $26 per baby, per day, relying on which plan you choose. It is attainable to spend much less on Disney meals by going that route in case you are strategic about when and the place you eat.

On all Disney cruise ships, friends eat free in three dinner venues on a rotating foundation, and their servers comply with them from restaurant to restaurant. On Disney Want, for instance, your serving staff will be a part of you every night time within the three eating places: Worlds of Marvel, Arendelle: A Frozen Eating Journey and 1923. A desk is ready for you every night time, and your serving staff will get to know you and your eating preferences. A present is included with two of the three eating places, and the entire expertise is a focus of the day.

The meals is fairly good, too. It isn’t essentially on the identical degree because the highest-end Disney World tremendous eating eating places, however if you would like that, go to the adults-only eating places that do price a bit additional, equivalent to Palo or Enchante, to get that very same kind of expertise (however for lots much less).

Winner: A Disney cruise trumps Disney World for eating because of its handy choices and progressive rotational eating system. To not point out, you’ll be able to get pleasure from a number of meals and snacks every day with out paying a cent past your unique cruise fare.

Thrill issue

Y’all know the place this one is heading — and sure, in case you are after thrills, the joys rides at Disney World tip this class into the theme park’s nook. It is onerous to beat the virtually 60 mph launch on Tron Lightcycle Run or the backward launch on Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind.


Disney cruise ships function some tame waterslides, although the AquaDunk waterslide on Disney Magic is just not for the faint of coronary heart. If you’d like a great adrenaline rush at sea, guide that ship. You may also discover that hanging out on the entrance of the ship whereas it is heading out to sea is fairly cool in its personal proper. You may have the ability to discover some thrills in port (like a zipper lining tour in Alaska), however it is dependent upon your cruise vacation spot.


Winner: Disney World is the clear winner if you would like thrill-seeking to be the main target of the journey. Simply make sure to load up on Lightening Lanes for Rock ‘n’ Curler Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, Area Mountain and Tron Lightcycle Run. Save the cruise for a unique kind of trip.


Disney World is commonly a strenuous trip for a lot of households. That is as a result of it is the dimensions of San Francisco, which means you will typically cowl 10 miles or extra on foot per day simply to get round, and you’ll typically really feel compelled to start out early and/or keep late to really feel such as you’re getting your cash’s value.

That may be robust for anybody not used to that tempo (and warmth), however it may be an particularly difficult trip for many who are considerably older or youthful than the remainder of their group. Even when your loved ones members can deal with the gap utilizing scooters and/or strollers, not all points of interest are an amazing match for everybody as a consequence of top restrictions and the tough influence of sure thrill rides.

Alternatively, a Disney cruise excels at having one thing for each age group. Even when everybody fills their days otherwise — splitting as much as benefit from the varied youngsters and teenage golf equipment and adults-only bars and eating places — you’ll be able to meet up once more for the reveals and meals within the night.


Winner: Disney Cruise Line excels in terms of multigenerational holidays. From the nursery and youngsters and teenage golf equipment to the onboard talks, adults-only pool space, waterslides, drink tastings and night programming, I can not consider a greater journey for a mixed-generation group than a Disney cruise. You’ll find one thing to please nearly everybody inside just a few decks.


As enjoyable because the theme parks are — they usually actually are — I would not name them really enjoyable journeys. Positive, you possibly can spend your days by the pool and even the spa, however more often than not, a visit to Disney World is a enjoyable, busy journey.

Disney cruises differ in that Disney Cruise Line ships are made so that you can spend time enjoyable and having fun with the trip — out on the deck, within the spa and even in your cabin gazing out the window. “Busy” on a cruise means a schedule filled with meals, pool time and the occasional participatory recreation present, not hauling miles and miles throughout a theme park to get within the subsequent line.


Winner: Disney Cruise Line wins this class, as a Disney cruise feels much more enjoyable than a Disney World trip.


Service is a energy of the Disney firm each on land and at sea; nonetheless, the staffing ratios and nature of the interplay at sea tip the scales in favor of Disney Cruise Line. The crew can present much more personalised and higher-quality service aboard Disney’s ships than is feasible in a theme park. At Disney World, your interactions with workers normally final only a few seconds as you climb aboard the following attraction or pay for that Dole Whip ice cream deal with.


Even on the shorter cruises, among the onboard workers will get to know your loved ones’s names and your youngsters’ preferences. It isn’t unusual in your dinner servers and room hosts to begin to really feel like buddies, particularly in case you are on one of many barely longer voyages.


Winner: A Disney cruise options every kind of service extras you will not get on land, equivalent to towel animals ready for you in your cabin every night and your favourite drinks magically showing as quickly as you sit right down to dinner. This degree of service is what makes a Disney cruise really feel magical in methods which are too tough to recreate on the parks.

Backside line

My household and I are avid followers of each Disney World and Disney cruises. We make a number of journeys to the theme parks in Florida yearly and have taken seven Disney cruises, with a number of extra already booked. Whereas there are similarities between the 2 journeys — the characters, the approaches to immersive storytelling, the service supplied and the general high quality — the 2 holidays are completely different in some ways.

For us, we head to Disney World for busy enjoyable, typically assembly up with buddies for an action-packed day filled with rides and reveals. We’ll be on the go nonstop, doing and seeing all of the issues and infrequently not getting a ton of sleep. We love the parks and wish to return every time we’re packing as much as depart, however we normally want an extended nap the second we get again house.

A Disney cruise, then again, really looks like a trip.

Relying on the crusing, the ports is perhaps the spotlight of the journey, particularly in locations equivalent to Alaska and Europe. On others, the ocean days after we snack all day, go to trivia video games, order Mickey bars from room service, pop into an onboard Disney film and easily get pleasure from being collectively as a household are the perfect half.


a Disney cruise versus Disney World, it is onerous to say which is the higher household trip. All of it is dependent upon what you need from the journey.

For those who want to really loosen up, get pleasure from attentive service and pull off a multigeneration journey with one thing for everybody, look to Disney cruises first.

If you wish to fill your days with thrills, fireworks and your favourite characters, can deal with logging some critical miles and are not scared off by navigating Genie+ and making eating reservations, then guide that journey to Disney World. Save the cruise for while you wish to loosen up a bit extra.

As for me, I am hoping you will discover us at Disney World and on a Disney cruise this 12 months as a result of they’re each the right household trip for us — so long as we set the proper expectations earlier than we embark on our journey.

And, in fact, in case your funds and time-off schedule allow, you do not have to decide on between the 2 journeys. Many Disney Cruise Line sailings depart from Port Canaveral, which is barely a one-hour drive (or Disney bus trip) away from Disney World, so you’ll be able to simply mix a number of busy, thrill-seeking days on the parks with a brief three- or four-night Disney cruise to create one weeklong journey.

Now that is what we name a trip win.

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