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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Planning a Disney Cruise Is Different Than Planning for Walt Disney World

“So when are you going to sail with Disney?” was the question I posed to another Williams family that enjoys Disney travel.  The answer was that they were thinking about December to celebrate a big birthday.

My facial expression said it all and was followed by, “I know, that’s coming pretty soon.”  Yep, planning a Disney Cruise Line vacation is different than a Walt Disney World vacation and the difference stumps many seasoned Walt Disney World travelers.

Let me begin with saying that guests can and do book short range Disney cruises but they are paying for that opportunity.

Now, back to those folks who like to plan, what I would call “last minute” Walt Disney World vacations.  We planned one less than 180 days out and got it done, but others like to wait until say 6 weeks to 3 months ahead before they commit to a vacation.  This time table works for Walt Disney World.  Resort rooms are typically available, dining reservations can be had or skipped, and flights can still be found.  The resort isn’t going anywhere so it really doesn’t matter what day or time you arrive or what day/time you depart.  This allows for flexibility.  Depending on when you go, such as the holidays, the price may be different as there are varying resort rates based on the season.  And, since Disney releases Walt Disney World discounts about 3 months ahead, this type of planning can also result in discounts.

But what happens when Walt Disney World visitors who are used to and prefer the time frame described above want to sail with Disney?  Well, they may pay extra for the privilege and they may not get their stateroom preference.  The price for itineraries is less the further out the sailing.  The closer to the sailing, the cruise will be more expensive. 

For example, our cruise, which was booked in December 2012, is now $2,000 more than what we paid for it even after including our tips and transports to/from the port.  When sailing, flights have to match up with the cruise dates with specific arrival and departure time frames.  This means less flexibility with flight times and therefore the potential for an increased cost.  The same flights we purchased for our upcoming vacation are now $720 more.

Our best advice for those wishing to sail with Disney, book your cruise as soon as you can!

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