Help us plan a Disney Cruise

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crazycatperson's picture
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Help us plan a Disney Cruise

Hubby has suggested taking a Disney cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. It's over a year away, so plenty of time to cash in on early bird savings.

We've both checked out the ships and have decided on an outside oceanview stateroom. I want to have some kind of view, but hubby has a mild fear of large bodies of water and doesn't think he would feel comfortable sitting on a verandah in the middle of the ocean. So it's looking like Deck 2 for the least expensive oceanview rooms - which is fine by me since being lower down on the ship will reduce effect of the ship's motion to some degree, which will help with my motion sickness problems.

This will be a West Coast cruise, and we are East Coast folks, so I'm thinking that booking the earliest dinner hour will help since 5:00 pm on the Pacific is 8:00 pm our time.

And...what the heck, we'll be on the West Coast anyway...I want to spend a couple of days at Disneyland when the cruise is over! yay I'm thinking two full days in the parks, which will mean three nights in a local hotel. We've never been, and every Disney fanatic must make a pilgrimage to the place Uncle Walt himself built. And since it's only three nights, I'm thinking of staying at a real Disneyland hotel, just so the Disney folks can handle EVERYTHING for us - air transportation, cruise, transportation to and from airport, ship, the Disney hotel, etc. Am I correct in assuming the best way to handle a trip this complicated would be to phone the folks at Disney instead of trying to do stuff online? OR...Alicemouse, aren't you doing Disney vacation planning now? Can you handle something like this?

Any suggestions? Things we absolutely must do on the ship, or at Disneyland? Best Disneyland restaurants? ANYTHING would be helpful.

alicemouse's picture
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Joined: 10/22/2013
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We're doing a very similar trip in the spring, except our cruise is on Princess (mom & dad don't yet buy into the "Disney's premium charge is worth it" philosophy that we subscribe to and since it's a 60th birthday trip for them, we have to go with the flow a little bit.). I'll message you on FB regarding what I can help you with since it's against forum rules for me to detail it here.

As far as what looks awesome planning-wise, we'll keep that public because it may help other folks, too. Our tentative plans are for two full park days spread over 3 calendar days--the first afternoon/evening at DL, the second full day at DCA, and the morning of the third day at DL. In the afternoon on day 3, we're planning to do the Walk in Walt's Footsteps tour and I am so ridiculously excited about it I can barely contain myself (and still with 8 months to wait...). I haven't started looking at menus yet, but from what I've heard so far, Blue Bayou, Carthay Circle, and The Plaza are currently on my radar.

We're most likely going to borrow DVC points from our future selves to stay at Grand California. Rates for 2015 don't come out until Wednesday, but I looked at a week in November yesterday to try to get an idea. The average for Grand California was $417/night and the average for Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotel was $350/night. There are 4 good neighbor hotels that are very close in proximity to the park and offer a substantial savings. I think I priced 3 nights WITH 3-day 1-park-per-day tickets (still in November) for just under $800 for two people total. Based on the maps, the closest good neighbor hotels, DL Hotel, and Paradise Pier are roughly equidistant to the parks--under 1/2 mile. The Disneyland hotels are closer to DTD than the good neighbor hotels. You might be better off to do a DVC point rental since you are already familiar with the process.

Disneylover21 (Dani) is a great resource for all things Disneyland as well and hopefully she'll chime in with us here. She shared a few things with me strategy-wise that I was really surprised by like the fact that TSM is not an attraction that usually has a long wait in California!!! So I'm sure you'll be excited about that! Also, Radiator Springs Racers is important to prioritize as it has long standby lines all day and if you think Peter Pan has a long wait in Florida, wait until you see it in California!

My personal plan of attack is to prioritize the rides that don't exist in Florida--especially Alice in Wonderland, Monster's Inc, Matterhorn yay, Radiator Springs Racers, Roger Rabbit's Cartoon Spin, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. World of Color and Fantasmic rank high on my priorities list because it seems to be unanimous that after you see Fantasmic in California, you won't even care about seeing it again in Florida. Also, I can't wait to walk through Mickey & Minnie's houses again!!

Second priority is to see our Florida favorites that are different at DL/DCA--Pirates, Space Mountain (maybe--if I can muster up the nerve to do it again), Teacups...there are others, but I can't pull them off the top of my head at the moment. I'm still in the process of pouring over the Unofficial Guide!

Last priority goes to the rides that are exactly the same as the ones we have back "home"--Soarin', Star Tours, TSM (oh who are we kidding--I can't go to a Disney park and not ride this ride!!)

As far as transportation, there's no Magical Express in CA eek so we're looking at Super Shuttle for the LAX-->DL leg and the cruise terminal-->LAX leg and probably taking a taxi from DL-->cruise terminal. It will be our first time in LA and I do not want to deal with renting a car there.

For the cruise itself, I have heard that unlike other cruise lines, DCL usually starts out at the lowest process that they are going to offer and increase prices as the sailing nears, so you are right to be looking into that booking sooner rather than later!! Not sure where your ports of call will be, but if you're stopping in San Francisco, you may want to consider the Walt Disney Family Museum. I'll be able to give you a review of the museum when we get back.

That's all I've got so far...

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Trip Reports:
December 2013: 10th Anniversary, 1st DVC Stay | April 2014: Birthday on the Boardwalk | May 2014: Star Wars Weekend, Navigating WDW with a wheelchair | August 2014: Villains Unleashed | September/October 2014: MNSSHP, F&W, Tower of Terror 10-miler | March/April 2015: Disneyland and California Coastal Cruise | November 2015: Wine & Dine Half, Food & Wine, 1st Disney Cruise | February 2016: Presidential Classic Gymnastics Meet | March 2016: "Work" Trip, Tours, F&G Festival | April 2016: Conference at Disneyland | Fall 2016: Festive Fall Fun | January 2017: Festival of the Arts | May 2017: AbD Backstage Magic | July 2017: AbD San Francisco | Sorry I had to give up doing trip reports. Too many time commitments right now.

crazycatperson's picture
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This is great, thanks very much for all the info! I assumed it was against forum rules for anyone to publicly promote a business, but I figured there was no rule against my asking whether you can even do this stuff, after which we'd take the discussion elsewhere if the answer was yes.

I'd still love to get suggestions and advice from Disney cruise and Disneyland veterans!

DisneyDee27's picture
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Hi CCP,

I'm not sure about the sailing on the west coast. I prefer the late seating for dinner just to give myself some time after excursions. I'm not sure what ports you'd have but getting around in CA takes time. Ocean view cabins are lovely. We stayed at the Sheraton that looks like a castle on Ball Rd. The rooms were awesome and the shuttle ran very regularly. It is a good neighbor hotel and was very reasonable. They sell park tickets there everything except one day tickets.

AliceMouse was pretty thorough on the ride suggestions. I'd look up park maps and maybe jot down the various rides that aren't found in WDW, pretty much everything in Disney CA Adventure. Don't forget FPs for the cars ride AND world of color. I love the Blue Bayou restaurant in the MK. I don't know if I'd go with Disney for airfare, they don't usually have great prices.

I'd be happy to answer any questions but I think AliceMouse has this one covered.
awesome mickey
Dee

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Eeyore's picture
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Joined: 11/22/2012
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Yay! You're going on the cruise. I thought my TR scared you away with all the rolling motion talk! laugh

I called Disney Cruiseline and booked directly with them because I had a lot of questions since we had never cruised on Disney before. I spoke with two different booking agents and both of them had been on multiple Disney cruises and were able to give me insider info on what rooms are best, dining times, shows, etc. I found them to be very helpful. My reason for not using an authorized Disney agent is because if you want the slightest thing changed on your reservation, your agent must do it. Disney will not even talk to you about it. I was afraid to get stuck in that limbo of having to rely on someone else to make changes for me.

If you can hold out for the 8PM dinner, I would. I guess this depends on your ports of call, but we had early dinner and two days of the trip we literally ran on board and were forced to go straight to dinner. After walking around ruins in Mexico all day, I felt very stinky and sticky and I was not pleased with running out of time. The later dinner gives you freedom and if you are late to something, it's the show. Dinner will go on without you and will not serve you late. I did not want to miss each rotation because I loved the dining rooms so much. I think if I were on another cruise line, I would not care if I had to eat at the buffet, but you don't want to miss Disney dining rooms!

I also suggest asking the cruise agent about a lower room with an ocean view. Deck 2 is very low and depending on the weather, you could see water splash by your window...that would def. make me sea-sick. The inside rooms actually are really nice and they have the magical port-holes that show what is happening outside. My parents have stayed on deck 2 before with an ocean view room and my dad could not even be inside the cabin except to sleep because he was so ill and felt very claustrophobic. It may not bother you, but I just wanted to mention it.

Keep us updated on your plans! I want to hear all about the West coast cruise!

Allie's picture
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I have no helpful suggestions as I haven't been to DL since I was 3 and I've never been on a Disney cruise but I just wanted to say that it sounds like an amazing trip and I'm uber jealous! awesome Excited to live vicariously through you!

crazycatperson's picture
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Thanks very much for the input, folks.

The cruise we're thinking of is a 10-day out of Vancouver, BC to Hawaii. The first 5 or 6 days are at sea, so by the time excursions become an issue, we will already have visited all of the rotation restaurants at least once (and probably fit Palo in there somewhere). By that point, if we miss our regular seating and have to eat at the buffet or even get a pizza, I don't think it will be an issue.

As for deck 2, I'm not sure what effect having water splashing against our porthole might have on my motion sickness, but I'm pretty sure it would freak hubby out, so I guess we'll have to look into something a little higher up.

If my authorized Disney travel agent is Alicemouse, I will not be at all concerned about tweaking things - I know she'll get it done.

DisneyDee27's picture
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Joined: 04/02/2012
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More than likely you'll be on the Wonder next year on the west coast, the inside cabins do not have magic portals only the Dream and Fantasy inside cabins have them. I've never stayed below deck 8 and aft.

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DisneyDee27 wrote:
More than likely you'll be on the Wonder next year on the west coast, the inside cabins do not have magic portals only the Dream and Fantasy inside cabins have them. I've never stayed below deck 8 and aft.

I think the newly-revamped Magic has that magic portal as well, leaving Wonder as the only ship not having that feature.

Zz.

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Kristen K.'s picture
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ZapperZ wrote:
DisneyDee27 wrote:
More than likely you'll be on the Wonder next year on the west coast, the inside cabins do not have magic portals only the Dream and Fantasy inside cabins have them. I've never stayed below deck 8 and aft.

I think the newly-revamped Magic has that magic portal as well, leaving Wonder as the only ship not having that feature.

Zz.

I don't think so. I remember hoping that they would do that when the announcements were made for the dry-dock and they never said they were adding Magic Portholes. They did update the room decor, but I don't believe that was part of it.

crazycatperson's picture
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Not a problem, we're looking into an outside cabin anyway. Don't need a verandah, but a porthole would be nice (but probably not deck 2, hubby was not thrilled with the idea of water sloshing against our porthole).