Disney Cruise or Disney World | Magic in the Planning

Disney Cruise or Disney World: Which is Better?


Disney Cruise or Disney World… Which one is better? Disney Cruise Line offers the ultimate family vacation experience with a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. With multiple onboard activities, world-class dining options, and endless entertainment options, Disney Cruise Line provides a unique experience of exploring the world while indulging in luxury.

On the other hand, Walt Disney World is the perfect place to explore your favorite Disney characters, thrilling rides, and shows. With four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and numerous dining options, Disney World offers something for everyone.

So which one is better for you and your family? Here’s a look at what they both have to offer (as well as what they don’t).


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Planning to sail on Disney Cruise Line in the coming year? Be sure to check out our guide to all that Disney Cruise Line has to offer this year including exciting itineraries, new ports of call, themed events at sea, and more! (And if you’re planning a Disney World vacation, be sure to visit our guide to Walt Disney World in 2024!)


All-Inclusive or Piece-by-Piece

Disney's Riviera Resort | Magic in the PlanningOne of my favorite things about a Disney cruise is the fact that nearly everything is included in the price. Obviously, there are some “extras” you can purchase onboard like spa treatments, alcoholic beverages, and port adventures. But the essentials (room, dining, entertainment, etc.) are all included in the price. It makes the trip more seamless, and honestly, less stressful. It’s nice going to dinner and not worrying about how much your dinner is going to cost. Pick whatever you want… it’s included!

In comparison, Walt Disney World is not necessarily something you pay for ahead of time. While Disney is reintroducing their Disney Dining Plans, many of the costs associated with Disney World are paid for while on your vacation.

The one perk to this, however, is that you can adjust the cost of your vacation by simply choosing different hotels, restaurants, or ticket options. While Disney Cruise Line has multiple room options (depending on stateroom location and features), it’s not the same as Disney World having over 30 resorts to choose from… and that’s if you decide to stay on property! Need to save money on food? Simply choose quick-service dining locations or share meals. These money-saving options simply aren’t available on Disney Cruise Line.


Relaxation or Thrills

Disney Vacation Planning | Disney Cruise Castaway Cay | Magic in the PlanningWhen we decided to take our daughters on their first Disney cruise, we went a couple of days early to enjoy the parks before our sail date. And while we had an absolute blast, with two young kids, we were slightly exhausted after two full park days. Don’t get me wrong… we love the parks! But I would be lying if I said the cruise wasn’t easier than the parks with young children.

This is one of the reasons why a Disney Cruise is so relaxing. Your room is always a short distance away. And while there can be a short line to meet a character on board, the wait was significantly shorter than inside the parks. And do your kids take afternoon naps still? Being close to your room can be a huge perk for many young families.

That being said, Disney Cruise Line is mostly shows, activities, and dining. The parks, however, offer a wide range of thrilling rides and attractions that can only be found inside Walt Disney World. And for many, the walking and lines are worth the excitement and fun!

Disney World offers more thrills, while Disney Cruise Line offers more relaxation. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide how you want to enjoy your Disney vacation.


See the World or Stay Close to Home

Jamaica Port Adventure | Magic in the PlanningI love to travel. But visiting other countries can be a bit intimidating… especially with young kids. In just one week, we were able to travel to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, and the Bahamas as a family. We shared unique cultural experiences as a family all under the safety of knowing that we were sailing with Disney. This is one thing the parks simply cannot offer (other than a “word tour” at Epcot… but that doesn’t count!)

Don’t want to leave the country? That is totally understandable. Sometimes it’s nice to simply stay a bit closer to home. And for that reason, the parks can be a great option.


Family Vacation or Adult-Only Getaway

Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios | magicintheplanning.comDisney is known for its ability to cater to families, but adults love Disney too!

When it comes to Disney Cruise Line, there are definitely a lot of families on board. While there are adult-only areas on the ship including lounges and nightclubs, the rest of the ship is very family-friendly and casino-free. And while there are a lot of young ones on board, one thing I notice is that Disney does a spectacular job of pleasing everyone. They even provide areas and activities for kids and teens to enjoy while parents get some alone time.

The parks at Walt Disney World offer something for everyone as well. Do you enjoy roller coasters? Dark rides? Live entertainment? Exquisite dining? Again, Disney does what it does best by providing an experience that adults enjoy as well as children.


Disney Cruise or Disney World – Conclusion

The main difference between these two is that Disney Cruise Line offers an all-inclusive experience with different destinations, while Disney World is four theme parks with endless magical experiences. Both of these options provide endless fun and memories to cherish for a lifetime. So, choose the one that suits your family’s interests and budget the best.

You really can’t go wrong with either vacation!


**Looking to plan your Disney Cruise Line vacation? Be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!


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