Land Vs. Sea; Mouse Vs. Mouse

Disney:  Land vs OceanA couple of weeks ago,  I took my family on a Disney vacation, and as you may remember, I had my doubts. We visited the theme park and then embarked on a cruise (a first for all of us).  Both seemed to have their fair share of built-in worries, from hidden costs to little souvenirs, but it turns out I had less to worry about on the cruise than I did at the theme park.  Here’s my analysis of Mouse Vs. Mouse:

FOOD – Winner: Disney Cruise!

At the parks, one of the best ‘fine dining’ experiences is purported to be the Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. While my two girls were thrilled by the prospect of dining with princesses inside Cinderella’s own castle, the meals weren’t exactly fit for a king. To add insult to injury, the service was poor and the dining room was freezing cold.  Even after applying some of our pre-paid park coupons, the dinner’s final bill still ended up nearing $200 for the four of us. That’s a hefty sum for the dried-out chicken nuggets our littlest princess ordered.  In a manner of speaking, it felt like Mickey’s head wasn’t in the right place.

SERVICE- Winner: Disney Cruise!

Sure, the theme park has rides, but with those rides come long lines, hot pavement, and crowds galore. When all that heat and waiting causes the inevitable kid meltdown, it’s the parents who end up putting the day back together and finding somewhere for everyone to rest.

Disney:  Land vs OceanOn the cruise ship, as parents, we felt supported by an entire cast of characters: waiters, cruise counselors, service staff and entertainers.  For example, the dining experience on the Disney cruise made us feel like royalty. Wait staff remembered our names and our food preferences, did magic tricks at the table to entertain the girls, and went out of their way to accommodate our youngest, who is a picky eater.

The cruise has what the kids are really looking for at a Disney park – Disney characters and Disney merchandise – as well as plenty of cool ‘kids’ club’ activities and lots of pools where mom and dad can tan while the kids swim and play. The only drawback – with that many kids in the pool, there were frequent shutdowns so the staff could ‘swab the poop deck,’ if you get my drift.

Although the shipboard cabins made for tight quarters (as much as I love my girls, a week of sleeping together in the same room was more than enough!), my daughters even looked forward to bedtime since our cabin attendant left treats on their pillows and little cartoon character towel sculptures for them to discover each night.

The attention to detail was astonishing, including this homage to the Lion King in the gift shop–LOL!

ADULT RELAXATION – Winner: (By a long shot) Disney Cruise!

The key difference between the cruise and the park, for me, at least, is that the cruise actually felt like vacation.  There were fewer lines, fewer crowds, and fewer meltdowns due to exhaustion.  On the cruise ship, rest and relaxation were readily available at all times, making each day feel like a true departure from the everyday hustle and bustle.  And from an adult perspective, that’s far more magical than Space Mountain or the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster.  One Disney princess summed it up best:

Disney:  Land vs Ocean

Get some shut-eye this weekend,