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Which Disney Vacation Is The Best?

September 9, 2022

When it comes to traveling, every family has their own opinion on what makes a perfect Disney vacation. Some crave rest and relaxation while others want to stay busy and experience new things.

Each Disney vacation is special in its own way. But, just like the Guests who travel to these locations, no two destinations are the same.

For the sake of time and readability, I’ll be comparing only the 4 most popular destinations within the United States…Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, the Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa.

So, which Disney vacation do you think is the best?

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is undoubtedly the most popular vacation destination in the world. People come from all over the world to see The Most Magical Place On Earth.

With 4 Theme Parks, 2 Water Parks, Disney Springs, Golf Courses, and more, there’s no shortage of things to do while you’re in Florida.

But, what makes it the best?

Immersion

One thing that Walt Disney World does better than any other destination is total immersion.

When you’re on Walt Disney World property, the “real world” doesn’t exist. Don’t try to convince me otherwise.

Disney’s Magical Express may not be around anymore. But, there’s some alternatives that can help you get to (and stay at) Disney, until the end of your trip.

While Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure has their own areas of immersion, the Disneyland Resort is built on a much smaller piece of land. So, you don’t quite get the feeling of being taken out of Anaheim and transported into a magical “Land” quite like you do in Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World Train Station at Magic Kingdom

The Downside

The planning is intense. Walt Disney World has grown so large, there are far too many things involved in planning your vacation.

Which of the dozens of Resorts will you stay at? What Restaurants will you be getting up early to book? Did you remember to make your Park Reservations? The list goes on…

Because there’s so much to think about, Guests tend to start planning far in advance. But, with the constant changes, like Disney Genie, planning is nothing short of stressful.

Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland

Disneyland Resort

Disneyland is Walt Disney’s original Magic Kingdom. You’ll find the very first castle, original attractions, and food that other destinations wish they had.

But, what makes it the best?

History

If you’re a Disney nerd, like many of us, a trip to Disneyland is mostly about paying homage to the man who started it all. The Disneyland Park is the only Park Walt Disney ever personally walked in.

Walt had a hand in everything that went into that original version of Disneyland. Every original detail or attraction is like a museum, in a way. Behind each attraction is a story of the past.

And because of that, the history and the nostalgia that surround Disneyland is something that no other Disney vacation can ever recreate.

Holding up a Mickey Premium Bar in front of "It's a Small World"

The Downside

The Disneyland Resort is small, especially when comparing it to Walt Disney World. And since it’s located in California, it’s also pricey. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll likely have to look beyond the 3 Disneyland Hotels for a place to stay.

To many, the intimate size and ability to walk between the Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and its Good Neighbor Hotels make this a huge positive.

But, for families looking to fully immerse themselves in their Disney vacation, this can be a tough change. The “real world” is apparent and finds a way of sneaking into your vacation.

Disney Cruise Line

When you Cruise with Disney, you’re getting an itinerary filled with entertainment, relaxation, and adventure. No matter what you choose to do aboard a Disney Cruise ship, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.

But, what makes it the best?

A Good Mix of Relaxation and Adventure

Planning is pretty minimal, compared to the Disney Parks. So, as long as you’ve done your homework, all you really have to do is pack and show up to embarkation.

Disney Cruises are different from other Disney vacations simply because of its ability to travel to one or more different places within one trip.

Excursions become a once-in-a-lifetime adventures without having to sit on a stuffy plane for hours to get there.

Travel time is your own. So, you’re free to swim, slide, eat, and play as much as you’d like as you make your way to your next destination.

Main Deck on the Disney Cruise Line

The Downside

You are at the mercy of the weather. This may mean rough seas or the inability to dock until the weather cooperates.

This can mean heartbreak to some who had their hearts set on a particular Port of Call, like Castaway Cay.

If you are able to dock, your time off the ship is limited. While you get a glimpse at other cities, there just isn’t a lot of time to fully explore new cultures.

Cruise ships are on a tight schedule. So, no matter what time you docked, you don’t get additional time on dry land to make up for time lost, due to weather.

sea waves crashing on shore during sunset

Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa

Welcome to the beautiful state of Hawaii.

A trip to Aulani us unlike any other Disney vacation on this list. There’s no attractions or Ports of Call. But, do you know what it does have? Mickey Mouse and some of his friends.

But, what makes it the best?

Hawaii

Aulani is a true Resort destination and the epitome of relaxation. The beaches are breathtaking and the Resort stays true to authentic Hawaiian traditions and architecture.

Hula Dancers, hunts for Menehune, fire pit storytelling, and nature walking tours are just a few of the activities that show the beauty of Aulani.

But, in true Disney fashion, you also get your share of Disney meet-and-greets, character dining, and Mickey Mouse ears on everything. After all, it is a Disney vacation.

A drink sitting in the sand

The Downside

Aulani is expensive. And, due to its location, your trip will likely involve long, expensive flights to get there, as well.

Aulani is also set apart from other tourist locations. With all there is to do at Aulani, you may not feel the need to stray from the Resort.

But, for those who want to experience other activities and locations, finding transportation and time spent traveling may be a huge negative.

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Hawaii Destination Specialist

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