Packing up the kids and heading to Orlando…

by Janice

This past February, Susan and I had two very different vacation experiences.

disney-family-shotI had to make a business trip to Orlando and I decided to fly my family down with me. While we were there, Disney provided us with four day park hoppers and four nights accommodation at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It was an incredible time for all of us — my kids, my husband and I completely fell in love with Disney World.

It was the perfect vacation destination for each of us — which had completely surprised me! I was only ever planning to visit Disney to appease my children. I didn’t think it would be a destination of choice for me. But I was so wrong! I loved it just as much as my kids did!

But at the same time I was enjoying the family friendly, well oiled machine that is Disney, Susan was vacationing in Hawaii with her husband and kids.

Her vacation, which cost her thousands by the time she totaled it all up, was their “big family vacation” that they wouldn’t be able to afford again for years. But after all that anticipation and money spent, Susan and her family came away disappointed. The girls got bored and fussy at the beach and Susan and her hubby scrambled to find ways to have them all enjoy their trip.

When Susan heard about my experience at Disney, she was so envious — and wished she had known earlier. Instead of planning her Hawaiian vacation, she would have chosen to spend their hard earned money at Disney World!

Not only was I now a huge Walt Disney World fan, but Susan was converted as well — just from reading my posts!

Honestly, after my time at Disney World, I understand the Disney Vacation Club members who return to Disney year after year. It really is a magical, wonderful place to relax and have fun.

So, since Susan and I are so thrilled with Disney, we have packed up our kids and are heading down to Orlando to check out the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Channel Summer at Sea Cruises and to visit Walt Disney World for a few days.

During it all, we will be shooting videos highlighting what we love about Disney vacations. We will take you with us on the cruise ship with our kids and you can see if a Disney Cruise is right for your family. When we finish our four day cruise, we will brave the July heat in Walt Disney World. (If we Canadians can do it — then anyone can!)

Disney is not paying us for our opinions or to favorably write about Disney World. They are covering the costs of the trip for our review purposes. The fact that we love Disney World — well that is just a bonus for them!

While we are on the ship, we will have very limited access to internet and phones. But no worries, our fantastic assistant, Erica, will be holding down the fort here at 5 Minutes for Mom.

By the way, have you ever been on a cruise?!? This will be our first time, do you have any tips for us?



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ivy July 11, 2009 at 9:41 am

I went on my first cruise about 5 years ago. It was a wonderful experience being pampered everywhere. My suggestion would be to sign up for the land excursions you want to participate in as soon as possible, because they tend to fill up fast. Some cruise lines let you sign up online before you even set foot out of your home, and others make you wait until you board the ship. I was on a Caribbean cruise, and missed out on feeding the dolphins and manta rays, because I was too slow. Never again!

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2 Angela in Ohio July 11, 2009 at 10:48 am

I’ve not been on a Disney cruise but I hear they spoil you for every other cruise line? Are you on the Dis? You will find tons of info there at disboards.com

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3 Hailey July 11, 2009 at 11:11 am

We had a wonderful cruise experience. We sailed with Carnival to the Bahamas. It was worth every penny. There are ways to save money on the ship. The gift shop will have a big sale your last day at sea. Wait until then to buy your extra “gifts”. I ended up getting a $60 Lucky Brand ring for $12. I was more than excited! You can always purchase a pass to put on your card that allows you to get unlimited soft drinks. On our cruise tea, water, lemonade, orange juice and apple juice were free. Everything else you had to pay for. Be sure to check for drink specials. Each morning they would have one or two drinks on special for about $3.50. We enjoyed Bloody Mary’s a lot of our mornings in the sun! :-)
Have fun!! I know you will!!

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4 Andrea Summers July 11, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Like someone else mentioned…book your excursions now. Disney cruise lines lets you book them from home before you even get on board. We did not know that when we went the first time and I was so disappointed that I did not get to swim with the dolphins!

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5 Shop with Me Mama July 11, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I have never been on a cruise, but my parents have alot of times! They loved it each time :) Have fun!

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6 Kimberly July 11, 2009 at 7:26 pm

We love Disney too! We went on our honeymoon there, and we go with the kids almost every year, even if its just for a day. My new favorite thing about Disney this year? Well, my 2 year old daughter has multiple food allergies so I was concerned about being there with only restaurants to eat at. They were fabulous! Everywhere we went, even the quick service places, had accurate food info and immediately called a manager to assist us in making sure we got food that was safe for our daughter!

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7 Amber July 11, 2009 at 11:46 pm

First of all, I’m jealous that you went to Disney. My daughter is aching to go back.

Second of all, I’d LOVE to go on a cruise. Never been on one but it’s on my To Do list.

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8 Alison July 12, 2009 at 5:04 am

That’s so uncanny that your friend ‘dream’ vacation didn’t quite live up to her expectations and that your Disney trip exceed your expectations – I can imagine that a 10+ hour flight to Hawaii with kids in tow wasn’t too much fun.

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9 homemom3 July 12, 2009 at 9:43 am

I can’t wait to see all the posts and videos. To be honest we could never afford to go, we’ve got four kids and live paycheck to paycheck. When we lived in California we did visit Disneyland every few months and I miss it terribly, I could only picture what it would be like to visit DisneyWorld. The last time we went though the hubby had just got back from Iraq, we stayed a whole hour before being held up in the hotel room because he couldn’t deal with the crowds. So make sure to do LOTS of video and pics. :)

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10 Kid Friendly Family Vacations Mom July 12, 2009 at 4:25 pm

We have traveled to Disney World Theme Park several times, and absolutely love it as well…. As a matter of fact, family cruises and disney world are among our kids most favorite family vacations!

Hope you have a great time!

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11 Emily July 13, 2009 at 10:01 am

If you haven’t cruised before, you absolutely MUST go to http://www.cruisecritic.com and read up! They have fabulous reviews, tips, advice and the boards there are awesome. Seriously- go there right now. There’s a Disney cruise board and there is also a family cruise board- I’m sure you’ll get excellent advice from both. They can tell you what to pack, when to arrive at the port, what to be prepared for, etc.

I’m totally jealous- I really want to try out the Disney Cruise Line. I hear it’s amazing. I’ve been on 4 Carnival cruises and I just love it. It’s an excellent way to travel. :D

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12 Alyson July 14, 2009 at 5:25 am

We have never been on a cruise so will be very happy to read your reviews. Can’t wait!

Alyzabeth’s Mommy

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13 Stephanie July 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm

I LOVE Disney. It’s such a magical place. Everything is done with such class and excellence.

My husband and I went on a cruise for our honeymoon (and we had a wonderful time), but I bet a DISNEY cruise with kids would be even more fun. I look forward to the posts about your experience.

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