My kids (ages 11, 9, 5) really want to go back to WDW next year. Our last trip was summer 2022 but was a huge family trip. We’ve only ever done 3 park days per trip so have always felt rushed and that we had to do very long days in the parks, so this time I’d like to go for a longer amount of days so we can have more park days, but maybe ones that aren’t rope drop till we cry uncle.
We have a 3 night Disney Cruise booked with a big group of extended family in April 2024. The cruise is out of Fort Lauderdale, but since we’ll already be in Florida and flights for a family of 5 are pricey, I’m considering just extending the trip and heading up to Orlando after the cruise. Brightline trains will definitely be running by then so we could take the train to Orlando (around $237 total for the 5 of us) and then rent a car once we get there, or just rent a car and drive ourselves (we are used to 7-8 hour car trips so not worried about the drive).
My kid’s spring school break starts a week after the cruise returns (so cruise gets back on a Monday, they are not off that week but are off the next week) - because of this we could have a REALLY long trip if we wanted to, basically having them miss a week of school and then they are off for another whole week (doubtful we’d stay that whole time). They’d miss 3 days of school for the cruise vs 7 days if we extend it and go to WDW after. Crowd levels look good for when we’d be there. We usually stay off site in a VRBO and prices look about the same for this week vs going a random week in Jan/Feb, which would be our alternate plan.
BUT - do you think we will be totally dead and just want to go home post cruise? In my head it feels like it would be nice after spending time with extended family on the cruise to head to a rental house with our own space / food / timeline. And if we have a longer trip in WDW we don’t have to do such crazy long park days and would definitely sprinkle in full rest days as well. Also as the person who packs for our family, it feels like less mental load to just pack for one big trip than the cruise plus another separate trip in Jan/Feb haha. Since we’d have a washer/dryer we could totally just reuse all our cruise clothes for the WDW portion of the trip. My kids are finally at ages where I feel like they can go with the flow and we actually all enjoy our vacations and it feels like I need to capitalize on this sweet spot of ages
Thanks for any thoughts or advice!