Long WDW trip after 3 night Disney Cruise?

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 :slight_smile:

Thanks for any thoughts or advice!


I have heard it the other way around — that going on a cruise is a good way to unwind after going to WDW. But if you really do take it easy I think you could enjoy a trip to WDW after a cruise (I am planning to do this at some point). I love WDW and would always add time there if it’s a possibility.


Thanks! Yes unfortunately the cruise is at the end of Easter week so adding time before doesn’t make sense since crowds will be worse.


My DS and a friend did this earlier n the year. Although it wasn’t a particularly lengthy WDW stay (4or 5 nights). He did say they felt exhausted by the end of it and that next time they’d do things the other way round.

I think that was because they really did force themselves to just chill on board and it came as a shock to their system to suddenly be getting up early. So I’d suggest pacing things on both parts of the trip.


I think as long as you don’t plan a park day on the day you debark, travel to Orlando and check in to the resort, you could totally do this. Check in day, park day, park day, rest day, park day, park day, check out and travel home day. I would do 4 days single park. You waste a lot of time on shorter trips with park hoppers.

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We are actually doing this next week. We are doing a 3 day cruise and then 5 park days and 1 rest day afterwards. I am a single mom of 3, with 2 of them being 3 and 5 year old boys who are WILD. I am looking forward to the cruise - I’ll have some time to recharge while they are in the kids club. Hoping that will make the rest of our trip not quite as exhausting as it normally is.


Yes. I would do it the other way around. You need to unwind after WD2W.


I get the feeling you are amazing, Mom.


Oh wow you are brave and amazing! Have a fantastic trip and would love to hear how it goes!


I’ve never been exhausted after a cruise. You’ll be fine.

Thanks! Luckily I have my mom and my cousin and her daughter traveling with me. Makes it a bit easier!

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Luckily I have my mom and my cousin and her daughter traveling with me. Makes it a bit easier! I’ll try to remember to post an update on how it goes!

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How was your cruise and post cruise Disney trip? Would love to know if you’d do it again that way!

It was great, but we did have quite a few hiccups. Our flight got changed to the night before the cruise and then was delayed, so we didn’t get to All Star Sports until 3am. Then, there was an issue with where they had booked our transport to the terminal. They thought we were staying at the Contemporary (which is where we were going after the cruise), so we had to work through that with the staff. They were great and it wasn’t too bad, but did make the morning more hectic. Even with that hiccup, I highly recommend Disney transfers - we got on the ship around 11:30 and had plenty of time to spend exploring and eating lunch before the Sail Away party.

The cruise was amazing! We all had a blast and can’t wait to go on another! Unfortunately, my 3 and 5 year old sons got a stomach bug (along with a ton of other people on the ship) the last night. That made our first morning at Disney World a bit hard. Fortunately, it only lasted about 12 hours and they were find. We checked into the Contemporary and stayed a bit and then spent the late afternoon and evening at Epoct. We did MNSSHP the next day and then transferred to Art of Animation for the rest of the trip. Luggage transfers were super smooth and we didn’t have any issues.

I loved that when we got off the ship, it wasn’t the end of our vacation. I think had we not had the really late travel night before the cruise and then the stomach bug, we would have been really relaxed by the time our Disney World trip started. I definitely think we would plan it again the same way - doing the cruise first and then Disney World after. Especially as a single mom - I loved being able to have some time away from the kids while they were having a blast in the kids clubs! It’s also nice to have a slower pace for the first few days of our vacation after all of the work in packing for everyone and traveling down there. It allowed me to rewind a bit before the more stressful pace we do at Disney World.