My husband and I were recently lucky enough to take an 8 day vacation together. Regrettably, it was not a Disney Parks vacation, but we still had a very nice time on our cruise. I, however, could not stop comparing everything to Disney – from the first moments to the end – and reminded myself that there are some things that the Mouse just does better than anyone else.
We barely arrived at our ship on time, due to a pregnant woman’s water breaking on our flight – causing us to be delayed by two hours because the plane needed to be sanitized. This is a true story! There are reasons you’re not supposed to fly so close to your due date! We arrived just in time to be one of the last 25 people in a very long line to check in. If you have ever been on a Disney Cruise, the pre-boarding area has things to look at and places to sit while you wait. In contrast, the cruise line we were on did not. Now, it was just my husband and I so we had no need to entertain our children with something other than “stand in line quietly”, but this was a struggle for other families who waited in quite long lines with antsy kids who just wanted to get on the ship. This cruise line actively markets to families, but from a customer service perspective this is a lacking area that is easily, and affordably, fixed.
Next, our stateroom had NO hidden Mickeys! This made me sad. I kept looking for them anyway. By the end of the cruise I was making my own towel Mickey heads while my husband, not so quietly, contemplated leaving me at one of the ports. This is also a true story.
One of my bigger disappointments was the quality of the food. It wasn’t BAD at all. It just wasn’t GREAT. There was plenty of variety and the presentation was nice….it just lacked that extra oomph that makes things a bit more, well, magical. Chocolate is just chocolaty-er while walking down Main Street, USA. And while there was plenty of soft-serve, there was no pineapple dole whip floats to be had.
Can we talk staff? Our stateroom attendant and dining room waiters were wonderful. They knew our names. They fixed issues in a snap. In short, they could have been Disney Cast Members. But, it was everyone else…they were nice, they just weren’t extra nice. They were helpful, they just weren’t extra helpful. They did their job well, it’s just that they only did their job well…not extra well. Maybe that’s unfair, but Disney Cast Members are a special group of folks who sparkle, shine, and go that extra pixie-dusted mile to make everything practically perfect. *Sigh*. I wish I was there now.
Lastly, I noticed peeling paint in places and water stains on ceilings. Y’all. Have you ever seen a paint peel anywhere on Disney property? I haven’t. Not saying they don’t exist – I just have never seen it. Disney looks brand spanking new to me every single time. I have spent so much of my Disney-vacation-life paying attention to the details — the easily overlooked areas of ride queues or hotel lobbies — that expectations for details are high. Again, maybe unfairly so, but it’s my vacation dollar being spent and details are important to me. The best detail I found on my cruise ship was a painting…of Donald Duck! Which, I tried to buy only to find out it was a one-of-a-kind which could have been mine for the bargain price of $18,000! I had not budgeted for that purchase, so I had to pass this time.
To end, we really had a fun time and met some great people but Walt Disney World has spoiled me forever. And I’m OK with that!
Do you compare other vacations to Disney?