Is it possible to grow out of Disney? My kids have been raised on Disney, with our youngest visiting for the first time at three months. While she certainly doesn’t remember that trip, I remember her first set of little ears like it was yesterday. Over the years, we’ve visited Walt Disney World a total of sixteen times and never once have we regretted spending our time there. It always feels like going home.
On our last trip though we tried something new, a land and sea Disney experience; four days at the parks and three days at sea. It was absolute perfection, and only confirmed what I suspected—we’ll not likely ever grow out of Disney. My teen girls, at 15 and 13, had just as much fun this time as they have every single trip before. As we get older, I can already see heading to Walt Disney World with their families.
That being said, the Disney cruise did open my eyes to exploring other Disney options outside of Walt Disney World. After all, who wouldn’t want the Disney touch on everything they do? Disney’s exceptional service, eye for detail, and never-rest-on-it’s-laurels attitude is frankly what more of the travel industry could use. Related: See here for how Disney has absolutely RUINED cruising for me.
Here are some Disney experiences outside of the parks worth looking into.
Cruising, Disney Style
Disney offers cruises to Alaska, the Carribbean and Europe. With three new cruise ships being added to the fleet in 2021, 2022 and 2023, keep your eyes open for some really amazing itineraries to be added.
If you’re worried that Disney Cruise Line is going to be too juvenile for your family’s tastes, fear not, Disney has you covered. While they obviously still cater to the youngest Mousekeeteers, Disney Cruise Line also has a teen club that teens actually want to go to. There are also plenty of adults-only areas when you need a break from the noise, notably Senses Spaaaaaah, er I mean spa.
Adventures By Disney
What started with two adventures has now expanded to 38 unique experiences on six continents, and because it’s been pixie dusted you know it’s going to be magical from start to finish. Visit places like Norway, Italy and Vietnam, which of course have Disney magic weaved in seamlessly—you know you’re getting Frozen in Norway, right?
What really has me interested though is the expansion of River Cruising in 2019. There are an additional 21 itineraries added now on the Seine, Danube and the Rhine.
I’m excited because frankly I’m just at this point with my girls for travel. They are old enough to enjoy Europe and all it offers but not quite old enough to enjoy a traditional river cruise. I also love that Disney doesn’t lower the luxury experience because kids are on board, but rather brings the kids into that world in a way that’s fun and engaging.
Disney Vacation Club
I will admit that I am quite intrigued by the Disney Vacation Club, not just because you have access to all the amazing Vacation Club Resorts that are near the parks but you can also take advantage of Disney Cruise line, Adventures by Disney and last but not least Aulani.
While the Disney Vacation Club is in fact a timeshare, it doesn’t act like it. DVC is a vacation ownership program and unlike a typical timeshare, where you are confined to a certain size space, and must travel at a certain time of year, the Disney Vacation Club point system gives you the flexibility to book when you want and where you want. During a Disney Social Media Moms General Session it was brought to our attention that DVC is the fastest growing segment of their business right now, which makes me wonder, what am I missing out on? Cue the Disney FOMO.
What do you get when you liberally sprinkle pixie dust over one of the world’s most stunning destinations? Why Aulani naturally, and it’s definitely a bucket-list destination.
While Aulani is no where near a Disney park, you certainly won’t miss it with all there is to see and do.
Now that you know Disney spans the globe, where do you want to go first?