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Combining Adventures by Disney with a Disney Cruise – PREP 343

Combining Adventures by Disney with a Disney Cruise – PREP 343

Glenda and her husband took an incredible vacation combining a Disney Cruise and Adventures by Disney! They spent 4 nights on the Disney Wonder cruising out of San Diego. After their incredible cruise experience, they spent a few days in San Diego before going to Disneyland with Adventures by Disney.


The Basics

Glenda and her husband live about 8 hours from San Diego and will be driving to their vacation. They plan to arrive the night before their cruise leaves and will stay the night at a local hotel.

They have a 4-night cruise on the Disney Wonder out of San Diego, a few days in San Diego, and an Adventures by Disney trip at Disneyland. Their trip begins with the cruise departing on January 9 and arriving back on January 13. The Adventures by Disney portion of their trip is from January 15-19.

Glenda and her husband had a verandah stateroom on the Disney Wonder.

Arrival in San Diego (January 8)

They left their home a little after 2 pm and checked in at their hotel around 10 pm. They stopped for dinner on their way and had no trouble getting to the hotel.

It is important to allow for time before getting on a cruise, so they arrived the night before. 

Embarkation Day (January 9)

Glenda and her husband got up and had breakfast at their hotel. Their embarkation time was 11 a.m. 

The parking garage was 6 minutes from their hotel – they could see the ship from their hotel bedroom! They had some trouble finding the parking garage but they got there just after 11 a.m. 

They walked across the street from the parking garage to the terminal. They checked their bags and got in line to get on the ship. Glenda was very impressed with the process of embarkation. They were through the process, on the ship, and eating lunch at Cabana’s in 45 minutes! 

After lunch and walking around, they went to their stateroom. It was ready around 3 p.m. and their bags were already delivered. Glenda went on the ship tour while her husband took a nap. Glenda loved seeing the kids club

They skipped the sail away party but watched some of it while getting some photos. They went to the Mouseketeer Madness game – they were called because it was an earlier game. Glenda was called and got a medal! 

Their next stop was the Golden Mickeys show – they had the early show seating. They had dinner that night at Animator’s Palate

Day at Sea (January 10)

Breakfast was at Cabana’s before a more in depth ship tour. They learned lots of interesting things about the ship. There was no need to sign up for the tour – you can just show up. Glenda also went down the slide in the kids club, which was a blast! 

They also went to a napkin folding class. They liked this a lot but not as much as the Jack Jack Diaper Dash! This is a race for babies that crawl between one parent or family member to another. 

Glenda and her husband enjoyed doing the fun things around the ship. She and her husband did an anyone can cook experience and had some lobster ravioli. 

For lunch, they went to Tiana’s and Glenda had a really delicious burger. She thought she would be hungry because they had the later seating for dinner, but she wasn’t. This was disappointing because Tiana’s had the best food of the trip.

Glenda’s husband walked around while she went to an animator’s class. They met back up and did Disney trivia! Glenda thought she’d do a good job but the questions were very difficult and she only got 7 questions correct. 

After trivia they napped until it was time to go see Frozen, the show for the evening. At 7:30 p.m. they did some Disney Trivia and Glenda got a 4 way tie for first! She was very proud. 

Their dinner was at 8:15 p.m. and they had a new serving crew and dining table at Tiana’s. They were surprised about this but everything was great. This was Glenda’s favorite meal of the whole trip. 

They’d planned to go to the adult games that night but it was very popular and they didn’t get a seat, so they went back to the stateroom. On their way, they went to guest services for Dramamine. 

Cabo (January 11)

After a good night’s sleep, they got up and went to Cabana’s for breakfast. After getting their bag for their excursion. 

Their tour was with Ramsey’s and their driver was Bruno. The excursion was called Coastal Highlights and was a lot of driving and sight-seeing. 

Glenda was most excited for the glass blowing and she loved that. Their next stop was a beautiful view before going to the market. They walked around the market and the guides made suggestions on where to find specific things. 

The weather was absolutely beautiful. It was in the mid-70s and sunny. They went back to the ship around 2 p.m. and went back to the room. Glenda didn’t want to leave the room so she got lunch via room service. 

They enjoyed the verandah for a few hours and at 4:30 p.m. the ship pulled away. They were able to see them pull up the gangplank, some whales, and sea lions. 

They went to the pool and D Lounge to play a pirate game that was very silly. After that, they went back to the room. This was pirate night and there were fireworks! 

Glenda didn’t think the pirate party was very well-themed. She did like seeing the guests all dressed up in their pirate costumes! 

Their dinner this evening was at Tiana’s and it was very good. They were tired after dinner so they went back to their room and went to bed.

Day at Sea (January 12)

It was a very busy day at sea! Glenda and her husband had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Tritons because Cabana’s was busy.

After they went to Guest Services to take care of their future cruise payment, they noticed a line in the atrium. They learned it was for the Royal Gathering but were told that it was by reservation only. Glenda asked if there were any reservations and at just after 9 a.m. there was a reservation for 9:15 a.m.!

Glenda joined the line and met Cinderella, Ariel, and Tiana. It was lovely. The character interaction was great.

They got a snack and went to theD23 at sea experience. Glenda was excited that her husband went with her to hear these “commercials.”

Glenda got to hear the Broadway performer experience. It was a smaller gathering and a Broadway performer gave a wonderful presentation. After this, they went to the towel folding class. It was fun!

They then went back to the room to rest for a bit. Glenda’s husband then decided he wanted to meet Thor!

They went to D-Lounge to play the Inside Out game that evening. Different groups acted out emotions and families could guess. After this, they went and purchased an ornament to have signed by the captain.

After another little break, they saw Disney Dreams. It was updated from the last time Glenda saw it and she loved it. Their dinner was at Triton’s that evening. It was a lovely dinner and an anniversary treat for dessert.

They went to the farewell event in the atrium. They were watching from above away from the crowds. They brought out all of the characters and it was really beautiful.

Glenda did some packing during the afternoon so that they were ready for leaving the ship.

Disembark (January 13)

This process was not as smooth as previous cruises. They tried to find a place to leave their luggage so that they could walk around before getting off the ship. The line to get off was wrapped all the way around the ship.

They finally got off the ship just before 12 p.m. They could see people waiting to embark! The turnaround time was very quick. There was never an announcement about why things took so long.

They got into the parking garage and had to find someone who worked there to leave the parking garage. Another less than smooth process but it worked and they were able to leave.

Glenda and her husband have a hotel reservation in San Diego. They have two day tickets for the zoo and wild animal park. Today they decided to take advantage of a sunny day and went to the Safari Park.

It wasn’t crowded at all and they had a great day seeing lots of animals. They spent about 3 hours there. They went back to the hotel and checked in before getting some dinner.

Glenda did some laundry this evening and reorganized their luggage.

Zoo (January 14)

Glenda and her husband got breakfast at the hotel and went to the San Diego Zoo. It was overcast that morning and they arrived around 9 a.m. They started with the Tram tour and had a great one! They got to see some active animals.

Then they did the Skyfari – a gondola ride across the zoo. It was starting to look like rain, so they wanted to be sure they did it before rain.

They had some lunch and it started to rain. They did a few more things as they waited for a show, but it started raining very hard. They put on ponchos and saw a few more things before they left around 4 p.m.

On their way to Anaheim they got dinner. They checked in to another hotel – the Hilton Anaheim. Glenda was starting to feel a cold coming, so she was excited to get some sleep!

ABD Begins (January 15)

Glenda slept until 9:30 a.m. (her husband was up earlier) and they got lunch together. They left the hotel at 10:45 a.m. to get lunch at Knotts berry Farm. They got there just after 11 a.m. and it wasn’t crowded at all.

They had a delicious lunch – a lot of food and a decent value. They did some shopping before heading to the Grand Californian. They met their driver, left their car, and went to the Loews Hollywood. They quickly met Michael and Dean, their Adventures By Disney guides.

They had a few hours before they needed to meet again for dinner. They went to the room and it was so posh! At 6:30 p.m. they went to dinner. This experience was an adult-only ABD.

At dinner they introduced themselves with the group, found out what to expect the next day, and the opportunity to see Avatar: The Way of Water. The next day was a holiday and some things were closed, so they had to make some adjustments to the original schedule, which gave them time to see a movie!

Studio Tours (January 16)

The day started early with breakfast at the hotel. They had delicious breakfast and got to know other people in their ABD.

After breakfast they walked to the Dolby Studio, walked on the Walk of Fame, and went into the El Capitan theatre. There they got a backstage tour and saw the Curtain Show.

Their next stop was the Graumen’s Chinese Theatre. Glenda loved this part! After this, they went back to the hotel to freshen up before lunch.

They took a bus over to Tam O’Shanter. They had a delicious lunch with a second generation Imagineer. It was lovely. They then took the bus to other important spots to Walt Disney around Hollywood.

That afternoon they had an ice cream social at Ghiradelli’s. After ice cream, they relaxed at the hotel before going back to El Capitan theatre to see Avatar: The Way of Water.

Studio Tours (January 17)

Today their Adventures by Disney experience took Glenda and her husband from Hollywood to Disneyland! They needed to be up and packed by 7 a.m. so they woke early to get ready. They were told to leave their packed luggage just inside their hotel room.

They went downstairs to get ready for their tour of the Henson Studios. They were only there for about an hour because they had so much to do. They did see lots of wonderful things and had a great time.

Their next stop was Walt Disney Studios. They learned about the history of the studios and got to see the archives. They were there about 3 hours.

Their next stop was Imagineering. There were no photos allowed, but it was the most incredible experience. After a few hours it was time to get back on the bus. They got to the Grand Californian and got their luggage in their room.

Glenda was able to unpack and get settled in their beautiful room. After a break, they meet in the lobby for dinner. They had delightful conversations with other people in their group.

They got to go to Walt’s Apartment and did some touring at Disneyland. They also got some magical lightning lane to use on just about anything so they rode Space Mountain.

After that, Glenda was ready to go back to their room but first they stopped at Downtown Disney. They got back to the hotel at 8:30 p.m. and they went to bed.

California Adventure (January 18)

They got up and had breakfast at Pym Test Kitchen at 7:45 a.m. and had a behind the scenes tour at California Adventure. It was incredible!

They had a delicious breakfast and then went straight to Web Slingers and Soarin’. They got to do some behind the scenes experiences and surprises.

Lunch was on their own and they had 5 magic lightning lanes for everything but Rise of the Resistance. They were told to meet at Haunted Mansion at 6:45 p.m.

After running back to the room to drop a few things, Glenda and her husband toured California Adventure! They did Guardian’s of the Galaxy with a 20 minute standby wait. Glenda loved it!

After a few rides, they mobile ordered Pacific Wharf Cafe for lunch. After a delicious lunch, they rode a few more rides including Little Mermaid, the Carousel, Midway Mania, Incredicoaster, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree.

Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters had a 20 minute wait and then at 4 p.m. they did Turtle Talk with Crush. Glenda just loves this.

At 5:10 p.m. they did Mickey’s Philharmagic twice. And then they rode Web Slingers again, which was awesome. Then they walked back over to Disneyland and went to Haunted Mansion.

They checked in for their 7:30 p.m. reservation at Cafe Orleans. They had a delightful cast member and a delicious dinner. After dinner they had a great view for the Castle show.

Then they went back over to Guardian’s of the Galaxy because there is a different show at night. This was the end of their day.

Disneyland (January 19)

They met in the lobby at the Grand Californian and went to take photos in front of the castle when the park was completely empty.

Then they had breakfast at Plaza Inn. Glenda loved that they had Minnie waffles. They saw some characters at breakfast and that was so fun.

Next they did a backstage tour and then they got more lightning lanes. They had a lightning lane for Rise of the Resistance as well and went right to ride that. There was a 70 minute standby wait but they were on and off by 10:20 a.m.

Splash Mountain was a walk-on because it was chilly, so they did that next. Then they rode Winnie the Pooh and Pirates of the Caribbean without much of a wait. They used one of their lightning lane for Peter Pan’s Flight before going to Tale of the Lion King with reserved seating.

Their next stop was lunch at Troubadour Tavern and got to see a parade of characters! After lunch they used lightning lanes for Matterhorn and Space Mountain. Their next stop was a 15 minute wait for Star tours which was very fun.

Then they used another lightning lane for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The standby wait was 45 minutes. They’d finished all of the mountain by 3 p.m.!

They went to Jungle Cruise next and it went down at 3 p.m. At 3:07 p.m. they were told that it wouldn’t be back up again.

The weather got colder and started to rain so after doing a few more rides, they went back to the hotel room for a bit. They met at 5:30 p.m. in the lobby. They had their farewell dinner at Lamplighter Lounge before World of Color.

They had a special viewing area for World of Color and it was beautiful. That was the end of their night – they were back to their hotel room by 8:30 p.m.

ABD (January 20)

They met at 7:15 a.m. for breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen. They had a delicious breakfast, said goodbye to their tour guides, and got magical lightning lanes.

It was time to check out of their hotel and spend the day at Disneyland! They had one more full day of park hopper tickets to use. They purchased Genie+ today.

Glenda and her husband spent the day riding rides. They rode Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Matterhorn, and it’s a small world.

They had a reservation for Blue Bayou. Then they rode Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and went to Galaxy’s Edge before hopping on the train at the Main Street station.

They hopped over to California Adventure for Midway Mania. As they were coming out of the ride, they got to see the flag retreat, which was really meaningful. At 5:45 p.m. the line to scan in for their lightning lane for Incredicoaster was 10 minutes, but they waited and were off by 6 p.m.

They had a lightning lane for Guardians of the Galaxy for 7 p.m. They got some photos and then checked in for their lightning lane.

They left the park at 8:30 p.m. and got their bags and their car from Grand Californian. They drove to the Hilton Anaheim. This was their final night. The next day they met from friends for lunch before driving home.

Key Takeaways

  • Stop by Guest Services on the ship to get over the counter medications without going to the gift shop.
  • If you think you’ll cruise again, it’s a good idea to put a deposit down. You’ll get a discount and there’s really no risk because it’s good for 2 years.
  • If you can pre-book character meets, do it. If you can’t, try to get a spot on the ship.
  • Glenda recommends doing an ADB before a cruise if you are going to do both because the cruise is much more relaxing than the ABD.

Cost information

Disney Cruise: $4,100 (which included taxes and trip insurance)

ABD: $6,600 (which includes accommodations, food, taxes, and park tickets)

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