I would like to share one of my favorite steps in planning a Disney Vacation. I absolutely love the build up just before we officially book a Disney Cruise!
This is when I seem to be the most inspired to do some real research. Usually my first stop is at Disboards.com, to see if any of my fellow Disers are booked on this cruise. The site has so many members it seems like there is at least a few on each sailing. This is a great way to find out what other cruisers in similar situations are planning. Sometimes it is just about planning where everyone is going to get together to get drinking! Noble tasks either way!
This is also the time that I start gathering information about any new ports of call we might be visiting. Looking ahead at what might be fun to do when we get there. This is also a great time to hit my DRL (Disney Reference Library).
Even though it is the official commercial for Disney Cruise Line, the most recent Birnbaums Guide to DCL is great. They have descriptions of all of the ports of call, and explanations of the shore excursions offered by DCL. You can usually find this at your local Barnes and Noble or Borders.
Another great book is Passporter's Guide to Disney Cruise Line. T
his is much more extensive and unofficial, so you get the good and the not so good. There are tons of reader tips, and reviews of everything from onboard dining to ports and shore excursions. The cruise edition of Passporter's is a little harder to come by. You might have to order it online. But it is the best Disney Cruise planning book in my opinion.
Obviously you can get a lot of information on your cruise from the the Disney Cruise Line website, but it can be very cumbersome to navigate (like most Disney Websites). I much prefer the information available at wdwinfo.com, the same people who operate the disboards I mentioned before. This is the largest unofficial online resource for all things Disney, and the cruise line is no exception.
Also during this time I have probably contacted my travel agency to get a quote from them. It is almost always the same amount as on the Disney Cruise Line website, but they usually have a shipboard credit to throw in. Depending on the length of your cruise and the category stateroom you are booking, it could be a few hundred dollars! This could be a great thing if you are sailing with a group that uses their time to plan where to meet to get drinking!
This time of anticipation is especially nice because you haven't spent any money yet... The deposit isn't down, you don't have a final payment date yet... It is all about thinking about what a great vacation it is going to be!
you can bet that you will be hearing more about the planning of this cruise in the weeks and months ahead.