Travel Plans - Cruise or Disneyland

  • You will be using the Cruise or Disney cost analysis sheet found at the bottom for this assignment.  (A PDF file with these instructions is also found below.)

    You have a family of four – two adults and two children.  The children are ages 12 and 15.  It is time to plan your family vacation for Spring Break and your family cannot decide between going on a Mexican Rivera Cruise or going to Disneyland.  Because you have had this class, you understand cost and benefit analysis so you decide to compare the two vacations in more depth.

    First you are going to have to figure the cost of each trip.  Here are some guidelines to help you:

    Leaving:  April 9 
    Coming Home:  April 16
    (Yes, I know this is not really Spring Break, but these dates work better for this assignment.)

    First you have to get to the cruise ship.  This requires a flight to Los Angeles Airport and a transfer to the ship.  The cost of the transfer is $48 per person round trip.  You will need to search airlines for the costs of the flights.  You have to arrive in Los Angeles before 1:00 to make it to the ship on time.

    As you look at flights you will want to plan your return flight as well.  The ship will only guarantee a transfer for flights after 12:00pm.  So you will need to schedule your return flight after then.

    The airport code for Los Angeles is LAX and the airport code for Salt Lake is SLC.

    Next you will want to find out the price of the cruise the week you want to go.  Go to   Select “Search Cruises” under “Find and Compare Cruises.”  Your destination is Mexican Riviera.  You are not concerned about the ship.  The duration is 6-8 days (specifically 7) and the date is April 2011.  From the drop down menu, select April 9 as the Embarkation date.

    Your family is not picky, so an inside cabin will do.   You can see the price of the cruise.  That price is per person.  Each person also needs to pay taxes and government fees.  These are $52 per person.  Also, each person is charged for “tips” on a cruise.  The amount of tips required per person is $10.50 per day.  So on a seven day cruise, each person will pay $73.50.  Enter all of these values into your spreadsheet.

    At this point, your family is planning to fly to Disneyland and then rent a car.  You have two choices for airports – Orange County or Los Angeles.  Orange County is quite a bit closer than Los Angeles, but sometimes you can get cheaper flights to Los Angeles.  You can select which ever airport is most convenient.  

    First, check out flights using the dates above.  There is no required arrival and leaving time. But you need to plan your Disneyland tickets according to your flights.  For example, if you arrive early enough on April 2, you may want to go into the park.  But if you arrive late, perhaps you will not want to pay for an extra day.  Same with leaving to come home.  Perhaps you will want to go into Disneyland on the 9th and then come home late.  You will need a ticket each day you go to the park.

    The airport code for Los Angeles is LAX and SNA for Orange County and the airport code for Salt Lake is SLC.

    Check out the cost for the rental car next.  Go to and to prepare for your car rental.  Select the date and time based on the flights you selected.  Enter the airport code as well.  Click on Continue.  Select the car you would like to rent for the time you are in California and enter the price in your worksheet.

    Now for the hotel – to make things easy, we are going to stay at Castle Inn.  There are other similarly priced hotels in the area so we will use this one to determine the general pricing for hotels.  Go to and enter the pertinent information needed to get a price of the room.  Find the price of a standard room, multiply it by 7 (for seven nights) and enter that amount into the worksheet.  

    Hotels charge 15% tax in the Disneyland area.  Figure the tax by taking the total cost of the hotel and then multiplying it by 0.15.  Enter that amount into the worksheet as well.

    Next we need to get our tickets to Disneyland.  Go to and click on “tickets and packages.”  On the right column, select “Tickets.”  Do not worry about entering your vacation information.  We just need the price of tickets.  Look for the price of a 6-Day Hopper Ticket.  Be sure to select the one that is good for the days you will be there.  This cost is per ticket, once again.  So enter the cost per ticket into the worksheet then calculate the cost for all four of you.

    The nice thing about a cruise is that the food is all included.  But for our Disneyland trip, we are going to have to calculate food costs.  We are going to be frugal in our eating, but not starve.  Estimate $40 per person per day.  That is about $10 for breakfast, $10 for lunch, and $20 for dinner.  If someone eats less than that, they can have snacks in the park.  This calculates at $280 per person for the week.  Enter than in the worksheet and then figure the costs for all four of you.

    WOW!  There is a lot of work in planning a vacation!!!

    So we have calculated all of the “have tos” costs for your trip.  Figure the subtotal of each trip.

    Along with the pricing, there are a couple of things that are optional for each trip.  

    On a cruise, there are excursions you can do when in port. Generally these run anywhere from $60-$200 per person.  Think about whether you want to do any excursions and put an estimate in your worksheet.

    In Disneyland there is always something fun to buy – a shirt, a pen, cotton candy, etc.  But everything in Disneyland is expensive!  The least expensive shirt is $20.  Cotton candy is $5.  Figure an amount that you would like to spend each day on this stuff and enter it into the worksheet.  Be a bit pragmatic so we can get a good comparison.  (Keep in mind that obnoxious amounts will not be acceptable.)

    Fill out all of the necessary information in the worksheet and answer the questions on the back page.

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