A few months ago, I wrote about the updates made to the Disney Cruise Line website. The updates made the site even easier to use and made the cruise booking process more pleasant. But have you ever wondered what the Disney Cruise Line website looked like before all of these modern updates were made? In this series of posts, we're going back in time!
A fascinating resource on the internet is the Internet Archive. This website is a library of old websites, files, and resources from the past that were archived for people to view long after they were taken down. The Internet Archive allows you to visit old websites that aren't normally available anymore using its Wayback Machine. For this post, I'll be using it to go around the oldest version of Disney Cruise Line website it has.
The oldest archived version of the DCL website is from 2001, which was almost twenty years ago! Throughout the post, you may notice the date in the top right changing. This is because not all of the pages were archived at the same time. With that in mind, we'll start at DCL's old homepage.
Do you notice any differences from the modern website? Well, there's no cruise suspension alert at the top. The links at the top are in a wavy shape that reminds me of the DCL logo. I like it. There's also a pretty large picture of Mickey Mouse and some text describing a Disney cruise. Even though there were only two Disney ships when this website existed, the names of all four DCL ships are on this page. Can you find them? It's cool that all of the information on this page seems to be still accurate to this day. Even the phone number at the bottom is the exact same as it is now! Good job 2001 Disney.
Let's click on the first link at the top, "Rates, Dates, & More".
Here, there are quite a few links on the left. There isn't too much to talk about here, so let's move to the first link, "7-Night Caribbean Cruises".
Later in 2001, Disney announced 7-Night Western Caribbean cruises that started on May 11th, 2002. These cruises went to Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, and Castaway Cay. The original Caribbean cruises were now called 7-Night Eastern Caribbean cruises, but there were no changes to the itinerary.
This is the Rates & Dates page for the 7-Night Caribbean cruises. The stateroom offerings at this point were similar to what they offer now, though they're a lot cheaper here. Was it inflation or was it Disney that raised the price? Interestingly, the minimum age to go on a Disney cruise in 2001 was 12 weeks, which is less than three months. Now, the minimum age is 6 months. A bit further down the page, I'm confused about why it says, "More than five Guests staying in a Category 1 or 2 suite will require booking an additional Walt Disney World® Resort room at an additional cost." Why does it mention Disney World? This is the 7-Night Caribbean cruise page, not the 7-Night Land and Sea page. Disney may have included this information on all of their Rates & Dates pages for clarification, but it's making things less clear for me. At least the modern site is less confusing. Anyway, lower on the page, the list of cruises is much simpler here than it is on the modern site, but there aren't any useful pictures or maps to help visualize the cruise. You also can't book a cruise from here. You'd have to use the Reservations tab, which we'll look at in a later post.
One of the ways Disney offered vacations in 2001 was through a 7-Night Land and Sea vacation, and they still do this. Back then, there were three options:
The first option was to spend three nights at Disney World, then go on a 4-Night Bahamian cruise. These cruises went to Nassau and Castaway Cay, and had one day at sea, just like the what Dream does now. However, back in 2001, the departure time from Nassau was 2 AM! Now the DCL ships leave in the early evening. I'd actually like if they still stayed in port until 2. Even though I don't usually get off the ship at Nassau, less people would be on the ship during the evening, which means that the lines for the AquaDuck would be even shorter than they usually are in the evening.
The second option was just like the first, but instead of a day at sea, there was a stop at Freeport, a port that Disney no longer visits. Why did Disney stop going to Freeport? I don't know. Maybe it was too similar to Nassau. Or, maybe the docking fee at Freeport was too expensive. I doubt this, though, the port is called Freeport.
The third Land and Sea option was to spend four nights at Disney World, then go on a 3-Night Bahamian cruise. These cruises went to Nassau and Castaway Cay, identical to the Dream's current 3-Night Bahamian itinerary. For my family's first cruise, we spent three days at Disney World before getting on the Dream for a 4-Night Bahamian cruise. It's a nice way to experience both, and it's great for people who aren't sure if they'll like a cruise or Disney World better.
Land and Sea guests in Deluxe Inside Staterooms can stay in moderate Disney World resorts, just like the previous category.