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1st Cruise, getting to Port Canaveral?

PMC0849

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hello,

We are very excited that we just booked our first Disney Cruise! A 7 night eastern Caribbean Cruise aboard the Fantasy, and while we can't make too many plans yet, the cruise is in September, we are trying to figure out the best way to get to Port Canaveral from MCO.

We've had a few thoughts, fly in night before cruise and stay at airport hotel then take bus to cruise in morning, fly in early morning of cruise and take bus, or either of those options but renting a car over the bus.

There are 3 of us, my wife, myself, and a baby who will be two weeks away from turning 2. I feel like flying in morning of cruise (from NYC, most likely Laguardia) has the benefit of not paying for a night in a hotel, but if the flight gets delayed or cancelled we'd be screwed, and flying in night before is safer but will add an extra expense and make us have to rush from work to get to airport.

What has everyone done in the past? Is the convenience of the bus worth it? Is it hard to get from rental car drop off to the ship terminal? Other concerns we should consider but haven't?
 

Herdman

Well-Known Member
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We'll be on our first cruise in May 2020, and the main thing our travel agent told us was not to fly in the day of the cruise. It's just too risky. I've had other cruisers tell me the same thing. We will be staying at WDW prior to our cruise, and I think we will end up taking a town car over the morning of our cruise.
 

TiggerDad

Well-Known Member
We rented a car and I dropped the family off with luggage, then circled back to the rental place to catch their shuttle back to port. It was easy. If you have less luggage, you can take it with you on the rental shuttle and skip the extra stop I made. We took a town car back at the end, and that was also easy. The cost of one night in a hotel is a tiny fraction of the cost of your cruise.
 

MaryJaneP

Well-Known Member
We are also against flying in day of. Fly in before and bite the cost bullet, even it that means staying at a lower level motel. We did the MCO hotel the night before and took the bus to the port the next morning for our cruise. It was costly. There is the night stay at the hotel and the cost of the Disney bus to the port and back after cruise. However, end-to-end "certainty" minimized risks, which had value for us. Enjoy your cruise.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member
Hello,

We are very excited that we just booked our first Disney Cruise! A 7 night eastern Caribbean Cruise aboard the Fantasy, and while we can't make too many plans yet, the cruise is in September, we are trying to figure out the best way to get to Port Canaveral from MCO.

We've had a few thoughts, fly in night before cruise and stay at airport hotel then take bus to cruise in morning, fly in early morning of cruise and take bus, or either of those options but renting a car over the bus.

There are 3 of us, my wife, myself, and a baby who will be two weeks away from turning 2. I feel like flying in morning of cruise (from NYC, most likely Laguardia) has the benefit of not paying for a night in a hotel, but if the flight gets delayed or cancelled we'd be screwed, and flying in night before is safer but will add an extra expense and make us have to rush from work to get to airport.

What has everyone done in the past? Is the convenience of the bus worth it? Is it hard to get from rental car drop off to the ship terminal? Other concerns we should consider but haven't?
Another option - fly in the day/night before and stay at a hotel at the port, there are a few very close that have shuttle services to the port, some even have park/ride packages where you rent a car at MCO, drive to the hotel, leave your car parked there for the length of your cruise, and take a shuttle to/from the hotel and the port. Uber/Lyft is another option to get to/from MCO and those resorts and then you'd pay a nominal fee ($5-$10 per person) for the shuttle).

I always recommend flying in the day before.
 

jeffnheather

Well-Known Member
We live in TX and in November for our cruise, we flew in the night before and stayed at the hotel in the airport, then just walked down to the Disney Cruise Line bus area in the morning. I debated about flying in the morning of, but I couldn't take the stress of the "what if's" that could possibly interrupt the flight coming in.

To me, you should DEFINITELY fly in the day before.

Enjoy your trip!!!
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
Do not fly in the day of. It's at least a 60 minute drive from WDW to the Disney terminal at Port Canaveral. Will be longer from MCO to the Port. So you've got the potential for both flight delays and driving delays.

As this is your first cruise, I'd try to make getting to the Port as simple as possible. Check out the hotels at the Port. Most have shuttle service included - the hotel exists to service those cruising. So fly into MCO the day before, rent a car and drive to a hotel at the Port. You can either return the rental car or leave it at the hotel - some may have a "park for free" availability. If you return the rental car, take the Disney Cruise bus back to MCO once you finish your cruise. DCL will deliver luggage tags to your stateroom to put on your luggage the night before you return to Port Canaveral. I believe the cost, per person, for the DCL bus from the Port to MCO is $35-$40.

I'd run the numbers to see which option fits within your budget - and stress level.
 

LAKid53

The wand chooses the wizard, Mr. Potter
Premium Member
Another option - fly in the day/night before and stay at a hotel at the port, there are a few very close that have shuttle services to the port, some even have park/ride packages where you rent a car at MCO, drive to the hotel, leave your car parked there for the length of your cruise, and take a shuttle to/from the hotel and the port. Uber/Lyft is another option to get to/from MCO and those resorts and then you'd pay a nominal fee ($5-$10 per person) for the shuttle).

I always recommend flying in the day before.
Would Uber/Lyft be cheaper than renting a car? It's about 50 miles from MCO to the Port.
 

Surfin' Tuna

Well-Known Member
Uber would likely run you about $80-$90. We always travel the day prior just to be sure. There is the risk of the flight being delayed, but there is even a more real risk of a luggage error. They are more rare than years past, but I have seen it happen two different times to cruisers we know. We always fly the day prior, get a hotel near the cruise port, and can start our vacation a day early. It may not be the nicest hotel in some cases, but you know you're only a 10-20 minute trip to the cruise port. It also affords you the opportunity to go to the store and get anything you forgot - I remember traveling with a baby/toddler, and we almost always forgot something.
 

KeithVH

Well-Known Member
Check out Happy Limo for less pricey xfers to the port. You will find multiple recs on this site and others.

YMMV regarding cost. For anything over 2 people, Happy is usually more cost efficient and point to point too.
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
You also don’t want to be so tired on your first night of the cruise... so coming in the night before has that advantage.

We like coming in the night before and shopping in town morning of... then head to the terminal.

With a larger group, private shuttles will be cheaper than Disney transfers. Private buses even paid per head are roughly half the cost of Disney. If you are staying on the beach in port canaveral most have shuttles and or park/cruise options.

The least number of moving pieces is to stay in Orlando night before... then Uber back to airport for transfers via Disney or third party. Then your return is nice and tidy too.
 

HauntedPirate

Premium Member
Some very good advice in this thread. :)

DCL transfers currently run $40 per person per trip. It was cheaper for my family of 6 to fly down a day early, rent a car (stayed at WDW in a DVC room), drive to Port Canaveral for the cruise, and then rent a car for the drive back to Orlando than to pay for transfers.

Depending on the time of year, trip insurance isn't always a waste of money. My wife nearly had a panic attack when our daughter started throwing up Monday night/Tuesday morning before our Saturday cruise last month.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
Lots of sound advice so far. Just to chime in.

Fly in the night before (but then you are already doing so)

If you are going to stay at the airport, then use the Disney Transfer. It is easier than a rental car, and if you get on a DCL bus and something happens - bus breaks down, or gets lost (how) or something else, they will make sure you get on your cruise. If you go on your own, then you are, well .. on your own. Now, it is only about a hour away, so if you leave bright and early, you should be able to overcome any sort of issues, but why risk it - especially with a young kid to take care of.

If you want to go it on your own, then head to the port area when you arrive the night before, and stay over in a hotel there. There are loads of hotels only 10 minutes away from the port. Also most of the rental car companies do not charge any extra for a one way rental between MCO and the port (so maybe people do so, that the cars go back on forth just fine, they are not all ending up at one location). You can either drop you family off at the hotel, return the car and walk/Uber to the hotel, and then to the port in the morning, or most renal car places in the area have shuttles to the port, so you can return the car in the morning and have the rental car company drop you off at the port.
 
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