The Best of Both Worlds – Combining Disney World and Disney Cruise Line for the Ultimate Vacation!

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A Disney land and sea vacation
The Ultimate Disney Vacation: Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line together!

Sometimes deciding between a Walt Disney World vacation and a cruise on Disney Cruise Line is an impossible task.  Rather than having to choose one, you can choose both and combine for the ultimate land and sea vacation! This vacation combining the liveliness of the theme parks and the more laid back nature of the cruise will give you a fun-filled, thrilling, energy packed vacation as well as time to relax and reconnect.  Most importantly your family will create memories to last forever!

Once you have decided that your family wants to combine their Walt Disney World vacation with a Disney Cruise, your first big question is likely, “How do I create the best Disney land and sea vacation?”  Here are five tips on how to help make this the BEST.VACATION.EVER!

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Tip #1: Book Separate Packages While Disney Cruise Line allows you to add a Walt Disney World stay onto your cruise reservation package, I suggest you actually book two separate packages – one for the cruise portion and one for the land portion. The two biggest reasons are the flexibility to customize for your family and economic savings – especially on the land-based package at Disney World.  

When you are booking your Disney World vacation separately from your cruise, you can choose any Disney resort, any room type, any type of tickets, and any dining plan your family desires.  Booking as a cruise add-on, you are limited to certain resorts and room types. In addition, when your Disney World package is booked separately, you are able to take advantage of any promotions that Disney releases to save you money.  This is not the case if your package is attached to your Disney Cruise reservation.

Bench on Beach at Beach Club Resort
Bench on the Beach at Beach Club Resort

Tip #2: Pick Your Sailing Date First We all have a scheduled window of available vacation time due to school schedules, sports schedules, work allowances, or other personal obligations. While your Disney World vacation can start and end on any date that you choose, your Disney Cruise sailing date is set by Disney.  

Cruises departing from Port Canaveral are available in various lengths from 3-7 nights. Choose the length cruise that your family desires and matches with your available schedule. Many families choose the 3 or 4-night Bahamian cruise to complement their similar 3 or 4 night Disney World vacation however you can select whichever cruise YOU want.  If the 7-night Caribbean cruise fits into your schedule, go for it! It is amazing and a wonderful vacation! Once you have your sailing date set, you can plan your Disney World vacation around it.

Tip #3: Land First? Sea First? Be Flexible! My recommendation, when possible, is to plan on your Disney World vacation happening at the start of the trip and your Disney Cruise taking place at the end. The reason for this is that your Disney World vacation will be full ropes drops in the mornings, fireworks in the evenings, rides, shows, excitement, vigor, and the physical and mental capacity to walk the thousands of steps you will around the theme parks! Fun, but exhausting! It is a welcome change to step aboard one of the beautiful Disney Cruise ships and sit down to relax! When you’re on the ship, the fun comes to you without having to traverse the 47 square miles of Disney World.  

That all said, my tip is to BE FLEXIBLE! Remember tip #2 when I said to pick your cruise date first? Well, depending on the date restrictions of your vacation, that cruise date may force you to have your cruise first. If that is the case, don’t overanalyze and worry, you will still have two amazing vacations in one! With your cruise first, you get the chance to relax and rest up to tackle the parks with your own energy and enthusiasm. Your body will be rested and ready to enjoy each of the Disney World theme parks.

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Tip #4: Book Your Cruise Early Disney Cruises are always at the lowest price the day that they go on sale. Disney Cruise Line releases their itineraries often 1.5-2 years ahead of time.  Walt Disney World will have packages available for the following year about 6 months prior to the year starting. (Historically packages are available to be booked in late-June of the current year for travel in the following year). If your Disney Cruise is all set and booked, you can book your Disney World room+ticket+dining package when they are released. Booking when Disney World packages are first released will allow you the pick of the resort and room type you want.  Nearly all room types are available when packages first open for booking.

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Tip #5: Use Disney Transportation There are many private transportation options available to take you to Disney World and Port Canaveral (around 70 miles apart) for your land and sea vacation. However, if this is your first time planning a land and sea vacation, I recommend you allow Disney to help you through the process. Disney’s Magical Express is the complimentary ground transportation that you can take to/from your Walt Disney World resort and Orlando International Airport. The ground transportation options for the Disney Cruise Line portion are not complimentary but an easy addon to your reservation with pick up and drop off available at both Orlando International Airport and your Walt Disney World resort. When you choose the ground transportation offered by Disney Cruise Line, the cast members will walk you through the entire process of getting to and into the terminal for sailing. As a first time cruiser, this is quite helpful to have a reminder of when to put luggage tags on, the door to door service to the Port Canaveral terminal, and someone available to answer any last minute questions you have.

Remember, you don’t always have to choose one or the other!  You can choose to have BOTH an amazing Walt Disney World vacation combined with a wondrous Disney Cruise Line vacation to result in a family vacation of your dreams!  The next time you are planning a family vacation, remember these tips and consider a Disney land and sea adventure of a lifetime!

Ready to plan your ultimate Disney vacation with a land and sea trip?  Email me today at I am a full-service travel agent that specializes in Disney Destinations®, Universal Orlando, and the Sandals/Beaches Resorts. I am with Key to the World Travel, the official travel partner of Chip and Company. I am waiting to make all of your travel dreams come true! My planning services are entirely FREE when you book a vacation package through me! To receive a quote to the desination of your choice, email me here and/or follow me on Facebook.

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