As anyone who has done a Land and Sea package will tell you, combining a Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral with a stay at Walt Disney World is a perfect fit. What better way to enjoy all that Disney has to offer than spending a few days visiting the theme parks and then sailing the seven seas aboard one of Disney’s majestic ships. However, for new cruisers or those considering a Land and Sea Package for the first time, making both pieces fit together can be a bit daunting. From suggestions on the best way to book your Land and Sea Package, to tips on getting transportation to link up, we’ll address some of your frequently asked questions to make sure that your land and sea vacation is smooth sailing.
How do I add a Walt Disney World Package to my cruise? There are two ways to include a Disney World stay with your Disney Cruise package. The first is to add the Resort Add-on when making your Disney Cruise Line booking. The second option is to book a separate Walt Disney World vacation that coincides with your cruise. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options as explained below.
Disney Cruise Lines Resort Add-on– This option is best suited to those that want to have both the land and sea options packaged together neatly as one reservation. Clients booking in 2017 and 2018 have the option of adding the Resort Add-on directly to their cruise package at the time of booking. The main advantage in going with this option is that guests would not have to worry about managing two reservations, balances and final payment due dates. It would all be handled in one go. However, there are some disadvantageous in doing this directly through DCL including:
- Not all resorts are available with this Resort Add-on package. The Swan, Dolphin and Fort Wilderness are excluded. Additionally, only a set number of rooms are put aside at each resort so depending on the time of year, some of these resorts may be unavailable.
- Only standard rooms are bookable. Upgraded rooms or views are not included in the add-on.
- Guests using the Resort Add-on option must book Park Hopper tickets. Base tickets are not an option with this package.
- All room and ticket packages are non-discounted. This means that guests would not be eligible for offers such as Free Dining or room discounts.
- The Dining Plan (except for the occasional DCL exclusive promotion) cannot be booked through this add-on.
- Both the Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line portions of the holiday must be paid off no later than 75 days in advance.
Though the resort add-on option does not offer room for customization, it may be the perfect introductory package for those cruising and visiting the parks for the first time. The main advantage is that only one 20% deposit would be due at the time of booking. Clients would not need to worry about two reservations, two deposits and two final payment dates. They would also have the comfort of being able to book both parts of the package with Disney Cruise Lines rather than having to liaise with Walt Disney World.
Booking a Walt Disney World Package Separately – For those wanting greater variety, booking the Walt Disney World portion of the vacation separately is the way to go. Guests will be able to choose from the gamut of resort and room categories, can take advantage of discounts currently on offer and also pick the ticket option that best suits their needs. Also, if the packages are booked to coincide with sailing dates, guests are still able to take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express to and from the airport as well as a transfer service to and from Port Canaveral. Guests looking to book Land and Sea as two separate packages can currently do so through until the end of 2018. Those looking for a bargain should book their cruise as early as possible before rates go up as Disney raises prices the closer you get to your sailing dates.
The only real disadvantages with this option is that it would result in two separate deposits with two different final payment dates. If booking separately, $200 would be due at the time of booking for the Disney World portion and 20% of the cruise would also be due up front. The remainder of the cruise would need to be paid off 75 days in advance and the Disney World stay 30 days in advance.
This may still be the better option for those who want variety with their stay, prefer an upgraded resort room, for those that aren’t interested in Park Hopper tickets, who are hoping to get discounts on the Walt Disney portion of the stay or who don’t mind the gap between paying off their cruise and paying off their resort stay.
Should I add the Walt Disney World portion to the beginning or the end? Though every family is different and will have their own preferences, the more popular choice with Land and Sea Packages has traditionally been to book the Disney World portion first. It does make sense when you consider that trips to Disney World are incredibly active times for families. There’s lots of jetting around, walking miles each day, dashing to the next ride or dining reservation and staying out way past bedtime. Many visitors prefer to get the busy portion of the vacation out of the way first and then be able to unwind with the more relaxing pace that a cruise has to offer. But whether you choose to visit Disney World before or after, both can be booked using the methods listed above.
How many days should I stay at Walt Disney World? Again, each family is different when it comes to touring Walt Disney World. However, with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and Disney Springs a stay of at least 3 or 4 days would be beneficial. This would allow guests to take in more than one theme park while enjoying all of the amenities a Disney resort has to offer. This works out nicely when paired with a 3 or 4-night cruise to create a 7 day Land and Sea Package. Again short stays, as well as more lengthy Walt Disney World visits, can be accommodated regardless of how the land package is booked.
How does transportation work? Visitors who have booked both the land and sea portions of the package will be able to use Disney transportation to conveniently get from the airport, around Disney World and to and from Port Canaveral. This comes in 3 forms: Disney’s Magical Express, Disney Resort Transportation and Disney Transfer Service. Here’s a brief run-down of what you can expect from each.
- Disney’s Magical Express– This is a free service available to resort guests. Upon arrival into Orlando International Airport, guests will board buses headed specifically to your Walt Disney World Resort. Those on domestic flights will have the option of having their luggage delivered directly from the airport to their hotel room without having to go through baggage claim. A reverse service taking guests from the resort to the airport is also available for those booking the land portion after their cruise. When heading back out to the airport from the resort, domestic guests have the option of checking-in for their flight directly from their resort, having their baggage checked-in at their hotel and taken to the airport for them.
- Disney Resort Transportation– Gone are the days of needing to have a car rental to get too and from the parks. Staying on Walt Disney World property means that you can take advantage of their free resort transportation service. The majority of the resorts will have buses that will take you to and from your resort, the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks and Disney Springs. Some resorts even offer monorail or a water taxi service. Services run from early enough in the morning for guests to make their 8am dining reservations until well after the evening Fireworks.
- Disney’s Transfer Service – Disney offers a paid transfer service that takes guests to and from Orlando International Airport or Walt Disney World to Port Canaveral. This service should not be confused with Magical Express which is an airport to resort only service. Guests opting to book the transfer service will be charged $35.00 per person (ages 3 and up) one way and $70.00 round trip. The cost is the same whether you are being picked-up/dropped-off at the Resort or the Airport. Guests using the service will be taken to and from Port Canaveral where their cruise ship is docked
What are the timings for getting to and from Port Canaveral? The trip to and from Port Canaveral takes approximately 2 hours using Disney’s Transfer Service. For visitors going to Port Canaveral directly from the airport, flights should arrive into Orlando International Airport no later than 1.30pm in order to ensure that you are able to board your ship in time. On the return trip, flights should be booked out of Orlando International no earlier than 11:30 am. For guests leaving directly from the hotel to Port Canaveral, Disney will collect your luggage in the morning, usually around 8am. Guests will be notified when it is time to board the resort bus (usually scheduled late morning/early afternoon). On the return voyage, guests will board their transfer service bus either going to the resort or the airport with departures starting around 7:30am and running until 9:30am.
By combining a Disney Cruise with a stay at Walt Disney World guests are able to take advantage of all the best that Disney has to offer. And with the ability to package both components with Disney Cruise Line or create a bespoke Disney holiday separate from your cruise, there’s bound to be an option that suits your family. With a range of transportation options also at your disposal guests can leave their cars at home and save. No matter how you book, it’s nice to know that Disney has you covered when it comes to airport transfers, journeys to port or getting to and from the theme parks.
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