7 Tips For Planning a Disney Land and Sea Getaway
When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, it doesn’t get more magical than planning a Land and Sea getaway. This means combining one of Disney Cruise Line’s amazing sailings out of Port Canaveral with a stay at Walt Disney World for a holiday filled with the best that Disney has to offer. However, when it comes to planning a land and sea getaway sorting out the logistics (especially for first-timers) can be a little bit tricky. That’s why we’re sharing a few of our insider tips to help you along!
1. Decide on a length of stay and timings – Disney Cruise Line offers a wide-array of Port Canaveral sailings that lend themselves well to land and sea packages. The most popular in the category are Disney’s 3 and 4-night Bahamian sailings. Guests can pair these with a few extra days at Disney for a full week of Disney fun. For guests considering longer stays, Disney’s 7-Night Caribbean Cruises out of Port Canaveral offer 8 incredible days at sea which can be combined with a Disney World vacation for impressive packages ranging from 10-14 nights.
2. Build your package around sailing dates – When it comes to planning a land and sea vacation, the ideal way to dive in, is to build your vacation around a cruise/sailing date that you are interested in. Disney Cruises only depart from Port Canaveral on select dates. For instance, Disney’s 3-night Bahamian sailings typically set sail on Friday and will be back in Port Canaveral on a Monday morning. Disney’s 4-night Bahamian sailings will usually depart on a Monday and come back on a Friday. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings tend to leave on Saturdays and come back to port the following Sunday. With work schedules and school breaks its easiest to pick a cruise that will fit your schedule and fill in the Disney World portion of your stay once you’ve selected your ideal sailing date!
3. Consider adding a Disney World stay to the beginning of your package – A common question families booking a Land and Sea package often have is whether it’s better to visit Disney before or after the cruise? Though either option can be wonderful, if we had a preference it would definitely be to enjoy Disney World before the cruise. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, the pace of both experiences can be quite different. With Disney World the schedules are a bit more hectic, there are crowds, Fastpasses and dining reservations all of which can make for very busy days. By the time you get on your cruise (which is all about relaxation) it’s a welcome transition. In addition, Disney offers incredible service and transportation links for those transitioning from a Disney World stay to a cruise which eliminates a lot of the guesswork. Finally, arriving in Florida early means eliminating the worry over delayed/cancelled flights which can be a concern when it comes to cruise departure times.
4. Book early – When it comes to cruising with Disney, the earlier you book the better! Disney Cruise Line rarely offers last-minute discounts. Instead, the cruise line will offer their cheapest rates as soon as cruises go on sale. The prices then increase the closer you get to your sailing date. Booking early means you may be saving hundreds of dollars over those that booked at the last minute! The Walt Disney World portion of your stay works a bit differently (and we’ll talk more about this in a minute). When packages are released they are usually non-discounted. However one of the advantages of working with a Disney Travel Agent is that they can apply discounts to your package even after you’ve booked meaning that you are getting the best rates out there but just a bit closer to your travel dates!
5. Consider booking the Land and Sea portions of your stay separately – This is where booking a Land and Sea package can get a bit tricky. There are two ways to book. The first is that you can add the land portion of your stay as an add-on when you book your Disney cruise. The second option is to make a Disney Cruise Line reservation and a separate Walt Disney World reservation. Though both options work, we find a slight advantage in booking two separate packages. The primary reason for doing this is greater flexibility. When adding the Disney portion of your stay to your cruise not all resorts are available, only standard rooms are bookable (meaning no upgrades), guests must purchase park hopper tickets, dining plans aren’t always available to book, all room packages are non-discounted and both packages must be paid off no-later-than 75-days in advance. Booking them separately means greater flexibility when it comes to resort categories, that discounts can be applied if they come up, that you can plan the Disney World portion of your stay just how you want it and that the Disney World package doesn’t need to be paid off until 30-days before departure. The only downside of making reservations separately is that two deposits are due at the time of booking (1 for the cruise portion of your stay which is 20% of the cost of your cruise and 1 for your Disney World package $200 per room.)
6. Take advantage of Disney Transporation – Disney is great at handling the logistics when it comes to combining a Disney visit with a cruise. If arriving at Disney World before your cruise, you can take advantage of FREE Disney transportation from Orlando International Airport. Disney also offers a cruise shuttle service that will take you from your Disney resort on the morning of your cruise to Port Canaveral and then can return you to the airport or a Disney resort after your cruise. Because of the length of the journey between Port Canaveral and Disney World, there is a separate fee for this service. The cost is $35 per person each way. Those staying onsite prior to the cruise will also receive a letter the night before your cruise in your resort room alerting you of departure times and a cruise coordinator will meet you at the lobby of your resort in the morning to make sure that you get settled into the cruise portion of your stay!
7. Stay up to speed on cruise arrival and departure times – Unlike a Disney World-only vacation, there is not a lot of flexibility around arrival departure times, when adding a cruise. You have to be mindful of when you must report to the terminal and when you’ll be back on land. If staying at a Disney resort the morning you embark, your cruise bus will typically pick you up between 10:00 am – 12:00pm. If flying in on the day, try to arrive no later than 11am to make sure you have enough time to collect your luggage and get the bus to Port Canaveral. On the return, you’ll usually disembark around 9am. It is advised not to book departure flights before 1:00 pm. Those staying at Disney World after your cruise should not plan on arriving at your resort until 12:00pm.
Make the land to sea transition easy by working with a Disney Vacation Planner – As you can see, there are a lot of logistics that go into planning a Disney Land and Sea getaway. We’ve equipped you with a few of the tools you need to get started. However, if you’d like a bit more support, reach out to MickeyTravels, using our FREE no-obligation quote form below. We are here to help you with every little detail of coordinating your land and sea adventure from planning the best itinerary and finding your perfect stateroom to helping you manage payments, logistics and transportation links.
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