Many embark on a magical journey aboard Disney Cruise Lines every year out of Cape Canaveral. Walt Disney World is roughly an hour away from Cape Canaveral making it tempting for Disney enthusiasts to make a quick stop either before or after their cruise. After much consideration, we opted to visit the park after the cruise. This proved to be a great fit for our family with a toddler in tow. While other cruisers mourned the end of their fabulous vacation, we disembarked knowing more magic was just around the bend. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether to visit Walt Disney World before or after your Disney Cruise. This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World. As always opinions are my own.
Getting To Disney World From Your Disney Cruise
One reason we opted to go to Walt Disney World after our cruise is the reliable and convenient transfers offered through Disney. As frequent travelers, we have quickly learned that air travel can be unreliable with delays, weather conditions and more. Therefore, we flew in the day before our cruise to Orlando International Airport to head over to Cocoa Beach. After scouring the internet for transfers the cheapest option was to get an Uber. We brought our daughter’s car seat, strapped it in the Uber and off we went.
There are Ubers, especially in the Orlando area, that have car seats available if you don’t want to have to worry about storing a car seat in your stateroom. I would be lying to say I wasn’t nervous about not having something scheduled, but it all worked out beautifully. We would have opted for the Disney transfer but that would have only been to the ship on embarkation day. Since we were staying at a hotel a day prior we had to look elsewhere.
Disney makes it easy to set up your transportation from the ship to your Disney Resort or the airport. Upon disembarking, we gathered our luggage, made our way through customs then were guided to a Disney Shuttle that would take us to our resort. The luggage was loaded and we didn’t see it again until we got into our hotel room. It was seamless. The Disney Shuttle had a bathroom, TVs and reading lights. Disney also offers transportation from the airport to the cruise ship and from the cruise ship to the airport.
If you are staying on a Walt Disney World Property the Magical Express is a free shuttle that will take you to and from your Disney Resort from the airport. It does need to be set up prior to arrival. Signs can be located at the baggage claim in the Orlando Internation Airport on where to go to catch the Magical Express. We took advantage of the Magical Express to take us to the airport after our stay at Walt Disney World. Make sure you have your printed confirmation as they will ask to see it before allowing you to board. Take note that the shuttle will pick you up four hours before your scheduled flight. That meant the shuttle picked us up at 3:00 am for our 7:00 am flight. Give me all the Mickey coffee!
Mid-Day Magic Ticket
We opted to not visit the park on embarkation day because we wanted to enjoy the resort and pool. However, Walt Disney World has a special Mid-Day Magic Ticket with a Park Hopper option that allows admission into the parks after 12:00 pm for a discounted rate. This is ideal for families who want to seize the day, savings and see even more of Disney World.
The Majority Of Your Favorite Characters You Have Already Meet!
The true beauty of visiting Walt Disney World after a Disney Cruise is that we didn’t need to spend hours in line to meet beloved characters. We already meet them on the Disney Cruise where there was hardly any wait time. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and more are out multiple times a day during the cruise. The princesses are also out frequently with designated events onboard that allow your little ones to meet them all in one sitting!
This meant once we hit the park there was more time for rides and shows. Don’t get me wrong, we had a few characters that didn’t make their debut on the ship that we had to see. A visit to Ariel in her Grotto and Daisy at Big Pete’s Circus Tent were the only two character stops we made. Overall, we got to ride everything we wanted and more because we weren’t waiting to see the princesses or Mickey Mouse!
The Magic Doesn’t End
As the ship comes into port for the final time, a twinge of sadness happens. It marks the end of a fabulous vacation that tends to always a few days too short. Shuffling out of the beautiful stateroom, through customs and back to reality is quite possibly the worse part of cruising! However, knowing that more magic was in store for us back on land made getting off the cruise ship much easier. A new wave of excitement flooded over us as the Disney Shuttle took us to our next adventure. Spending disembarkation day poolside at the Caribbean Beach Resort in Walt Disney World rather than at an airport was priceless. It gave us plenty of time to rest up for hitting the Magic Kingdom the next day.
The Desire to Buy Everything Fades Slightly
A Disney cruise is known to serve its famous Mickey Ice Cream Bars, Mickey Coffees and everything else Mickey aboard the ship. Many times these great treats are included with the cost of the cruise. After indulging onboard, once on land the desire to have those must-need items fades. Shops on the ships boast tons of Disney merchandise. It is likely you will have already picked up a few souvenirs from the trip. However, once you are in Walt Disney World you may find many other fun souvenirs and tasty temptations.
A Reason To Visit Disney World Before Your Disney Cruise
The sole reason I would visit Walt Disney World prior to hopping aboard the cruise is for relaxation purposes. During a visit to the park, the days are spent trying to see and experience as much as possible. Expect to walk close to 25,000 or more steps in one day. Pair that with the Florida weather and endless thrills it can leave a family quite exhausted. The cruise will give you an opportunity to relax after an exciting visit to Walt Disney World. Don’t be fooled, there are tons of activities and programs happening on board. However, you choose how active or inactive you want to be. Sign up to have a massage, indulge in a cocktail or two and enjoy gourmet dining while your kids are entertained at the top-notch kids club.
Regardless of how you choose to experience Walt Disney World, the one thing I can ensure you is that it will be a magical experience. Even in the pouring rain, we had a great time. Our daughter continuous asks to go back to the promised land and we can’t wait to take her. Even if it is only for a day, take advantage of being so close to the happiest place on earth.
Nervous about traveling with a toddler? Check out our Seven Tips For Traveling With A Young Toddler.