(Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)
Hey Dad I hope you can help because I keep running into a wall. We went on a Disney Land & Sea vacation in March 2008 on the Disney Wonder. It was fantastic! One of the nice surprises on the trip (I do my research so not much surprises me) was an option our hotel (Beach Club – Club Level) concierge gave us for our transfer to the ship on the Disney Cruise Line Motor Coach.
He or she (I can’t remember which one it was) asked if we were taking the transfer from the hotel or if we wanted to take it from one of the parks, namely Animal Kingdom. What a nice surprise and we opted to spend the morning in the park. We loved that vacation so much we’re doing a similar package this March (2012). The Land & Sea packages no longer exist (to my knowledge) but we are doing a stay before and after our Dream Cruise and want to know if we’ll be able to take a DCL coach from Animal Kingdom or another park to the ship or if we have to take it from the hotel. Dad, do you know the answer to this question?
Disney Cruise Line Transportation
Photo by gillfoto
Dad’s Setting Sail Answer
Mark, this is a great question, and one that’s near and dear to Dad’s heart as he prepares for his big cruise in October 2012 (in fact, you can read about it each week on Disney Cruise Friday over at Dad’s Blog). There isn’t a lot of great information on either the Walt Disney World website or the Disney Cruise Line website about combining vacation experiences, so I’ll do my best to show you the ropes!
First let’s look at transportation. Disney does a great job of providing efficient, complimentary transportation for guests traveling to and from Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World or Port Canaveral. They also offer transportation between Walt Disney Resort Hotels and Port Canaveral, if you arrange it with your Walt Disney Resort Hotel. A great perk with using Disney Cruise Line Transportation means your luggage will be transported from your hotel to the ship!
Back when Disney was still offering their Land and Sea Packages, you could be picked up directly from the parks, but unfortunately that’s not the case anymore. You can certainly visit a park the morning of your departure – just make sure you’re back in time for your scheduled pickup!
As far as the Disney Dining Plan is concerned, you won’t be able to book it for the Walt Disney World portion of your trip if you book through Disney Cruise Line. Their agents can only book pre- or post-departure hotels and park tickets. That might work in your favor however, as the Disney Dining Plan isn’t necessarily going to save you money. Dad’s Big Rant about the Disney Dining Plan.
Disney isn’t doing such a great job these days in making it easy to combine the experience of their cruise line with a stay at Walt Disney World. It’s surprising really, as they seem to be moving towards an all inclusive model with their land packages (Magic Express, the Disney Dining Plan, Key to the World cards – you can even arrange your flight and rental car with them!)
The good news is that if you really want the Disney Dining Plan, you can simply book two separate packages and combine them into one vacation. You can book the cruise portion of your trip with Disney Cruise Line, and book a separate Magic Your Way package with Walt Disney world so you can pick and choose the hotel, ticket, and dining options you want.
Another option might be to call Guest Services after you receive your booking information from Disney Cruise Line – they may be able to access your reservation and add on the Disney Dining Plan for you after your initial booking. You do need to book the Disney Dining Plan at least 48 hours in advance of your stay, so be sure you contact them in advance of that time, if that’s the route you choose to go.
This is all much more complicated than a typical land-only or sea-only package booking. If you’d like some help in sorting through the options or managing all the moving parts, you can always turn to a professional travel agent. Amanda and her team at Destinations to Travel specialize in Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line bookings, and would be happy to help!
Dad’s Bottom Line
Mark, it’s a shame that Disney doesn’t do a better job of integrating their them park and cruise line experiences in Florida – especially when they used to offer specialized packages that did just that! Even so, you’re going to have a magical time on land and at sea! Yo Ho, Yo Ho…