Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making the Most of Your One-Night Pre-Cruise Stay at Port Canaveral

Pre-Cruise Hotel Port Canaveral

Disney Cruise Line, as well as nearly all other cruise lines, recommend flying in the day before your cruise departure. This is really a non-negotiable requirement in my experience, as flight times are so volatile. (I can attest to such. I was a victim of the recent mayhem that ensued when there was a fire at a Chicago air traffic control center.) This means you'll need pre-cruise hotel accommodations. There is an abundance of hotels around Port Canaveral that provide shuttles and will work just fine for a spot to lay your head. I, however, think a one night pre-cruise stay is the perfect opportunity to start your vacation a day early. If your budget allows, here are some tips to really kick start your sea vacation...on land.
Pre-Cruise Hotel Port Canaveral
I wholeheartedly recommend staying at a Walt Disney World resort. The accommodations at Walt Disney World are top notch. (More info on some of the resorts we've stayed at here.) They are themed beautifully, there are hotels for every budget, there is free transportation from the airport and the Disney Cruise Line transportation will pick you up from a Walt Disney World resort and take you right to Port Canaveral.  Whether you're familiar with Walt Disney World, want to test the Disney waters, or absolutely hate the parks, you can have an amazing one night stay at a Disney Resort. They are attractions themselves.
Disney Cruise Line Pre-Night Stay
Choosing a resort at Walt Disney World is like choosing from a dessert buffet. There will most likely be something that suits your tastes. Considering that it is a one night only stay, take into consideration that it might be a great opportunity to choose a resort that you may not have chosen for a longer Walt Disney World vacation, due to costs, location, etc. Maybe you have that one resort that feels like home, but you want to test drive a different resort. This is the perfect time to do so. I recommend booking a Deluxe resort. A one night stay at a Deluxe will mark that resort off of your bucket list and provide insight on whether it's worth a longer stay. You will step into a beautiful lobby, have good restaurant options close by, and will experience incredible theming. Most importantly, though, you will have an amazing night in a beautiful room.
This one night stay does allow time for a possible park visit, if you have an early flight, but it is a very uneconomical way to spend your afternoon. You won't have a full day, and the cost of a one day ticket is incredibly high for only a few hours at the park. Even though this is a pre-cruise splurge, if it doesn't make sense, it doesn't make sense. Walt Disney World has an array of non-park activities that are perfect for an afternoon or evening. I personally don't normally get the chance to explore areas such as The Boardwalk, visit a resort I'm not staying at, or even thoroughly tour the resort I am staying at because I want to spend the majority of my time in the parks when I've purchased tickets. A one night stay is the best time to step out of your Walt Disney World comfort zone, or to get just a taste if it's your first time. Another great splurge would be a visit to a spa, if you're in need of some relaxation prior to your cruise. Disney has a few spa options on site. A shopping spree in Downtown Disney wouldn't hurt, either.
Disney Cruise Line Pre-Night Stay
Most importantly, make a dinner reservation for one of the amazing restaurants in a Walt Disney World resort hotel. (See some of the restaurants we've visited here.) There is likely a restaurant choice that will suit nearly every palette. The best choice would be a late reservation at a restaurant that has views of the fireworks at Magic Kingdom. Another option is an early dinner then a hop, skip and jump over to the Polynesian beach or the Ticket and Transportation Center for a great view of the fireworks. One last splurge before you hop on the Disney Cruise Line bus is to make a very early reservation for a character breakfast at a non-park restaurant.  A good morning from Mickey or Mary Poppins is the best send off before a cruise I can think of.

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