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Is Disney a No-Go when docking in Orlando?


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We're sailing out of NJ with a stop in Orlando. I can't figure out what to do when we get there when all I know in Orlando is Disney World and Universal. I'd love to go to Disney World or at least Disney Springs if it's possible esp since it's the 50th anniversary but would this be a complete waste of time/money? I believe we're supposed to dock at 12p (not ideal) and have to return by 8pm. Has anyone done this? Welcoming all opinions, tips to make this work or any similar alternatives! 🙂

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As a local to the Orlando area I would not try it on your own. You would have to either rent a car for a day, or rely on a taxi or uber. Either one will cost you a bunch. If you do choose to do that, the other factor is while they say you could get to Disney from Port Canaveral in about an hour, that's only during ideal traffic conditions. And traffic in Orlando (including the Beeline (SR 528) which is the toll road you will take to get there) is anything but ideal. It would be recommended to give yourself at least 2 hours to get back to the ship before all aboard. The ship won't wait for you if you are late. Now if Royal offers you a bus or shuttle over there as an excursion, while that would most likely cost you a bit as well, at least the ship would wait for you in the event you are delayed upon return.

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Another local here... it's honestly not worth the trouble, IMO, but I know that's easy for me to say as I can hear the Magic Kingdom fireworks from my house.

Solid info above. Additionally, I've heard many people who took a RC excursion to Disney complain about the hassle and how little time they actually spent at the most miserable, err, happiest place on earth.

It's your call of course, but rushing to cram what's not enough time to do much at Disney on top of the drive back and forth wouldn't appeal to me, personally.

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If you have not done the NASA tour, do it and thank me later.

As a Disney fan, I find your enthusiasm commendable.  The trip is doable.  I like the idea of hanging at Disney Springs for several hours.  Free parking, lots of fun things to do there and great dinning.  As for going in a park, 4-5 hours seems like a lot of time, but not really.

I vote NASA, closer, less expensive and you'll have more time.

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I've cruised out of NJ with Royal multiple times doing the Orlando/Bahamas cruise and I will say this the first cruise I ever took out of NJ on Anthem we went to Universal and there simply wasn't enough time to actually enjoy the park. All the other times we sailed on that cruise we've done our own shore excursions but have never again done Universal because it takes at least an hour (more if there is traffic) just to get to Orlando and there are no price cuts on admission to these theme parks simple because you show up at 1:30 or 2 pm. 

I wish Royal could get into port at Port Canaveral around 7 or 8 am and still leave at 9 pm then I think it would be worth it but a 12 pm arrival and a 9 pm departure does not give you enough time at all if you are going to Disney World or Universal. 

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1 hour ago, wstephensi said:

If you have not done the NASA tour, do it and thank me later.

As a Disney fan, I find your enthusiasm commendable.  The trip is doable.  I like the idea of hanging at Disney Springs for several hours.  Free parking, lots of fun things to do there and great dinning.  As for going in a park, 4-5 hours seems like a lot of time, but not really.

I vote NASA, closer, less expensive and you'll have more time.

100% agree with this. Extremely interesting and entertaining - well worth it!

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16 hours ago, wstephensi said:

If you have not done the NASA tour, do it and thank me later.

As a Disney fan, I find your enthusiasm commendable.  The trip is doable.  I like the idea of hanging at Disney Springs for several hours.  Free parking, lots of fun things to do there and great dinning.  As for going in a park, 4-5 hours seems like a lot of time, but not really.

I vote NASA, closer, less expensive and you'll have more time.

If I were to do the trip I would do it for a Disney Springs run, go some shopping, get something to eat, etc. but honestly unless there is a shop/restaurant there that really floats your boat I would stay on the boat and do a specialty restaurant for less money for dinner instead.

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Can you make your own resort for a day?

Look at the resorts on the beach in the Port Canaveral area. Find one that appeals and book the cheapest room. Uber/taxi over and check in. Make use of all the amenities using the convenience of your room to store personal items etc. 

The hotel MAY even offer a shuttle back or just taxi back. An enjoyable day with minimal transportation time. NASA is always a great day too. Enjoy the sailing!

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23 minutes ago, Neesa said:

Can you make your own resort for a day?

Look at the resorts on the beach in the Port Canaveral area. Find one that appeals and book the cheapest room. Uber/taxi over and check in. Make use of all the amenities using the convenience of your room to store personal items etc. 

The hotel MAY even offer a shuttle back or just taxi back. An enjoyable day with minimal transportation time. NASA is always a great day too. Enjoy the sailing!

I never thought to do something like that.  You have peaked my interest in make your own resort for a day. 

This is why I love the blogs because I never would have thought to do something like that.

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We either stay on the boat that day or go down to the beach by Ron Jon's.  I love Disney, we go a few times a year.  But even having annual passes we wouldn't find it worth it to drive all that way just for a few hours.  And there is nothing in Disney Springs that would entice me enough to take that drive (due to cost of an Uber/rental car.  That would add so much money on to whatever shopping/eating you'd be doing in Disney Springs!).

My sons and husband just went down to Disney for a few days and went to NASA on the last day before heading to the airport- the boys are 10 and 12 and loved it.

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I will echo what others have said. I am near Orlando and yes, the traffic can be terrible especially in the afternoon. Skip Disney or anything Orlando and give the Space Center a try. To see the space shuttle up close is absolutely amazing and the drive is very easy.  

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Whether is is worth your time and money is really a decision only you can make. It is about an hour each way by Uber and you can easily go in and spend 4 hours having a great time walking around the Food and Wine Festival and still make it back comfortably.  4 hours is enough time to enjoy the Food and Wine Festival and an Uber is still cheaper than a flight to Orlando.

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Is there an "excursion" for Disney transportation .  That was our plan a couple years ago (which didn't happen due to covid).  We were going to just take the transportation and spend the day at Disney Springs and/or resort hopping.  To pricey for paying for the parks but still was a way to get a Disney fix.

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24 minutes ago, WannaCruise said:

Is there an "excursion" for Disney transportation .  That was our plan a couple years ago (which didn't happen due to covid).  We were going to just take the transportation and spend the day at Disney Springs and/or resort hopping.  To pricey for paying for the parks but still was a way to get a Disney fix.

There used to be, I didn't see it for our last cruise and not sure I have for this coming cruise.  But it was pricey and only included transportation, not admission.  And it drops you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center (which is walking distance to the Poly), so then you still have to hop a Disney bus to get where you want to be on property.

ETA: just looked, they aren't offering it for my November cruise.  But they are offering transportation to the Florida Mall, for $48/person. I want to say that was about what it was for them to drive you to/from Disney.  

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With the crowds at Disney/Disney springs I don't think this should be considered. As many have suggest, do NASA, a hotel day pass or stay on the ship. Most things in Orlando are a nice distance from the port and spending 2-4hrs in traffic seems like a waste to me. 

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On 7/26/2022 at 3:24 PM, cottoncandysunsets25 said:

We're sailing out of NJ with a stop in Orlando. I can't figure out what to do when we get there when all I know in Orlando is Disney World and Universal. I'd love to go to Disney World or at least Disney Springs if it's possible esp since it's the 50th anniversary but would this be a complete waste of time/money? I believe we're supposed to dock at 12p (not ideal) and have to return by 8pm. Has anyone done this? Welcoming all opinions, tips to make this work or any similar alternatives! 🙂

There's always Coco Beach--actually going to the beach.  There is also shopping (I think Cocoa Village?!).  As others have said, Disney isn't worth the bother for the available time you'd have there.  We enjoyed the space center, but you need to consider the closing time.

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