Disney Land and Sea Vacation Planning

A Land & Sea Vacation combines the best of a Walt Disney World Resort and a Disney Cruise Line vacation into one Super. Awesome. Vacation. Experience. Disney offers you a way to package a Land and Sea vacation into one easy reservation, complete with airfare, ground transportation, Walt Disney World Resort accommodations with park tickets and, of course, your Disney Cruise Line fare, but is that the best way to book your vacation? 

Should I Book a Package Deal?

Here’s a secret. There is no financial benefit to bundling a Land and Sea vacation package into one reservation. So there really is no “deal.”

Actually, if you book a package, and a better offer for the Walt Disney World portion of your trip becomes available (free dining or a Walt Disney World Resort room-only discount, for example), Disney will not adjust the price of your package to reflect the discount.

However, if you book a regular Walt Disney World vacation on one reservation, and then book a Disney Cruise vacation separately, Disney can adjust the price of the land portion, should a better deal become available. Your cruise fare will never get better than the day you book it. The only time I have seen it happen is if a foreign port reduces its port fees, then Disney will pass the savings back to the guests.

Does this all sound a bit complex? When booking a Land & Sea vacation, I highly recommend using the services of a travel agent who has Land & Sea experience. A travel agent can book each portion of your vacation so they flow seamlessly, including airfare and ground transportation between Walt Disney World, Port Canaveral and Orlando International Airport.

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Should I Pick Land or Sea First?

Opinions vary on this. I think it is called “Land and Sea” for a reason. The excitement and thrills of the parks at Walt Disney World call to you. However, after a few days – and a  hundred thousand steps logged – you will hear the call of the sea, where a relaxing Disney Cruise Line vacation awaits.

The alternative is what I like to call “Surf and Turf.” A Surf & Turf allows you to sail the seas first. Once you have recharged your batteries, you can then head to Walt Disney World. If you need to escape it all and relax PRONTO, go for the cruise-first option.

What are my Transportation Options?

Driving Yourself: If you are lucky enough to live within driving distance of Walt Disney World and Port Canaveral (or Miami), you can drive yourself between your two destinations.

Flying: If you are flying into Orlando International Airport, Disney can take care of your ground transportation needs.

  1. Buses between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World, known as the Magical Express, are complimentary.
  2. When traveling from WDW to Port Canaveral or when traveling from Port Canaveral to Orlando International Airport, the fee is $35 per person per ride.
  3. Rental cars or a car service, like Orlando Transportation by Mike, are also a good option. Prices for private car services may be comparable to Disney port transportation, but can vary. So be sure to request a quote prior to booking.

Luggage Tags

Luggage tags put even the most organized planner’s skills to the test. When flying to Orlando, you will have luggage tags for the land portion of your vacation and another set for your cruise. Additionally, you will have airline tags.

Be sure to keep your luggage tags organized.

Also, when you are through with one leg of your trip, remove the used luggage tags before placing new tags on the handle. This ensures that Disney baggage handlers correctly sort your luggage — which is vital if you want to change clothes at anytime during your vacation.

DCL Prep School Tip: If you are cruising first and flying in a day early to stay at a Port Canaveral hotel, please, please, please do not place your DCL luggage tags on your suitcases before you fly. This could lead to your luggage sailing away a day early on the wrong ship. That would be awkward for everyone. So, don’t do it. Wait to place your DCL luggage tags on your suitcase the day of your cruise.

Have a Packing Plan

Packing. I have a love-hate relationship with it. I love having everything nice and organized, yet I hate organizing, but with a family of five, a packing plan is a MUST.

Option 1: Pack for Land and Pack for Sea Use separate suitcases, but pack as if you are going on two separate vacations, because, in essence, you are. Keep land clothes apart from sea clothes and use common bags for shoes and toiletries. I write the destination on the luggage tag to keep from opening and closing the wrong bag over and over.

Option 2: 1 Suitcase Per Person This option is good if your vacation is long enough to warrant you doing laundry while away. I know, the thought of washing clothes on vacation doesn’t sound like fun, but sometimes we just have to do it. Any vacation longer than a week means I will be doing laundry at some point. If this is the case, everyone simply gets their own suitcase. With sons who now wear the same size shirts, socks and swim suits, it helps keep everyone’s items where they belong, and no one gets upset when the wrong swim suit ends up on the wrong person. Trust me, it happens.

No matter what you pack, you are going to need a packing list! Here is the DCL Prep School Ultimate Disney Cruise Line Packing Guide.
The Ultimate Disney Cruise Packing Guide

How to Coordinate it All

If it sounds like a lot to take in and keep track of, you are right. It is. Organization on a multi-leg trip is key to everyone – and every piece of luggage – arriving at the right destination at the right time.

I love spreadsheets. It might be a diagnosable problem. However, a spreadsheet is an excellent way to track reservation numbers, flight confirmations and important travel details you will need in order for your vacation to run seamlessly.

Even if you are taking a laptop or mobile device on your vacation, you should still print out a hard copy of your planning documents. If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, a simple word processing document listing reservation information will do. The important thing is to have all of your vacation data in one handy location.

I like to keep a folder with airline boarding passes, Disney World Resort reservation info and my Port Arrival Form (the one with the barcode) safely in my carry on bag.

If this seems like the type of vacation you’d love to enjoy, but coordinating the details is just too much, consider using the services of a travel agent at Prep School Travel with both Disney World and Disney Cruise Line experience.

Take a Look

Follow along as the family from The Jones Family Travels depart their Walt Disney World Resort hotel and head to Port Canaveral, Florida using Disney Cruise Line Ground Transfers – don’t you just love the design on the busses?

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Special thanks to The Jones Family Travels for allowing us to follow along on all of their Disney adventures.

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