Getting to Port Canaveral can be a little tricky if you’re not a Florida resident. Or if you’re a traveler driving. Even then, driving your car can present certain challenges. Disney Cruise Line offers transfers via the Disney Cruise Line shuttle bus, and we are here to tell you all about it!
Disney Cruise Line Shuttle to Port Canaveral
Remember the good old days of the days of the Magical Express? Ahh how we miss the Magical Express. Although now you can take the Mears Connect Driven By Sunshine Disney shuttle service it’s not quite the same.
Well, the Disney Cruise Line shuttle is as close to the Magical Express as you can get, really. Just like Disney’s Magical Express from days of old, they take care of all of your luggage for you, so you don’t have to worry about it! We loved the seamlessness of the experience. And not having to worry about much of anything once we boarded the bus. The bus is a grand motorcoach. Complete with cushioned seats and Disney shows playing, it really is a nice way to start your Disney Cruise Line Vacation.
Disney Cruise Line Transportation options to Port Canaveral
Getting to Port Canaveral doesn’t have to be stressful! But it’s important to have it planned ahead of time. We’ve outlined the many Transportation to Port Canaveral Options here.
How much is the Disney Cruise Line Shuttle Bus to Port Canaveral?
Unlike Disney’s Magical Express, it is not free. At the time of publishing this, the current cost of transfers using Disney Cruise Line is $39 per person, per way. And under 3 rides for free. Depending on the size of your party, this could be more or less expensive than a ride-share service; but overall, we feel it is a pretty fair price for the convenience.
For other port destinations, prices will vary depending on the location.
Where can you take the Disney Cruise Line Shuttle Bus from?
The Disney Cruise Line shuttle services Walt Disney World resorts, travelers at Orlando International Airport (MCO), and guests at the Hyatt Regency at MCO.
There are also options for those not sailing out of Port Canaveral as well. Guests can be picked up at specific hotels as decided by Disney to get to just about any port. Ask your travel agent for more information, or call Disney Cruise Line to see which hotels participate in Disney Cruise Line transfers.
Take the Disney Cruise Line Bus from your Walt Disney World Resort
Taking a land and sea vacation? The Disney Cruise Line bus makes that easy! So if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel beforehand, this is an option you can use. Once you’ve booked your hotel, you can book your transportation. And the week of your cruise you should receive an email stating the time that you’ll be picked up. Just be ready at the Disney Cruise Line shuttle area at that time and you’ll be on your way! They will take care of your checked luggage for you, so be sure to have everything you’ll need for the day in your Disney cruise carry-on.
It takes about an hour to get to Port Canaveral from Walt Disney World, so be sure to plan that time as part of your embarkation day.
Disney Cruise Line Transfers from Orlando International Airport (MCO)
We always recommend flying in a day ahead of time for your cruise. With record levels of flight cancellations and delays these days, you don’t want to be late for your cruise. They will leave without you if you’re not on time!
But if you are flying in the morning of your cruise, or if you’re staying at the Hyatt Regency Orlando the night before, you can take the Disney Cruise Line shuttle from MCO to Port Canaveral. The bus route here is quite flexible, and runs most of the day, from 9 am-2 pm. This schedule can change from time to time, so it’s best to ask if you think you’ll be cutting it close. You basically just show up when you show up, and they take care of the rest.
Once at the airport, you’ll head down to level 1. There are signs directing you, so just be on the lookout for those and you’ll have no problem finding it. Once you check-in, you’ll receive a sticker with a character that acts as your ticket. When it’s your turn to board, they’ll call your character and you’ll get on the bus and be on your way!
One thing to note about taking the Disney Cruise Line bus from MCO is that, depending on your arrival time, there may be a lot of waiting. This is really hit or miss and you could be boarded almost right away, or have to wait a while. We suggest planning to wait about an hour. The journey to Port Canaveral takes about 45 minutes to an hour, so be prepared for that.
Disney Cruise Line Transfers from Hyatt Regency at Orlando International Airport
If you’re staying at the Hyatt Regency at Orlando Airport MCO, you can also book your Disney Cruise Line transportation through them. This works slightly differently than going directly through the airport. Upon check-in, you’ll receive a letter that states a time for you to meet in the lobby, as well as a form for them to collect your luggage. Disney Cruise Line representatives will take care of your luggage for you, so all you’ll have to do is make sure the form is filled out, and that your luggage is tagged with your Disney Cruise Line luggage tags.
Although this does seem convenient, it’s important to know that there’s also a not-so-convenient part to taking this route. In order to get checked in for the Disney Cruise Line bus, you have to head down to the lobby around 8:00 a.m. on the day of embarkation. And if you’re not in the lobby right around 8:00 am, expect to wait in line for what could be a very long time. At this time, you’ll check in, and turn in your luggage sheet to a Disney Cruise Line rep so that they know to take your luggage. They will then give you a return slip to let you know when you can board the bus. They’ll pick up your luggage and it will magically appear in your stateroom!
Just a note on this- even if you did not book your Disney Cruise Line transportation through the hotel, but are staying there, you can still have your luggage picked up and taken care of for you. You will have to wait in line though to turn in your luggage sheet if you want to do this, or you can simply take care of your luggage yourself.
Take the Disney Cruise Line Bus when you disembark
Once you have returned from your amazing Disney Cruise vacation, you have to have a way to get to your next destination! Whether that is the airport or a Walt Disney World hotel, the Disney Cruise Line bus can take you there. You’ll just need to make sure you have your Key To The World Card ready to be scanned and they’ll direct you to the correct bus. Again, be prepared for some waiting here. Depending on what time you disembark, you could either be waiting in a long line, or waiting for your cruise bus to get full enough for it to leave.
The Disney Cruise Line bus will only take you to Orlando International Airport or a Walt Disney World Resort hotel from Port Canaveral; so if you’re headed somewhere else, you’ll need to arrange a different mode of transport.
How to Book Disney Cruise Line Transportation
Booking a Disney Cruise Line transfer is easy! You can add this when you book your trip, or you can call in and add it later. If you have to call Disney Cruise Line to add transportation, just be aware that wait times have been extremely long. This is one reason we recommend booking through a Disney Travel Agent for your Disney Cruise, so that they can take care of things like waiting on long hold times for you. And if you realize you wish you had booked return transportation for disembarkation day but didn’t, never fear. You can book this onboard with guest services.
Pros of Disney Cruise Line Bus Transportation
There are definitely pros of booking DCL bus transportation! The convenience is great. You don’t really have to worry about your luggage. And you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’re being taken care of by Disney. Also, depending on the size of your party, you might find this option a little cheaper than some other Disney Cruise Line Transportation options.
In addition, most of the time, guests who are using the Disney Cruise Line shuttle are not held to the traditional method of port arrival times. When you check in online for your Disney Cruise, you’ll normally choose a port arrival time. However, this changes when booking Disney Cruise transfers. Most of the time, as a DCL shuttle guest, you’ll get to board once you arrive at the port. Easy!
Cons of Disney Cruise Line Bus Transportation
There are also cons of Disney Cruise Line transportation though! Again, depending on your party size, this could be quite expensive. This is really going to depend on how many people you have. The other con, which is really our main complaint about Disney busses at Walt Disney World, is that you could be waiting a lot. This won’t always be the case, but you definitely will want to prepare for it.
What Port Arrival Time Should I choose if I have transportation booked with Disney Cruise Line?
You can pick whatever time you want! Port Arrival times are very flexible for guests taking the Disney Cruise bus. We recommend getting the earliest time possible during Disney Cruise Check-In. At least in recent times, they won’t make you wait if you arrive early if you’ve taken the bus to get there. That’s one benefit of taking the bus. But also be aware that you may not get there are early as you want, depending on how long you have to wait for the bus. Overall, we love the Disney Cruise Line bus! It’s comfortable, clean and reliable. And is a magical way to start your vacation!
Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .