Using Disney Cruise Ground Transportation

Disney Cruise Ground Transportation

If you’re anything like me, the logistics of getting to/from the airport, hotel, and cruise port is a major stress factor. And who wants to start their vacation on a nerve-racking note?

This is why my family and I use the Disney Cruise Line ground transportation options whenever we are cruising with Disney. The Disney shuttles are super easy to book, and they’re totally reliable.

Depending on where you are sailing from, DCL offers shuttles to transfer guests to and from the airport, local hotels, Disney resorts, and the cruise port itself. This service is super easy, and it’s very convenient. Whether you are sailing out of the Miami port or flying into the Orlando International Airport, Disney Cruise Line offers ground transfers for a reasonable cost.

In this post, I’ll detail my family’s experience using DCL ground transportation while comparing the Disney Cruise Line ground transfer process in Miami to that in Port Canaveral.

Transportation Options for Your Cruise

Disney Cruise Line ground transportation is not always the cheapest way to travel, but we find that it’s typically the easiest option. Before we discuss how Disney cruise ground transportation works, let’s discuss the various transportation options you have when cruising.

Taxi or Uber

There are loads of taxi and Uber drivers at both the Miami airport and the Orlando airport who are available to take you to the cruise port. These options usually come at a much cheaper cost than that of the Disney Cruise Line ground transfers.

However, families with small children may have a difficult time securing a vehicle with car seats for their little ones. If you choose to travel with your own car seats, it’s important to keep in mind that you will need to store them in your cruise cabin throughout the duration of your cruise.

Rental Car

Families could book a rental car for their cruise vacation, but those with small children would still need to organize car seats for the trip. Many rental companies offer car seats for an additional fee if you don’t want to lug your own car seats through the airport to use in the rental car.

If you choose to rent a car and park it at the cruise terminal, you will want to add the additional charge for this onto your cruise budget.

Each cruise port has its own fees for using the parking lot, so the charge for this will depend on where you are departing for your cruise. At the time of this post, the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminals charge $17 per day in parking fees to park your vehicle. You can find the full list of cruise ports with parking information here.

Private Transfers

Many cruisers opt to hire private town cars to transport them from the airport or hotel to the cruise terminal. Private transfer companies located at each cruise port will have options to pick you up on your cruise departure day and at the end of your cruise. This is a great option for those traveling in a large party or for those who prefer private transportation.

Disney Cruise Shuttle

Although it may not be the most budget-friendly option, my family and I like to use the Disney bus to transport us to the Disney Cruise Line terminal due to the simplicity of the process. Those traveling with small kids who need car seats will be pleased to know that the Disney Cruise Line shuttle bus does not require car seats onboard.

Inside of Disney cruise charter bus
(Mostly) Empty Disney Cruise Line Bus

This is probably the biggest benefit for us, and it’s the main reason we like to use Disney cruise ground transportation. Another perk of using DCL transfers is that they handle your luggage for you if you book your pre-cruise hotel stay through Disney Cruise Line. Both in Orlando and in Miami, you can leave your bags inside your hotel room on embarkation day.

Your bags will then be placed on the Disney Cruise Line bus and taken to the port for you. We will explain more about this process below.

DCL Transportation Cost

The cost for Disney Cruise Line ground transportation differs depending on the city where you embark. It is super easy to add the transfers to your reservation, and DCL will just charge your Disney cruise account. If you booked the Disney cruise yourself, you just call Disney Cruise Line to add ground transfers to your reservation.

If you booked your cruise through a travel agent, your agent would need to contact Disney Cruise Line to add transfers for you. Children under age three are free. So, you don’t need to include your infant or toddler when budgeting for your transportation costs.

↓↓ Visit My Etsy Shop ↓↓

Disney Cruise Planner

The cost of the Disney Cruise Line ground transportation depends on the port from which your cruise is departing and arriving. For example, Disney’s Port Canaveral shuttle service from the Orlando, Florida airport costs roughly $39 per person each way at the time of this writing.

The cost of the Disney ground transportation in Miami works a bit differently. On our most recent cruise from Miami, we chose to have Disney Cruise Line pick us up from the airport and drive us to our Miami hotel, which we had also booked through Disney. In addition, we opted to hire Disney cruise transfers to pick us up from this hotel the morning of the cruise to transport us to the Port of Miami

Four Seasons Miami Pool View
View from Pool at Four Seasons Miami

Finally, we scheduled the Disney Cruise Line ground transfers AFTER our cruise to take us back to Miami International Airport from the Miami cruise port. Each leg of these Miami transfers cost us $21 per person. In other words, the total cost for us (per person) to use Disney transfers in Miami was $63:

  • $21 from Miami airport to our hotel
  • $21 from the hotel to Port of Miami
  • $21 from Port of Miami to Miami International Airport

You do not have to book all three transfer options though. If you only need a ride to the airport after the cruise, that’s completely doable! Also, if you are sailing out of a city other than Port Canaveral or Miami, this list shows transportation prices for all departure ports.

Disney Cruise Transportation from MCO

If you are cruising out of Port Canaveral, you can board the Disney Cruise transfer right at the Orlando International Airport (MCO). This is especially easy if you stay at the Hyatt inside the Orlando airport as you can simply walk down to the DCL shuttle area the morning of your cruise.

Once at the Disney Cruise Line ground transportation station in the airport, you can stand in line to check-in and board the Disney Cruise bus to Port Canaveral. We like to get down to the check in area early, and the process is usually well-organized.

Mickey ear entrance Port Canaveral

You’ll see Disney Cruise shuttle buses pulling up to the check-in area after dropping off cruisers who had just disembarked. Once a bus has been filled with passengers, it leaves the airport to head to the cruise port. We usually see another bus ready to be filled as soon as ours pulls away. So, you shouldn’t have too much time to wait between buses.

At the end of your cruise vacation, cast members will guide you toward the Disney bus at the Port Canaveral Terminal. It drops you off in the same Disney shuttle area at the Orlando airport.

Disney Shuttle in Miami

On our last cruise out of Miami, we had a choice of two different Disney recommended hotels.

  • EB Hotel – Guests utilize the hotel (not Disney) shuttle from the airport to the hotel. The morning of the cruise, guests take the hotel shuttle back to the airport where they can board the Disney Cruise bus.
  • Four Seasons Hotel – Guests are picked up at the airport by a private driver and taken to the hotel. The morning of the cruise, guests are picked up by the Disney bus at the Four Seasons Hotel.

My family and I opted to stay at the Four Seasons, so I will detail the transfer experience we had at this hotel.

From Miami Airport

Prior to leaving for our trip, we received instructions stating that we should grab our bags from baggage claim after landing at Miami International Airport. The instructions said to look for a Disney Cruise Line representative near the baggage claim area.

Four Seasons Miami Pool
Four Seasons Miami Pool

Luckily, this turned out to be a super simple process. Right after our plane landed, I realized I had a text message from our driver. His message stated that he would be standing at our luggage carousel waiting for us. He also included a photo of himself, so we knew who to look for.

We walked over to the baggage claim area and immediately saw our driver holding a sign with our last name on it. The driver helped my husband grab our suitcases off the baggage claim belt and then escorted us to the vehicle. He was driving a large Lincoln Navigator, and he had two car seats for my kids.

He also provided cold water bottles for us on our drive to the hotel. Our driver took us to the Four Seasons Hotel, which was about a fifteen-minute drive from the Miami airport.

To Port of Miami

When checking into the Four Seasons, you are typically given a letter about their Disney cruise shuttle service for the following day (embarkation day). For some reason, Disney didn’t have a representative at the hotel to give us this information on the afternoon we arrived.

Because of this, we weren’t really sure what time our bags needed to be ready or what time the bus would pick us up the next morning. My husband ended up going down to the lobby of the hotel in the morning to find a DCL transfer representative.

girl holding a Mickey Mouse glove
The DCL representative had a Mickey hand for the kids to pose with while waiting.

She informed us that our bags needed to be ready for bell services to pick up by 9:30 am. We were then supposed to meet on the main floor of the hotel at 11:00 to board the Disney Cruise Line bus.

We attached our luggage tags to our bags and set them inside our hotel room door. I also included a few dollar bills as a tip for the bellman. The bellman, who was a huge help during our entire stay, arrived right at 9:30 to grab our bags. I told him I was really nervous about our luggage NOT making it to the ship.

Disney Cruise Line Luggage Tags
Your luggage tags should be mailed to you a few weeks before sailing in a folder like this one. We received two luggage tags per person

Since our Disney ground transportation information had been pretty unorganized, I was afraid our bags would get lost. The bellman assured me that he would take our bags down to the lobby and personally place them on the shuttle once it arrived. This made me feel so much better!

For some reason, I had thought that our bags would be on a different vehicle. Knowing they would be on the motor coach with us helped give me peace of mind! We were scheduled to leave for the port at 11:15, but we ended up boarding the bus and leaving at around 11:00.

Disney Magic at Port of Miami
Disney Magic at Miami Terminal

There was only one other family taking the transfer shuttle with us, so we had a giant bus basically to ourselves. The drive from the hotel to the Port of Miami took about 15 minutes as traffic in Miami was crazy! Christmas music played in the background on the bus during our ride to port, which really set the mood for our upcoming MerryTime Cruise.

TIP- Sit on the left side of the bus to get a better view of the ship as you get closer to port. This is also true for Port Canaveral!

The bus pulled up right beside the main door to the Miami terminal. We thanked and tipped our driver as we exited the bus. He unloaded our luggage and put our bags on the sidewalk at the port. A porter was standing near our bags, and he told us he would take care of them. We tipped him a few dollars for this as well.

Insider Tip- Make sure you add $1 bills to your packing list. I brought a lot with us for tipping, but I seemed to need even more than I had planned.

Ground Transportation after Cruise

After we disembarked the cruise ship and passed through U.S. customs, we exited the Miami cruise terminal. There were several employees directing passengers on exactly where to go. Disney had at least five shuttle buses lined up to take guests back to Miami International Airport.

Disney Cruise Planner

We gave our luggage to the driver to place on the bus, and then we found our seats. The ride to the airport took about 20 minutes. It was pouring rain, so the weather may have caused our commute to take longer than it normally would have.

The motor coach driver dropped us off at the airport. We headed to the Delta desk to check our luggage. It was quite a hike from where we were dropped off to our check-in desk, so be prepared for that!

Final Thoughts on Disney Cruise Transfers

Overall, we tend to have great experiences with Disney Cruise Line ground transfers. Since car seats are in our foreseeable future, I expect to continue to utilize the DCL buses for the ease of travel.

You just can’t beat the peace of mind you get when Disney is in charge of your family’s transportation. We have used the Disney Cruise ground transportation in both Port Canaveral and Miami, and we have always been very pleased with our experiences.

What about you? Have you used Disney Cruise ground transportation? Comment below to let me know if your experience was similar to ours!

Disney Cruise ship with text overlay Disney Cruise Transfers Miami

Similar Posts


    1. Hi Chris,

      I’m not exactly sure how often they leave the airport, but I’ll provide input based on what my family and I have experienced. When we loaded the first Disney Cruise Line bus at the airport, there were additional buses already there. I can’t remember how long it took us to load, but I want to say around 15-20 minutes. Once our bus was full, they started loading the second bus as we pulled away. Assuming this process took the same amount of time, I would guess that they typically leave every 20 minutes. Hope that helps and that you have a great trip!

  1. HI! How does the Disney cruise line transportation work with scheduled port arrival times chosen on check in day?

    1. Hi Rachel,

      If you purchased the Disney Cruise Line ground transportation, you will not have a set port arrival time. Instead, you will be permitted to check in at the port once your Disney shuttle arrives. Hope you have a great trip!

  2. Was there a wait for the Disney transportation from the airport to the Four Seasons? Or was it waiting for you when you arrived at the airport?

    1. Hi Jen,

      We didn’t have to wait at all for our transportation at the airport. I think the drivers track the incoming flight status so that they are at the airport before you arrive. I had a text message from the driver as soon as we landed saying that he was at baggage claim. Once my family and I arrived at baggage claim, the driver greeted us, helped us grab our bags, and led us right outside to the vehicle.

  3. When using Disney transportation in Miami is the bus that picks you up a Disney Cruise Line bus (like you see in Port Canaveral) or just a regular motor coach? Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Lisa,

      The Miami transportation isn’t the same Disney Cruise Line bus that you find at Port Canaveral. Our shuttle from the airport was actually a Chevy Suburban. The bus that picked us up from the hotel was a large motor coach, but it didn’t have any Disney logos on it. Hope that helps!

    1. Haha! I’m so glad you liked the post! For some reason, organizing ground transportation stresses me out more than any other part of the planning process. I hope your vacation runs smoothly and that you have a great time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *