Easiest Hotel Stay before a Disney Cruise (Port Canaveral)

Mickey ear entrance Port Canaveral

So, you’re wondering where to stay before a Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral, Florida. A Disney Cruise Line vacation is always an exciting and relaxing trip.

However, the task of making pre cruise travel plans can often become stressful. If you’re anything like me, you feel the need to research hotels near the port, shuttles to those hotels, and then transportation to the cruise port.

If you are flying into the Orlando International Airport for your Port Canaveral cruise, there’s actually a simple solution to this issue and it’s only steps away from baggage claim. Did you know that the Orlando airport has a hotel right inside?

The Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport is a highly rated, clean, and convenient option for those flying into Orlando to cruise out of Cape Canaveral. In addition, you’ll find Disney Cruise Line transfer buses at the airport, which makes this pre cruise hotel even more enticing.

Plus, if you book this hotel through Disney Cruise Line, you receive some added perks, which we will discuss in more detail below!

In this post, I will review my family’s pre-cruise stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. I will discuss this super convenient hotel option as well as explain the Disney Cruise Line shuttle service to Port Canaveral.

This Disney cruise hotel package really helps your vacation get off to a smooth start! So, continue reading below to find out just how seamless the process is!

Why Book a Pre Cruise Hotel?

Before I explain the important benefits of booking a pre cruise stay through Disney Cruise Line, I want to discuss why you need a hotel in the first place. Many cruisers decide to fly into the port the morning of the cruise. And obviously some of them would be successful with this.

However, they are all taking a big risk of their flight getting canceled or delayed and then not making it to the ship on time. I’m sure you’ve heard about this risky behavior before. However, a recent experience of flying to Florida further confirmed the need to get there at least a day early.

Disney Fantasy cruise ship
Disney Fantasy at Castaway Cay

My family and I were traveling to Orlando in the summer when pop up storms are common. The entire Orlando airport shut down both on our flight to Orlando and on our flight home. This means that they weren’t allowing any planes headed to Orlando to even take off from their outgoing airport. 

We ended up sitting through a four-hour delay on the way to Orlando. Once we finally landed, there was more lightning in the area, so the airport crew members had not been cleared to go outside to remove luggage from our plane that arrived. Even though all of the passengers were allowed to get off the plane, the bags were delayed even longer.

airport flight status screens with people walking by

This got me thinking that if any of those passengers were headed to Port Canaveral for a cruise, they were more than likely stressing about whether or not their luggage was going to arrive on time. And let’s be honest- most families don’t really pack lightly when going on any vacation.

This is especially true if you are traveling with babies or toddlers who require so many extra items like diapers, wipes, toys, etc. Since you are undoubtedly packing things that are important to your family, can you imagine how gut-wrenching it would be to arrive for a cruise WITHOUT your luggage?

Disney cruise ship with text overlay Pre Cruise Hotel Stay Port Canaveral

So, make sure you give yourself (and your luggage) plenty of time to make it to the cruise port on embarkation day. Since we don’t like to take the chance, my family and I like to fly in the day before our cruise is scheduled to set sail.

To us, the cost of a pre cruise hotel is worth the peace of mind of knowing we have landed and that we have our luggage.

Disney Cruise Hotels for Port Canaveral

As noted above, the lightning delay experience made me realize that any of those passengers who were headed to embark on a cruise ship were not going to have their luggage in time for their trip.

All of that stress could have easily been avoided by scheduling a flight (at least) the day before you set sail. The weather in Florida can be so unpredictable that it’s really better to be safe than sorry.

Disney Fantasy at Port Canaveral
Disney Fantasy in Port Canaveral

Because we don’t like to take our chances with delays and cancelations, my family likes to combine a hotel and cruise package for our Disney cruise vacation. To do this, you just call Disney Cruise Line and ask to add on a pre cruise hotel to your trip.

(Note that if you booked your cruise through a travel agent, you would need to contact the agent to add the hotel.) The cast member on the phone will give you the pre cruise hotel options and prices depending on the port you’re sailing from.

When we called DCL to add on a Disney cruise hotel in Port Canaveral, the airport Hyatt was one of our options. To see the current hotels Disney offers for a cruise and stay package, you can check out their official website here.

Additionally, you always have the option of staying at the Walt Disney World Resort before your cruise vacation.

Best Hotel for a Relaxing Start to Your Vacation

There are obviously hotels near the cruise ship terminal in Port Canaveral, and they may seem like the most convenient option for a family. However, you would need to find transportation from the airport to those hotels.

In addition, you would need to reserve shuttle services to the Port Canaveral terminal on embarkation day. A simple solution (if you are flying into Orlando) is to book a room at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport.

Disney Cruise Line Terminal Port Canaveral
Disney Cruise Terminal in Port Canaveral

You really can’t beat the convenience of this hotel since it’s located right inside the airport! If you have ever visited the airport in Orlando, you have probably seen the Hyatt Regency’s balconies that overlook the big common area.

These balconies are an added bonus as they allow you to enjoy some “outside” space separate from the hotel room. Plus, when you stay at the airport Hyatt, you have access to the food court and fun shops that are outside of the security area at the airport.

white sign that reads Welcome to Orlando

It’s actually really easy to access this hotel from inside the airport and at baggage claim. After picking up your luggage, you just follow the signs for the entrance to the hotel.

The short walk only takes about five minutes, and it is super easy even with kids in tow. (Additionally, for a fee, the Hyatt will even pick up your bags at baggage claim for you. This allows you to bypass baggage claim altogether!)

I can’t even tell you how nice it is to grab your bags after a long day of travel and know that you can simply walk to your accommodations that evening.

Review of the Hyatt

My family and I travel a lot, and we’ve become really particular about the places we stay. That being said, we were really impressed with the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport as a whole.

The common areas of the hotel (lobby, restaurants, hallways) were all well-kept and welcoming. Our hotel room and bathroom were both very clean and had been recently updated.

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Disney Cruise Planner

Our hotel room at the Hyatt had plenty of space for my husband, toddler, and me. My only disappointment was that the balcony didn’t have furniture on it.

I had envisioned relaxing on the balcony after putting my toddler down for the night. This turned out not to be a big deal since, after our little one went to sleep, my husband and I spent time organizing and preparing for the next day.

Restaurants at Hyatt MCO

The Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport offers many amenities that we found useful. I had planned to let my three-year-old swim in the outdoor pool before dinner, but our flight had been delayed getting into Orlando.

Instead, we went straight to dinner after checking in. The airport offers a variety of restaurants ranging from fast food to sit down meals. We ultimately opted to eat at the restaurant, Hemisphere, inside the Hyatt.

Our food was great, and the service was excellent, so we were happy with our decision. The airport looked pretty much empty after dinner, but the shops were still open.

Visitors can browse through the airport shops to kill time. These stores were full of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Seaworld memorabilia.

Day Use Room at Hyatt

In addition to the Hyatt at Orlando International Airport being a super convenient place to stay before your cruise, it is also a really great option for after your cruise. If you use the Disney Cruise Line transfers to take you back to the airport, you will typically arrive at the airport by late morning.

If you have a flight that is later in the day, you could potentially have a lot of time to kill. The Hyatt offers a really great deal on a day use pass for those who would rather spend their time in a hotel room than roaming around the airport.

Your family could swim in the pool, shower up in the room, or even take a nap before you head to the gate for your trip home. You can find more information about a day stay at the Hyatt here.

Disney Shuttle to Port Canaveral

My family and I had purchased round trip transfers on the Disney transportation buses that leave from the airport. Staying at the Hyatt allowed us to have really easy access to the airport transportation area at Orlando International Airport.

The morning of our cruise, we ordered room service so that we could eat in the hotel room while we got organized. Once we were packed and ready to go, we made the short walk down to the area where the Disney shuttles pick you up. 

Disney Cruise Ground Transportation

A really great perk when staying at the Hyatt is that they will pick up your luggage from your room and put it on the bus for you. We requested this service during our initial check-in at the Hyatt, and they gave us instructions at the front desk.

It was so nice not to have to worry about dragging a ton of bags down to the shuttle ourselves! (We did make sure to leave cash on our bags in the room as a tip for the bellman.)

Goofy at Port Canaveral Disney Terminal
Goofy in Port Canaveral Terminal

This whole process was so easy and seamless, and we were able to snag a spot on the first bus heading out that morning. Our Disney Cruise Line ground transportation even pulled up to the Port Canaveral cruise port right when it opened.

Travelers looking to enjoy every second of their cruise vacation will be glad to know that this is a great way to make sure you get to the port as early as possible. Sometimes, if you arrive at the port early enough, you can inquire about a room upgrade during cruise check in.

disney cruise concierge stateroom
Concierge Stateroom on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship

For example, when we cruised out of Miami, my family and I were able to score an upgrade at the port from an interior cabin to a Concierge stateroom. Not only was this upgraded cruise cabin full of extra amenities, but the Concierge level perks added an extra special touch to our trip!

You can read all about the benefits to Concierge on a Disney cruise here. In that post, we detail all the amazing amenities and magical pixie dust we experienced while sailing in a Disney suite.

It’s important to note that you DO have to pay for this upgrade at the port. Disney Cruise Line doesn’t just hand them out. (Wouldn’t that be nice!) However, the cost of the room is far less than if you had originally booked it. So, you end up getting a huge discount on a much better cabin!

Disney Cruise and Stay

If you want to make your vacation even more special, you can create a Disney Land and Sea Package. This is where you add a stay at one of the Walt Disney World resort hotels to your Disney Cruise Line vacation.

To do this, Disney Cruise Line guests can contact Disney directly, or they can go through their travel agent. If you choose to add a hotel stay at Disney onto your Disney Cruise Line reservation, you still have access to super easy transportation options.

magic kingdom castle

Disney Cruise Line transportation will pick you up at your WDW hotel and transport you to Port Canaveral for your cruise. The great thing about booking a land and sea package is that Cape Canaveral is only about an hour drive from Lake Buena Vista. So, you don’t have far to travel at all!

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Disney Cruise Planner

While staying at one of the Disney Hotels, you can experience all the fun of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Epcot before or after your cruise. We particularly like booking a Disney cruise and stay vacation when we do a short 3 or 4-night cruise out of Port Canaveral.

Pre Cruise Hotels in Other Disney Ports

Guests sailing on any of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet can book hotels and transportation through DCL. For example, in addition to a pre cruise hotel in Port Canaveral, we also booked a Disney hotel for a cruise out of the Port of Miami.

This worked the same way as mentioned above. After contacting Disney to add on a hotel stay with transportation in Miami, DCL arranged private transfers for us from the Miami International Airport to the Four Seasons Hotel.

Disney ship and Port Canaveral terminal with text Best Hotel for a Disney Cruise

The Four Seasons was the more expensive option of the two hotels Disney used in Miami. However, the price we paid for the Four Seasons through Disney was significantly lower than the room price for the general public.

This fabulous hotel was a great place to spend the night before a cruise. You can read our full review of the Four Seasons to gain even more information and tips on sailing out of Miami.

Final Thoughts on Best Disney Cruise Hotel near Port Canaveral

Overall we were so impressed with our stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. They made our vacation feel like it began right after we landed at the airport. Our time at the Hyatt helped our trip run so smoothly, especially with a toddler in tow!

Although you can find hotels closer to Port Canaveral for your pre cruise stay, this hotel right inside the Orlando airport is super convenient! Plus, the peace of mind you get by using Disney ground transportation is priceless.

Additionally, we would even recommend the airport Hyatt if you’re traveling on other cruise lines since it’s one of the best hotels for convenience for those flying into the Orlando area. And it’s less than a 45 minute drive to the Port Canaveral cruise terminal!

We hope you have fun planning that magical adventure with all of your family members!

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