Arrive in Tampa, sleep at MCO?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by MCK588, Oct 21, 2012.

  1. MCK588

    MCK588 Mouseketeer

    Jan 10, 2005
    We are arriving in Tampa at 6pm the night before our cruise. We originally wanted to fly into Orlando and sleep at the Hyatt in order to take DCL transfer in the morning. We are now arriving much earlier (and much cheaper!) so I didn't think it would be a big deal to drive the 1.5 hours to the Orlando airport and get a room that night anyway. Does anyone see a problem that I am overlooking?

    I could drive all the way to PC and sleep there, but really wanted to take the DCL transfer...since I booked late and have a 1pm PAT, I am afraid I will waste valuable time dealing with rental car dropoffs and overcrowded shuttles if I stay overnight in the port is our first cruise and it's only 4 nights so I want to get on as early as possible and start my vacation right away! :yay:
  2. briarrose1

    briarrose1 Disney Fanatic Since 1995♥

    Oct 10, 2012
    Congratulations on your first DCL cruise:yay: I read your post several times to visualize this. We live in Tampa and just got back from PC on the Fantasy. We stayed the night before at the Hilton-used our miles and the shuttle was effortless. Left our SUV there and it was our first time doing it this way, and we really loved it. They are pros in that area with the cruise industry and all the hotels do the port shuttle with varying fees-some free. One of the hotels even has a rental car location right in the parking lot and they take you over to the port. Might be the Marriott Residence Inn?

    If you have your heart set on taking the transfer, you might as well take it this time. If it doesn't thrill you, next time try something different. Whatever you choose, it will take you eventually to the cruise where you will have a wonderful time--no one does it like Disney:love:
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  4. wendyoconnor

    wendyoconnor DIS Veteran

    Jan 28, 2011
    We like the DCL busses because it's so easy since we always fly to Florida for our cruise. For us the time saved over renting a car is worth the extra cost.
  5. suzy021372

    suzy021372 Mouseketeer

    Aug 7, 2009
    We fly into Tampa when we go to WDW. It is so much cheaper...especially coming from the west coast. We found the Tampa airport and car rental to be super easy and convenient. The drive to WDW seamed to fly by...the kids didn't have time for a full nap.

    Good luck!
  6. Fall1

    Fall1 DIS Veteran

    Aug 16, 2005
    Can anyone else share what's you'd do if you fly into Tampa the night before the cruise? How to get to the Port in the AM or that night? Where would be the best place to stay? Thanks!
  7. Weedy

    Weedy DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2008
    I will vote to go the other way and just drive the rest of the way to Port Canaveral. It's a wonderful little beach town with plenty of places to access the beach. Great way to get in the mood for your cruise:thumbsup2

    The cruise usually goes to open boarding about 12:30. So have the driver drop everyone off about 11:45-12:00. You can start the check in process, the other person drops the car off. Catches the shuttle back and you should be ready to board by then.

    This way you will have the freedom to run to the store the evening before have a leisurely morning. The bus is nothing special, other than it has Disney painted on the side and shows videos on the ride over.

    Personally I have no desire to ride a bus when I can take my own car.

    Just my opinion.
  8. thedonduck

    thedonduck DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2011
    Another option is to stay at one of the MANY hotels just north of the airport. Before moving to Orlando, we used to always stay at the La Quinta just north of 528. We would fly in the night before and take the airport shuttle to the airport. They have a really decent breakfast in the morning and then we shuttled back to MCO to check in and ride DCL transfer!
  9. Barbydoll8

    Barbydoll8 Offical Disney Dork

    Apr 29, 2011
    I live about 14 miles west of Tampa. The drive from Tampa to the port is about 2 hours. Be for warned however there is construction on I-275 leaving the airport headed to I-4 east. It's not horrible going to I-4 and East but coming back it's much worse. Please allow extra time for traffic because of this. At least 20 min on a weekend and at least an additional 30-40 min on a week day near the rush hour.

    Once you are on I-4 the ride is a breeze. If you choose to stay in Tampa, there is a really nice hotel (Hilton I think or a Marriot) in the airport. If you stop along the drive before going to the port, take your pick of places. Especially as you get closer to Disney World. There are enough hotels/motels near the port with easy access back to it and the roads are well signed.

    I hope this helps a little and have a fantastic trip.
  10. clten

    clten DIS Veteran

    Apr 5, 2005
    I'm just going to mention one thing. Your boarding number is tied to your port arrival time. So chances are that you are going to have a pretty high boarding number regardless of how you get to the port. Coming in on the bus just guarantees that they will let you into the port building when the bus arrives -- it does nothing to get you on the ship any earlier! (If you arrive any other way and the terminal it very full, you may have to wait to enter the building, if you arrive before your PAT.)

    Personally, I would rent a car in Tampa and stay overnight at Port Canaveral at a hotel that has shuttle service to the port. Return the car the night before (or that morning if you need it) then take the hotel shuttle over around 11:30-11:45.
  11. Weedy

    Weedy DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2008
    One more thing if you are worried about over crowded shuttles. Have one person drop you off then return the car.
    You can pull up in front of the port and the porters will take all your luggage from the car.
    Be sure to have all the luggage tags on the bags so they are ready to go (if you need any extras the porters will have some).
    You will need to have your passports or birth certificates and your cruise info with you and the credit card you will be using.
    Also make sure you have a day bag with you because you won't see your luggage until about 4:00 or sometimes later. With bathing suites, sun screen, book.
    The person returning the car will be able to catch a shuttle easier because they will just need one seat and won't have luggage. They will need a drivers licence to enter the port.

    As the pp said, your PAT is tied to your boarding number regardless if you ride the bus or not. And as I said before the usually go to open boarding about 12:30 ( normal boarding starts at 11:45-12:00). So if you drop off around 12:00 by the time the driver is back and you are checked in you should not have to wait long to board, if at all.

    Good luck. Lots of different opinions. You know what will work best for your family.
  12. mjnap

    mjnap Mouseketeer

    Aug 17, 2006
    We are in the same situation. Flying into Tampa the day before our cruise and debating on staying in the WDW area or PC.

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