Flying the day of Cruise..

Weedy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
I always vote for flying in a day early.
You also need to think about if you take an early flight.
Let’s say your flight is at 7am
They say you should be arrive at the airport 2 hours before the flight so that’s 5am.
How long does it take to get to the airport from your home? An hour so that’s 4am.
So what time do you need to get up? 3am😳
You will be very tired the first night of your cruise and may miss some fun activities
 

otten

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 4, 2015
Looking forward to hopefully getting on a Disney Cruise around Christmas Time. Its booked so we will see

Question: I know weather is a factor depending on where you are coming from that time of year.

The earliest flight is landing in Orlando at 9:54. Currently says ship leaves 3:45 ( subject to change )

Is that enough time to get from the airport to the port? If everything went well and landed at 9:54

I am somewhat thinking maybe flying the night before and staying in a cheap disney resort but I don't know if I can get that night off work

Thanks
Flying in the day of is always a risk because there is always a chance for something to go wrong. Some people do take the risk though. However, the risk is going to be higher right now because travel is far from back to normal. Your chances of flight cancellations, schedule changes are higher now than they were pre pandemic.
 

mevelandry

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 22, 2013
Looking forward to hopefully getting on a Disney Cruise around Christmas Time. Its booked so we will see

Question: I know weather is a factor depending on where you are coming from that time of year.

The earliest flight is landing in Orlando at 9:54. Currently says ship leaves 3:45 ( subject to change )

Is that enough time to get from the airport to the port? If everything went well and landed at 9:54

I am somewhat thinking maybe flying the night before and staying in a cheap disney resort but I don't know if I can get that night off work

Thanks
Fly the day before… Save money and time by booking a airport hotel. Hyatt Orlando Airport is right inside the airport. This way, it’s not the end of the world if you arrive late/past midnight.
 

DIS_MIKE

DCL Commodore
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
I always always always suggest flying in the night before. A few years ago it took me two days to get to Orlando for a WDW vacation. Had it been a cruise, I would've missed the ship. We were scheduled to leave late in the evening and weather canceled the flight so we stayed in a hotel near the airport. The next morning the flight was delayed by several hours but we were still optimistic. By the time we got to Philly for our connection the plane was broken and we had to deplane and wait hours until we were updated.

The update came and there were no more flights to Orlando that evening and we had to stay overnight again.... You never know what you'll run into, so flying in the day of for a cruise (while super convenient) is a major gamble because several things can go wrong. Stay over the night before and enjoy a stress-free evening.
 
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Ralph&Pam

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 29, 2001
Our first cruise, airfare was booked through DCL, flying in (from Chicago) on the day of the cruise. Everything went smoothly, so the next time we cruised, we booked a same day flight ourself, using Southwest from Chicago Midway to FLL for a Magic cruise out of Miami. This was in March, so we figured we were past the major concern with snow in Chicago. We had booked the first flight of the day to Miami, so scheduled to arrive in plenty of time for the cruise. Checked in for the flight 24 hours before, printed our boarding passes, and figured we were all set. Checking email just before heading to bed for the night to get some shuteye before our early morning airport limo pickup scheduled at 4:45 am since we were flying out on the first flight of the day. Oops, an email from Southwest indicating our flights was cancelled, apparently due to weather elsewhere preventing the plane from arriving that evening. Called SW to rebook, but no availability on any of the flights heading to FLL the next morning. Had SW refund the fares and booked a flight from O’Hare to Miami for the following morning on American (AA flys every 60 to 90 minutes from ORD to MIA, so plenty of flight choices). That was a last minute booking so the fare was double what our refund from SW would amount to. Also had to quickly change the limo booking to take us to O’Hare rather than Midway. Limo was then late and we had the worst ride ever getting to O’Hare. In the end, we made the cruise and vowed to never, ever fly in the same day again. We’ve stuck to that for our subsequent 20+ cruises and don’t plan to change.

Even when an airline has other flights to your destination during the day, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a seat on an alternative flight that arrives in time to make the cruise when an early morning flight gets cancelled.
 

Cruising Engineer

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
We had a near miss once with planned arrival one day early. Flight from Albuquerque to DFW to Fort Lauderdale (Celebrity cruise). Take-off and en route to DFW, the airport was closed because of high winds. Diverted to San Antonio (us and everyone else). Got off the plane (sorta dumped off) with our roll-0ns. No checked luggage was taken off the planes (the terminal was packed). Got the last rental car and drove to DFW during the night. Got the last 2 seats on a flight to FL. Found a cab, went directly to Target and bought minimal clothes. Got to the terminal and were the last to board the ship. Now we go 2 days in advance.
 

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  • JWelch62

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2017
    Not a real problem in December, but we once flew into MCO and were stuck at the airport due to lightning storms. Ground crews were not allowed on the tarmac to unload the planes. So we sat at the baggage carousel for 2+ hours. Luckily we were just on our way to WDW so the delay was not a problem.
     

    GatorMomInNC

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 18, 2011
    I always fly in the night before. I am too chicken to fly the day of. I also don't want the stress to ruin my vacation. I take a late flight and don't miss work, stay at a hotel near the airport (be it Miami or Orlando) and take Disney transport or a taxi to the cruiseport. Probably the majority of time you will be fine flying in day of, but I know that I peronally would be stressed all night the night before anyway, so might as well fly in. The hotels around the airport are relatively cheap, I actually use it as a cheap night to gain points towards another free night, or use a free night.
     

    pjsmith67

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2017
    Definitely would not recommend flying in on the same day. Too many things that can go wrong. We did for our first couple of cruises with no problems but each time I felt like we were tempting fate. Fly in the day before and do it in the morning if you can. That gives you more time if something goes awry.
     
  • TiggerBouncy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2013
    I **NEVER** Fly the day of the cruise anymore. I used to do that. I was living in Baltimore (this is like 10 years ago?). I was supposed to land in MCO at 8am. Cruise all aboard is 3:45. Figured PLENTY OF TIME. They boarded our plane right on time at 6:00am. We started to pull back from the gate and they aborted - we were having engine trouble. They deplaned us all. Then we proceeded to wait around for almost 6 hours while they tried to get another aircraft for us. We hit port at about 3:15.

    So in the end we made the ship - but not by much.

    Since then I have ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS flown in the day before. I prefer to stay in the hotel in MCO if it's available. You paid a premium, but if you were going on a cruise at the time they picked up your bags from your room and it was very convenient. I don't think they do that anymore due to covid, but it's still a nice hotel with easy access - but these days I might stay closer to Canaveral unless I have DVC points to burn.
     

    bethy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 24, 2007
    We usually have to fly in from the West Coast and so we fly in a day or two early. Then we stay at a nice hotel and extend our vacay with a nice pool or beach day to start off our vacay right. When you fly that far anyway it is nice to add a couple extra nights anyway to make it feel more worth the time and cost. I know all of this is a luxury :)
     

    mostlytraveling4food

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2019
    I’m fine flying in day of cruise, but in 2018 we flew in day of cruise, and it didn’t turn out well.

    Flight was at 8am, 2hr flight, so we would have had plenty of time. Southwest cancels flight an hour before takeoff. We get thrown on Delta, cool, we can still make the cruise I’m thinking.

    Our luggage never made it, all we had was the diaper bag and my carry on. We had 8 diapers for our 1.5 year old. The nursery on board had a pack of size 3 diapers but we needed size 4. Made it work, but we wore the same clothes to formal dinner every night.


    Our luggage was flown into Nassau, but our ship left as soon as they landed. We got home Monday, bags were delivered on Wednesday.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    My friend almost missed her DCL cruise flying in the same day because her flight was delayed. That convinced me to always fly in the night before. And there's a nice Hyatt at the Orlando airport where you could stay if you wanted to, so it would be easy to catch the Disney bus to the cruise the next morning.
    I've been cruising over 40 years. At least the cruises out of Miami back then required you to fly in the night before, and the hotel room the night before your cruise was included in your cruise fare.
     

    LambertLion

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2014
    Take this into account before making a decision like this. Nothing is back to pre-pandemic levels of normalcy for travel. Not as many planes flying yet, still extra layers of things to do, car rentals are even worse than before, if you are renting a car to drive to Port Caneveral, Disney may be getting rid of transportation to cruise terminals (Park transport from them is gone in January, no official word on cruising, but just saying)and Disney hasn’t even put out a policy for how they will handle port arrival times and procedures for whenever they start cruising, let alone December. With that many unknowns, added to the normal December unknowns of weather and traffic, why risk it? Thousands of dollars to cruise and risk it on a couple hundred bucks on flights/hotel room savings? If it’s your schedule that doesnt allow for day before travel, I get it, but still, is it really worth it? Yes, it can be done and is done by lots of people all the time. You have to assess your level of risk. Given so many unknowns in the world now and even likely in December, I wouldn’t. Take it for what it’s worth.

    My DW is more vicious, her advise is “Try it and see what happens!” 😂 But I gave you my input. Good luck and no matter your choice, I hope you get to cruise and have a great vacation!
     
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    Cheburashka

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2020
    Nothing is back to pre-pandemic levels of normalcy for travel. Not as many planes flying yet, still extra layers of things to do...Disney may be getting rid of transportation to cruise terminals (Park transport from them is gone in January, no official word on cruising
    I've been on 3 trips since the pandemic started, flying between MCO and two different departing airports in different cities, and haven't found the airport experience to be any more time consuming than before the pandemic. There is not anything extra to do for flights that you didn't have to do before (besides keep your mask on, but that doesn't take any time).

    Also, DCL is actively selling transfers between the port and airport for upcoming cruises, so there is no reason to believe they will discontinue those transfers. Magical Express was a 24/7 operation that was complimentary for WDW resort guests, and DCL transfers are time limited to just before and after cruises, and are also on the expensive side, so there is a much different cost/benefit analysis for Disney in terms of those transfers. Disney was likely just waiting for an excuse like the pandemic to get rid of Magical Express, because on paper it looks like a money loser (regardless of how it might motivate people to stay on property).
     
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    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    I've been on 3 trips since the pandemic started, flying between MCO and two different departing airports in different cities, and haven't found the airport experience to be any more time consuming than before the pandemic. There is not anything extra to do for flights that you didn't have to do before (besides keep your mask on, but that doesn't take any time).

    Also, DCL is actively selling transfers between the port and airport for upcoming cruises, so there is no reason to believe they will discontinue those transfers. Magical Express was a 24/7 operation that was complimentary for WDW resort guests, and DCL transfers are time limited to just before and after cruises, and are also on the expensive side, so there is a much different cost/benefit analysis for Disney in terms of those transfers. Disney was likely just waiting for an excuse like the pandemic to get rid of Magical Express, because on paper it looks like a money loser (regardless of how it might motivate people to stay on property).
    I think the main difference is that it is increasingly common to have your flight time changed on you. We’ve had four trips post-Covid and 4 out of 4 had MULTIPLE flight time changes, including some just days before travel.

    I agree transfer are likely to continue, but with a reserved time linked to your PAT rather than continuous airport-to-port shuttles running back and forth. The terminal overcrowding before boarding was out of control.
     





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