For those who did WDW before your cruise - How did you do it?


Earning My Ears
Feb 6, 2018
Hello all! This coming Feb 2020 will be my boyfriend and I's first cruise ever! We are doing Marvel day at sea! We're both so excited! It's our 5-year anniversary and we are going all out to make it special! Our friends in Orlando said we should come and visit WDW & US/IOA before our cruise. Our friends offered for us to stay with them and take us around Orlando so no need for hotel or rental car. My questions are:

-If you did WDW before your cruise how many days did you do?
-How did you budget to include WDW and *possibly Universal?
-How did you get from Orlando to Miami - fly or drive?
-We are DLR AP's and are looking to upgrade to Premier, but is it worth it?

We would LOVE to do both as we haven't been to WDW in 7+ years, but logistically we're trying to make it work! Any help or tips would be appreciated! Thank you :)


DIS Veteran
Feb 16, 2012
I did 3 nights at WDW prior to my cruise this summer - but I was out of Port Canaveral. Honestly if I am out of Miami, I would just enjoy Miami and not deal with the extra headache of getting 4ish hours further away.


DIS Veteran
Feb 5, 2012
I would depend how many WDW days depend on your vacation budget and determine on what is important to you. If you want to do and a cruise and WDW and Universal, you have to make decisions on how many days, value versus deluxe resorts or staying off site, park hoppers etc.
When I started planning, we were just going to do 5 full days WDW. Then it became 2 full days WDW and 4 night-cruise. Now it's 4 full days WDW and a 4 night cruise. We just couldn't chose between the 4 parks at WDW nor did we want to add park hoppers for only 2 days, therefore decided to add 2 more days. To balance the budget, we will be staying in cheaper hotels earlier in the trip.

I would fly to Miami, as I don't drive, but driving is probably quicker and probably also cheaper per person.
  • cvjw

    DIS Veteran
    Dec 22, 2005
    We always do Disney before or after a cruise. Sometimes both!

    The one cruise we sailed out of Miami, we spent 1 night at Disney beforehand, drove to Miami the next morning, and then spent a couple more nights at Disney on the way home.

    Driving to Miami was super easy. The majority of the drive was on the toll road and it was empty. We just followed waze from the toll road to the port. Didn’t have any issues.

    As far as upgrading your DL pass, I would compare the upgrade price to the cost of a regular ticket and then decide.

    Tickets to Disney and universal will be expensive. Might be best to just pick one and get a longer ticket as opposed to buying 2 shorter stay tickets.

    FSU Girl

    DIS Veteran
    Oct 20, 2016
    I live near Miami so I've only done Disney before a cruise leaving from Port Canaveral. It's about a four hour drive, so I'd recommend coming to Miami the night before the cruise in case there are any accidents or delays on the highway.


    DIS Veteran
    Oct 14, 2009
    For PC: We've done a variety of days before our cruises. Shortest was 1 day and we "did" all 4 parks that day. Only rode 1 or 2 rides at each park. Do not recommend. Longest was 3 or 4 days, don't exactly recall, before a 3 night.
    We've done one DCL cruise out of MIA and one RCCL cruise out of Port Lauderdale. We did a couple WDW days after each. Drive to Orlando was on the turnpike and so, so, so utterly dull.


    Apr 13, 2018
    We did Parks-Cruise-Parks last December.

    How did we do it? Stayed at Beach Club and focused on Epcot and HS before the cruise with 1 day at Animal Kingdom. Then traveled to the port via Disney transportation. Then cruised, then stayed at Grand Floridian for 2 days at Magic Kingdom. We also spent a lot of money compared to most of our vacations.

    We would totally do that again though, it was a blast and it was nice knowing that our trip wasn't over after the first leg at the parks, or after the cruise.
  • quickcat

    DIS Veteran
    Apr 28, 2011
    We did Sunday - Saturday at WDW this past feb and our cruise left from PC on Saturday. We did not do Universal. We did do a day at sea world though.
    Really how to do Walt Disney world is different for everyone. Some like to park hop, some spend a day or two at one park. Some do mornings then afternoon break then park again, etc
    Only you can answer those questions.

    Leaving from Miami, I would drive down the day before and spend the night in Miami before the cruise simply because of traffic.

    Have a great time!! :)


    The Mommy Fairy
    Mar 5, 2018
    -If you did WDW before your cruise how many days did you do?
    One time we did one day at MK, another time we did 4 days (one per park), and next time we are going to do a one day park hopper and check out Epcot and Star Wars land. There's no right or wrong way to do it; depends on your schedule and budget. Since you are Disneyland APs, I would suggest maybe doing some combination of AK/HS/Epcot since there is a lot of overlap between MK and DL.

    -How did you budget to include WDW and *possibly Universal?

    Haha, we don't. We just throw all our money at the mouse and scream "TAKE THE MONEY." Only half-joking. I would be inclined to pick either or, not both WDW and Universal. The reason being that if you buy a multiple day ticket, each additional day is cheaper. So getting a 4 days ticket at WDW for example would be significantly less money than getting 2 days at WDW and 2 at Universal.

    -How did you get from Orlando to Miami - fly or drive?
    I think it would be faster to drive when you factor time to get to the airport, through security, get checked bags etc on top of the flight time. I also would prefer to drive because it adds a layer of control versus the risk of flight cancellations/delays.

    -We are DLR AP's and are looking to upgrade to Premier, but is it worth it?
    *editing to delete my prior answer since I did not know premier allowed access to both parks. But at a ticket price of $2,099 plus tax, it seems highly unlikely you would get your money's worth on the upgrade if just staying a few days pre-cruise*
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    Go BUCKS!
    Jan 1, 2000
    For a 5 day Bahamas cruise on the Dream we took in Feb 18, we arrived Thursday evening, did WDW Fri-Sun, and drove to Port Canaveral on Mon. After getting off the cruise Friday, we drove back to WDW and visited that evening, Sat, and Sun and flew home Monday morning (whew). Agree with previous posts that if we were flying into Miami, we would just hang around there unless we wanted to spend 2 or more days at WDW. It's about a 3 1/2 drive up the Florida turnpike plus tolls.

    If you go to WDW or Florida often, consider getting your own Sunpass toll transponder. They are $20 and are portable from car to car. The fare is slightly reduced if you use a transponder and at some point will pay for itself. Plus you don't have to slowdown to pay the toll AND if you get stuck having to go through an unattended toll booth, you don't have to worry about finding change to pay the toll (or have to pay it online).


    We always wait in line in California (something)
    May 23, 2003
    For upgrading your AP to Premiere, you will have to do the math to see how it works out for you.

    You will pay the price difference between your current DLR pass and the Premier, but it will still expire when your current DLR pass does.

    I am also a DLR AP. I go to WDW at least once a year. Sometimes the math works for me to upgrade to Premiere and sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Jdawson9807

    Earning My Ears
    Jun 2, 2017
    This is our first Disney cruise in February as well, we plan on doing 7 nights in WDW before the cruise, we plan on doing at least 5 days of the parks for a few different reasons, we can never decide which parks to skip if we do less than 4 days (and to us the hoppers just are not worth the extra money, we rather just spend a full day in each park), after the 5th day the price per day drops dramatically per day, so we like to have the option to hop in the park or something for like $20 if we can not find something else to do, but you would have to add the days before you use the last day (If on day 6 you decide to go to MK but you have no passes left you would have to pay full price. If you want to add days to get the discount it has to be before you use all that passes, and the best discount is after day 5.)

    We are not AP holders so do not know much about it, we have thought many times to do it but then always worry if we do not use it enough or get a chance to go back again within the year.

    As for Universal I myself would skip it. I am not a fan, the prices are more than Disney and the only good rides are Harry Potter but have to pay for both parks to even enjoy the full experience. I think it is something to try absolutely if you have never seen the wizarding world of Harry potter (that is literally all US/IOA has going for it in my opinion. I would rather spend my time in the happiest place on earth, even if its resort hopping or a day in Disney springs, hands down better than spending it at US/IOA.

    Budgeting is really different for everyone, for us we have no children, my husband and I both work full time jobs, and we can live comfortably on one income so when budgeting for vacations or other expenses my husband will pay for everything and my entire check will just go into our savings account. If you can not do an entire paycheck, just do what you can afford without cutting yourself short. If you get your nails done regularly cut that expense for a few months and put the money you would spend on your nails into the savings and bam in 3 months you will have $450 saved. Sounds like you have a lot of cost already taken care of with the ability to stay with your friends.

    If your friends are in Orlando I would stay with them and leave for the port the early morning of the cruise, it would cut the cost of having to get a hotel for the night, plus I am not a fan of moving place to place, the less I have to move around the better. We love road trips so the four hour drive would not bother us one bit.

    Whatever you guys decide to do it will be magical and you will have a wonderful time!


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