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Where To Stay Before A Disney Cruise


by Lilia Bunker



Planning a Disney cruise is an exciting adventure, but it’s important not to overlook the importance of where to stay before setting sail. Choosing the right accommodation can enhance your overall cruise experience and set the tone for an unforgettable vacation. Whether you prefer the convenience of staying on-site at a Disney resort or the flexibility of off-site hotels and resorts, there are plenty of options to suit your needs. In this article, we will explore the different choices available to help you make an informed decision.


Disney cruises are renowned for their magical experiences, top-notch service, and immersive theming. However, before embarking on your cruise, you’ll need a place to stay the night before, especially if you’re traveling from a distance. With various accommodation options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the pre-cruise stay options and make the most of your time.


Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, finding the right accommodation can greatly impact your pre-cruise experience. From on-site Disney resorts to off-site hotels and resorts offering cruise packages, there are choices to cater to different budgets and preferences. Additionally, factors such as proximity to the cruise port, transportation options, amenities, and dining options should also be taken into account.


By carefully considering your options and doing some research in advance, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable start to your Disney cruise vacation. So, let’s dive into the different accommodation options and see which one suits your needs best.


Choosing the Best Accommodation Option

When it comes to choosing the best accommodation option before a Disney cruise, there are several factors to consider. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Proximity to the Cruise Port: If you want to minimize travel time and hassle on the day of your cruise, consider staying at a hotel or resort located near the cruise port. This will allow you to arrive at the port with ease and avoid any potential transportation delays.
  2. Transportation Options: Check if the accommodation provides shuttle services or transportation to and from the cruise port. Some hotels and resorts offer complimentary shuttles, which can be a convenient and cost-effective option.
  3. Amenities: Consider the amenities provided by the accommodation. Do they have swimming pools, fitness centers, or on-site dining options? If you’re traveling with children, look for accommodations that offer kid-friendly activities to keep them entertained.
  4. Budget: Determine your budget for the pre-cruise stay. On-site Disney resorts, while offering a unique Disney experience, tend to be more expensive. Off-site hotels and resorts may offer more affordable options without compromising on comfort and convenience.
  5. Flexibility: Think about the level of flexibility you desire. On-site Disney resorts offer perks such as extended park hours and transportation to the parks, while off-site hotels provide more flexibility in terms of dining options and proximity to other attractions.

By considering these factors, you can narrow down your choices and select the best accommodation option that aligns with your preferences and needs. Whether you prioritize convenience, cost, or amenities, there’s an option out there that will make your pre-cruise stay enjoyable and stress-free.


On-site Disney Resorts

For an immersive Disney experience and convenient access to the cruise port, staying at an on-site Disney resort is an excellent choice. There are several benefits to consider when choosing to stay at one of these resorts:

  1. Thematically Immersive: Disney resorts are renowned for their theming and attention to detail. From classic Disney characters to iconic attractions, these resorts transport you into a world of magic and enchantment.
  2. Extra Magic Hours: Guests staying at Disney resorts can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours, which allow them to enter the parks before or stay later than regular guests. This provides an opportunity to enjoy popular attractions with shorter wait times.
  3. Complimentary Transportation: Disney resorts offer complimentary transportation to and from the parks, including buses, boats, and the iconic monorail system. This makes it easy to access the cruise port on the day of embarkation.
  4. Dining Options: On-site Disney resorts boast a variety of dining options to satisfy every palate. From character dining experiences to themed restaurants, you can indulge in delicious meals without leaving the resort.
  5. Recreation and Activities: Disney resorts provide a range of recreational activities, such as pools, water slides, arcades, and even miniature golf courses. This ensures that there’s never a dull moment during your pre-cruise stay.

However, it’s important to note that staying at an on-site Disney resort can be more expensive compared to off-site accommodations. Additionally, if you plan to explore other attractions or dine outside of the Disney parks, you may find the location less flexible. But if you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in the Disney magic and enjoy the added perks, an on-site Disney resort can be an ideal choice.


Some popular on-site Disney resorts near cruise ports include Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Disney’s Contemporary Resort near Port Canaveral, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel near the Port of Los Angeles. These resorts offer a wide range of amenities and services to ensure that your pre-cruise stay is as magical as possible.


Off-site Hotels and Resorts

If you’re looking for more flexibility and potentially more affordable options, staying at an off-site hotel or resort near the cruise port is worth considering. Here are some advantages of choosing off-site accommodations:

  1. Cost-Effective: Off-site hotels and resorts often offer more competitive rates compared to on-site Disney resorts. This can help you save money on your pre-cruise stay, allowing you to allocate more of your budget towards the cruise experience itself.
  2. Dining Variety: While on-site Disney resorts have a range of dining options, staying off-site can provide a wider variety of nearby restaurants to choose from. You can explore local cuisine and try different dining experiences, providing a break from the Disney-centric fare.
  3. Flexibility: Off-site accommodations offer more flexibility in terms of amenities and facilities. You can choose a hotel or resort that best fits your needs and preferences, whether that be a relaxing pool area, a fitness center, or other amenities that cater to your interests.
  4. Proximity to Attractions: Depending on the location of your off-site accommodation, you may be closer to other local attractions and activities. This can offer an opportunity to explore the surrounding area and extend your vacation beyond just the Disney cruise.
  5. Transportation Options: While off-site accommodations may not provide complimentary transportation to the cruise port, they often have various transportation options available. This can include taxis, rideshare services, or shuttles that can be arranged for a fee.

Popular off-site hotels and resorts near cruise ports include options like Hilton Garden Inn Cape Canaveral near Port Canaveral and DoubleTree by Hilton San Pedro near the Port of Los Angeles. These accommodations provide comfortable rooms, convenient facilities, and easy access to the cruise port.


Ultimately, choosing an off-site hotel or resort for your pre-cruise stay offers more flexibility and variety, allowing you to tailor your experience to your preferences and budget. It is worth considering if you want a balance between convenience and exploring the surrounding area.


Hotels with Cruise Packages

Another option to consider when choosing accommodation before a Disney cruise is to look for hotels that offer cruise packages. These packages are specifically designed to cater to cruise passengers and often include additional perks and benefits. Here are some advantages of opting for hotels with cruise packages:

  1. Transportation to the Cruise Port: Many hotels with cruise packages provide complimentary transportation to and from the cruise port. This eliminates the need to arrange separate transportation, making the pre-cruise process smoother and more convenient.
  2. Parking Options: If you’re driving to the cruise port, hotels with cruise packages often offer discounted or complimentary parking for the duration of your cruise. This can save you money on parking fees and provide a secure place to leave your vehicle.
  3. Luggage Assistance: Hotels with cruise packages often offer luggage assistance, allowing you to drop off your bags and have them transported directly to the cruise ship. This frees you up to explore the area without the burden of carrying your luggage around.
  4. Pre-Cruise Activities: Some hotels with cruise packages provide pre-cruise activities and amenities to enhance your stay. This can include access to pools, lounges, or special events that help you get into the cruise spirit before even boarding the ship.
  5. Post-Cruise Stays: In addition to pre-cruise arrangements, some hotels with cruise packages offer the option to extend your stay after the cruise. This allows you to continue your vacation and explore the destination further at your own pace.

Hotels with cruise packages can be found both on-site and off-site, catering to different budgets and preferences. These packages provide a convenient and seamless experience, ensuring that your pre-cruise stay aligns perfectly with your cruise plans.


When researching hotels with cruise packages, be sure to check the specific details and inclusions offered. Some hotels may offer additional perks such as discounted meal options, priority check-in at the cruise port, or even exclusive onboard credits for certain amenities.


Overall, opting for a hotel with a cruise package can enhance your pre-cruise experience by providing transportation, convenience, and added value. It’s a great option for those looking for a hassle-free start to their Disney cruise vacation.


Other Accommodation Options

While on-site Disney resorts, off-site hotels, and hotels with cruise packages are popular choices for pre-cruise stays, there are other accommodation options to consider as well:

  1. Vacation Rentals: Renting a vacation home or condo can be a great option for families or larger groups. This provides the comfort of a home away from home, with amenities such as full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and communal spaces.
  2. Bed and Breakfasts: For a more personalized experience, consider staying at a bed and breakfast. These establishments offer cozy rooms, homemade breakfast, and a welcoming atmosphere. It can be a charming and unique option for those seeking a more intimate pre-cruise stay.
  3. Airbnb: Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodations, from private rooms to entire homes or apartments. This allows you to tailor your pre-cruise stay to your specific needs and preferences, whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly option or a luxurious retreat.
  4. Last-Minute Deals: If you’re a spontaneous traveler, keep an eye out for last-minute deals on hotel booking websites. Sometimes, you can find great discounts on accommodations near cruise ports, allowing you to save money while still enjoying a comfortable pre-cruise stay.
  5. Cruising Packages: Some cruise lines offer pre-cruise packages that include both accommodation and transportation to the cruise port. These packages provide a seamless experience, ensuring that all your pre-cruise arrangements are taken care of.

When exploring these other accommodation options, it’s important to consider factors such as location, amenities, and overall suitability for your needs. Researching reviews and checking the credibility of the provider can help ensure a positive experience.


Remember to book your pre-cruise accommodation well in advance to secure the best rates and availability. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on the excitement of your upcoming Disney cruise.


Ultimately, the choice of accommodation depends on your preferences, budget, and the level of convenience and amenities you desire. Whether you decide to stay at an on-site Disney resort, an off-site hotel, opt for a cruise package, or explore other alternatives, it’s important to choose an option that aligns with your needs and enhances your overall cruise experience.



Choosing the best accommodation option before a Disney cruise is a crucial part of planning your vacation. Whether you prefer the convenience and theming of on-site Disney resorts, the flexibility of off-site hotels and resorts, or the perks offered by hotels with cruise packages, there are plenty of options to suit every preference and budget.


On-site Disney resorts provide a magical experience with thematically immersive surroundings, extra perks like Extra Magic Hours, and complimentary transportation to the parks and cruise port. However, this option may be more expensive and less flexible in terms of dining and location.


Off-site hotels and resorts offer more affordability, dining variety, flexibility, and proximity to other attractions. You can explore local dining options and enjoy a wider range of amenities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable pre-cruise stay.


Hotels with cruise packages provide convenience and additional benefits such as transportation to the cruise port, luggage assistance, and pre-cruise activities. These packages can enhance your overall experience and provide a seamless transition from your hotel to the cruise ship.


Other accommodation options such as vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, Airbnb, last-minute deals, and cruise line pre-cruise packages offer additional choices to cater to different preferences and needs.


When making a decision, consider factors such as proximity to the cruise port, transportation options, amenities, budget, and desired level of flexibility. Researching reviews and checking available options well in advance will help you secure the best accommodation for your pre-cruise stay.


No matter which accommodation option you choose, the most important thing is to start your Disney cruise vacation on the right foot. By selecting the best place to stay before your cruise, you’ll set the stage for a memorable and enjoyable experience from the moment you arrive.


So, weigh your options, consider your needs and preferences, and embark on your Disney cruise adventure with confidence. The perfect pre-cruise accommodation awaits, ready to enhance your journey into the world of magic and wonder.