Have you seen the movie, Titanic? Well, I have- probably just a few too many times. Because I’ve seen the movie so many times, I’ve been afraid for many years of taking a cruise. Recently, when my husband and I began talking about taking a special vacation to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary, we decided on a cruise. After all, as a travel agent, I help clients all the time make their cruise dreams come true. I decided I should conquer my fear and just do it! We decided that in order to make it the best possible cruise vacation, we would choose Disney Cruise Line. It’s the best! And then we decided to add on a couple days at Walt Disney World before the cruise. Now we had ourselves a land and sea vacation, kind of like the “surf and turf” of anniversary trips! You may think that sounds like a lot of planning and for a first time cruiser, I thought so, too. So, I decided to share with you the steps in my planning so that you could see just how simple it was!
Here are five easy steps to planning a “Land and Sea” Vacation with Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line:
- Choose a sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida. There are three different destinations Disney Cruise Line currently sails to out of Port Canaveral- Bahamas, Caribbean, and Transatlantic. The Transatlantic sailing is a 14 night sailing which we decided was way too long for a first time cruise. The Caribbean sailings were 7 nights long, again just a little too long. The Bahamian cruises were either 3 or 4 nights long, that was just right! We settled on a 4 Night Bahamian Cruise and the planning was in process!
- Choose the beginning or the end of your cruise for your land adventure at Walt Disney World. We chose the beginning of our trip so that, after the excitement of running around the parks, we could relax and unwind while on the cruise. In this step, you also have to choose which Disney Resort Hotel to stay at. It’s so fun to try hotels you haven’t stayed at before whenever you go to Walt Disney World, so we chose the Polynesian Village Resort. Being a special trip, we chose Club Level which would give us access to the concierge for any additional assistance in restaurant and FastPass reservations (usually your Travel with the Magic agent would help you with these things, but the concierge can offer another layer of assistance), personalized guest services while at the resort, upgraded amenities in the room, and snack service throughout the day. The Polynesian Village Resort is also on the Monorail line for easy access to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
- Book both parts of your land and sea adventure with a trusted travel planner like me! I will help you, as my client, book Advanced Dining Reservations and FastPasses for your trip. I will give advice to help you fit the Disney Vacation into your budget. Walt Disney World is a large and sometimes complicated place. It certainly helps to have an affiliated agent with Travel with the Magic to simplify the planning. I can also assist you in planning excursions on your Disney Cruise as well as give advice on kids programs and making reservations for adult only dining.
- Order your MagicBands for Walt Disney World and complete your Online Checkin for your Disney Cruise. Your travel agent will help you with your Dining Reservations and your FastPasses, but you get to choose your customized MagicBands and complete the Online Checkin for your cruise. In the Online Checkin process for your cruise, you can select spa reservations and dining at the adult only restaurants onboard several Disney ships. You can select shore excursions and make reservations in the kids club. Finally, you can complete online checkin for your Disney Resort Hotel and you’re in the home stretch!
- Pack your bags! When you’re traveling for 7 nights and 8 days, packing is crucial. You’re packing for both theme parks and for an ocean voyage. One reliable source of information for packing is a blog post recently written on the Travel with the Magic website. After reading this great blog, I think I’ve got everything I need for both parts of my upcoming adventure! I’ve chosen to pack two bags- one for my two days in the Disney parks and one for my Disney sailing. Of course, both bags will travel with me for the entire trip, but it helps me to keep the two separated in my mind. Disney certainly makes it easy for you to deal with your luggage when traveling with them and using their transfer services. They provide luggage tags for you and when you take advantage of Disney’s Magical Express, your bags are picked up for you at baggage claim and will magically appear in your Disney hotel room. There are also special luggage tags for the transfers to and from the ship. Disney thinks of everything and seeks to make your travel as smooth as possible.
I’m so excited to be taking this land and sea adventure! I would be glad to help you plan a “surf and turf” vacation for either adults only or for a memorable family adventure. Please check back in next month when I report back to you on how my planning all paid off!
My name is Jeri May and you can reach me by email at jeri@TravelwiththeMagic.com, on Facebook, or at 1-800-670-4312 x 147.