Carnival Ecstasy, Epcot, SeaWorld, Shuttles, Rentals, Hotels...the usual....

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#1
California
702 Posts
Joined May 2011
So, DH and I are planning a very ambitious vacation getaway in November. We're flying into MCO on Wednesday, 11/7, hitting Epcot and Sea World Thursday and Friday, 11/8-11/9, doing the 5-day Ecstasy from Saturday, 11/10-11/15 and then visiting some friends near Tampa through Saturday, 11/17....to fly back home to LAX that night. All of our cruises have been Mexico/Alaska/Repositioner - so jetting off to the East Coast for the Bahamas is a new venture for us.

Are there any nice Orlando-area hotels that offer complimentary-to-reasonably-priced airport, Disney & SeaWorld shuttle service? Those first few days seem like it'd be a total waste of money to rent a car upon arrival only to have it sit around - mostly in park - while we're hitting the parks....Also, am I correct to assume that unless we fly into MCO THE DAY OF our cruise, Carnival will NOT provide pre-cruise airport shuttle service to Canaveral? That seems like lost opportunities for Carnival to make a little extra bank from those who can find their way back to the airport for a lift - going the same way as those who flew in that day....

Is it completely absurd to entertain the possibility of having whatever hotel we book shuttle us back to the airport on Saturday morning so we can rent a car for a couple of hours - to get us to Port Canaveral - to avoid paying ridiculously high shuttle fees?

We plan on renting a car when we disembark at Canaveral for the last few days of our vacation.

Any ideas/suggestions are welcome.
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January, 2017 - Carnival Inspiration - Ensenada
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March, 2016 - Carnival Dream - Caribbean (out of NOLA)
December, 2015 - Carnival Inspiration - Meh-he-co...again!!
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#2
Ocean City, NJ
48 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
I have never cruised out of orlando, but do go to Disney every year. If you stay at a Disney resort(there are many to choose from), they have a service called Magical Express that picks you up from the airport and transports you to your hotel free of charge. From any of the Disney resorts there is complimentary transportation to all parks, so Epcot would be covered. I am not certain about getting to Sea World but I seem to remember reading about a public bus that goes there, another big transportation co in that area is Mears. there is a disney website much like this(disboards) that has a ton of info. You may find some help under the disney cruise line board and the transportation board. Hope this helps!
#3
St. Cloud, Fl
10,442 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Just rent a car precruise. Even if you find a hotel with free service to the parks, you are locked into their pickup times to and from a park. You can't come and go at a time of your choosing. Car rentals in Florida are reasonable and give you more freedom.
#4
5,382 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Most every Orlando hotel offers shuttles to Seaworld and Disney. Some are complementary and some have to be paid for. also some only run a couple of times a day and others are hourly. There are many nice hotels in the area.....look for one that's situated between the two parks and call them to find out how they operate their shuttles.
#5
Houston, TX
184 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
Sea World & Disney aren't close to the airport. Look for a hotel in Kissimmee, not Orlando, if you want to be near the parks. There are a lot of hotels around Downtown Disney that are only minutes from Epcot and maybe a 15 to 20 minute drive to Sea World. In November you should be able to get a good hotel fairly cheap.

If you want a hotel close to the parks unless you're staying on Disney property you'll likely have to rent a car, take a cab, or pay for a shuttle service to get to the hotel. Most of the hotels around the theme parks do have shuttles to the Disney parks at least (and some have them to Universal & Sea World), but not all of them are free AND you're going to waste a LOT of time you could be spending in the park on those shuttles.

By the time you add up paying for transportation to/from the hotel to the airport AND renting a car to get to the port (which is almost always the cheapest option to get to Port Canaveral) and you factor in the time you're going to waste on shuttles, I'd say it's worth the little bit extra you'd pay to just rent a car for the 4 days. The time of year you are going is NOT a high tourist season, so you should be able to get a very good deal on a rental and renting a car at MCO is usually not all that expensive to begin with.
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#6
Leander TX
1,134 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
If you decide to take the shuttle from the airport to Port Canaveral, you don't need to do that on the day you fly. You can fly in, stay in town and then go to the airport to catch your shuttle on whatever day you make the reservation for. They don't care when your flight is.
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#7
NJ
33 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
I rented a full size car at MCO last December for 5 days for $75 total. If you play around with the promo codes and pick up/drop off times the rates vary. Just keep watching and rebooking. I think mine started at $160 but as it got closer to the pick up date the rates went down. Since I am newer here I don't know what websites I am allowed to mention to tell you where to get promo codes. The car rental company name started with an 'A' just in case I can't say it lol. Hope this helps.
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#8
Rockledge, FL
39 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Many Orlando and Kissimmee area resorts will offer complimentary shuttle service to/from the parks, and depending on the location of the hotel, some will offer complimentary shuttle service to/from the airport with the caveat that a gratuity is expected. It all depends on what kind of hotel you're comfortable with and the amount that you're comfortable paying.

Keep in mind that several of the less expensive hotels will not offer complimentary shuttles, so factor that into your budget.

In my experience, it is cheaper to stay at a mid-range hotel (like one of the mid-range Hilton properties) and rent a car than to stay at one of the Disney properties (that include the complimentary shuttles).

Like others have said, you're not traveling during the peak season, so you should be able to find some excellent deals on hotels *or* rental cars if you decide to go that way. I don't think we've paid more than $100 for a week of a rental car during off season.
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Past Cruises:
1/19/2013 - Carnival Ecstasy
1/21/2012 - Carnival Ecstasy
11/5/2011 - Carnival Dream
9/6/2009 - Carnival Sensation
9/9/2007 - Carnival Legend
10/9/2006 - Carnival Inspiration
6/8/1997 - Carnival Jubilee
3/26/1994 - Carnival Tropicale
3/22/1992 - Carnival Festivale
#9
California
702 Posts
Joined May 2011
I have thought about the pros and cons of car rental - even if we don't drive it all that much - it is kinda nice to have...I'd like to experience a Disney Hotel, but I don't know if we're gonna have the energy to stay where there are tons of children lodging...we know kids are everywhere anyway, but we'd kinda like a little quiet after the 2 days at the parks....anyone else empathize?

Back to shuttling...if it IS true that Carnival will shuttle us to the cruise terminal - even if it's 3 days after we arrive - so long as we find our way back to the airport, I'd be apt to looking into returning the rental car at MCO, hitting CCL shuttle there and then rebooking a rental at Canaveral when we get back...

I'm going to keep researching here about others' experiences with rental cars...also the ease in which they dealt with Canaveral rental car companies.

I booked a Verandah suite - which evidently includes VIP check-in...does that include additional shuttle assistance? (I guess I could just call CCL..LOL!)
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January, 2017 - Carnival Inspiration - Ensenada
July, 2016 - Carnival Imagination - Catalina/Ensenada
March, 2016 - Carnival Dream - Caribbean (out of NOLA)
December, 2015 - Carnival Inspiration - Meh-he-co...again!!
May, 2015 - Carnival Splendor - NY to San Juan
October, 2014 - Carnival Inspiration - Guess?!
July, 2014 - Carnival Miracle - Alaska (again!)
April, 2014 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja (yet, again!)
November, 2013 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja (again!)
September, 2013 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja, Mexico
June, 2013 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja, Mexico
April, 2013 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja, Mexico
November, 2012 - Carnival Ecstasy - Bahamas (Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay)
February, 2012 - Carnival Inspiration - Baja, Mexico
September, 2011 - Golden Princess - Vancouver to LA
May, 2011 - Carnival Spirit - Alaska - Inside Passage
November, 2009 - Carnival Paradise - Baja, Mexico
October, 2005 - Carnival Spirit - Mexican Riviera (Manzanillo, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco)
September, 2004 - Carnival Pride - Mexican Riviera (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas)