Families cruising out of Port Canaveral have plenty of options when it comes to accommodations before and after a cruise.
Hotel area airports are normally not my family’s first choice (too far from popular attractions) but it sometimes makes sense when you have a late night arrival or early morning departure before or after a cruise.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly airport area hotel prior to or after your next Port Canaveral cruise, consider booking a room at Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport.
This hotel is located right inside MCO – you can walk off the plane and get into your room within a matter of minutes!
Where is the Hyatt MCO Located?
The Hyatt Regency is located right inside Orlando International Airport – on the atrium level (3rd floor) of MCO. It’s easy to miss as the sign blends in with all the flight boards, airport crowds, shops and the water fountain that surround it.
Guests heading to the hotel for a pre-cruise, post-cruise or day use room stay (more details on that below), should look for the Hyatt’s elevators which are located near the security checkpoint entrance and the water fountain – or the Christmas tree during the month of December.
The hotel check-in desk is located on the 4th floor.
Why Stay Here Before or After a Port Canaveral Cruise?
The convenient location is the main reason we recommend staying here before or after a cruise. MCO is the closest airport to Port Canaveral.
If you’re traveling with a baby, toddler or young kids, it’s quite exhausting rounding up all your luggage, kid-gear (strollers, car seats, their backpacks etc) from baggage claim and then making your way to your hotel.
After a late-night flight to Orlando, the last thing I want to do is hop into a rental car or shuttle bus and drive to a theme park or Port Canaveral area hotel.
We typically book a room for 1 night at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport when we know we have a late MCO arrival – normally 4 PM or later.
It doesn’t make sense for our family to travel 20 to 30 minutes to an Orlando area hotel, only to check out the next morning and head to Port Canaveral for a cruise. We don’t get to take full advantage of the hotel’s amenities and we have very little time to explore the surrounding area.
The same goes for a post-cruise stay. If we are on an early morning flight out of MCO, we’ll stay at the Hyatt for 1 night just so we don’t have to deal with cranky kids at 6 AM in the morning en route to the airport.
Getting To and From Port Canaveral from the Hotel
There are several ways families can get to the cruise port from the Hyatt. Port Canaveral is 45 miles west of the airport and takes about 35 to 45 minutes driving. You can see now why we don’t recommend staying in the Port Canaveral area if you are arriving in Orlando late at night or if you have an early morning flight!
Cruise Line Transfers – All major cruise lines offer transfer service from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral. These will need to be booked in advance and prices range according to cruise line. You can expect anywhere from $25 to $35 per person one way. All shuttle buses can be found on Level 1 – Ground Transportation. If you’re headed on a Disney cruise, the next section explains how to use the DCL Transfer Service from the Hyatt.
Shuttle Bus Transfer – There are several shuttle bus transfer companies that can take cruise passengers from the airport to Port Canaveral. Like cruise line transfers, drivers wait until the bus is completely full before making their way to the port. Cortrans, Mears and Travelynx are a few popular bus services that make the trip to the port several times a day.
Rental Car – There are several rental car agencies at the airport including Alamo, Hertz, and National Car Rental. Cruise passengers can pick up their rental vehicle and drive to the port. It can take anywhere from 35 to 60 minutes from the airport to Port Canaveral depending on traffic. The benefit of having a car means you can stock up on any drinks, snacks or last minute cruise essentials before boarding your ship. Cars can be dropped off at the rental kiosk at the port or you can pay for parking for the duration of your cruise.
Private Transfer – Families can book an independent port transfer service to take them to Port Canaveral. You don’t have to worry about the driving to and from port. Next to renting a car, this is a more affordable option for larger travel groups. We’ve used FL Tours and Happy Limos in the past and highly recommend both companies. They provide car seats and boosters for kids (one less thing for you to travel with!) and can make a pit stop at a grocery store so that you can pick up drinks and snacks for your cruise. You can request these things at the time of booking.
How Does DCL’s Transfer Service Work from Hyatt MCO?
The Hyatt and of course Disney World Resort Hotels are the recommended hotels for DCL passengers. For $35 per person each way, cruisers can take the DCL transfer service from the MCO Hyatt and WDW hotels – busses will pick you up the morning of the cruise.
If you’re checking into the Hyatt prior to your cruise, DO NOT put Disney Cruise Line luggage tags on any of your bags until the morning of your cruise.
When you land at MCO, you can either head to baggage claim and take suitcases and anything other checked-in items to the Hyatt and proceed to the check-in desk on the 4th floor OR proceed to the 4th floor and ask hotel staff to get your luggage from baggage claim (a small fee applies).
While you’re checking in, let them know you will be taking the Disney Cruise transfer bus the next morning and you’ll need luggage and travel gear to be picked up from your room and taken to the ship. They’ll add your name and room number to a DCL transfer list and give you instructions on what to do prior to check out.
The morning of your cruise, put your DCL luggage tags on your bags and leave them INSIDE your hotel room. Hotel staff will pick them up at a designated time (this will be stated on the paperwork/instructions they give you) and hand them over to DCL crew members.
You can then proceed to Level 1 – Ground Transportation and check in at the Disney Cruise Line Transfer desk. When you check in, you’ll show your cruise documents along with the Hyatt paperwork which shows them your hotel room number and the number of bags you left in your hotel room. DCL staff will then ensure your baggage is on their way to the cruise ship and you’ll see them sitting outside your stateroom later that afternoon or evening.
Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable having Hyatt hotel and Disney staff coordinate this luggage transfer for you, you can check out and take your suitcases and bags with you to the DCL transfer area and onto the bus.
Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport Hotel Stay Review
My family prefers staying for only one night at the Hyatt Orlando International Airport. The area doesn’t have much to do in terms of attractions or activities so if we’re landing in Orlando in the late afternoon or evening, we always book a room for the night before our Port Canaveral cruise.
When doing a theme park vacation before or after our cruise, we prefer staying in the Orlando area – closer to the parks. We have more time to make use of the amenities and take advantage of hotel shuttle services to the parks.
Guest staying at the Hyatt have the option of choosing a room with an inside view of the airport or exterior view – either the parking lot or runway. We’ve enjoyed both but the kids prefer the airport view – they like watching people coming and going and enjoy making up stories of where families are headed.
Rooms are spacious enough for our family of 4 and come outfitted with 2 queen beds, closet, in room safe, desk, and large bathroom with bathtub. There’s enough for a play yard or infant/toddler travel bed if you happen to be traveling with little ones. Bed rails are also available upon request if you require them.
We’ve never had a problem with airport or plane noise – the rooms are sound-proofed – and we always are well rested the morning of our cruise.
Our kids love the rooftop pool at the Hyatt. It’s a great place to swim and watch planes take off. You can see planes taxiing and taking off from the inside of the hotel too – just head to the hallway by the elevators. Most floors have a bench where you can sit and watch the planes.
Another benefit of staying in this hotel is that dining options aren’t limited to the Hyatt’s onsite restaurants – the lobby bar, Hemisphere Steak & Seafood Restaurant, and Mcoy’s Bar and Grill. There’s quite a bit of choice in the airport’s food court area – McDonald’s, Chik-Fil-A, Starbucks, Panda Express and Sbarro.
Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the entire hotel as well as a 24-hour fitness center, business center, airline ticket counter, and concierge services.
Why Book a Day Use Room after Your Cruise?
If you have some time to kill before your late night flight, booking a Day Use Room at the Hyatt Regency MCO is a good way to relax and recharge before heading home.
Even with all the shops, restaurants and fish tank in the food court – there’s only so much you can do at the airport. Eventually, you’ll get bored and the kids will get cranky. Trust us, we know! 😉
The Hyatt MCO offers day-use rooms for $99 from 10 AM to 6 PM. Day guests have use of all the facilities and amenities as regular guests and you’re right in the airport so when it’s time to head to the security gates, you’re just an elevator ride away.
The Day Use Room at the Hyatt is great for cruisers – especially families with young children who require a quiet place to nap.
We always book a room when we have a late afternoon or evening flight home. Disembarkation normally starts early in the morning for most cruise lines and we are usually off the boat by 9:30 AM.
Instead of heading to an attraction or activity in Cape Canaveral or Orlando, we just head to the Hyatt for some rest before the trek home.
We watch TV, swim in the pool, take a nap, take a shower (and change kids into their pajamas if it’s a really late flight) and then head down to security check-in around 5:30 PM.
On our previous cruise, we had a late afternoon flight that was delayed twice and then eventually canceled (due to a snowstorm at home). Thank goodness we booked a Day Use Room – we would have gone crazy walking around the airport from 10 AM to 9 PM when we were notified the flight was canceled.
If you happen to be in a similar situation (flight ends up getting canceled), you can apply the day use room rate to a full night stay.
Day Use Rooms at the Hyatt can be booked over the phone or made the day of as long as there’s availability. We booked in advance for our previous cruise as we knew we would be traveling during the winter and there would be a possibility of delays or cancellation due to weather.
I don’t even want to imagine what would’ve happened if we skipped renting a room for the day and tried keeping our kids entertained and busy in the airport for close to 12 hours! It seems like many families were thinking the same thing. When we got to the check-in desk all that was available were king bed rooms. All the rooms with two queens were already occupied.
The Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport is a great option for a one night stay – especially if you’re heading on a Port Canaveral cruise or coming back from one.
The location can’t be beat which makes traveling with little ones a bit easier.
Day use rooms are great for families with late departures. Because there’s limited availability for day use rooms, we recommend booking in advance if you are traveling during peak season -summer time or major holidays.
If the Hyatt is fully booked, there are other airport area hotels that are good for a pre or post cruise stay. They aren’t as convenient as staying right inside MCO but they’re less than 5 minutes away and all provide complimentary shuttle service to the airport.
If you are planning to spend more than 24 hours in Orlando before or after a cruise, a hotel outside of the airport area might be a better option.
You’ll have more choice, it most likely will be a little more budget-friendly and you’ll be closer to the theme parks – Disney World, Universal Studios, Gatorland and SeaWorld.
To learn more about the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport, click here. For more reviews, current rates and availability at the Hyatt Orlando Airport, click here.