Want to change your cabin before the start of your cruise? You can try upgrading at the pier for a significant savings.
Other cruise lines open up upgrades for people before the cruise sailing for a savings, Disney however keeps the posted price until the cruise, and then will drop it to let people move up categories once they have arrived at port.
This is the story of our quest to upgrade at the port prior to a 7 night cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy at the end of January.
In order to optimize our chances at getting an upgrade, we needed to arrive early at the port. Since we hadn’t secured the earliest port arrival time (the time Disney would allow to enter the port,) I decided to take Disney’s Magical Express to get our family to the pier. Our plan was to get on the 8:15 a.m. bus from the Orlando Airport Marriott Lakeside but we had just missed it and ended up on the 8:30 bus back to the airport. By the time we arrived at the airport, there was already a decent line forming for Magical Express check in to the port. I took my son and got in line to check in while my husband waited for the items to off load from the Marriott bus and then get them on the Disney luggage truck. (The luggage was placed on a truck right next to where we were dropped off by the Marriott bus and would next be seen delivered to door of our cabin on the ship.) Disney started checking us in shortly after we arrived which was around 8:45 a.m. We made it on the second bus to leave the airport that morning and sat about 6-10 rows back. We were probably on our way to the port around 9:15 a.m.
Upon arriving at the port around 10 and them doing their schpeal before we could exit the bus, we were somehow first to the security line. (My husband even caught up after getting our car seat and stroller from the bottom of the bus items.) We went straight to check in at the Castaway Club line and were only a handful of desks away from the port upgrades line at the end of the row. They speedily checked us in and got us to the upgrade line by 10:23 a.m. There were family verandah concierge rooms available as well as one 1 bedroom- cabin 12000. But the price had just doubled from earlier reports. The family verandah (category v) went for $1,500 and the 1 bedroom for $3,000 based on our booked category of a deck 6 family verandah. [Disney bases the price of the upgraded cabin from the category that you were booked into, to the category that you want to go to.] That $3,000 made me sooo bummed but ultimately we pulled the trigger and we LOVED everything about cabin 12000. [Check out our pictorial review.]
The next item of business for us was securing a cabana at Castaway Cay. We positioned ourselves to not be pushy but to be the first in the concierge area to get aboard the ship once it was time. Once on board we went straight to the lounge (we didn’t stop for pictures or to look around). Our strategy paid off as we were first to talk to a concierge host. We explained that we just upgraded and were wondering if there were any cabanas available and if not we’d like to be wait listed. We were first on the wait list and Tuesday morning we were told that they were able to secure us a cabana on the family beach. (Apparently the wait list was pages and pages long.) Sadly this cabana never made it into fruition as our ship wasn’t able to stop at Castaway Cay because there was some mechanical trouble during our cruise…
That is how you upgrade at the port to a concierge cabin. It was stressful. Once we had made the decision to try and upgrade, we really just wanted the upgrade. Since we spend a lot of time in the room, we learned that for now we will just book into this category from the start when it’s not cost prohibitive.
Have you upgraded at the pier? What was your experience? Or is it on your list?
*ps, this is our favorite hand sanitizer to travel with. We use it after touching the menus in the dining rooms and basically anytime we touch public things. Let me know what you think of it.
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