Walt Disney World and Disney Springs – Cruise Shore Trip

Walt Disney World and Disney Springs – Shore Trip or Pre/Post Cruise Visit

Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World (and Disney Springs) as a shore trip or excursion from Port Canaveral. It is about 65 miles (depending on the attraction) and should take less than 75 minutes from the Port.

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World (click to enlarge)

Cruisers visit the Disney World area as follows:

  • Pre-cruise Stay
  • Full Day Shore Trip when ship arrives before 8am
  • Half-day Shore Trip when ship arrives around noon
  • Partial-day Post-cruise visit when flight home departs in the late afternoon or evening
  • Post-cruise Stay

 

Driving Directions to Walt Disney World/Disney Springs and back to Orlando Airport

  1. Exit the Port and head West on FL-528. It is a toll road – pay $1.50 + $1.00 = $2.50 (change available).
  2. Take exit for I-417 West towards Disney World. It is a toll road – pay $1.75 + $1.75 = $3.50 (change available).
  3. Take exit 6 toward Epcot/Disney Springs even if going to the Magic Kingdom! (the signs say use exit 3 for Magic Kingdom but we prefer exit 6)
  4. Follow the signs to your attraction of choice. Buena Vista Drive takes you to/from Disney Springs!

Afterwards – Retrace your route to return to Port Canaveral and the Airport. Simply follow the Airport Signs back to I-417 and look for the airport exit after the 2nd toll booth or continue straight for the Port.

UberX costs about $95 +$5 (port pickup fee) = $100 for one-way from the Port to the Disney area.

Port Canaveral to Disney Springs
Port Canaveral to Disney Springs and back to the airport (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

Disney Springs Parking

Below is an image of the approach road to Disney Springs as you arrive from the port via toll road 417. The signs are very clear; once on Buena Vista Dr look for either the Orange or Lime parking garage unless you have an over-sized vehicle.

Disney Springs Directions
Disney Springs Directions – Keep right on Buena Vista Dr and find a parking garage. Return back to Buena Vista Dr after your visit and look for 536/417 East (click to enlarge)

There are several parking areas as shown below. Lime Garage is most central and places you closest to the action. As you approach the garage keep to the right because you want to park on Level 2 if you can for the fastest access to the shopping areas.

BUT – Please note it is easier to park in the Orange Garage when drving this route because left turns are not allowed! This means you cannot turn left into Roange or left into Lime. For Orange you have to bear right then turn left onto an overpass and into the garage! For Lime you have to make a u-turn further down the road then turn right into the garage.

TIP – We prefer to park in the open lot (the first lot you see to the left). This makes for a much faster exit after your visit. The garages are often full and very busy and slow upon exit.

If you have an over-sized vehicle, you have to park in the surface lot (Strawberry) which is the first one you will encounter when approaching Disney Springs.

DisneySprings-Parking
Disney Springs Parking (click to enlarge)

The Magic Kingdom Parking

Below is an image of the parking lots at the Magic Kingdom. Upon arrival you will be directed to an available lot – the later you arrive the further away the parking! But no worries, you will hop on a tram to the ticket center and will not have to walk far. As you step off the tram, you have to get in line for the security check and then you line up for the ticket booths! From here you have to decide if you want to ride the Monorail or the Ferry to the Magic Kingdom.

You can see there are two trams. Basically the parking lot is split into two sections – HEROES and VILLIANS. After you parked, make sure you make note of your section and lot (for example, you parked in HEROES – PETER PAN). When you return after a day in the Kingdom you hop on the HEROES tram and get off at the PETER PAN stop. Very easy.

How long does take? From the moment you drive underneath the Magic Kingdom Arch just before the parking pay booth until you step foot inside the Kingdom – plan on at least ONE HOUR.

TIP – The best route back from the Magic Kingdom to Port Canaveral or Orlando Airport is to follow the Airport Sign until you are back on Toll Road 417! If you follow the airport signs you cannot get lost.

Magic Kingdom Parking
Magic Kingdom Parking (click to enlarge)

Disney Springs – The Perfect Starting Point For Exploring WDW Beyond The Parks

Unless you have dinner/resort reservations, it is not possible to park at Disney Resort hotels! So Disney Springs is a great FREE PARKING option from where to explore the Resorts and attractions. However – PLEASE DO NOT PARK AT DISNEY SPRINGS IF YOU ARE VISITING A PARK. It is a very cumbersome way of doing things due to the transportation timetables, it is taboo and it is frowned upon.  If you are visiting a Park, drive up and pay for parking – as simple as that.

Once you parked at Disney Springs, you have many options to choose from! Where to go and what to see!!

First, you have to understand the Disney Transportation system from/to Disney Springs.

  • Taxis and Uber – available and very efficient. The pick up areas are on the edges of Disney Springs as shown on the parking map above.
  • Water Taxis – The most fun way to get around but service is limited to just a few resorts as described below.
  • Disney Buses – The most popular way to get around (when no monorail is available!).
  • Disney Minnie Van – Disneys version of Ridesharing!

Disney Water Taxis

Few things feel “Disney” as much as the boats sailing the waters around WDW! In the midst of all the buzzing and craziness, the boats offer a few moments of quiet bliss!

At Disney Springs, you can use water taxis to get around the shopping areas or you can travel beyond the Springs to 5 beautiful Resorts.

NOTE- these are NOT sightseeing boats. You are expected to ride only from point A to Point B and get off at your stop. During busy hours the captains will ask you to exit the boat if they suspect you are just touring around in a circle! No worries, you can get back on but you have to go to the back of the waiting line on the dock.

Take a look at the map and pictures of the boats below. You will notice there are 3 docks at Disney Springs.

  1. The West Side Dock is home to the RED FLAG boats that circle anti-clockwise as follows: WEST SIDE – THE LANDING – THE MARKETPLACE and straight back to WEST SIDE.  You use this RED FLAG boat to explore Disney Springs. It saves you from walking all the way between the west and east sides of the Springs.
  2. The Landing Dock is home to two different boats: The BLUE FLAG boats that circle to Saratoga Springs Resort (5 minutes) and back. Please note, if you are going to the Treehouse Villas you must change boats at Saratoga Springs.  The GREEN FLAG boats circle to Old Key West Resort (15 minutes) and back.
  3. The Marketplace Dock is home to the YELLOW FLAG boats that circle to PORT ORLEANS (Riverside) Resort (22 minutes) and the PURPLE FLAG boats that circle to the French Quarter Resort.

Disney Springs Boats - Yellow - Blue

Disney Springs Boats – Blue Flag and Yellow Flag (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

Disney Springs Boats - Yellow
Disney Springs Boats – Yellow – at Port Orleans Riverside (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)
Disney Springs Boat Docks
Disney Springs Boat Docks

Disney Springs Marketplace Dock

Disney Springs Marketplace Dock

Disney Springs Landing Dock
Disney Springs Landing Dock

 

Disney Springs West Side Dock
Disney Springs West Side Dock

Disney Buses

The comprehensive Disney bus system can be frustrating at times but the air-conditioned rides are a great relief from the Florida summer heat! WDW is a large place and some rides are well over 30 minutes long so do factor in the wait times, etc. when planning a day from Disney Springs.

The schedules are a bit crazy too because these change during the day based on traffic. Disney expect most visitors will be inside the Parks between 11am and 2pm and they schedule the buses accordingly (more or less). We’ve seen many bloggers and websites trying to publish time tables but those are mostly inaccurate because of the daily changes and “real-time” adjustments by transportation control. In addition, buses lose time due to the many strollers and folks struggling to park mobility scooters securely inside the packed buses.

TIP – The rule of thumb is to give yourself enough time – if you are in a hurry then take taxis or Uber!

In the image below (and on the map above) you can see the bus terminals at Disney Springs. The buses drop off to the left (next to the Lime Garage). To board a bus you walk to the right and follow the signs to the gate for your bus.

Disney Springs-Bus Stops
Disney Springs-Bus Stops (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

So how do you know which bus to board? There are signboards posted at the bus stop to the gates. Just pick your resort as shown below!

NOTE- Some resort buses begin early each day (between 9am and 10am) whereas others start later around 11am (Grand Floridian, etc.) Disney is trying to prevent folks from getting to the Parks early when parked at Disney Springs. Please do not park at Disney Springs when going to the Parks. 

Disney Springs Bus Directory
Disney Springs Bus Directory (click to enlarge)

 

Disney Springs Bus Stop
Disney Springs Bus Stop (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

Once at a Resort, the bus stops have signs (most have arrival times indicated on electronic boards) to help you find the correct bus back to Disney Springs!

Disney Bus - Schedule
Disney Bus Stops – Estimated Schedule at the Resorts. Bus to Disney Springs arrives in 1 minute, 56 seconds

 

Disney Bus
Disney Bus Stop at Animal Kingdom Resort (CLICK FOR A LARGER IMAGE)

Riding the Monorail!

Few things create magic like riding the monorail at Disney World! It is more than just a transportation system; the ride is a rite of passage!

Monorail at Magic Kingdom
Monorail at Magic Kingdom (click to enlarge)

Please look at the map below to see the routes of the three monorail lines and their stations. Click on the lines or icons for more information:

  1. The Magic Kingdom Express Line (pink color) – counter-clockwise – 4 minutes from TTC to MK (the only two stops)
  2. The Magic Kingdom All-Stations Line (pink color) – clockwise – 5 stops
  3. The EPCOT line (lilac color) – clockwise – 12 minutes from TTC to EPCOT (the only two stops)

 Note: the Magic Kingdom Monorails run on two parallel tracks in opposite directions. Express goes counter-clockwise, all-stops goes clockwise. This is important, for example, if you are at the Contemporary Resort the line to MK will stop 4 times!

 

How do you get from Disney Springs to the Monorails?

  1. Pick which monorail you want to ride first
  2. Take a bus (or Uber) to any resort with a monorail station (shown on the map). If you are too early for a specific resort bus, ride to another resort in the same direction, then change buses to reach the TTC at Magic Kingdom or EPCOT.
  3. After the rides, return to a resort with a monorail station and take a bus back to Disney Springs

 

 

Bicycle Rentals at Cruise Port Canaveral

Bicycle Rentals at Port Canaveral – A Shore Trip guide

Whether you are arriving by ship for a day visit to Port Canaveral, or spending a night in the area before or after your cruise, bicycle rental is an excellent way to explore the area.

Several, if not all, the rental companies will deliver bikes to your location (hotels & cruise terminals 1 or 3 in particular) but it is best to arrange this before your cruise.

Bike Rentals
Bike Rentals – fat wheels on Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

Here is what you need to know about bicycle rentals!

IMPORTANT – watch our map LIVE while pedaling to establish your position. Just open your phone browser and go to our Bicycle Map 

Island Watercraft Bikes
Island Watercraft Bikes (click to enlarge)

Bicycle Rental Map of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach

These two areas are very bicycle friendly and streets have either designated bike lanes or dual-purpose sidewalks. Locals use mostly the sidewalks for safety reasons and you can do the same – just remember pedestrians have right-of-way!

We cover three loop routes that are very popular with cruisers and visitors as well as a all-encompassing one-way route :

  • Port Canaveral to Cocoa Beach Pier – 16 mile loop. At least 2.5 hours in the saddle. Highlights include the popular hotels near the Port, the Canaveral Lock, Exploration Tower, Cove Restaurant area, Jetty Park with its long pier, local dive bars, the long white beach and the Cocoa Beach Pier
  • Cocoa Beach Pier to Ron Jon Surf Shop – 2.75 miles loop. A short loop for those with time constraints. It can easily be combined with the other two loops if time allows. Highlights include the Cocoa Beach Pier, the Ron Jon Surf Shop, local beach bars, the Banana River (for boat tours) and the Dinosaur Shop
  • The Barmuda Triangle near Coconuts-on-the-Beach – 5.6 miles loop. Highlights include various coffee shops, shops, dive bars and beach bars including the popular Coconuts on the Beach.
  • One-way from Port Canaveral to Coconuts on the Beach – Highlights include all of the above but you can do and see more in less time. Your rental company will deliver your bikes to the Port area and pick them up at Coconuts when you are done.
Rental Bikes - Matt's
Rental Bikes – Matt’s cruising bikes (click to enlarge)

About beach riding. The local beach is seemingly endless and perfect for cycling. However, it is best during low tide when the sand is firm and damp! At high tide you will battle soft sand and this can be exhausting. Fortunately, you can access the beach from almost any beach road! We recommend you try short sections of the beach to see if you are OK with the conditions. If not, return to the paved sidewalks!

Bike Rentals on Cocoa Beach
Cruising bikes on Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

The Jetty Park Beach area is great for beach riding. The 1.2 mile stretch of beach between Jetty Park and Cherie Down Park is perhaps the best for beginners. Elsewhere the beach gets steeper and softer and the crowds are larger making the ride somewhat more challenging.

Go here for tide information.

NOTE – We do not provide a comprehensive restaurant list on the map. Most of the bars listed are actually restaurants (Grills for example) but we assume that cruise ship visitors will eat on their ships and not sit down for major meals while on shore trips.  While biking it is often more convenient and faster to eat bar food or order take-outs from fast-food places to eat on the beach or in parks with beach views. We list all the restaurants in a different section of this web site!

 

Bicycle Rental Companies

You will find several white-colored bikes at special rental stations in the area. To rent these, you need to join the national company Zagster by installing an App on your phone and booking online. Hourly rates are $3 with discounts for monthly and annual plans if you travel nation-wide while using the App.

Zagster Bike Rentals
Zagster Bike Rentals (click to enlarge)

The companies mentioned below are well-established with good reviews online. We see their bikes on the streets all the time and you will be in good hands when renting from any of them.

If you plan to spend the day at the beach, you can also rent bikes from several beach rental kiosks such as Island Watercraft. A few local hotels partner with rental companies  and will also have bikes on-site.

On average expect to pay between $10 and $20 per day (meaning from open to close)

Rental Bikes - Ron Jon
Rental Bikes – Ron Jon (click to enlarge)

Most people rent “Beach Cruisers“, allowing them to ride on the beach or street. These have simple (or single) gear systems and wider tires for soft sand riding. Many come with baskets or racks to hold your stuff.

Various kinds of bikes are available from electric bikes to fat wheels and tandems! Just ask when you call!

TIP – The established rental companies have the largest inventory of rental bikes and their rates tend to be the lowest.  Cocoa Beach Rentals, Ron Jon and Matt’s are very competitively priced with A1A Beach Rentals and Cocoa Beach Surf Company slightly more expensive. 

Here is a rate comparison for early 2017:

Company Island Watercraft   CBSC   Ron Jon   Matt’s       A1A Beach Rentals   Trader Rick’s   Cool Breeze
 On The Beach!
Cruising Bike Daily Rates $15.00 $15.00 $10.00 $10.00 $15.00  $25.00 $20.00
Locations Jetty Park  Sheraton  A1A  A1A Ocean Landings Cocoa Beach Pier International Palms
Holiday Inn Club
Lori Wilson Park
La Quinta Oceanfront
Wakulla
Rental Bikes - Trader Rick's
Rental Bikes – Trader Rick’s (click to enlarge)

Safety while Cycling

Despite the popularity of cycling in the area with bike lanes and sidewalks, one still has to be careful for several reasons.

  • Being on the beach, our area gets a steady influx of visitors who are not used to sharing the roads with cyclists. They tend to turn without looking at the sidewalks, bike lanes or even the crossing lights. Pedestrians are not expecting cyclists either and may suddenly step in front of you.
  • Many visitors driving rental cars are from overseas and not used to driving on the “wrong” side of the roads! These drivers are often lost and not aware of pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Drunk driving is a constant problem but fortunately most offenses happen at night.
  • These are also retirement communities and our older drivers have a reputation for doing the unexpected at times!

We feel safer when cycling on the sidewalks while facing the oncoming road traffic. At first this may sound not right but this way we can see the intentions of the vehicles coming towards us as opposed to looking back at every intersection to see if someone is going to turn right (without looking) and hit us in the crossing.

Rental Bikes - CBSC
Rental Bikes – CBSC (click to enlarge)

Most local cruising cyclists do not wear helmets because they pedal at low speed on the sidewalks or on the beach and not in traffic. A helmet is ALWAYS recommended and provided by the rental companies but the ultimate decision is yours.

Our best advice is:

  • Pedal slow
  • During the day, ride facing the oncoming traffic (while on the sidewalks)
  • Expect that you are not seen by motorists, so look around and stay vigilant
  • Be respectful to pedestrians and do not startle them. Gently call out that you will pass them to the left or right.
  • Ride on the sidewalks along the busy A1A and not in the road. Choose either the sidewalks or bike lanes along other streets.
  • Drinking and cycling do not match. While we recommend you visit a few of our favorite bars during your ride, please drink moderately and rehydrate with water and/or sports drinks.
  • Wear a hat, sun glasses and sun protection. Even in winter our area gets hot and humid. Be prepared to sweat and a sweatband is recommended to protect your eyes.
  • Insects can be a problem. Some are the biting kind (mosquitoes and no-see-ums) and you should spray your legs with repellent.  We also have tiny black swarming flies that usually appear after rain spells. These do not bite but riding into a swarm is very annoying. They cover your hair, nostrils, eyes, mouth and clothes. We recommend you bring a bandanna to cover your mouth and nose in case you encounter a swarm.
Rental Bikes - A1A Rentals
Rental Bikes – A1A Rentals (click to enlarge)

Bike Tours

In this section we will cover popular bike tours – marked in green on the MAP (just click on the trail and icons for more information). Each tour is discussed in sections to help you plan your day.

You can combine the individual circuits and tours into custom trips based on your fitness level and available time.

Tour 1 – Port Canaveral to Cocoa Beach Pier Loop – 16 miles at least 2.5 hours in the saddle

Section A – Port Canaveral Cove Loop – 1.3 miles

This tour starts and stops at the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral.  You will spend about 12 minutes in the saddle.

This short section is more about visiting the Exploration Tower than riding but if you have not seen the Cove area at the Port it is great fun to bike near the restaurants you read so much about on cruise forums!

Simply use the sidewalks to make your way over to the Cove just a short distance from the Tower.

Highlights:

  • Exploration Tower with its viewing deck on the 6th floor. Every floor is educational with different themes. Highly recommended.
  • Milliken’s Reef Restaurant with its outside Tiki Bar on the sand.
  • Waterfront park where folks go to watch cruise ships come and go!
  • Commercial and Charter Fishing boats between the restaurants
  • Fishlips Restaurant with its elevated outside bar on the 2nd floor for the best views of the cruise ships sailing by (and cheapest drink prices)
  • Grills Restaurant next to Terminal 1. Most say it serves the best food in the area

Finally, make a right turn next to cruise terminal one and return to the Exploration Tower.

Section B – Port Canaveral Lock Loop – 4.2 miles

This tour starts and stops at the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. You will spend about 35 minutes in the saddle.

Cycling west, stay on the wide bike path along the fence past National Car Rental until you reach the Draw Bridge. Then ride on the road to the lock and back. Once past the bridge turn left on Scallop Dr and follow it back to the Exploration Tower.

Highlights:

  • Parker Brothers Concept Cars – they build custom vehicles for movies. Nice museum with vehicles you saw in the movies!
  • Rodney Ketchum Park – nice views of the draw bridge, Port and cruise ships at Terminals 8 and 10. In addition to boat-launch ramps this park features covered picnic tables, fish cleaning stations, free parking and fully functional restrooms.
  • Port Canaveral Lock – the water lever difference is not major (3-4 feet) but it is fun to watch the boats tie up and cruise through. Manatees, dolphins and birds are often seen.
  • Cape Marina Boutique – nice selection of nautical souvenirs

Section C – Port Canaveral to Jetty Park (One Way) – 2.6 miles (4.5 miles loop)

This tour starts at the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. You will spend about 35 minutes in the saddle (one-way).

The route takes you west along George King Blvd on a wide bike path. To save time, you may choose to ride straight to Jetty Park but we enjoy the short detour to Freddie Patrick Park where you can watch the local fishermen launch their boats.

Highlights:

  • Boat launch at Freddie Patrick Park – multiple launch ramps can be entertaining on busy fishing days! It is fun to talk to the fishermen about their catch.
  • Fishing pier at Jetty Park – a scenic 1,200ft long pier that takes you out to the entrance of the Port. It is a great place to watch the cruise ships sail by.
  • Beach at Jetty Park – a wide and very popular beach with a life guard station, beach rentals and a cafe (operated by Fishlips Restaurant).

At this point you have decisions to make!

  • You can return to the Exploration Tower if you are short on time.
  • Do you want to ride south along the beach or do you prefer pavement? It will be 3 miles down to Cocoa Beach Pier if you stay on the beach and 4.6 miles if you ride on pavement. We suggest you take the bike down to the beach and study the wind and tide.

Please note – due to private beach property restrictions you have to ride south for about 1 mile before you can exit the beach and return to the road between Surf Dr and Sailfish Ave. So please be very sure of your abilities before attempting a beach ride!

Section D – Jetty Park to Cherie Down Park (One Way) – 2.8 miles

This tour starts at Jetty Park and ends at the beach at Cherie Down Park. You will spend about 21 minutes in the saddle.

The ride south through Cape Canaveral neighborhoods on nice bike paths gives you a glimpse of a typical Florida beach-side community.

Cherie Down Park is a popular local beach with restrooms. From here the beach riding south gets narrower with softer sand unless low tide. As a result we do suggest you exit here if you were riding down on the beach from Jetty Park.

Section E – Cherie Down Park to Cocoa Beach Pier (One Way) – 1.8 miles

This tour starts at Cherie Down Park and end at Cocoa Beach Pier. You will spend about 17 minutes in the saddle.

Cocoa Beach Pier is the highlight of this bike tour!

Highlights:

Riding south just a block from the ocean on Ridgewood Ave, also known as Ocean Beach Bvld. While condos dominate the beach landscape, you can access the beach at every block!

  • Popular Cocoa Beach hotels come into view before you reach the Pier.
  • The Cocoa Beach Pier – a beautiful fishing pier, a popular beach, several restaurants and bars, water-sports, surfing mecca and shops!

At Cocoa Beach you can ride west to A1A then turn (right) north to return to the Exploration Tower (3.3 miles). Or you can continue south for 1 mile to the Ron Jon area – covered next in Tour 2.

Tour 2 – Cocoa Beach Pier and Ron Jon Loop – 2.75 miles at least 25 minutes in the saddle

This is a very good short ride combining two popular destinations. We suggest you start at the Cocoa Beach Pier and ride south along Ocean Beach Blvd.

Highlights:

  • Sandbar Sports Grill – a local favorite just steps from the beach
  • Shepard Park – the beach of choice for shore trips from cruise lines. You may see many of your fellow cruisers here.  There is a life guard station, beach rentals, water-sports and more!
  • Florida Surf Museum – an insightful look at the history of surfing along the east coast – home of world champion Kelly Slater!
  • Shark Pit Bar – see the 5,600 gallon Shark and Exotic Fish Aquarium with hand fed Sharks and Moray eels!
  • Ron Jon Surf Shop – the famous store with isle upon isle of interesting beach-themed goods!
  • Dinosaur Store – Fossils, minerals, toys, jewelry and clothing!
  • Island Cruise Lines – a really interesting guided cruise on the Banana River to see wildlife such as manatee and dolphin. The tour takes 2 hours.

At this point you can return to the Cocoa Beach Pier via A1A North.

Tour 3 – Barmuda Triangle Loop – 5.6 miles at least 45 minutes in the saddle

This is a nice longer ride for those who want to explore further and really enjoy cycling.

The scenery is not different from the other rides but you will find a wide variety of restaurants, bars and shops near the popular Coconuts On The Beach restaurant.

Coconuts is one of few restaurants right on the beach with unobstructed views of the beach and ocean.

Rental Bikes - International Palms Hotel
Rental Bikes – International Palms Hotel

Guide to the Jungle Adventures Shore Excursion

Jungle Adventures Shore Trip!

A wildlife sanctuary with rare Florida panthers, black bears, gray wolves, white-tailed deer, tropical birds, reptiles and mammals. Take a jungle swamp cruise, be surrounded by alligators, and witness some gator feeding. See how Spanish conquistadors lived in the 16th Century at the replica Spanish fort and go on a live guided exploration of their Native American Indian Village replica.

Here is a short video showing the large alligators at the sanctuary:

Explore Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Village using SCAT Buses

Explore Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach and Cocoa Village using the Space Coast Area Transit (SCAT bus)!

The SCAT bus is a comfortable and affordable way to explore the area near Port Canaveral while on a Port visit. You can hop on and off at your leisure – all while enjoying the comfort and safety of the local transportation system. You will find the drivers to be friendly and helpful if you have questions.

While exploring, please open our interactive Google Map in your phone browser.

Using our interactive map – You can track your location and click on each icon for more information and photos. You can also see the map below on this page.

Introduction

SCAT Bus at Port Canaveral
SCAT Bus at Port Canaveral

The SCAT bus system covers a large part of Brevard County but Port Canaveral is on Route 9 – Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach. Most visitors do not have to change routes but you can easily do so if you wish to visit areas further away such as Cocoa or Merritt Island.

Our focus is the Cape Canaveral section of Route 9. You can see the route shown in red on the map below. This is the most popular section for cruisers and the bus will take you from Cruise Terminals 1 or 3 all the way to the Cocoa Beach Pier, the Ron Jon shopping area and back. However, we do include a short description of the route to Cocoa Village below.

You can transfer to other buses and travel much further south and west but those options will take time – not ideal for port visits when you have limited time. It is best to get Uber.

How to Ride the SCAT bus

It is very simple.

SCAT Payment
SCAT Payment (click to enlarge)

Here are a few important things to know:

  • There is an App for this! You can search for 321 Transit in Google Play or App Store. You will get timetables and maps, however, the system is easy enough to use without the App.
  • The bus uses designated stops and you can expect a bus every 30 minutes on weekdays. You cannot wave it down like a New York cab! So always be aware of your nearest bus stop.
  • Each stop has a timetable posted. Most stops are open – no protection from wind or rain.
  • The bus route is circular – not two-way – meaning the bus travels in one direction only. Anti-Clockwise (driving west from Terminal 1)! Once you depart your stop you have to complete the whole route in order to return.
  • On average it takes about 15 – 20 minutes from the Port down to Shepard Park which is the southern most point of the Canaveral Loop. And then it takes about the same time to get back to the Port.
  • Have exact change please! The machine on the bus takes coins and notes and change is not given. Please visit the SCAT website for latest fare information. In early 2017 the fare was $1.50 per ride or $0.75 (discounted).
  • You pay every time you get on unless you have a transfer ticket! Please keep this in mind if you have a really tight budget! Tell the driver that you will transfer to another bus when you get on.
  • When the bus nears your stop, simply pull the rope above the window to ring a bell for the driver! Please do not distract the driver while driving. It is best to ask for advice as soon as you step on the bus before he/she starts to drive.
SCAT Bus Schedule
SCAT Bus Schedule example (click to enlarge

Is the SCAT bus for you and your family/friends?

In terms of convenience, one cannot beat taxis or Uber/Lyft. These will be waiting at your ship and easy to call from anywhere in the area. On the other hand, the bus is slower and cheaper and you must be willing to walk and wait!

So it depends!

Here are a few things to consider:

  • If your ship docks at Terminal 1 or Terminal 3 then the SCAT is an option. If you dock at another Terminal then do not bother! Take a taxi or Uber/Lyft.
  • Do consider the weather. If it is very hot or rainy, then you may want to reconsider using the SCAT because you will be exposed to the elements.
  • You will have to walk quite a bit but Central Florida is totally flat!
  • The bus is family friendly and used by vacationers, locals and business travelers!  Do not be concerned about safety.
  • And should you run late and miss the bus you can always get an Uber ride back to the ship from wherever you are!

Actually the bus systems runs until late so there will always be another bus to catch!

SCAT Bus Stop at Terminal 1
SCAT Bus Stop at Terminal 1 (click to enlarge)

Exploring the Cape Canaveral Area by SCAT bus

Here are popular destinations that cruisers can visit by SCAT bus:

  • Liquor Stores, pharmacies, banks (ATMs) and grocery stores
  • Unique shops such as Ron Jon and Dinosaur Store
  • Swimming beaches for tanning, surf lessons and bike rentals
  • Local breweries and popular beach-side bars/restaurants
  • Adventures such as zip line fun, mini golf and escape challenges
  • Cocoa Village (about 40 minutes each way)

In the following sections we will discuss each activity to help you manage your visit and bus rides.

1. Local Beer Brewery

The Florida Beer Company has done a wonderful job with their visitor center and it is a fun place to visit (opens at 1pm until late). Best of all, it is very near the Port! You can actually walk back to Terminal afterwards!

Please know you can get to the Brewery rather fast by bus but to return to the Terminal you have to complete the loop and this may take at least 25 minutes. Or take Uber/Lyft.

Highlights:

  • A brewery tour on weekends but you must wear closed toe shoes!
  • A large sports bar area with many craft beers on tap and bottled. You can see the brewery floor behind the glass windows. Snack food is available.

Bus Stop – only about 2 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the Burger King as shown on the map. Cross the busy A1A and walk south for a block. Turn left on Imperial Blvd and you will see the building ahead.

SCAT at Burger King for Brewery
SCAT at Burger King for Brewery (click to enlarge)

 

Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company (click to enlarge)
Florida Beer Company
Florida Beer Company (click to enlarge)

2. Closest Liquor Store

Cape Canaveral Liquors has a wide selection of spirits and wine. The selection is not as good as Publix or ABC but you will find most of what you need.

Bus Stop – only about 4 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the south-bound Patriots Park stop (at a Mobil gas station). Cross the busy A1A and walk east on Church Ln. The liquor store is in a strip mall at N. Atlantic Ave (to your right).

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to walk south for one block to the north-bound bus stop at Jefferson Ave. Once on the bus it is only about 8 minutes back to Terminal 1.

SCAT at Mobil for Liquor Store
SCAT at Mobil for Liquor Store (click to enlarge)

 

Cape Canaveral Liquors
Cape Canaveral Liquors (click to enlarge)

 

Northbound SCAT near liquor store
Northbound SCAT near liquor store (click to enlarge)

3. Mini Golf and Aerial Zip Lines

If you want to see live alligators then plan to visit Golf N Gator mini-golf. They have baby alligators and other reptiles on display! And the mini-golf courses are very good too.

Just a block to the north, you will find Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures  – a challenging aerial obstacle course for the Ninja Warriors in your family!

Bus Stop – only about 7 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the National Rent-a-Car bus stop. Walk north for a block or so to GolfNGator and Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures.

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to cross A1A to the nearest north bound bus stop (at Lido Cabaret).

SCAT at National for Mini golf and zipline
SCAT at National for Mini golf and zipline (click to enlarge)

 

Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures
Cocoa Beach Aerial Adventures (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Lido Cabaret
Northbound SCAT at Lido Cabaret (click to enlarge)

4. Publix Grocery, Pharmacy and Liquor – Also Cocoa Beach Escape

The best place to go if you need any of those! Cocoa Beach Escape is a fun escape room activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Bus Stop – only about 8 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the Coasters Taphouse bus stop at the strip mall. Walk straight across the parking lot to Publix and the Escape Room.

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to cross A1A to the nearest north bound bus stop (in front of Sunrise Bank).

SCAT at Publix
SCAT at Publix (click to enlarge)

 

Escape Cocoa Beach
Escape Cocoa Beach (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Sunrise Bank
SCAT at Sunrise Bank (click to enlarge)

5. The Beach at Cocoa Beach Pier

Our highly recommended stop for visiting cruisers when using the SCAT is the Cocoa Beach Pier!

Bus Stop – only about 10 minutes from Terminal 1. Step off at the bus stop on the corner of Ocean Beach Blvd and Pulsipher Ave (you can see the pier straight ahead).  Walk across Ocean Beach Blvd to the famous Pier where you can rent beach equipment, learn to surf, play volleyball, have cocktails while watching the surfers and much more!

Tip – the beach rentals are a bit cheaper on the north side of the pier (in front of La Quinta Hotel).

Afterwards, the fastest way back is to walk west towards Publix on A1A and wait at the Sunrise Bank bus stop.

SCAT at Cocoa Beach Pier
SCAT at Cocoa Beach Pier (click to enlarge)

 

Cocoa Beach Pier
Cocoa Beach Pier (click to enlarge)

 

SCAT at Sunrise Bank
SCAT at Sunrise Bank (click to enlarge)

6. The Beach at Shepard Park, Ron Jon and Dinosaur Store

This is the beach where ship excursions go so you will find many of your fellow cruisers there! You can have drinks at very popular Sandbar (no ocean views though) or upstairs at Captain J’s (some views).

Bus Stop – near Pizza Hut only about 15 minutes from Terminal 1. Just walk a short distance to the east and you will see Sandbar on your left and the beach in front. There are beach rentals on the beach.

To visit Ron Jon, walk west a short distance towards A1A then turn south and you will see Ron Jon on the next block. It is a great store for souvenirs, clothes and beach-related items.

The Dinosaur Store is a bit further west (you must cross A1A and it is hidden behind CVS). It is a fun store for adults and kids alike!

Afterwards, return to the bus stop where you step off (Pizza Hut) and make sure you get on the bus heading north back to Port Canaveral! There are other buses going south.

SCAT at Shepard Park
SCAT at Shepard Park (click to enlarge)

 

Shepard Beach on Cruise Day
Shepard Beach on Cruise Day (click to enlarge)

 

Dinosaur Store
Dinosaur Store

7. Cocoa Village

Shore Excursions arranged by your ship normally include a visit to Cocoa Village. You can do this on your own by SCAT Bus!  It will cost only $1.50 pp each way and takes about 50 minutes!

  • Take the #$9 bus to Shepard Park. Tell the driver you will transfer to Cocoa Village.
  • At Shepard Park, get your transfer pass as you step off the bus.
  • Wait for #4 bus to Cocoa. Show your transfer pass to the driver
  • Exit at the 520/Brevard Ave bus stop (Village Plaza) and walk south along Brevard Ave to the village.
  • To return, use the nearby bus stop at Tulip Restaurant on Brevard Ave

Interactive Google Map

(Please click on each icon for photos and more information.)


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Universal Studios – Cruise Shore Trip

Universal Studios Shore Trip

Everything you need to know about visiting Universal Studios as a shore trip from Port Canaveral. It is about 56 miles and should take less than 75 minutes from the Port

Universal Studios -Parking
Universal Studios -Parking (click to enlarge)

Driving Directions to Universal Studios

  1. Exit the Port and head West on FL-528 W for 52.8 miles. It is a toll road – pay $1.00 + $1.00 +$2.25 (change available).
  2. Take exit for I-4 East for Downtown/Orlando. Drive 3.1 miles.
  3. Take exit 75A toward FL-435 South/International Drive
  4. Turn left at the intersection towards City Walk then look for the parking exit on the right.
  5. At the entrance booths, decide if you want standard parking ($20), preferred parking (a bit closer to City Walk – $30) or valet parking.
  6. Once you enter City Walk, keep right for the Universal Studios Florida theme park, or left for Island of Adventure theme park.

Despite the people movers, it is a good 20 minutes of walking from your vehicle, through City Walk with its shops, bars and restaurants to the theme park entrances – and there are 2 security checks (or 3 if you visit both theme parks). Doing it both ways, it is safe to say the entrance/exit procedures alone will take just under an hour. Please keep that in mind if you plan a short day.