Trip Log Day 0: 7-Night Mediterranean Cruise on Disney Magic – Travel Day – Orlando to Barcelona

Trip log, day zero. MCO>JFK>CDG>BCN
7-Night Mediterranean Cruise
June 1, 2018

Our latest adventure started out at MCO, where we took advantage of Central Florida’s most coveted Fastpass, TSA Pre Check. It was fantastic and made the time and effort to get Global Entry worth it to avoid the standby line. It was less than 5 minutes to go from dropping off our luggage to boarding the tram. The bummer was the pre-check did not carry over to our international flight at JFK where we were stuck in the regular line, but were given the pre-check stamp allowing us to keep our shoes on through security. 

Emily did an amazing job at finding a great deal on flights to Barcelona. It did require some multiple flights, but the savings is so worth the effort and stress of getting to the next gate for a connecting flight. By the way, what is the deal with JFK? The signage is the worst. Paris (CDG) and Barcelona (BCN) have amazing signage in multiple languages making it easy to navigate the terminals. JFK on the other hand was more of an escape room experience. First, we had to attempt to find how to exit terminal 2 and then get to terminal 1. There may be a better way than walking down what seemed to be a loading ramp outside, but we were not alone in our trek to terminal as we were on the same flight as someone heading to the media event at Disneyland Paris.

There is nothing more satisfying than arriving at the gate for a transatlantic flight during final boarding. One thing I enjoy about really long flights is the ability to catch up on movies. While most people in my line of sight were watching Black Panther or Thor Ragnarok I took the opportunity to watch 12 Strong which if we are playing six degrees of Kevin Bacon is a combination of Thor and Ant-Man.

Isabelle has Paris on her bucket list and we’ve talked about waiting until the Marvel hotel opens at Disneyland Paris then planning a trip. Thankfully, we were one of the first flights into Paris that morning so there was no wait to at the border passport check. We had just enough of a layover at CDG to get a croissant and board our final flight to Barcelona.

AirFrance Paris CDG Isabelle

We arrived in Barcelona, retrieved our luggage, and breathed a sigh of relief seeing that all of our bags arrived. There were plenty of taxis waiting outside the airport and we were off to our hotel. We were making great time until we encountered some morning traffic to the likes of I-4 in Orlando. Regardless, it was still under 30 minutes from the airport to our hotel, the Eurostars Marina Grand, which deserves a standalone review. 

Christopher Columbus Monument

We checked in between 10-11 am, but our room would not be ready until closer to 3PM. We knew this but we wanted to drop off our luggage so we could walk around Barcelona. 

Barcelona Art

The weather was fantastic and great for walking around. Truth be told, we didn’t really have a plan of attack other than finding a specific restaurant which was recommended by a close friend. The tapas were great and hit the spot. Not to mention, the wine by the glass prices are less than most non-alcoholic fountain drinks at restaurants in the States.

Ciutat Comtal Tapas

After lunch, we headed back out on our walking tour. We stumbled upon the Barcelona Disney store with some unique items. The store was two stories with the second floor dedicated to the Princesses. 

Disney Store BarcelonaDisney Store Barcelona Princess Room Simply Basic Barcelona Shopping

We continued on and arrived at the amazing Cathedral. The line to enter was fairly long and with the long travel day catching up to us, we opted to skip the inside tour.

Barcelona Cathedral Barcelona Cathedral

While walking around the building, we noticed the a wine shop which was perfect for stocking up on our allotment of wine to bring aboard the Magic.

Vins I Caves La Cathedral Barcelona

Barcelona Fountains

We enjoyed some more sights in Barcelona as we made our way back to the Grand Marina around 4pm. The hotel had a pool on the top floor, but it was not heated & ended up being way too cold & windy. Isabelle put her feet in and declared it was freezing and we headed down to the lobby area to get our welcome drinks and some more tapas. I never really comprehended tapas when they have been offered back home, but after a day in Barcelona, I love the concept.

We returned to the room and debated whether or not to head back out, but I hit the wall. As much as I wanted to go back out and experience more of what Barcelona had to offer, I was running on fumes. I decided to sit down on the couch and check out what was on TV… Shortly after, Emily woke me up and suggested I should just go to bed.

Sure it was only 5PM, but we all got a solid 10-12 hours of much needed sleep.

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16 Replies to “Trip Log Day 0: 7-Night Mediterranean Cruise on Disney Magic – Travel Day – Orlando to Barcelona”

  1. Lynda Carswell

    Scott, do yourself a huge favor, apply for a Global Entry card. $100 for 5 years, speeds you through most US customs locations (but not Canaveral), and gats you TSApre. Even if you only make use of the Global Entry once a year, you’ll be happy that you spent the money. Friday May 26, we spent less than 2 minutes in line to clearUS customs to get on our cruise to Alaska. The regular line looked to be about an hour long.

    1. Keith

      Pretty sure he has it already since he said: “It was fantastic and made the time and effort to get Global Entry worth it to avoid the standby line”

      That said – for those who don’t want to go through the hassle and expense of global entry make sure you download the customs App on your phone. You go through a special line and thanks to how few people use the app it is always almost empty. It is free and only takes about 15 minutes to set up. It works at most large international airports.

    2. Rick Dougherty

      There are some credit cards out there (BoA Premium Rewards and Chase United Explorer are two that I have) which while have a $95 annual fee will pay the $100 Global Entry charge.

  2. Keith

    Scott – enjoy the cruise. I can’t wait to follow along with your adventures.
    I’ve been to Naples a number of times thanks to the Navy and always love my visits. I’m not sure what port adventure you selected but if you are going on your own I highly recommend Sorrento or Herculaneum. Herculaneum was buried in the same eruption as Pompeii but they have done a much better job of preserving the ruins rather then taking out all the best parts and shipping them to Museums. If you aren’t on the guided tour you can hire your own guide at the ticket office for cash. Just make sure they have the badge that shows they are an authorized travel guide. It is definitely worth it to get a guide.
    Sorrento is a great place to walk around and do some shopping. If you decide to head down to the water level make sure you sit on the deck at Leonelli’s for a drink and a snack. The prices are great — especially for Sorrento — and the food is amazing.
    If you stay in Naples the Archaeological Museum isn’t too bad of a walk from the port or you can take a taxi — just make sure you set the price of the taxi ride before you get in and go because in Naples the meter is always “broken”. The Tunnel tour is also great – Napoli Sotterranea is $10EURO per person, cash only.
    For food in Naples it is a bit touristy but I love Gusto and Gusto. It is about a 25 minute walk from the port. Come out of the port and turn left, follow the road until you get to the Mickey carnival area (definitely not authorized Disney) and traffic tunnel. Turn left and continue to follow the road around as it follows the water. Eventually you will see another castle – the restaurants are just passed the castle. Gusto and Gusto is the second one, the waiters are in bright orange aprons. Ask for an english menu – make sure you get the Bufalina pizza. To finish off your meal ask for a cafe sambuca – it is a shot of esspresso with sambuca (tastes like licorice) liquor added and is only $1.50Euro per cup!! For wine I recommend the Moio 57. It is only $21EURO per bottle — or at least it was when I was there two weeks ago — it may be more now that it is tourist season ;).
    Regardless of what you are going to do – enjoy Naples!

  3. Craig

    We’re on this cruise next week! We head for Barcelona on Wednesday. Will be following the trip log anxiously.

  4. MJ

    Last year we stayed at Hotel U232 and it was great. While walking around we found the other Disney Store in Barcelona…it was about 3/4 of a mile from our hotel. A welcome surprise!! We loved Barcelona. We spent five days and can’t wait to go back!!

  5. lisa huschke

    As always, thanks for your thorough and fun cruise review. We’re cruising out of Barcelona next spring (non-DCL!) Can I assume you recommend the Eurostars Grand Marina for a pre-cruise stay? Any tips on booking…room preference, discount codes, etc? Thanks! 🙂


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