Yes! You\’re going on a Disney cruise, and your travel agent has given you the date for your online check in. But what is that, and what does it mean? For first time cruisers, sometimes the online check in process can feel overwhelming!
First, why do online check in? It simplifies the process once you are at the port, and it helps you be prepared for the cruise! There are two parts to the process. The first one is simply the online check in where you\’ll enter your emergency contact information, the identification you\’ll be using (passports versus government ID), set up your onboard account, and sign up your children (ages 3-12) for the kids\’ clubs. The second part is where you\’ll choose your Port Adventures, book spa and adult dining reservation times, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations, and more!Your online check in date is tied to your Castaway Club level. If you are Platinum (completed 10 or more sailings) or concierge, you can book at 120 days. Gold can book at 105, Silver at 90, and new cruisers at 75 days. The window opens at midnight EST.
Now you\’re ready to do online check in.
Before your online check in date, you should have already created a Disney account at www.disneycruise.com and linked your reservation. You should also gather any pertinent information–passports, flight information, and your credit card.
Log into your Disney Cruise Line account. Hover over Already Booked on the right and choose Book/Manage Cruise Activities from the drop down menu. You should see this window next.
When your window to book opens, to do online check in, you will have \”Start with Online Check In\” in blue letters underneath My Online Check In on the left. Click on that! Next you\’ll see this screen
Start with Guest Information. Guest information should auto-populate with your information, but make sure it\’s all correct! You must fill out each page in order and click Save and then Continue to get to the next page. Port Arrival Time will not open, for example, until those first four screens are completed! If you\’re missing information that evening (don\’t have flights yet, for example, or your passports haven\’t arrived yet), choose a different option (driving to port, for example) to fill in the information required. You can go back in later and modify anything.
Under Pre/Post Cruise, you\’ll enter information on how you\’re arriving to and departing from the port. This is where you\’ll enter your flight information, rental car information, or mark personal vehicle or private transfers. If you\’ve booked Disney Cruise Line transfers, you won\’t be able to click it, but Disney knows! You\’re in the system!
Youth Activity Registration has been renamed as Traveling with Minors as shown above. It now has many questions in it including allergies, check in/check out privileges and more. Your child must be at least 8 years old to grant check in/check out privileges. With that, he/she may enter and leave the kids\’ clubs without an adult present! If you don\’t want that, make sure you don\’t check that box!
Onboard account is where you\’ll enter the credit card that you want to charge onboard purchases to. You can also mark Cash if you\’re not sure, or if you plan to put cash on your account at Guest Services onboard. You can change this card at the port or even onboard if you need to. I had a credit card stolen the day we boarded the ship and didn\’t get notification until we were already on the ship! I just went to Guest Services and changed the card!
For Port Arrival Time, I always recommend choosing the earliest time showing available.
NOTE: This is NOT your boarding time. This is the time frame during which you may arrive at the port. Really, it\’s a \”do not arrive before\” time. You can arrive any time after your Port Arrival Time, but Disney discourages you from arriving earlier. It can overload the port, and they do have the right to make you stay outside the building until your time window opens! SECOND NOTE: If you are a concierge guest or arriving at the port via Disney Cruise Line transfers, you won\’t choose a Port Arrival Time.
When you complete this, accept the terms of the contract, and then print out your Port Arrival Form. You\’ll want to keep that form somewhere safe and take it with you to the port. (If you forget it, they can reprint it. It\’ll just save some time.)
After you\’ve finished your Online Check In, it\’s time to choose your activities. Back on that main screen again, click on Book Now next to Cruise Activities.
The next screen looks like this:
Any ship-wide activities like Pirate Night celebrations should automatically be loaded. To choose activities, click on Add Activities to the right of each day. Now you simply choose what you\’d like to book for that day!
The drop down menu shows Onboard Fun (beverage seminars/tastings, any character meet & greets that are available, sports simulator times on some ships, studio portrait appointments, and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservations), Port Adventures (for days the ship is in port), Dining (Palo, Remy), and Spa & Fitness, . If you have a nursery aged child, you may also choose the nursery times you\’d like.
You can tweak your activities until four days prior to sailing. The following morning (3 days before sailing), all the information is sent directly to the ships, and you can no longer make any modifications!
You\’re all finished! Time to make those packing lists and get ready for a fun and relaxing cruise!
Susan Burks is a military wife and a homeschooling mom to a 14 year old \”junior Disney expert\”! In addition to many Disney World trips, Susan has done ten Disney cruises, two Disneyland trips, two trips to Aulani (Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii), Disney\’s Vero Beach, and Disney\’s Hilton Head Island! You can contact Susan at email@example.com.