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 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 My Disney Cruise on the right and choose My Reservations from the drop down menu. You should see this window next.
These are two of my cruises. One I\’ve already completed online check in; the other is too far out for me to do yet. Start with Online Check In. It will say \”Start\” next to it in blue letters. 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!
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 the blue words Book Now next to Activities. The next screen looks like this:
Any ship-wide activities like Pirate Night celebrations, Sail-Away celebrations, etc will automatically be loaded. To change days, click the arrow on the right or click on the little calendar to the right of the date. To choose activities, click on Add Plans on the top left. Now you simply choose what you\’d like to book for that day!
The drop down menu shows Port Adventures (for days the ship is in port), Adult dining (Palo, Remy), Spa & Fitness, 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). 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 can click print (very top right corner) to print out all of your activities when you\’re finished!
You\’re all finished! Time to make those packing lists and get ready for a fun and relaxing cruise!