by Tammy Whiting on August 19, 2015
You’re going on a Disney Cruise! Woohoo! I am often asked what you need to do to get ready for your cruise. Well one of the big things is your online check-in! Checking in online is important for a few reasons. It will save you time at the port once you arrive, it gives you a chance to make sure all of your information is in the system correctly so there won’t be any problems when you arrive, it’s a chance to address any special needs you may have, and you’ll get to pick an arrival time at the port!
Online check-in opens on different dates depending on your Castaway Club level and the category you are sailing in. If you are a Platinum level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 10 times, or if you are sailing concierge, you can check-in online at midnight, 120 days before you sail. If you are a Gold level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 5 times, you can check-in online 105 days before you sail. If you’ve sailed at least once you are a Silver level Castaway Club member and can check in online 90 days before sailing. Everyone else can check in 75 days before you sail. It will be available online until 4 days before you sail.
Pro-tip – You do NOT have to be paid in full to check in online. In order to book excursions, adult restaurants, etc. when your booking window opens, you must be paid in full. That is not the case for checking-in online. You can do that at midnight when your booking window opens, regardless of whether you are paid in full.
Here is a step by step description of online check-in, so you will know exactly what to expect!
1. Retrieve Reservation – Your very first step will be going to DisneyCruise.com and retrieving your reservation. At the top of the screen on the far right, you will see a tab called Planning Center. Hover over it with your mouse and you will see My Reservations. Click on it. You can click on the Online Check-In as well to login and retrieve your reservation, but if you click on My Reservations you can do it all on the same screen.
I highly recommend logging in to DisneyCruise.com at least a few days before your online check-in window opens to make sure your account is set up. If you don’t regularly login to a Disney.com account, it can take a few phone calls to tech support before you remember the login information your child created years ago when they were playing games on Disney.com and is now hindering your ability to create a new account. When that’s all set, enter your Disney.com login information, reservation number, and birth date for someone in your stateroom.
Voila! Logged in! Click on Begin Check-in in the My Online Check-In box.
2. Watch Video or Proceed Ahead – Disney has a cute little 90-second video about online check-in. You may not want to spend time watching it now because it doesn’t give you any information you have to have to check-in, but it’s worth watching at some point. For now, I’d click the Begin Check-In link and proceed onward.
3. Guest Information – You’ll see a series of boxes here, the first of which is Guest information. Click on Enter Info.
This is your basic contact and emergency contact information screen. Don’t worry, Disney isn’t going to show up at your front door, but this is the address they may send a “Thank you for sailing with us” memento when you get home. So do make sure it’s correct! If everyone else in your stateroom has the same information, just click next to their name. If not, enter their information below.
Click Save and then Continue after both are complete.
4. Identification – If you’ve sailed before, you may notice the Identification box is already complete! Disney’s smart like that.
In this section you will need to enter the proof of citizenship information that you plan to use to check-in at the port. If it will be a passport, select passport and enter that information.
If you are on a closed loop cruise and are planning on traveling with a birth certificate and government issued photo ID, select Photo & Government ID and read the information there.
When finished, click Save and Continue.
5. Pre/Post Cruise Information – Next, Disney is looking for your plans before and after the cruise.
If you are flying, they want your flight information. All segments.
Next you’ll enter post cruise information.
First, select where you are going. Are you going to a Disney Resort, another hotel or address, the airport or even another cruise (lucky!).
If you are going to a Disney Resort, you’ll select which one next.
If you are going to another hotel or address, they want that next. You can autofill your home address.
If you are going to the airport, you’ll enter your flight information. You only need the first segment this time.
If you are going on another Disney cruise, you’ll enter that information next.
Disney would also like to know how you are getting to that next destination. Disney transfers, car parked at the terminal, private transfers, or a rental car. If you choose the rental car option, you’ll be asked to enter which rental car company. If you added Disney transfers recently (or haven’t added them yet) you will not be able to select that option. Select private transfers and don’t worry about it. If you’ve booked them, Disney will have you in the system.
Click Save and Continue.
6. Onboard Account – How are you going to pay for everything onboard! That’s important of course. You can pick cash or card! If you select cash/other, the rules will be displayed.
If you choose credit card, you’ll enter the credit card info.
You’ll also choose which guests in your stateroom you are financially responsible for. If you want different guests to have different payment methods or credit cards assigned to them, you can do that. If you don’t want your kids to be able to charge things to their Key to the World card, you can remove their charging privileges.
If you’d like to put a gift card on your onboard account, you can either call it in ahead of time as an onboard credit, or go to guest services after boarding and have it applied.
You’ll also be asked to assume responsibility for the Wave Phones in your room.
7. Port Arrival Time – The part of online check-in that we’ve all been waiting for! Picking a port arrival time! As I explained in my last blog post, that is different from your boarding time. They are related though, so you’ll want to pick the time that best fits your plans.
If you are sailing concierge or a Platinum Castaway Club member, you won’t pick an arrival time.
Everyone else will pick an arrival time in 15 minute windows from 10:30-3:15. Those times could change slightly at other ports, but they’re usually correct.
8. Review Contract – Are you exhausted yet? It really doesn’t take as long as this may seem! One of the final steps is reviewing the cruise contract. I will leave that up to you how detailed your reviewing will be. Either way, you must agree in order to cruise.
9. Print Signature Form – Next you will print a signature form! Your signature form is both written confirmation that you agreed to the contract, and verifying your payment information for your onboard account.
No worries, if you don’t have a printer available, you can print later–and, if you forget your signature form, Disney will have some at the port.
10. Special Forms –Finally! The last step! At this point you are officially checked-in, but if you have any special needs, there are some extra forms for you to make sure those needs are met.
The Special Services Form is for medical conditions, mobility issues, service animals, hearing and visual impairment issues, and allergies. This form should be filled out and submitted 60 days prior to sailing. The Parental Debarkation Authorization Form is a way for parents to give permission for their children to disembark at a port without them. If you’re wondering when on earth that would happen, it may! If your child is actually booked in the grandparent’s room but the grandparents won’t be getting off, you’ll want to fill this out. Or maybe the grandparent’s want to take the kids off while you stay onboard! Maybe you’re getting off early at Castaway Cay day and your teenagers just wants to sleep in. You don’t want to have to go back to the ship and walk off with them, so fill this out! This form should be turned in at guest services onboard. Finally you’ll see the Minor Authorization Form. This form is for children under the age of 18 traveling without their parents or legal guardian and should be signed and brought to the terminal.
That’s it! You’re done! You’re ready to cruise! Well, other than the packing. Don’t worry if anything changes that you have entered, these forms are fully editable. In fact, if you’re trying to make it through quickly to get through to choosing a port arrival time, and you don’t know all of your information yet, enter the default information and come back and edit later.
Do you have any tips for checking-in online? Any questions?