Everything You Need to Know about DCL Express Walk-Off

by on June 17, 2014 7 Comments

Filed under: Disney Cruise Line

t_logo_fbExpress Walk-Off is a program Disney Cruise Line uses on debarkation day to help people with early flights or anyone who doesn’t want to wait around to leave the ship when it’s cleared by customs. As a frequent cruiser, I prefer to take advantage of Express Walk-Off whenever I can.

To understand DCL Express Walk-Off, it helps to remember how the normal debarkation works. On the final night of the cruise, guests who aren’t using Express Walk-Off leave their packed luggage in the hall by 10PM for the stateroom attendants to put in the luggage hold for transport off the ship in the morning. Guests keep with them a carry-on for any valuables, something to sleep in, and a change of clothes for the next morning. The usual caveats apply when packing the bag you’ll leave out. Don’t put anything in there you wouldn’t put in a bag you’re checking on the airlines – no medicine, no travel documents, no valuables like laptops, cameras, or jewelry.

Mickey Atrium Statue on the Magic

Saying goodbye to Mickey is never fun.

The next morning, those guests bring the carry-ons down and eat breakfast in the same restaurants they were assigned dinner in the previous night. After breakfast, they wait for their luggage group to be called and exit the ship. The breakfast times are at 7 or 7:15 AM for those who had early dinner seating and 8:15 or 8:30 AM for those who had late seating.

Now that the refresher is out of the way, let’s look at Express Walk-Off.

Guests using Express Walk-Off keep all their bags in their cabin the on the final night. (It’s a nice gesture to let your stateroom attendant know you’re dong this so he or she isn’t waiting around for a bag that’s not going to show up.) In the morning, they dress, finish any last minute packing, and bring all their bags to the deck where they will be debarking (3 or 4 depending on the port/ship). Disney asks that guests using this service by ready to exit the ship by 7 AM. When the ship has cleared customs, an announcement is made, and guests grab their bags and leave the ship.

Here are some questions you may have about Express Walk-Off

Q. Will I be able to eat breakfast or grab coffee in the morning if I don’t eat in my assigned restaurant with the guests using the regular procedure?
A. Yes! Cabanas and the Cove Cafe will be open before 7AM for you. This isn’t listed on the Personal Navigators.

Q. Will I be able to make any last-minute purchases in the morning?
A. Only at Shutters for photo packages.

Q. Can I get help with my bags?
A. No, you must be able to carry all your bags by yourself in one trip. For this reason, families with small children may not be able to do Express Walk-Off.

Q. Will we leave at exactly 7AM?
A. It’s up to US Customs to clear the ship, not Disney. On my last cruise it was more like 7:15 when the announcement was made.

Q. Should I get to the debarkation deck early?
A. People do start queuing up and the elevators do start to fill. Earlier is better.

Q. Can I use Express Walk-Off if I’m taking Disney transportation to a Disney resort or to Orlando International Airport?
A. You’ll be waiting for the other guests from the first breakfast before any of the buses leave. You will be able to put your luggage in the storage compartment of the bus like everyone else. If you chose onboard airline check-in, you’ll receive an information packet the last night of the cruise.

Q. Do I have to leave right when the ship is cleared?
A. No, Express Walk-Off guests can leave the ship any time. All guests must be out of their cabins by 8 AM and off the ship by 9:15 AM.

Why I Prefer Express Walk-Off

  1. I find the scheduled breakfasts very hectic on the last morning of the cruise.
  2. As someone who usually drives to the port, I enjoy being in my car and on my way home (or to Walt Disney World) before the later seating has even started breakfast.
  3. I love that last quiet coffee at the Cove.
  4. Express Walk-Off validates my decision to pack as lightly as possible for my trip.
  5. I often eat at Palo or Remy on my last night and that makes it really difficult to get my bag out in the hall by 10 PM. I’m usually still at dinner then.

So there you go, all about Express Walk-Off. I’m sure I forgot to mention all kinds of details. so please ask questions in the comments. Are you a fan of Express Walk-Off or do you prefer to stay onboard until the very last minute you can? Talk about it in the comments.

Posted on June 17, 2014

7 Responses to “Everything You Need to Know about DCL Express Walk-Off”

  • Thank you for this very helpful article! First time cruiser this coming fall and I found the details (not to mention the subject) to be incredibly helpful and insightful. I had no idea this was an option – it sounds like something to consider for sure!

  • When do you arrange for Express Walk-off? Prior to sailing, or once onboard?

  • We used express walk off for our last cruise and it was great! We arrived around 6:30 and we were off by 7:15. Good recommendation!

  • I love Express Walk-Off! Traveling with two young kids and having the late seating for dinner, I knew there was no way I could get everything together to have my luggage out the night before. We just got up early on the last day, and I went to Cabanas where I loaded up a plate with pastries. I brought the food back to our stateroom for my kids to munch on while we finished getting ready and packing up. We were off the boat first thing pulling our own luggage and arrived at the Magic Kingdom by rope drop. It was super easy and convenient!

  • This can be an extremely helpful option if you have private transportation and an early flight out of MCO. Disney suggests that you don’t schedule departure flights prior to noon, but if you are up early and organized, you can push this to 11:00 or even 10:30 and probably be OK.