Make sure to plan a vacation from planning your vacation (aka Disney Cruise Check-in Logistics)

As I alluded to in a few earlier micro posts, there’s a lot to consider when planning a trip to Disney. It all makes sense once you understand it, it just takes a lot to understand it.

I like logistics. Planning this stuff is morbid fun for me, but I really feel for people who don’t want to watch a ton of YouTube videos and read a bunch of blog posts. I’m not going to go into all the details here, but below is a quick break down of completing check-in for a Disney Cruise. I’m hoping this may help someone navigate this better in the future.

Off the top…

  • There are three check-in periods: Selecting Cruise Activities, Selecting Port Arrival Time, and Port Arrival
  • Each of the three check-in periods have different things you’re registering for
  • Each of the three open at a different time that’s determined on how many Disney cruises you’ve been on or if you’re in a Concierge-level room

Let’s take each of the three check-in periods separately.

Selecting Cruise Activities: opens up 90-123 days before your cruise. I believe it always opens at midnight Eastern no matter where you are. This is where you select things like special dinners on the cruise, paid character interactions, spa appointments, port excursions. Basically anything paid.

Selecting Port Arrival Time: opens up 30-40 days before your cruise. Also (I believe) at midnight Eastern. This is when you’ll complete registration and choose the time your arrive at the port. Here’s a great rundown of everything you’ll do at this time. Also weirdly enough, it’s when you can register for free character interactions.

Port Arrival: this is the time you selected in the previous step to show up the day of the cruise to complete all the paperwork, get your room key, etc.

To be clear, nailing the timing of this is not 100% required. You do need to complete all of these at some point before your cruise, but you only need to do it right when it opens if you care about certain cruise activities or your port arrival time. But think ahead. There’s a wide swath of things that aren’t not possible unless you check in within minutes of opening.

The logistics of this Disney Cruise are next level. There’s three separate registration periods whose opening depends on five distinct tiers based on how many Disney cruises you’ve been on and/or your room type. As you would expect with Disney, it’s all very well organized, it’s just…a lot

I’ve learned more about logistics by planning trips to Disney than I have from any class I’ve ever taken

Julie’s mom wanted to do a family trip for her 75th birthday in April. We needed something easy, kid-friendly, and that could accommodate people without passports. So we booked a Disney Cruise and…

I’m kind of excited! It’s not something I’d ever book myself, but I’m always down for something new.