11 Things to Do at Your Disney Cruise Online Check-in

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What to do at Disney cruise online check-in

You can book activities and reservations for your Disney Cruise online 75 days prior to sail date (if you’re a first time guest) and you can do the official online “check-in” 30 days before your cruise.

These online check-ins for a Disney Cruise are very important steps in making your cruise as magical as it possibly can be. Get this right and you’ll be off to a great start for your cruise!

For simplicity sake, I will refer to this entire process as online check-in.

I’ve also made an infographic checklist, located at the end of this article.


Here are the 11 most important things to do at the time of your Disney Cruise online check-in.
Follow these steps to make your check-in smooth and easy.


1. Gather This Information One Day Before Check-in

Take some time the day before your Disney Cruise online check-in to gather the following information.

You’re going to need to have it to complete your Disney Cruise online check-in. So it’ll be helpful to have it at-hand.

  • Disney Cruise website login and password
  • Passports for all cruisers
  • Your pre- and post-cruise travel information:
    • Your flights
    • Your hotels or Airbnb you will be staying at before and after your cruise
  • Credit card to add for incidentals and gratuities 
  • File folder or accordion folder (like this) to store all your important cruise documents

2. Be at Your Computer 5-10 Minutes Before Midnight (EST)

Mark your calendar and make sure you are near a computer at midnight (EST) on your online check-in date.  

Note: Remember this is midnight Eastern Standard Time, so if you are in California that is 9:00pm PST the night before your check-in date.  (e.g. Check-in date is July 3rd at midnight EST would be July 2nd 9pm PST)

3. Login to Disney Cruise Site BEFORE Midnight

Go to the Disney Cruise website and login to your account BEFORE  your cruise online check-in opens at midnight (EST).
When midnight strikes, do the following:

  1. Hover over “My Disney Cruise” tab on the right side of the page
  2. Then click on “My Online Check-in”
  3. Now just follow the steps. If you don’t have all your travel information (passports, flights or hotels) at the time of check-in, that’s okay too. You can add it at a later date.   


4. Select the Earliest Possible Port Arrival Time

You can choose your Port Arrival Time. This is the time you should arrive at the terminal port. You’ll go through security, drop off your luggage, and physically check-in for your cruise.

This is the number one thing you can do to ensure you’ll get on the ship as early as possible. Why do you want to be on the ship earlier? To beat the crowds! You and the kids will have the water slides and pools to yourself for awhile. You can get to Guest Services before anyone else. You’ll enjoy exploring the ship with no crowds.

5. Print Your Contract Signature Form

Print it and put it in your Disney folder. You need to take this with you on the cruise.  
Tip: I like to use this for all my important documents such as these signature forms, passports, flight itineraries, cruise document booklet etc.  

6. Print Parental Debarkation Authorization Form (if needed)

Disney Cruise Line uses a security system that prohibits children under the age of 18 from getting on/off the ship unless accompanied by an adult in the same stateroom. The Parental Debarkation Authorization form allows you to list all adults that you think might possibly take your child off the ship (e.g. grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings over 18, family friends). Print it and put in your Disney folder. You can turn it in at physical check-in on your day of sailing.

7. Book Character Meet and Greets

Now go to the “On Board Fun” section and reserve your spot at the Princess Gathering and the Frozen Meet ‘n Greet. These character greetings are free to attend, but you must have a ticket. You’ll meet Disney princesses like Belle, Cinderella, Tiana, and Ariel at the Princess Gathering. At Frozen Meet ‘n Greet, you come face to face with Elsa and Anna. These tickets sell out quickly, so if you’re on the fence, just do it. You can always cancel later.

Also, if you are unable to reserve a ticket at a time you prefer, don’t fret. Disney Cruise Line holds some tickets in reserve to give out once you are on the ship. (These will go fast, so make a visit to Guest Services immediately once you board.)


8. Book the Special Character Breakfast (if applicable)

Disney Cruise Online Check-in Reserve Character BreakfastFor cruises that are 7 days or more, you’ll likely have the option to attend a free breakfast with some beloved Disney characters. In the “On Board Fun” section, see what is available to you. Tickets go fast and you must have a ticket. Just like with other Character Meet and Greets, I suggest you book it, even if you’re not sure you want to do it. Cancel later if you decide not to attend.

9. Get Palo Reservations (and any other premium dining reservations)

Palo is a premium dining experience on-board every Disney Cruise ship. An additional fee per person is charged and only adults 18 and over are allowed. The food is incredible and the experience is worth it, but seating is limited.  I recommend securing a reservation just before sunset (after dark, you don’t see much) because the seascape and sunset is spectacular.

10. Book Excursions

If you would like you can also start booking your excursions now. Disney will list available Port Adventures and you can secure your spot at online check-in.

11. Reserve Your Spot at It’s a Small World Nursery

Kids ages 3 and under are both cared for and entertained by Disney counselors at the It’s a Small World Nursery. Naps, games, crafts, and movies are all part of the nursery activities. 

Unlike the other clubs, an additional fee applies for the nursery. Currently rates are $9 per hour for the first child, $8 per hour for any additional children in your family. Reservations are required, but you may cancel without penalty up to four hours before your reservation. So you might as well lock up your Nursery times early. 

Here are some times that makes sense to have a nursery reservation:

  • During the nightly shows. If you think your little one might be fussy, just get a reservation so you don’t miss the show.
  • Palo or Remy reservations. No kids allowed in these premium dining experience.
  • Spa treatments. This should be obvious.
  • A day at sea to yourself. How about scheduling some “downtime” just for you?
  • Castaway Cay. Sometimes the little one doesn’t enjoy the sand and sun as much as you do.


You’re putting so much time, planning, and money into your Disney Cruise vacation that it just makes sense to master this really important step of your Disney cruise online check-in. By following each of the 11 steps listed above,  you will be way ahead in your planning for your Disney Cruise.

You’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you are organized, proactive, and well on your way to the perfect cruise.
How it feels to dominate your disney cruise online check-in


Below, you’ll find my infographic checklist to print to have by your side on the day of your Disney Cruise online check-in.

If that’s a long ways out, I suggest you add it to your Pinterest board for later (you do have a Disney Cruise board on Pinterest, don’t you??)

Disney Cruise Online Check-in Checklist Infographic

Here I am at one of my favorite places: Castaway Cay
Hi there! My name is Alisha,  founder of Picture the Magic. Disney vacations, especially Disney Cruises, are my favorite things. I enjoy writing for Disney-philes like myself to help them get more magic from every Disney vacation. I enjoy sharing some of the tricks, tips, and secrets I’ve learned over the years. Feel free to contact me directly, I love hearing from you 🙂

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Since the restart, everyone does online check-in 30 days prior to their sail date