10 Ways the Online Check-In Process Has Changed for Disney Cruise Line

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Cruising is back!  After two Royal Caribbean cruises, I returned from a four night on the Disney Dream recently!  Oh, how I’ve missed being on a Disney cruise ship.  Do you think people could tell I was weeping behind my mask?  Probably so, dang it!

The online check-in process has changed since my last online check-in blog post during pre-Covid times, so I thought it may be helpful to share what the process is like now.  The following applies to all sailings out of Port Canaveral.

1. Check-in is at 30 Days – Online check-in begins 30 days before your trip, for everyone! Online check-in availability used to open in staggered windows of 120, 105, 90, and 75 days before sailing based on how many times you had sailed with Disney before, or whether or not you were sailing concierge. Now, everyone can check in online at midnight 30 days before the sailing!  Excursion and activity bookings still open in the staggered windows; online check-in is the only change.

2. Everyone Picks Port Arrival Times – All non-concierge guests must pick a port arrival time at the end of the online check in process! Platinum Castaway Club Members (those who have sailed with Disney more than 10 times in the past), did not used to have to pick an arrival time. Now they must also select a time.

3. Port Arrival Times are Enforced – The port used to open around 10:30, and no matter what port arrival time you picked, if the terminal wasn’t at capacity, you were usually allowed inside. Now, the earliest port arrival time is 11:00, and if you show up earlier than the time you selected, you will be turned away and asked to return when it’s your time. Disney is serious about spreading guests out!

4. There is a Second Website Page to Complete – Currently, in addition to completing the online check-in process at DisneyCruise.com, there is another VERY important step. You must also go to DCL.SafePassage.com, and complete the information there. After you create an account, and link your reservation, everyone age 12 and over will need to submit a picture and details from their Vaccination card, and children under 12 will submit a negative PCR test taken between 3 days and 24 hours of sailing.  You can find your own independent tests, or order home tests for that PCR test for $98 per test if you choose to.  Once you have completed the steps, they will be reviewed, and you will get a “Cleared to Sail” green message.  You need to repeat this for every single guest on your reservation.  The Safe Passage website does not always make a clear distinction between who is cleared to sail and who is not, so make sure every single person in your group has completed it and received the clear.

5. You Will Upload Your Own Security Photo – Disney used to snap a quick photo of each guest at check-in to use for on-ship security checks like boarding and disembarking at ports of call, but now you can take your own! Have a clear selfie (shoulders and head, straight on) ready to upload for each guest.

6. You Will Upload a Picture of Your Citizenship Document – In the past, Disney would ask whether you were traveling with a passport, or other proof of citizenship like a birth certificate (for cruises starting and stopping at the same US port), and ask you to enter the passport information if applicable. Now Disney asks you to take a clear picture of your document, and someone manually reviews it before you arrive. You still need to bring it with you as well!

7. You Will Actually Need Your Port Arrival Form – In the past there was a cruise contract to sign, and an arrival form to print, but I was rarely, if ever, asked for it. The new port arrival form includes QR codes that you need to show to even be admitted into the terminal. I’m positive they have procedures in place if you forget them, but to speed things up, definitely bring either a printed or digital version.

8. The Port Arrival Form Shows Your Muster Station and Boarding Group Number – In the past, you were given your boarding group number after you arrived and checked in at the port, and your muster station was on your Key to the World card and the back of your stateroom door. This new port arrival form actually shows your boarding group number and muster station.

9. You Will Also Need Your QR Code from Safe Passage – Once you have completed the Safe Passage information and it has been approved, you will get a QR code to print or save digitally. It’s your proof that you are cleared to board. Bring your physical proof (vaccine card or test results for children) as well!

10. The Online Check-In Will Show as Pending After Completed – When you completed check-in in the past, you were done and ready. Now you need to wait for the document upload review, and the Safe Passage verification review. The Safe Passage verification is usually pretty quick, within 24 hours.  The online check-in, however, showed as pending until about 3 days before we sailed.  Don’t worry if yours does the same; it’s normal.  If you uploaded anything incorrectly, they will ask you to try again.  If the Safe Passage doesn’t clear, bring everything you need to the port.

It’s unknown how long this new process will stay in effect, or whether or not it will be tweaked, but this is how it is currently working.  Do you have any questions?  Ask them below!

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Tammy Whiting

Tammy has been a lover of all things Disney for most of her life. There’s nowhere on this Earth she’d rather be than on a Disney cruise with her family. She’s a Space Force wife and proud mom of two wonderful children and one beautiful daughter-in-law . She fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2008 and became a travel agent specializing in Disney vacations. She now owns her own travel agency - Storybook Destinations. You can reach Tammy at Tammy@StorybookDestinations.com.

40 thoughts on “10 Ways the Online Check-In Process Has Changed for Disney Cruise Line

  • November 5, 2021 at 1:08 am
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    I was told ~24 hours before the cruise that one of my childrens passport information did not match (it did). I tired to resubmit everything but the site is not working right and everything is jammed up and I dont have a checkin. Cruise is setting sail in ~24 hours.

    If I dont have my checkin complete, can I still get on the boat? What options do I have.

    The sites (Disney as the safe passage) are very error prone and don’t work well. Its hard and stressful when you are trying to do everything right but the website doesnt work well, or you dont get informed that something wasn’t right that was submitted weeks ago.

    Reply
    • November 5, 2021 at 10:00 am
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      Hi Claire! This new system has been a bear at times. You absolutely can still get onboard. They will fix it at the port!

      Reply
      • June 17, 2022 at 1:10 am
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        Thank you for the link, Tammy. I read through that requirement list but I am still a bit confused. There’s the section about Legal US residents, which is what I am amd say the Permanent card is good, and the section for “Citizens off all other countries” that requires a passport and I am also a citizen of another country.
        My daughter and I will be on the vlose loop 3 night Bahamian cruise from Port Canaveral.

      • June 17, 2022 at 10:38 am
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        It sounds like you will be okay with the permanent card, that should be the overriding factor! But I do encourage you to contact Disney to get the official word! 🙂

      • July 3, 2022 at 4:08 pm
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        Hi Tammy, do you know approx what time boarding group 31 is?

      • July 3, 2022 at 6:22 pm
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        Hmm. That’s hard to guess. There are usually 40 boarding groups, so that’s toward the end. They tend to be in open by 1:00 at the latest, so I would think you’d be on by 12:30?

  • November 5, 2021 at 9:55 pm
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    Do you have to upload a photo to check in or can you opt to have it taken at the port? Also, a copy of birth certificate and drivers license needs to be uploaded in lieu of a passport? Thank you for this very helpful information!

    Reply
    • November 6, 2021 at 9:34 am
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      You should try, but if it doesn’t work, they will take one at the port! And yes, if you don’t upload a passport for a closed loop cruise, you can upload the other documentation! 🙂

      Reply
  • November 12, 2021 at 4:37 pm
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    This was a very helpful post!!!!! I’m linking it in my notes for our cruise in January. One small question- is the 12AM online 30 day check in in EST? Also is there a post or input on how to get to the port precisely on time now that we have too. I was thinking lyft from a nearby hotel would be best, but it is a bit of a stressor for us.

    Reply
    • November 16, 2021 at 7:14 pm
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      I’m glad it helped, Kathleen! It is EST. Lyft works, as do hotel shuttles. The hotel shuttle drivers know not to take anyone too early!

      Reply
  • January 6, 2022 at 9:31 am
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    HI! I have a person in my travel party that is very reluctant to upload her entire passport. I see in the online check-in description it shows “save time” and upload. Below that is where its requiring to enter the passport # and other info. Is the upload of the passport a requirement or can she just fill in the info? Would online check in be pending or would it be listed as incomplete?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  • January 7, 2022 at 1:32 am
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    I tried to log in and realized my passport expires in July just 11 days shy of the 6 months. We are going to the Bahamas where the expiration is 3 months. If I call will this be ok? And how do I online check in if it won’t accept my expiration date?

    Reply
  • March 29, 2022 at 2:25 pm
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    Is the Safe Passage submission at the same time as Check In ( 30 days)?

    Reply
  • April 13, 2022 at 12:16 am
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    Does your passport photo need to include the signature page or just the page with your photo and all the pertinent info?

    Reply
    • April 13, 2022 at 12:56 pm
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      Just the page with your photo and pertinent info! I’ll check again tonight during online check-in, and if that has changed, I’ll let you know!

      Reply
      • April 13, 2022 at 10:18 pm
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        Thank you!! Our online check-in is Friday night so please do let me know if that has changed!

      • April 14, 2022 at 9:21 am
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        It has not! Just the bottom half of that page, not the signature side! 🙂

  • April 14, 2022 at 9:44 am
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    Awesome, thanks so much for the info!

    Reply
      • June 19, 2022 at 9:35 pm
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        Tammy,
        I have a question regarding online check-in. My date is August 2. Does that mean I check in at midnight August 2 or do I wait till the end of the day on August 2 – midnight (which is really August 3)?
        I vaguely remember having an issue with this in the past.
        Thanks for your help.

  • April 22, 2022 at 10:45 am
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    Are you required to provide all the requested information in order to get your port arrival time or can you up upload some and do the rest at a later time and still select the port arrival time?

    Reply
    • April 22, 2022 at 6:34 pm
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      You do have to provide all of the requested information, but it does not have to be approved yet! Approval will say pending for a while.

      Reply
  • June 8, 2022 at 9:58 pm
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    Is it ok to land 11 am and then go to the cruise terminal?

    Reply
    • June 9, 2022 at 8:08 am
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      It is! But it would be so much better to fly in the day before. If your flight is delayed, you have no wiggle room!

      Reply
  • June 12, 2022 at 12:35 pm
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    How do you choose a checkin time if you are taking Disney cruise line transportation to Port Canaveral?

    Reply
    • June 12, 2022 at 8:03 pm
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      It may not even ask you to choose one, but if it does, choose the earliest time they offer. Ultimately it won’t matter, you will arrive when Disney gets you there!

      Reply
  • June 14, 2022 at 12:08 pm
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    With the change to the Covid testing policy going into effect on June 7, has the arrival time strictness been relaxed, or are they still pretty strict on when you arrive? This would be for Miami. Thanks!

    Reply
    • June 14, 2022 at 6:12 pm
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      Yes and no. They definitely don’t seem to be quite as strict lately! But it’s hard to predict from day to day!

      Reply
  • June 16, 2022 at 9:19 pm
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    Hello, I have read in one of the posts that birth certificate and license will work in lieu of a passport. Is a permanent resident card and state ID in lieu of a passport acceptable for one who is not a citizen? My passport is in process of being renewed but it will not make it in time of the cruise on July 6.

    Reply
  • July 25, 2022 at 12:05 pm
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    Can I enter my documents/photo prior to my check in window opening? Thanks.

    Reply
  • August 8, 2022 at 7:49 pm
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    Hi! This is one of the best articles for check-in that I’ve read. One question I received an email that I can check-in but I thought my cruise had to be paid in full. I did try to check-in and was not able. I’m so confused.

    Reply
    • August 9, 2022 at 11:10 am
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      Thanks, Belle! A lot of those emails went out by mistake over the last few days. You still have to wait until 30 days before you sail to check in!

      Reply
      • August 9, 2022 at 3:11 pm
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        Thank you so much!

  • October 18, 2022 at 10:06 pm
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    Howdy,

    This is our first cruise and I’m curious since we booked last week, mid October and our cruise is January 9th, will all the port excursions be booked already?

    Reply
    • October 23, 2022 at 8:47 pm
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      They won’t! Some of the most popular things may be, but there should still be lots to choose from.

      Reply

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