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Disney Cruise Line in a Jiffy: What is a Port Arrival Time?

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When you complete your Disney Cruise Line online check-in, you’ll be asked to choose a Port Arrival Time. Port Arrival Time is exactly what it says – the time you are supposed to arrive at the port. Please note that this NOT the same as the time that you’ll be allowed onto the ship.

When you arrive at the port terminal, you will have a number of steps to complete before you’ll be allowed to enter your vessel. You’ll have to park (if you’ve driven to the port), check your luggage, get your boarding and identification documents checked, and possibly complete other tasks such as registering your child for a youth club or undergo a health check if there were concerns about your pre-boarding questionnaire. After these tasks are completed, you’ll wait in the terminal for your boarding group to be called.

Your Port Arrival Time is not the same as your boarding time.

While your boarding time will be within an hour of your Port Arrival Time in the vast majority of cases, you need to know the difference to help you plan your first day on board. For example, you shouldn’t make a spa appointment at your Port Arrival Time, because you won’t be able to make it. And knowing the difference between Port Arrival Time and Boarding Time can help you plan whether you might need to have snacks on hand for a cranky child.

Disney Cruise Line in a Jiffy is an offshoot of our “Disney in a Minute” posts, “In a Jiffy” posts are bite-sized nuggets of information that can better help you understand a Disney term or planning topic, but here we focus on all thing Disney Cruise Line (DCL). Have a question about a DCL term that is unfamiliar to you? Suggest it here for an upcoming segment.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

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