Disney Cruise Line

What to Expect on a Disney Cruise Line Debarkation Day

Share This!

New cruisers are often aware that they should get prepared for sailing on a Disney cruise (embarking), but there is almost as much prep needed to get off a cruise (called disembarking or debarking). Here’s what you need to know.

Tasks to Complete Prior to Debarking

The Disney Cruise Line debarkation process actually starts a day or two before you leave the ship. Here are some things you should consider the day before (or sometimes two days before) your sailing ends.

Read Your Debarkation Instructions The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app includes a section on debarkation. Take a few moments to scan this information a day or two before your cruise ends. Even if you’ve sailed with DCL before, a quick refresher should be on your to-do list – instructions do change periodically. Your stateroom host may also leave supplemental information in your stateroom. Be sure to read this as well.

Check Your Cruise Folio You can view your cruise folio (your bill for onboard charges) on the Navigator app, on your stateroom television, or you may ask for a printout at the Guest Services desk. You should periodically review the folio during your trip so that you may rectify any erroneous charges while you’re on the ship. Lines can be long on the last day of your sailing, so the sooner you can do this, the better.

Buy Your Photo Package If you haven’t already done so, take a minute at the onboard photo kiosks to review your pictures taken during the sailing so you can decide whether to purchase a photo package or individual shots. Once your sailing is over, it’s too late. See our post on Disney Cruise Line photos for more details.

Tip Your Service Crew Disney Cruise Line will automatically charge your account a basic gratuity fee for your stateroom host, dining room servers, assistant server, and head waiter. If you want to add an additional tip, you can do this at Guest Services at any point prior to debarkation, or you’re welcome to give them cash or a gift card before you leave. See our FAQ on DCL tipping for more information.

Check Lost and Found If you’ve mislaid anything during your sailing, stop by Guest Services to inquire about lost & found items. After your cruise, you need to complete an online form via Chargerback.

Return Your Kids’ Club Band The Oceaneer Club/Lab will issue wristbands to young children as means of keeping track of them while they’re in the kids’ clubs. Return this band prior to 11:59 p.m. on the last full day of your cruise or you will be assessed a $12.95 fee per band. (Note: This is not the same as the new DisneyBand+ product.)

Check in for Your Flight If you’re flying home from your disembarkation port, remember to check in for your flight.

Confirm Land Transportation If you’re renting a car at the port, using a limo service, or taking Disney’s bus transportation to the airport or a Disney hotel, confirm your reservations and make sure you understand how your land transportation works. Pro tip: Your Key to the World Card (room key) will have a code on it if you’re using Disney transportation.

Sign Up for a DCL Placeholder If you’re planning to take another Disney Cruise within the next two years, you can save yourself some money on the future cruise by reserving a placeholder before you leave the ship. See the Navigator app onboard for details.

Complete Your Disembarkation Questionnaire DCL asks every party to complete a questionnaire prior to disembarking. See our Questionnaire FAQ for more details.

Check Your Safe Make it a habit to check your room’s safe as you leave on the last day. You don’t want to leave valuables on the ship.

Pack Take a few minutes during the morning of your last full day to do a little pre-packing. Toss any paperwork you won’t be needing later, gather your dirty clothes and put them in your suitcase, pack any shoes you won’t be wearing for the rest of the trip, and corral loose items like children’s toys or wayward hair ties. The last night of your sailing can be hectic with saying goodbye to new friends, watching the last night’s mainstage show, and so on. Putting your luggage out in the evening (see below) will be much less frantic if you’ve done some prep work earlier in the day.

Don’t Take Items from the Ship There are several items in your stateroom that may be enticing to take home with you: the decorative pillow, the cozy throw blanket, and the fabric laundry bag are commonly coveted items. As lovely as they may be, don’t bring them home with you – you will be charged a hefty fee.

The DCL Navigator app includes loads of helpful information.

Feeding Yourself on Debarkation Day

Even though you’re leaving the ship, you’re still entitled to breakfast onboard. These are your options:

Eat in a Dining Room You’ll be assigned to the same dining room you had dinner in on the last night of your cruise. If you’ve had the early dinner seating, you’ll have the earlier breakfast seating (typically 6:45 a.m.). If you’ve had the later dinner seating, you’ll have the later breakfast seating (typically 8:00 a.m.). The menu is abbreviated, but there are hot and cold meals available. If you’re an early riser, aren’t in a rush to get off the ship, like to have a larger morning meal, or want to say one last goodbye to your serving team, then go ahead an have your assigned breakfast.

Eat at the Buffet The pool deck buffet restaurants (Marceline Market on the Wish, Cabanas on all other ships) will be open for breakfast on debarkation morning, typically beginning at about 6:30 a.m. The offerings will be smaller than on other days, but you will have a choice of basic eggs and bacon, pastries, fruit, cereal, and oatmeal. This is a good option if you’re assigned the early seating and want to sleep for a few minutes more or if you just want to grab something quickly.

Just Grab a Coffee Cove Cafe and one or more of the other onboard coffee bars will be open on disembarkation morning. They won’t have much food, if any, but if you just want a coffee to tide you over for a bit, this can be a good option.

Eat Room Service Breakfast This is a bit of trick advice. Actual room service breakfast is only available to Concierge Level guests on disembarkation morning. However, room service is open to all guests until midnight of your last full day. Some guests opt to order Continental breakfast items to be delivered in the evening – that way your food will be right there when you wake up. Make use of the refrigerator in your room for things like milk or butter. And know that many guests find that the coffee in the room service carafe is still hot many hours after delivery.

Whichever option you choose, remember that you are not allowed to bring fruit off the ship with you. (It’s a Customs rule, not a DCL rule.) You can, however, bring packaged items like a small box of cereal with you off the ship.

Also note that you should bring any hand luggage with you to your breakfast destination. You want to clear everything out of your stateroom as early as possible as a courtesy to your stateroom host who has limited time to turn your room over for the next sailing.

The pool deck buffet restaurant will offer a limited breakfast menu on debarkation morning.

Dealing with Your Luggage

There are two ways to deal with your luggage upon disembarkation: Standard Departure or Express Walk Off. During the last evening of your cruise, all guests will routinely be given a set of disembarkation luggage tags depicting a Disney character on a colorful background. If you’re doing Express Walk Off (see below), you can just throw these away or leave them in your stateroom for your host to repurpose. If you’re doing Standard Departure, you should make note of which character and color tag you’ve been given. It never hurts to take a photo or two as a reminder.

Standard Departure

With Standard Departure, you will complete the name/address information on the luggage tag and affix the tags to any luggage that you don’t want to carry off the ship yourself. Be aware that the ship’s elevators and walkways will be CROWDED on debarkation morning. Multiple bags or anything more substantial than a small roll-aboard bag will be unwieldy. Follow the instructions given by your stateroom host and place your tagged luggage in the hall outside your stateroom in the evening (typically from about 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., but always double check the specifics of your sailing).

BE SURE NOT TO PACK ITEMS YOU WILL NEED IN THE MORNING. Keep aside in hand luggage items like your Key To The World Card, electronics, passport and other identification documents, medications, and – this part is important – clothing you plan to wear off the ship in the morning.

On debarkation morning, guests will be called to depart the ship in groups based on their luggage tag character/color. Your group will be assigned based on your departure needs. For example, guests with earlier flights will be allowed off the ship earlier than guests with later flights home. When you group is called, you’ll collect your bags in the terminal, just before you head to customs (see below). Bags are sorted into areas marked by character/color.

Express Walk Off

Express Walk Off is for guests who want to debark the ship as soon as it is cleared by port authorities, typically around 7:30 a.m. at U.S. ports. You may not use Express Walk Off if you’ve tagged your luggage for transportation into the terminal.

To take advantage of this feature, get to the lobby atrium at your sailing’s earliest debarkation time (this will be noted on the Navigator app) with all your belongings in your possession. Have your Key to the World Card and passport (or other ID) in hand and you’ll proceed directly to Customs and back out into the real world.

If you have an early flight home (say, prior to noon for sailings arriving at Port Canaveral with flights from Orlando), you should plan to use Express Walk Off.

If you’re not doing Express Walk Off, you’ll probably want to put your bags outside your room the night before you disembark
With Standard Departure, you’ll collect your bags in the terminal on debarkation morning

Dealing with Transportation

After you disembark, you’ll obviously need to leave the port terminal. If you’ve driven to the port and parked in a nearby garage, just retrieve your car and be on your way.

Other options include an arranged town car or limo, using Disney’s bus transportation to an airport or hotel, renting a car at the terminal, or calling a cab or ride share. You should arrange the first three of these options prior to embarkation and confirm any details with the service. For example, ask the limo service exactly where at the terminal the driver will meet you.

Ubers and cabs can be a great option if you’re arriving at a port in a major metropolitan area (New York or Vancouver), but they may be scarce or expensive at remote ports like Port Canaveral.

Whichever transportation method you select, be aware that all guests must vacate the ship by about 9:30 a.m.

Clearing Customs

The last step in disembarkation is clearing Customs. The procedure is slightly different depending on your debarkation port and your nationality in regard to that port. In all cases, you’ll need to have all your luggage with you, as well as your passport (or other identification paperwork) before proceeding to Customs. If you’ve made significant purchases while traveling, you’ll need to complete a Traveler Entry Form, but this is no longer required of all guests.

If you’re looking for additional advice and planning assistance with any Disney Cruise Line sailing, be sure to check out the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line.

You May Also Like...

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *