Wednesday, June 27, 2012

5 Ways to Speed Up the Online Check-in Process For Your Disney Cruise


Online check-in at Walt Disney World and online check-in for your Disney Cruise are two very different things.  At Disney World, some people elect not to use online check-in at all.  In fact, Richard recently wrote a blog for online check-in at Disney World which should help you decide if online check-in at Disney World is right for you.  Online check-in for your Disney Cruise however, is definitely for you.  Obviously, Disney can’t force everyone to do it, since even in this day and age there are still those who avoid the internet like the plague.  I’m looking at you, Grandmom.  But lets face it, if Grandmom is avoiding learning how to use a computer, she’s certainly not reading blogs.  Even mine.  So the vast majority of people will do it, and indeed, should do it.  Among other things, it gives you a chance to make sure your names are spelled correctly, and to double check your birthdates and other travel details. 
Remy Anyone?


Most importantly for you though, if you are not on Disney transfers, at the end of online check-in, you will pick a time you would like to arrive at the port.  If you’re like me and want to be there as early as humanly possible, you’ll want to choose your arrival time as early as possible and as quickly as possible.  Getting onboard early allows you to maximize your time on the ship, snag any restaurant reservations for Palo  and Remy that you weren’t able to get before you boarded, enjoy empty pools, and more.  You’re not the only person who wants to do all those things, so the earliest arrival times always go quickly.  Here are some tips to streamline the process.


1. Create a Disney Cruise Account and Check It – Long before your check-in day, you will want to create an account on DisneyCruise.com.  Once you have, you will be able to log in and see your reservation at any point.  On the main page, Disney gives you a nice little countdown to your cruise and lets you view details like your stateroom number and balance due.  You can also set up a time to have Mickey call you about your cruise!  Wouldn’t your kids love that?  Wouldn’t anyone love that?  After you’ve created an account, click on the “Planning Center”, then “My Reservation” link.  Here you will need your reservation number and birth date to get into your cruise reservation.  Try this out before your online check-in window opens so you can see how it works and be somewhat familiar with it. 


Senses Spa & Salon on the Disney Fantasy
2. Book Excursions and Palo Reservations Beforehand – You can book excursions a few hours before you can check-in online.  If you have never sailed Disney before, your booking window opens 75 days before your cruise.  If you’ve sailed Disney at least once, but less than 5 times, it opens up 90 days before.  If you’ve sailed Disney at least five times but less than 10, your window opens 105 days before, and if you have sailed more than 10 times, or are concierge, your booking window opens up 120 days before you sail.  As long as you are paid in full, you can book excursions, Palo and Remy reservations, nursery reservations, and spa reservations at midnight when your booking window opens.  The easiest way to do this is to let your Kingdom Konsultant agent do it for you, but if you would like to do it yourself, you certainly can.  Palo and Remy reservations, as well as a few very popular excursions go very fast, so you will want to book these as soon as you can (but all is not lost if you are unable to get Palo or Remy reservations in advance—it’s a topic for another blog, but you almost always can get reservations the day you board, assuming you get onboard early enough!).


Maybe you'd like to book a Getaway Package
on Castaway Cay that includes bikes?
3. Log in at 3 - Not 2:59 – Online check-in opens up at 3 in the morning (Eastern time!) on the first day your booking window is open (yes, you read that right, 3:00am).  As long as you are paid in full, on the date you are eligible at 3 in the morning when you log in to your Disney Cruise reservation, you can click the link called “My Online Check-In” on the left side of the screen.  That link takes you to a second page where you can begin your online check-in.  Don’t log in at 2:59, it won’t work.  You must log in at 3 am Eastern time and not a minute earlier.  If you log in too soon, that link will take you to a page that describes online check-in but doesn’t let you actually start it.  In that case, you need to log out and log back in again. 


4. Have Some Information Ready – You will complete several short pages of information during the online check-in process.  The first page asks you to confirm the address for all of the passengers in your stateroom.  It will also ask for the name and phone number for an emergency contact who is not sailing with you.  All guests can share the same contact.  Next, Disney is going to ask you to confirm the official identification each passenger will be using.  Have those ready so you can enter passport numbers or other information.  Disney will then ask for your pre- and post-cruise plans.  If you are flying, you’ll want to have your flight information ready.  It will also ask for a credit card number for your onboard account.  You can choose cash if you would prefer.  Finally, the entire reason you are up at this awful hour – you can pick your port arrival time.  If you’re not sure, pick the earliest time available to give yourself the most flexibility. 

This is your ultimate goal.  Your Gateway to Fun.

5. You Can Edit Later – If you are trying to get the earliest arrival time available, the most important thing to remember is that you can edit.  All information you enter for on-line check in can be updated!  If you’re going through the process and for some reason it won’t accept your flight information, enter whatever it will accept and go back and play with it later.  Can’t remember your emergency contacts phone number?  Make up one and go back and fix it later.  The goal is to get everything completed as quickly as possible so you can pick a good arrival time.  After you’ve got that, then you can go back and correct as needed.


That’s it!  Is it worth getting up early to do it?  Sometimes.  If you’re in the last group of people to be able to book, and your cruise is already full, this is about your only chance of getting the first arrival time.  If you’ve sailed Disney several times before, odds are good that early time will still be there at 6 in the morning because so many people won’t get up early to do it.  Or, so many people thought they would get up early but turned off the alarm the second it started beeping.  If you want to be sure to have the most options available to you, do it.  Get up crazy early.  If you’re more flexible or less obsessive compulsive than me about being onboard first, then just wait until you wake up the next morning.  There will still be times available.  Maybe not the times you want, but I can guarantee there WILL be times available. 


Do you have any tips to help online check-in go faster?  Did you encounter any problems that slowed you down?


Tammy


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