7 Tips for a Perfect Disney Dream Cruise Embarkation Experience

October 11, 2016

As I shared a couple of day ago, our Boarding and Embarkation experience was literally a dream in every sense of the word. Today I wanted to share with y'all 7 tips for a perfect Disney embarkation experience:

1. Don't Worry If You Didn't Have a Chance to Do the On-line Check In at Home
Before you leave for your trip take the time to do the on-line check-in at home because it will not only save you the time of filling out the paperwork but will also allow you to pick a time to arrive at the port terminal for embarkation. But... if you don't have a chance to do it, don't worry! I will be frank though that we did not do this and we still had a wonderful check-in experience. We called the Disney Cruise Line Guest Services the night before and asked for their recommendation of a time to arrive. They were able to look at the times that were the busiest with people arriving and suggested a time of arrival for us. It was absolutely perfect. Honestly, I would do check-in online in the future, but also feel comfortable with the way that we did things!

2. Read and Follow Disney's Carry-on Luggage Requirements
Disney has specific size guidelines for their carry-on luggage. You can read all about the requirements on their website. Disney does allow you to bring alcohol on board the ship but you have to place it in your carry-on luggage to be inspected. You can find out more information about FAQ for Disney here

3. The More Times you Sail with Disney the Shorter the Line
The more times that you sail on Disney cruises the shorter the wait line that you will have. For first-time cruisers with Disney you will need to expect a bit of a longer wait time, but for silver, gold, and platinum members your wait time will be quicker!

4. The Cash/Credit Card System at Check-In
What I am about to share was one of my favorite things about the Disney Cruise. When you check in you have the option of leaving a credit card on file for all of the charges that will happen on the ship or you can request the "cash system" and decline leaving a credit card. With the "cash system" you will be given a certain amount of credit on board and then will go and pay your balance off (with cash or different credit cards) at guest relations. 

Y'all this is brilliant. For those like myself who may save to go on vacation all of our little pennies and such or want to split the charges among a variety of cards this is your opportunity. You can go as many times as you want to guest services to keep your balance under the maximum limit and it works like a charm. 

Another benefit to this system is that if you are traveling with friends or family members and want separate bills you can go to guest services and request this too. So many times in the past when I have cruised with friends and had my credit card down as the "secure payment" things never seemed to work out fairly one way or another and there would always be charges that I personally didn't do. At the end of the day this is fine and life moves on, but the system that Disney has is brilliant

5. Minnie and Mickey Picture Opportunity
Minnie and Mickey will be available at certain times throughout the terminal to take pictures with. This line is very long but can be a fun beginning to the trip! If you don't have time or can't make it don't worry. Minnie and Mickey are seen throughout the ship and will spend time even on Castaway Cay. Check your daily navigator guide schedule for places to be to meet up with them! (There is also a personal navigator app that you can download for free that will give you updates on the ship and activities that are happening!)

6. Embarkation is Extremely Disability Friendly
The Disney terminal and the embarkation process is extremely disability friendly. The lines are extra wide so that wheelchairs can be easily accommodated and there are plenty of couches, chairs, etc. to sit on if you are tired and need a break. Everyone is extremely friendly so don't be afraid to ask for help if you need some!

7. Disney Magic 
From the moment that you ride the escalator up to the terminal the Disney magic is everywhere. There is Disney music playing, staff members are extremely gracious and helpful, and there are even TV areas playing different Disney movies. The beautiful Disney magic is amazing and is something that sets this embarkation experience apart from the rest. 

Like I said at the beginning, boarding the Disney Dream was wonderful and one of the best embarkation experiences I have ever had (you can read all about it here). I hope that these tips have been helpful! What about you? Have you sailed with Disney before and have any tips for a perfect Disney embarkation experience?


  1. Great tips! We loved our first Disney cruise in February and can't wait for another one :)

    1. Becky- thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement!! I would love to hear more about your experience- did you go on the Disney Dream? Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!
      Rebecca :)
      PS- I would have loved to email you back directly but unfortunately you are a "no reply blogger". I hope to connect with you more in the future!