Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Embarkation Day Tips – Disney Cruise Line

It’s Disney Cruise vacation day!  You’ve arrived in the Orlando area, preferably the day prior to your cruise departure.  Now, what is embarkation day going to look like?  Let’s go through the current covid-19 boarding procedures!  Please note, there were steps you needed to take prior to arriving at the port.  Find the Five Steps to Boarding Disney Cruise Line here.  Also, note that procedures and requirements are changing rapidly.  Please always check Disney’s Know Before You Go site for all Disney Destinations prior to travel.  And don’t just read it once when you start planning!  Check back regularly to get all the most current updates.  Your vacation depends on it!

Port Arrival

On your sailing day, it’s important to follow the directions given by port staff and Disney Cruise Line to ensure you are able to board the ship quickly.

You can not arrive prior to your port arrival time no matter your Castaway Club status.  Prior to covid Castaway Club, Platinum guests could arrive at their leisure. This is no longer the case.  If you arrive even a few minutes early you’ll be asked to come back at your scheduled time.

Disney Cruise Line Cruise terminal 8 arrival information sign Port Canaveral

Tip- If you arrive early and need somewhere to wait, there is a Starbucks just about 5 minutes away in Cocoa Beach.  Ron Jon’s Surf Shop is also there if you’d like to do some classic Florida beach shopping.

The only exceptions to port arrival times are concierge-level guests and those guests arriving on Disney Cruise Line transportation.

*Disney Cruise Line buses transport guests from Orlando International Airport and Disney World Resorts. Reservations are needed.

Vaccinated Guests

All guests eligible to receive the covid-19 vaccination must provide proof of vaccine to board the ship.  Read 5 steps to getting onboard Disney Cruise Line here to ensure you’re ready for embarkation day!

You need two QR codes to board the ship.  A Safe Passage QR code and a Disney Cruise Line QR code.

Disney Cruise Line QR codeDisney Cruise Line safe passage QR code

  1. Upon arrival to the port have your Safe Passage QR code ready to show Cast Members.  Vaccinated guests will be directed to drop bags at the curb prior to entering the parking garage.  Don’t forget to tip those hard-working baggage handlers! Baggage drop at Disney Cruise Line Port in Port Canaveral
  2. After dropping bags you will be directed into the parking garage for your first pit stop.  Each guest will be asked to show their Safe Passage QR code to verify they are “Clear to Sail”.  Once your status has been verified you’ll be given a “You’re Golden” card to place on your windshield.  This tells the next set of Cast Members where to direct you.Garage stop at DIsney Cruise Line to verify vaccination status
  3. You’re Golden means you can park and enter the cruise port.You're golden at Disney Cruise Line port in Port Canaveral

Tip – Park on the 3rd level of the cruise port parking garage.  The bridge to the cruise port building is on the third level!Level 3 bridge to Disney Cruise Line Port Terminal

Unvaccinated Guests

The only guests who can currently sail on Disney Cruise Line and not be vaccinated are guests ages 12 years and younger who are not eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Covid testing tents at Port Canaveral - Disney Cruise Line

  1. Guests who are not vaccinated will need to take a covid-19 test prior to arrival and upload it to the safe passage website prior to arriving at the port.
  2. Upon arrival to the port guests who are not vaccinated will need to take a rapid covid-19 test from their car.   Guests will be directed to a parking spot where they’ll be asked to swab themselves to perform the rapid test.  Parents need to be prepared to test their children ages 2-11.  All guests 12 and older who are eligible for the covid-19 vaccination must be vaccinated to sail with Disney Cruise Line.

Boarding Procedures

During the long months, the ships were not sailing Disney Cruise Line took the tie to update the cruise port.  Many of these changes were already the works for the arrival of the Disney Wish in June 2022, but the closure allowed for the construction team to work without interruptions.

Guests are no longer asked to stand in line to check-in.   All of that was done on your Disney Cruise Line Navigator app prior to arrival!

Passport birth certificate check station at Disney Cruise Terminal Port Canaveral

Once you have shown your passport or birth certificate/driver’s license (I highly recommend a passport to cruise), passed through security to check your bags, you’ll head upstairs to the terminal to wait.DIsney Cruise Line terminal at Port Canaveral

Once inside the terminal, you will be asked to wait for your boarding group to be called.  The terminal is quite large and there is plenty of room for guests to spread out and wait with easy viewing of the tv screens that post the current boarding group.  Announcements will also be made telling the newest boarding group ready to get on the ship. Disney Cruise Line Boarding Groups called in Cruise Port Terminal

If you still need to complete your check-in for any reason, you will be directed to the check-in line in the terminal.  This could be because your documents did not upload to the online check correctly, you need to add a credit card to your account, your picture wasn’t approved, or a handful of other reasons.Disney Cruise Line Terminal

When your group is called you are free to walk through the magical yellow Mickey ears and board your cruise!  I’m not crying, you’re crying!  You’ve made it onboard! Best day ever!

Golden Mickey Ears entrance at Port Canaveral Disney Cruise LIne Jetway to Disney Cruise Ship Disney Cruise Line Port Canaveral Socially distanced line markers on Disney Cruise Line Port Canaveral

Getting on the Ship

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for!  Cast Members announce each family and welcome them on board the ship.  Vacation has officially begun!

With the restart of sailing since the covid-19 closure families will be asked to stand on separate gold Mickey circles to partake in the welcome show in the grand atrium. The show happens multiple times so that all guests are able to see the show while being socially distanced.

Golden Mickey markers on Disney Cruise Line

Find Your Muster Station

When the show is complete you will be asked to check into your muster station. Cast Members sign off that you have visited.  The muster drill will take place later when all guests are onboard.  An announcement will be made for you to stop where you are and view the closest screen for the drill.  All procedures will be shared on the screen in a short video.

Muster Drill – A muster drill is a mandatory safety drill to familiarize all guests with the location (muster station) where they are to go in the unlikely event of an emergency. During this drill, additional safety information (i.e., how to use a life jacket) is presented. All guests are required to participate in the muster drill regardless of how many times they’ve sailed in the past.

Prior to covid, all guests would meet at their muster station at the same time to listen to the drill.  It was hot and cramped and in my opinion the worst part of the day.  I understand why it’s necessary and it was just part of it.  The new muster drill protocol is by far and away better than drills of the past.  This is one improvement made from covid!

Key to the World Card and Your Stateroom

Then if your stateroom is ready you’ll go there next to pick up your Key to the World card and see your home away from home.

Disney Cruise Line stateroom Disney Cruise Line Key to the World card

Key to the World card – this is your identification card on the ship.  It serves as your room key, credit card, and entrance on and off the ship when in port. You should have it with you at all times during the cruise.

We stayed in an Oceanview Verandah stateroom on the 6th floor aft of the Disney Dream.  Join me for a tour of our room here!

You’ve completed the Disney Cruise Line boarding procedures! Now go and have a good, good, good time!

Ready to plan your Disney Crusie Line vacation on the Disney Dream, Fantasy, Magic, Wonder, or Wish request a free no-obligation quote here!

Pin this for your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!

Jamie Rumph
Jamie Rumph
Hi, I'm Jamie, traveling mama, entrepreneur, and travel advisor. I'm addicted to Disney, traveling and exploring the world with my family, and have a passion for helping families experience the magic of travel. My home is filled with love and chaos, 2 crazy girls, 2 large dogs, and the most spectacular architect and Disney Cast Member I call my husband. We live in Florida and spend our weekends playing at Orlando's many theme parks and visiting the beach. In 2015, after helping numerous families plan their vacations to various Disney Destinations, I started a blog to answer all of the many travel questions I received daily. In 2016, the blog grew into a travel agency, and Love of the Magic Vacations was born. With a team of nearly 20, we spend our days creating family vacations around the world. What started as a blog is now a full service, worldwide vacation destination planning service. I create custom itineraries for each of my clients that not only meets but exceeds expectations. There is no greater gift than making memories while sharing the world and its cultures with your kids.


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