mom and daughter smiling on board; repunzel costume
  • On Feb 15, 2024
    Angela from VA Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Hi, we are going on our first Disney Cruise in July! As I plan our arrival in Florida, how do I know what time we should be at the terminal/port? We're trying to figure out when to fly in. Thank you!

    Ahoy Angela!

    Welcome back to planDisney!  I'm so glad you've trusted us over the years to help plan your Disney vacations and even more excited that your family is getting ready to set sail on your first Disney Cruise Line adventure.  Once I took my first Disney Cruise, I was hooked and I think you'll be too!

    Angela, you will be able to start the online check-in process for your cruise 30 days ahead of your departure.  During online check-in, you'll be able to select from a list of available Port Arrival Times which will be the time that Disney Cruise Line will be prepared to welcome you to the cruise terminal and begin the in-person check-in process for your cruise.   According to the website, most sailings begin boarding around 11:15 AM and the "all aboard" time is usually 3:45 PM.  These times are subject to change though and you can always find the most up-to-date information for your sailing under "My Reservations" closer to your departure date.  

    Since you are looking at flights now, I would recommend an early morning flight to allow plenty of time to land, gather your luggage, take transportation to the port, and be ready at your port arrival time.  I don't want to leave anything to chance if I'm flying on the day of the cruise, so you can usually find me on one of the earliest flights just in case of any travel delays!  In fact, our preference in recent years has been to fly down the day before for a more relaxed arrival.  If you choose to do this, you can easily add a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay and arrange ground transportation by calling Disney Cruise Line or working with your travel agent.  

    Angela, I'm also happy to share a few tips and tricks I've learned over the years that have been helpful during the boarding process.  When I'm traveling with my family, particularly with young kids, those travel days can feel quite long as we are getting to our final destination.  Trust me though, when you're singing and dancing on deck as you're sailing away, it will all be worth it!
    • Carry-on Bag - Think about what you'll need to board the ship and the first few hours of your sailing.  Most of your luggage will be tagged and checked at the port and then magically appear by your stateroom doors later in the evening.  This will mean though, that you'll have several hours without access to the majority of your luggage.  I usually like to make sure I have bathing suits, sunscreen, and hair brushes as well as any essential medicines in a duffle bag that I keep with me during boarding.  Don't forget that you'll also need boarding documents including any identification like passports, driver's licenses, and/or birth certificates!
    • Entertainment for the Kids - Everyone will be so excited to board the ship and that time waiting at the port for your boarding number to be called can feel long - especially to any little Mouseketeers that may be joining you.  I usually have my kids pack a few favorites in a small backpack that they keep with them to play with if we have extra time at the port.  Games, books, and toys are fun, but snacks are essential in my mind!  Lunch will be waiting once you get onboard, but a quick snack can sometimes make all the difference for my kids!
    I hope this is helpful as you plan for your first magical vacation at sea!  Make sure to check out the video here with some great first-timer tips from my fellow panelists.  Please stop by to see me and my planDisney pals again with any other questions you have - we're all ears!

    Happy Sailing,
thumbnail image for Kristi

Meet the Panelist: Kristi, Maryland

Hi! I'm Kristi and I've been making magical memories at the Walt Disney World Resort since my first visit in 1989. While I cherished my childhood visits, my favorite memories have come sharing all of the excitement and wonder of a Disney Parks vacation with my husband and three boys. Whether you're planning a runDisney racecation, a trip with little ones, a land and sea adventure, or anything in between, I'm ready to help you make some bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful plans for your next Disney Parks vacation! Learn More About Kristi

Related Video

  • thumbnail image for Disney Cruise Line First Timer Tips | planDisney Podcast – Season 2 Episode 1

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