BEWARE: Early check-in on Dream

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#1
Washington, DC
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
We haven't even gotten on board, and we're already not cruising Disney Cruise Lines again! Early check-in is not just so you don't have to fill out paperwork on site. They tie your boarding time into how soon you check in on-line! There is no mention of that in the boarding materials. We never experienced this with Royal Caribbean and Princess. The worst thing is that we booked our bus transfers through them, and they automatically entered our flights into our account. They know that my wife and kids arrive at the port at noon, but they'll sit on the sidewalk for two and a half hours in the hot Florida sun before they're let in! BEWARE.
#2
Central NJ
621 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
Originally posted by WickershamBros
We haven't even gotten on board, and we're already not cruising Disney Cruise Lines again! Early check-in is not just so you don't have to fill out paperwork on site. They tie your boarding time into how soon you check in on-line! There is no mention of that in the boarding materials. We never experienced this with Royal Caribbean and Princess. The worst thing is that we booked our bus transfers through them, and they automatically entered our flights into our account. They know that my wife and kids arrive at the port at noon, but they'll sit on the sidewalk for two and a half hours in the hot Florida sun before they're let in! BEWARE.
No need to panic. If you booked transfers with DCL, and you check in at the DME counter at the airport for your cruise you will be given a very good boarding time. You will NOT sit on the sidewalk for 2 1/2 hours. Bus transfers from MCO are a very good way of getting a good boarding number.
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#3
Washington, DC
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I would love for you to be correct, but Disney customer service just spent a half hour telling my wife and I in different ways: sorry, it's carved in stone and there's nothing you can do. I wish I was exaggerating more, but the woman was quite steadfast that the boarding time was permanent.
#4
Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,047 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
how do you know they arrive at the port at noon? What time does their flight land?
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Past Cruises...
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western Caribbean
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia

Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.

My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here

20" rolling bag packing list for two weeks in a cool/cold climate here.
#6
SoCal
9,014 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by WickershamBros
We haven't even gotten on board, and we're already not cruising Disney Cruise Lines again! Early check-in is not just so you don't have to fill out paperwork on site. They tie your boarding time into how soon you check in on-line! There is no mention of that in the boarding materials. We never experienced this with Royal Caribbean and Princess. The worst thing is that we booked our bus transfers through them, and they automatically entered our flights into our account. They know that my wife and kids arrive at the port at noon, but they'll sit on the sidewalk for two and a half hours in the hot Florida sun before they're let in! BEWARE.
Don't panic.

When you do your online check in, you are required to select a Port Arrival Time.

That said, if you book your transfers from the airport to the port with DCL, the Port Arrival Time is moot. You will enter the terminal when the bus gets there. That's when you do your on site check-in, and receive your boarding number.

Please don't give up on Disney.

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DCLHAL CarnivalPrincess Vantage
17 Cruises, 10 ships, 173 nights

#7
Near Orlando but California Dreaming
14,047 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Originally posted by WickershamBros
Their flight lands at eleven o'clock, and they told us that it takes an hour to get to the port.
By the time they get off the plane and through the airside to monorail for the main terminal, use a restroom, and get down two levels to the check-in area for the cruise line buses, it will be 30-45 minutes after they land. Then the buses load, which can take another 15-30 minutes. They aren't getting to the port at noon, it will be between 1:00 and 2:00. When they arrive on DCL transfers, they will not need to wait outside, they will go with everyone else on that bus into the terminal.

Sometimes there's a disconnect between the reservations center and what really happens.
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Past Cruises...
August 2002--Disney Magic Eastern Caribbean
October 2005--RCCL Mariner Western Caribbean
October 2011--Disney Dream Bahamas
June 2012--Windstar Wind Surf Back-To-Back, Rome to Venice to Athens
April 2014--Paul Gauguin to French Polynesia

Three weeks in Europe (two on a ship) with a 20" roll aboard and a tote bag--packing list here.

My all in a 20" wheeled bag for a warm weather cruise packing list here

20" rolling bag packing list for two weeks in a cool/cold climate here.
#8
Washington, DC
5 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I appreciate your encouragement! There was no indication of this possibility in our conversation with Customer Service. I really appreciate your replies, and we'll have our fingers crossed!
#9
SoCal
9,014 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by ducklite
By the time they get off the plane and through the airside to monorail for the main terminal, use a restroom, and get down two levels to the check-in area for the cruise line buses, it will be 30-45 minutes after they land. Then the buses load, which can take another 15-30 minutes. They aren't getting to the port at noon, it will be between 1:00 and 2:00. When they arrive on DCL transfers, they will not need to wait outside, they will go with everyone else on that bus into the terminal.

Sometimes there's a disconnect between the reservations center and what really happens.
You think?

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DCLHAL CarnivalPrincess Vantage
17 Cruises, 10 ships, 173 nights

#10
God Bless the USA
2,764 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
You will be fine and the process is very organized.

When they started putting that "pick your boarding time" thing on the web, it's been so confusing!

Once you land, (stop by the restroom) go down to the luggage area, the check in for the cruise is in the same area at a big long counter. You'll get your boarding pass, your picture taken for your room card and then board the bus to head to the port.

It's 55 minutes to the port on a good traffic day.
You'll watch some Disney videos about the cruise and some trivia questions and then you're there.

You'll hop off the bus and head into the terminal to go through security and then wait to board the ship when they call your number.

and then you'll be on your DISNEY CRUISE! tons of fun, and great service. ENJOY!!
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Reba

Princess, Disney, Cunard, HAL, MSC
#11
729 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by WickershamBros
We haven't even gotten on board, and we're already not cruising Disney Cruise Lines again! Early check-in is not just so you don't have to fill out paperwork on site. They tie your boarding time into how soon you check in on-line! There is no mention of that in the boarding materials. We never experienced this with Royal Caribbean and Princess. The worst thing is that we booked our bus transfers through them, and they automatically entered our flights into our account. They know that my wife and kids arrive at the port at noon, but they'll sit on the sidewalk for two and a half hours in the hot Florida sun before they're let in! BEWARE.
If this check-in thing is not working out and you have not yet boarded, and you already have decided that you will not be again be cruising with DCL, then I'm not seeing much potential for a good cruise experience.

I'm just not finding much to heed in your beware warning. Maybe AFTER they let your family sit on the sidewalk is there anything to beware.
#12
Ontario, Canada
1,827 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
We're from Canada so we like the hot Florida sun.

Nonetheless, if you are already in such a bad mood with this and cruise is still not started yet, can you still cancel it and book something else?
#13
south burlington,vt.
3,915 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by WickershamBros
I appreciate your encouragement! There was no indication of this possibility in our conversation with Customer Service. I really appreciate your replies, and we'll have our fingers crossed!

Having taken a number of DCL transfers from the airport you get off the bus and get right on the ship after security. Think of it as a "suggestive" time just to keep the computer program happy. You will have a wonderful time and especially in the warm Caribbean Sun.The Dream is a beautiful ship and having sailed mostly RCCL other than Disney you will be impressed on Disney's great service level. Hope you have a wonderful cruise.And remember to relax.
#14
Greenville, NC
6,026 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Although we have yet to enjoy our DCL trip, I find it hard to believe Disney would be that disorganized.
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#15
Ewing, NJ
2,466 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
I wouldn't worry. Just came off the Dream Thursday. I did my online check in around 35 days out or so. We were able to choose a check in time of 1130. I think your check in time is more so tied to your boarding # then whether or not they will make you wait outside. I did not see anyone waiting outside when I arrived at a little before 11. They did not make me wait outside until 1130. In fact, check in and boarding was so smooth that I parked, went through security, checked in, got on the ship, paid a visit to guest services to book a wine tasting and inquire about a Palo Brunch - as well as adding $$ to our onboard acct. Then I made my way up to OC to register my little guy (who I couldnt register online since he did not turn 3 until the last day of the cruise) and that is when I realized it was only 1145!!! I had pulled into the port at 11 and was able tp do all of that in 45 mins! It was quite smooth and much better then Feb of last year
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#16
Davenport, FL
31 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
I really wouldn't stress out about it too much. When we traveled on the Dream, my wife and I were traveling with 14 other family members with 8 different reservations total. Everyone had all kinds of different boarding times selected online ahead of time. Once we got to the pier we were handed a boarding number according to the time we got to the pier, not the time that was selected online. We boarded at the same time as family members that had reserved a boarding time for hours later.

I think the times are more of an effort to try and get people to arrive at the pier throughout the day instead of all showing up at 11am. This would also explain why Customer Service told you that they were set in stone.

I would seriously not worry about it, because I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

James
#17
261 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
There's a lot that customer service will say b/c they are reading from a manual but it's just not the case. We've been on several and there was one time we had to wait outside....everyone was evacuated b/c a dog sniffed something in a bag. We were outside for 2 hours and within 15 minutes DCL employees were handing out bottled water and snacks. They were giving everyone updates and apologizing. Of course this was not there fault.

When we did have to wait it was no more than an hour but we were inside the whole time and the kids were taking pictures with the characters and having a blast.

Just try to relax and enjoy the vacation will be as good as you let it
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#18
WNY
32 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by Shmoo here
Don't panic.

When you do your online check in, you are required to select a Port Arrival Time.

That said, if you book your transfers from the airport to the port with DCL, the Port Arrival Time is moot. You will enter the terminal when the bus gets there. That's when you do your on site check-in, and receive your boarding number.

Please don't give up on Disney.

Not to hijack this thread, but I have a question concerning "Airport to Port DCL Transfers":
We're staying at the Hyatt Regency MCO and planning on taking the first available DCL transfer to the port. Does this negate our on-line boarding time? (This is all hypothetical - our trip doesn't take place till June.)
TIA for any advice.
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#19
south burlington,vt.
3,915 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by gigito2
Not to hijack this thread, but I have a question concerning "Airport to Port DCL Transfers":
We're staying at the Hyatt Regency MCO and planning on taking the first available DCL transfer to the port. Does this negate our on-line boarding time? (This is all hypothetical - our trip doesn't take place till June.)
TIA for any advise.

Having taken the DCL transfers both from the airport and Disney World everytime we deboarded the bus we went right into the terminal and through security and on the ship. Disney "magic". But I can only speak of my history.
#20
WNY
32 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Did you do on-line check-in, grand isle joe? Just trying to get a sense of what's involved here, since we've never cruised before...
If using DCL tx (which we plan to do, tho it's way more expensive for 8 of us) gets us on the ship faster, we'll stick with that so the kids can utilize the pools and explore the Dream.
If on-line check-in time trumps DCL boarding #, we'll reconsider and go with the cheaper option of private tx...
Just wondering.
Thanks!
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