Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Day

Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Day

Embarkation day for your Disney Cruise is an exciting day indeed! The first day of your cruise is sure to be a whirlwind, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. We are here to help you figure it all out. From when to be at port, what you need to check in, and what to do once you’re on the boat. Learn all about Embarkation Day on Disney Cruise Line.

Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Day

You can watch our full video about what to expect on Embarkation Day on a Disney Cruise here

What is Embarkation Day on a Disney Cruise? 

You’re checked in, packed for your cruise, and ready to sail. Embarkation day on a Disney Cruise is just the term for the day you embark! It’s the first day you board the ship. And while you’re excited for your Disney Cruise Vacation, it’s important to remember that there are some things you need to keep with you on Embarkation Day. 

What to carry on the ship for Embarkation Day on a Disney Cruise 

Since your room and luggage are generally not going to be ready until the afternoon, usually between 2-3 p.m., you’ll need a carry-on for your Disney Cruise. This includes things like medications, identification for each person, cruise documents, and maybe a swimsuit. Check out what to pack in your Disney Cruise carry-on here. Keep in mind that if you think you’ll need it before your cruise stateroom is ready, then you should have it in your cruise carry-on bag. 

If you’re excited about decorating your stateroom door as soon as your room is ready, we highly recommend packing your Disney Cruise door magnets in your carryon as well.  And if you are worried about seasickness, plan to pack your SeaBands, Dramamine or Motion Sickness Patches in your carry on as well. Sometimes luggage won’t be delivered until after 4pm, and if you’re preoccupied with all of the Embarkation Day fun, you could be setting sail before having access to your bags. 

Walt disney Theater on the Disney Wish Cruise

What time does the Disney Cruise Ship Leave on Embarkation Day

Disney Cruise Line typically leaves port between 4 and 5 p.m., depending on your itinerary. When you book your Disney Cruise, you’ll be able to see the sailaway time in the itinerary. It is extremely important to make travel plans that allow for some wiggle room, in case there is something to delay you. The ship will not wait if you are late. So if you’re flying in, we always recommend flying in the day before and staying somewhere nearby. We’ve done this before for Disney Cruises leaving from Port Canaveral. simply staying at the Orlando Airport Hotel, the Hyatt Regency, and grabbing Disney Transportation to Port Canaveral made our lives a whole lot easier. Staying at Disney resort is always a fun option too! 

Disney Cruise Fantasy Guide

What Time Can I Board the Disney Cruise Ship on Embarkation Day?

Boarding times change depending on which port you are sailing from. But most of the time, you can board as early as 11 a.m. In order to do this though, you’ll need to secure a Port Arrival Time during online check-in. To get this early time slot, you will need to check in right around midnight of your check-in day because the earliest port arrival times go fast. Guests can now choose a port arrival time based on their Castaway Club status.  

  • Pearl and Concierge- 40 days prior to sailing
  • Platinum- 38 days prior to sailing
  • Gold- 35 days prior to sailing
  • Silver- 33 days prior to sailing
  • All other guests – 30 days prior to sailing

So if you’re a new cruiser or even a Silver level, it’s possible the earliest spots will be gone by the time your check-in opens. Hakuna Matata! Just choose whatever is the earliest by the time your window opens up. 

If you’re not looking for the earliest time, just choose a port arrival time that will work with your traveling party’s schedule for the day. If you arrive too early before your arrival time, you will have to wait to board. Keep in mind, that unless you’re taking the Disney Cruise Line bus, you will be held to your Port Arrival Time. You won’t be allowed to board earlier just because you show up earlier. So plan to arrive at the time that your port arrival is actually set for. Learn more about the Check-In Process for Disney Cruise Line.

YouTube video


Embarkation Day Process for Disney Cruise Line 

Embarkation Day with Disney Cruise Line is an exciting day! Whether it’s your first Disney Cruise or your 10th, I don’t think it ever gets less exciting. But one thing to keep in mind is that it can be a long day. Between traveling to the port, going through security, waiting for your Boarding Group, finding lunch, checking out the ship, and all of the things, it can be a lot. We always recommend having something to do for little ones. I love sending my clients these Disney Play Packs to keep smaller travelers occupied during the waiting periods of Embarkation day.  You can sometimes find them in the dollar spot at Target too!

We recommend keeping some small snacks on hand as well if your Port Arrival Time is a little later. You can bring non-perishable, prepackaged snacks onboard, and having a few in your carry-on is a good idea in case anyone gets hungry waiting to board the ship. 

Port Canaveral Disney Cruise Line

Arriving at Port on Embarkation Day

When you arrive at Port Canaveral on Embarkation Day, you will either be dropped off by the Disney Cruise Line bus, private transport, or rideshare or park your car in the parking garage. If you arrive via Disney transport, they take care of your luggage for you. If you are being dropped off, there are porters to help you with your luggage. And the same goes for if you park a car at port. 

Once your luggage has been handled, you will see a Cast Member, who will guide you to the correct line based on your port arrival time. Don’t plan to arrive too early, because you will just be standing there waiting until your port arrival group has been called for check-in. This does not apply to concierge guests, who do not have to abide by a certain port arrival time. 

Checking in at Port for Disney Cruise Line 

Once your Port Arrival Time has been called, you can go inside the terminal to check-in. They’ll scan your Port Arrival form, and check your passports, and you’ll be on your way to security and one step closer to boarding the ship. You can also inquire about cruise upgrades at this point as well. 

Going through Security for Disney Cruise Line 

Security at a cruise terminal is much like going through security at the airport. Whatever you’re bringing must fit through the scanner and you’ll have to walk through a metal detector.  You’ll also have to empty out any drinks, so try to finish them before you get to security, or they’ll tell you to empty them. Just like in the TSA lines.  After you’ve cleared security, you can go up the escalator into the terminal and you’re there! For a list of prohibited items onboard a Disney Cruise Ship, check here

Disney Wish Review

Boarding a Disney Cruise Ship

Once you’ve passed security and are in the terminal, you will either wait for your boarding group number to be called, or head right on in through the Mickey-shaped entrance! You’ll walk the length of the gangways, and then you’re there! There is also a photo opp before you enter the ship, and this is optional.  One line will be for the photo opp, and one line will be board. The photographers will often try to sway you to get a picture, and it is a fun pre-boarding opportunity. But it’s optional. So it’s up to you!

When you get to the entryway, they’ll announce your arrival and then you are free to do what you wish! We always love grabbing lunch first, and if you’re there early enough, you can enjoy whatever sit-down restaurant is open without having to wait. I will say, that if you board after 12:30ish, you’re likely to have to wait to be seated. Cabanas ( on the Disney Magic, Wonder, Fantasy, and Dream) and Marceline Market on the Disney Wish and Treasure) are also open for lunch as well, so you don’t have to eat at a sit-down restaurant. And really, you don’t have to eat at all!

Some people like to head straight to the pool before it gets busy. And that’s the best part about embarkation day. Being able to do whatever you want once you’re onboard! Whatever you choose, learn more about your Disney Cruise Ship and Restaurants and activities onboard on our Disney Cruise Guide page.

Safety Drill on Embarkation Day 

The only thing you absolutely must do on Embarkation Day is the Muster Drill. This is a mandatory safety drill. During the earlier days of the reopening of Disney Cruise Line, this was on the Disney Navigator app. But now, it’s back to being held in person. You can find out when and where your Muster Drill will be held on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App. So be sure to check that and make sure you attend. If you don’t, they will find you and make you do it before the ship sets sail. It’s mandatory for everyone, so make sure you show up! 

Disney Cruise Key To The World Card

Get your Key to The World Cards

Another process that may change is how you receive your Key To The World Cards. The KTTW card is basically everything you need onboard. Your payment, your room key, it’s all there. These used to be given at check-in. And now they are instead placed outside of your stateroom for you to collect them. 

Disney Wish Sail Away Party

Sailing away on Embarkation Day

You’ve gotten through the arrival process, had something to eat, completed your muster drill, and likely checked out your room, it’s probably time to sail away! The Sail Away Party varies from ship to ship, but it’s a super fun little party that takes place on the top deck, near the pool and Funnel Vision.  It’s about 15 minutes, and the time it takes place will be in your Disney Cruise Navigator.  And after that, the ship is all yours! Check out the activities, the Broadway shows, your dinner rotation, and the layout of the ship, and enjoy your vacation!

Some people prefer to skip the Sail Away Party. And that’s ok too! Once you’ve completed the Muster Drill, you are welcome to do what you like!

What is the earliest you can board a Disney Cruise?

This completely depends on what port you’re sailing from. But usually, Port Arrival Times start between 11am-11:30am. Guests with the earliest boarding times usually start getting called to board around 30 minutes after the earliest Port Arrival Times. 

Can I arrive earlier than my Port Arrival Time on Embarkation Day for Disney Cruise Line?

Generally, no. Well, I take that back. You can arrive early, however, you’ll just have to stand in line outside to wait for your Port Arrival Time, so there’s really no point in doing that. If you’re taking the Disney Cruise Line bus from your Disney Resort or Orlando International Airport, you’re exempt from this rule. Disney Cruise Line Bus guests get to arrive whenever the bus drops them off. Concierge guests and Disney Cruise Line Bus guests are the only ones not held to their Port Arrival Times. This is why it’s important to choose a time that works for you. 

Some people think arriving early will get them a better boarding group. This is not the case! They will make you wait. So just show up at your Port Arrival Time and you’ll be good. 

What if I’m late for my Port Arrival Time?

Generally, if you’re late, they will check you in when you arrive. However, this all depends on whether or not they can take you at that moment. So if you’re late, you may need to wait until they are ready for you. Again, this is why it’s important to choose a time that works for you when you do your online check-in. Things happen, and we get that. So does Disney! But be realistic about what time you can be at the Port and stick with that. 

And we never, ever recommend flying in the day of your cruise. Especially in today’s new normal of flights being delayed and canceled. The ship will generally not wait for you if you’re late. On all of the Disney Cruises I’ve been on, I’ve only seen one instance where the ship waited. And that was a special circumstance. 

Sail Away Party on Disney Cruise

Hopefully, this guide has helped you learn all about embarkation day with Disney Cruise Line. It’s an easy process, just be prepared! If you’re a Disney Cruise Line newbie, check out our Disney Cruise Line tips for beginners! This will give you a lot of helpful information to make the most of your cruise. Happy Sailing and Bon Voyage! 

Sail Away on a Disney Cruise with ease, with everything you need to know about Embarkation day with Disney Cruise Line. From documents, to check in, to lunch and the sail away party. Here's everything to know before you go.



Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website

Melanie Renee is a photographer, writer, designer and mom. Visiting Disney destinations since 2010, she is also an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. When she's not creating her next coffee recipe, or designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's seeking beautiful sunsets and planning her next trip .

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