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Disney Cruise Disembarkation is not a subject that any of us really wants to think about. However, the day will come when you have to walk away from your beloved Disney Cruise. Here are some expert tips to help you deal with Disney Cruise Disembarkation.
Disney Cruise Disembarkation
You will find lots of tips on how to deal with disembarkation day on a Disney Cruise. I have tried to be as accurate as possible.
However, some times will vary according to the specific Disney ship and the cruise port.
For example, Disney’s Port Canaveral has different times for your final breakfast and disembarkation in general.
Preparation for Disney Cruise Disembarkation
Surprisingly this process begins on the second to last day of your cruise! It’s never easy to start thinking about the fact that you can’t live on the ship forever.
However, this will be brought to your attention when you find your Disembarkation Information Letter and Tip Envelopes on your bed. All the information that you need will be in the letter, but if you have any questions, Guest Services is happy to help.
There is also a Disney Cruise Video which shows on a loop on the stateroom television which explains the disembarkation process. The Tip Envelopes are for your Room Steward, Head Server, Server, and Assistant Server.
You do not need to use these if you do not want to. The standard amount of the tip for each will be automatically added to your Disney Cruise onboard account each day. You can adjust the tip either up or down by visiting Guest Servies. For a full explanation of this, you can see our guide to Tipping on a Disney Cruise
You can give these envelopes directly to your servers and steward if you wish. You will be given a slip for each envelope which shows the amount of tip you have paid.
You can put this in the envelope if you want your server or steward to see the amount. I usually use the envelopes to add extra cash tips as well.
Essentials To Know Before Disembarkation
There are certain things which you may need to take care of before you disembark your Disney Cruise ship. If your children have had an Oceaneer band you need to return it before midnight on the last day of your cruise.
You can return it to the Oceaneers Club or Lab. Usually, they also have a separate station set up on Deck 5 of each ship where you can return it.
You can keep the Oceanner Band as a souvenir, but there is a charge. I believe it is $12.50. Those charges can add up if you have more than one child and you really didn’t want to keep it! So make sure you hand it in before midnight and get a receipt for it.
If you want to buy any photos or order a Photo Book from Shutters you should really avoid doing this on the final evening if you can. This is when the lines are going to be at their longest.
The peak time is around 7.30 on the last evening of the cruise as this is in between dinner times for everyone. This is usually the time everyone remembers that they need to sort out their Disney cruise photos purchase. If you do it earlier in the day there probably won’t even be a line.
Shutters is open on disembarkation day from 7.00 am until 8.30 am for photo and USB sales only. Try not to leave it this late.
All of the other stores are closed on disembarkation day. If you want a last-minute souvenir from the store you need to make sure to buy it on the last evening of the cruise at the latest. The stores will usually close at 11 pm on the last evening of your cruise.
If you have lost any items make sure that you go to Guest Services before you disembark. If you realize after you have left the ship that you have left any items behind you can call (407) 566-3734. Or you can follow this link for an online form.
Sometime during the early hours of disembarkation day, a print out of your onboard account will be left in the fish extender outside your stateroom. If you disagree with any of the charges on your account you will need to visit Guest Services.
Obviously, it isn’t ideal to leave sorting out any onboard account questions or objections right until the last minute. Your onboard account is shown on your television throughout the cruise.
You can also go to Guest Services at any time to ask for a printout. This means that you can query any account charges prior to disembarkation day. Any charges are automatically charged to the credit card which is linked to your onboard account.
Some people have a cash account. If you are one of them you need to settle your account at Guest Services before 8.30 on debarkation morning. Again. it is is a lot easier to do this the evening before.
If you have purchased any duty-free alcohol on board or brought any on the ship at any of the ports, it will be available on disembarkation morning for pick up from one of the lounges. On the Disney Wonder, it is usually available in the Azure Bar.
Packing Your Luggage For Disembarkation Day
After all the excitement of your Disney Cruise, it can be difficult to accept that you have to pack to get off the ship. You will have received character coded luggage tags in your stateroom to use for labeling your luggage.
Everyone is given a specific character which will identify where your luggage will be found in the disembarkation hall at the port. On disembarkation morning there will be announcements for each character.
If you are Donald Duck, for example, you will not be able to disembark the ship until that name is called. Disney Cruise lines work out who has priority to get off the ship first. So if you have an early flight you will be in an earlier category that those people who are simply driving home.
Make sure that you remove any old tags from your luggage and attach the new ones where you will have written your contact details.
It is always a good idea to put an identity tag or note inside your luggage as well just in case the label comes off the outside.
If you want to have your luggage delivered to the terminal you must put it outside your stateroom no later than 1030 pm on your last night. Your Cabin Steward will collect it from outside your stateroom.
If you decide that you do not want this option you can handle your luggage yourself with the Walk-Off option. I talk about this a little more below to help you decide if Express Walk-Off is a good choice for you. Remember not to pack essential items such as:
- Passport or Birth Certificate.
- Expensive items such as Phone, Laptops, and Tablets
Pack these items in a carry on bag and keep it with you. Also when you are packing make sure that you remember not to pack essential items that you will need for the morning of disembarkation of your Disney Cruise.
Remember that you are going to need clothes for the morning! Don’t pack all your toiletries or you won’t be able to brush your teeth after breakfast. Try not to be one of those people who has to disembark barefoot as they have packed al their shoes. It happens.
Disney Cruise Express Walk-Off
If you want to get off the ship as early in the morning as possible you can opt for the Disney Cruise Express Walk-Off option. What this means is that instead of leaving your luggage outside your stateroom the night before debarkation, you will be responsible for taking your own luggage off the ship.
If you choose the Express Walk-Off option you will be one of the first to get off the ship. You will not be given any assistance with your luggage, so you need to make sure that you will be fine dealing with this yourself. Depending upon the particular port, it can be quite a walk to the exit of the cruise terminal.
The Disney cruise ship has to be cleared by the local authorities before anyone can disembark. Usually, this formality is dealt with quickly and the announcement comes around 8.15 am that you can walk off the ship if you have your luggage with you.
I have used the Disney Cruise Express Walk-Off option a couple of times. Possibly for an unusual reason. I simply do not like the task of packing on the final cruise afternoon or early evening.
I like to enjoy the final evening and not have to think about getting absolutely everything packed and outside the room by 10.30 pm on the final cruise day. For me, it extends the vacation experience just a little!
You don’t have to get off the ship immediately so I usually vacate the stateroom just before the 8.00 am time and go up to the Cabanas Buffet for breakfast.
However, most guests opt for the walk-off option simply because they want to get off the ship earlier. What is the disadvantage of Disney Cruise Express Walk-Off? The obvious point is that you do not get help with your luggage!
This option just really doesn’t work for some people because they have more luggage than they can handle.
If you are having breakfast on the ship on Disembarkation Day, you will have to take your luggage with you unless you can leave it in your stateroom and get back to vacate it in time for 8.00 am.
This would work only if you had the First Seating breakfast or go to Cabanas. If you have the Second Seating you will have to vacate your room before breakfast starts. This means taking your luggage with you to breakfast.
Disney Cruise Disembarkation Breakfast
Breakfast is served in all of the rotational dining rooms onboard the Disney Cruise. You will go to breakfast in the same restaurant where you ate on your last night of the cruise.
For example, if you ate in Animator’s Palate you will go there for your Disembarkation Breakfast. If you ate in Tiana’s Place on the last evening, you will go there for breakfast on your final morning.
Your dining time will depend upon the port where you disembark and whether you had Main or Late Dining on your cruise.
For example, if you disembark in Port Canaveral and had Main Dining, your breakfast time will be 6.45 am. If you had Late Dining it will be 8.00 am.
If you disembark in San Diego from your Disney Cruise you can have an all-important extra 15 minutes lie in! Early Breakfast is at 7.00 am and Late Breakfast is at 8.15 am. in Animator’s Palate.
If you are in Triton’s or Tiana’s Place you don’t start breakfast until either 7.15 am or 8.30 am.
I have to confess I am not a huge fan of the final breakfast, so I usually avoid it.
I often find saying goodbye to our Servers very difficult. Call me sentimental but I do! Over the years and after many sailings I have found that I prefer to say my goodbyes the night before and skip the dining room breakfast.
Another reason I am not a fan of the final breakfast is that the final breakfast menu is just not that interesting. I do not eat meat and I don’t particularly want pancakes so my options are pretty limited!
Fortunately, the Cabanas Buffet is always open on disembarkation morning. Usually, I choose to eat there.
Cove Cafe is also always open on the final morning.
It can be good to go and get a final coffee there if you don’t have the kids with you. Check times on your Disembarkation information, but usually, Cove Cafe hours on the final morning are from around 6.30 am to 8.30 am.
What is the Latest You Can Disembark a Disney Cruise?
Times do vary according to the port where you disembark.
For Port Canaveral, all guests should have left the Disney Cruise ship by 9.30 am on the morning of disembarkation.
There will be announcements starting at around 9.00 am asking that you leave the ship. Cast Members have to turn the ship around very quickly to prepare for the arrival of new passengers.
Remember how you were so anxious to get on the ship on embarkation day? They are now thousands of people outside the ship feeling just the same way!
So help the Cast Members by leaving when you are asked to do so. And definitely leave no later than 9.30 am. Disney’s San Diego cruise port has a slightly later time.
You need to vacate your stateroom by 8.15 am. Everyone needs to be off the ship by 9.45 am. Other cruise ports will vary in their times. Check the information which will be left in your stateroom on the day prior to disembarkation.
Remember that all of these times will vary according to the Disney cruise port which you are disembarking in. So always check the information you are given.
Waiting to Disembark a Disney Cruise Ship
There may be some delay between vacating your Disney cruise stateroom, eating breakfast and actually being able to disembark. All the luggage tag characters are called out, but if you haven’t heard yours yet you are not yet allowed to disembark.
If you are waiting to disembark you can use the lounges and bar areas to wait. On the Disney Wonder, I particularly like waiting in the Azure Lounge as it is close to the exit and comfortable to sit in while you wait to be called.
Disembarking a Disney Cruise Ship
Depending upon what time you are leaving, there may be a line to get off the ship. This usually moves pretty quickly. On the Classic Ships Disney Wonder and Magic, the lines can back up sometimes towards the French Quarter Lounge.
This makes it difficult for anyone trying to get past that area as the walkway is pretty narrow. The line always seems to me to move much more efficiently on the Disney Fantasy and Dream. The atrium is so much larger it can deal with more people without feeling crowded.
You will have your Key To The World Card scanned as you leave the ship. You can keep it as a souvenir if you want. Don’t forget to leave your Comment Card in one of the boxes as you leave.
Disney Cruise Lines takes these surveys very seriously. If you feel that you have been treated exceptionally well by a Cast Member always remember to write this on the Comment Card. Disney Cruise lines read them and sometimes will award Cast Members with extra perks as a result of guest feedback.
If you are disembarking a Disney Cruise at Port Canaveral you will walk into the terminal off the ship. You then head down the escalators to the luggage claim area.
You will see that there are areas clearly marked with Disney Characters. So if your luggage label is Daisy Duck, for instance, you will easily be able to see that area. It is usually pretty easy to identify your luggage.
As all bags are out there it isn’t the same waiting game that you play in an airport! Remember that not all of your luggage will necessarily be together. Try and put a bright identifying luggage tag on it so you can find it quickly.
The only exception is that if you disembark at a port that offers onboard airline check-in and have booked Disney transport to the airport, you will not pick up your bags here. They will already be in transit to the airport.
Disney’s Cruise Port at Cape Canaveral offers onboard airline check-in. Remember that Disney Cruise Line advises you to book a flight no earlier than 11.30 am on the day of debarkation.
Personally, I think this is really making for a very stressful morning and I would never book it that close in time!
However, I know that many of you have made it in time for a before noon flight – it’s just not for me.
However, not all cruise ports do this. The Port of San Diego, for instance, doesn’t offer this. If you have booked ground transfers to the airport you will pick up your luggage and take it with you.
Whichever port you disembark in you will have to go through customs. Be prepared to show the identification which you used to board the ship. Make sure you did not pack this in your luggage or you will have a stressful time trying to find this when you arrive in the luggage terminal.
Transportation at Port Canaveral
Once you leave the Port Canaveral terminal you will connect with your chosen method of transport.
If you have booked Disney Cruise transportation you will exit the terminal and see the distinctive Disney Cruise buses lining up.
You will need to show your Key to the World Card which will note that you have booked Disney transport. Disney Cruise transportation travels to Orlando International Airport and the Walt Disney World Resorts. You will be directed to the right bus.
There are no set times for the buses – it is just first come first served. They will leave when they are at capacity.
If you are traveling to a Walt Disney World Resort the bus will most likely be driving to more than one resort. This means it can take quite a considerable time to get to your Walt Disney World Hotel unless you are fortunate enough to be on the first stop!
All guests who have booked Walt Disney World transport to a Resort can disembark the cruise ship between 7.30 am and 9.15 am.
If you are participating in the Online Airline Check-in you will receive specific instructions in your stateroom prior to disembarkation day.
If you have a flight that leaves Orlando International Airport prior to 1.00 pm you must disembark the ship prior to 8.00 am. If you don’t do this Disney will pull your bags and you will have to check them in yourself at the airport.
If you haven’t booked Disney transportation you will walk outside the terminal and proceed to your chosen method of transport.
The shuttles to car rental places are available near the Disney Cruise buses.
If you are staying at a Port Canaveral Hotel many of them have a shuttle. Make sure you check this when you book.