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Disney Cruise Port Canaveral Terminal Boarding Process

If you are taking a Disney Cruise more than likely it will be out of Port Canaveral. You might find the entire Disney Cruise Port Canaveral boarding process a bit overwhelming if you haven’t been to the terminal before.

There are a lot of lines, and a ton of people, and the last thing you want to do is to be stressed out as you are embarking on your magical vacation because you don’t know what to expect.

Being prepared is one way to make the Disney Cruise boarding process a little easier.

Everything You Need to Know about Disney Cruise Port Canaveral Terminal

Port Canaveral Parking

If you are planning on parking your car at Port Canaveral, you want to make sure that you are prepared for the cost and factor that into your cruise budget.

Cost is on average $17 a vehicle per day.

You do not need to pay in advance of your trip, just pay to park at the cruise terminal’s designated parking area.

If you don’t want to pay the hefty fee for Port Canaveral Parking another option is to park off-site and be shuttled to Port Canaveral.

This is a much less expensive method and the one we personally use every time we cruise out of Port Canaveral.

You can park your car at ParkPort Canaveral, located at 500 Thurm Boulevard, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920.

If you park for the duration of your cruise, you can receive shuttle service to Port Canaveral and pay per day.

Disney Cruise Port Canaveral

Luggage Collection at Terminal Gate

Once you park or are transported to the Cruise terminal, you will unload your luggage and hand it over (if you choose) to a luggage attendant.

When you received your cruise documents, you would have been given paper luggage tags for your belongings.

Be sure to tag each of your bags and make sure that your cabin number is visible.

Make sure all your bags are securely fastened so the contents don’t fall out.

Want to bring your own alcohol on board?

You can bring alcohol with you, but be sure you follow the Disney Cruise line Alcohol policy. If you don’t, you might be wasting money having it thrown away before you even get to enjoy it.

Can you carry your luggage on board?

Yes, you may carry your own bags onto the ship.

We found that if you are arriving after 1:30 pm you are better off bringing your luggage on board with you.

This way, you can go straight to your room with your bags rather than waiting (sometimes hours) for your bags to arrive.

There are times when bags don’t arrive until close to 5 pm.

Disney Cruise Port Canaveral Terminal Boarding Process

Disney Cruise Boarding Process

Once you enter the actual Disney cruise terminal building, you go through a screening process that involves you showing your cruise documents and having your belongings scanned (similar to the airport).

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The main thing to remember is to have your cruise documents and photo ids accessible and to keep your family with you (each person at your party will need to be photographed).

After going through the screening process, you will head upstairs to wait for your boarding number to be called.

While you are Waiting to Board the Cruise Ship

While waiting for your Disney Cruise boarding number to be called you can do a few things.

In the center of the room, you will find a large Disney Cruise Ship model that you can pose with for a picture

There are bathrooms to change into your bathing suit if you so choose.

Parents can go ahead and sign kids up for the onboard kids club to avoid doing so on the ship.

Pressed Penny Machine at the Disney Cruise Terminal

If you collect Disney Pressed Pennies, there is a Pressed Penny machine in the terminal.

Boarding Disney Cruise

Boarding the Disney Cruise Ship

Once you pass through the large Mickey Mouse ears, you enter a hallway with some photo opportunities that include a backdrop showing the Disney Cruise ship. 

Walking onboard the Disney Cruise Ship

Here is a little Disney Cruise Secret: The line for this photo op is LONG. If you move to the right, you can bypass this completely and go straight to the ship!

When you board the ship, a cast member will greet you and ask for your party’s name and if you are celebrating a special event. They will announce your event and your family’s arrival once you board.

Disney Cruise Cabanas Buffet

Once Onboard Your Disney Cruise Ship

Depending on the time you board your Disney Cruise, you may have to wait before going to your stateroom.

If it is after 1:30, you can go straight to your room and get your key to the world card. These cards will be found on the Fish Extender beside the door.

If not, you can go straight to Cabanas for the lunch buffet or spend time at the pool.  There is dining available poolside as well.

If you haven’t already changed into your swimsuit, you can change in the bathrooms near the pool.

Sail Away Party on Disney Cruise

Sail Away Party

Later in the day (usually around 4 pm), there will be a Sailing Away Party and you will want to make sure that you attend!

Overall, the Disney Cruise Port Canaveral terminal boarding process is pretty basic, but when you walk in, you can very easily get lost in all the lines.

I hope these little pointers help to make your transition from terminal to ship a little easier!

Need a Place to Stay in Port Canaveral Before Your Disney Cruise?

Those looking for a hotel to stay the night before (or after) your cruise, consider the Radisson in Cape Canaveral.

Not only is it a nice hotel that is close to the port, but it also has on-site cruise parking through ParkPort Canaveral mentioned above!

You can book a Cruise package where you can stay at the hotel and then leave your car during the cruise (and get a shuttle to Port Canaveral).

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Monday 27th of November 2017

3 families going on the Dream. Nana and I are platinum castaway club members. Kids families are first time cruisers. Can they check in with us at the platinum desk?

Gretchen Schott

Sunday 18th of June 2017

Thank you for this! We leave in 4 weeks for our first cruise and I was a bit apprehensive about what to expect. This was clear and made me feel excited to go.


Tuesday 25th of July 2017

Yay! I am so glad to hear this. Have a magical trip!


Thursday 18th of August 2016

I have ordered for a motorized wheelchair to be delivered to the ship I'm just not sure what to get at once I get in the terminal


Thursday 18th of August 2016

When you check in, let the agent know that you have one reserved and she should be able to tell you where to go or they will bring it to you.


Monday 17th of November 2014

Are the ID bands used on the ship the Magic Bands? We are doing land and sea so we have ordered customized Magic Bands. I am just unsure if they will be used both places or just on land.


Wednesday 19th of November 2014

MagicBands are only good at the park.

Angela @Little Blue's Room

Monday 21st of July 2014

Thank you so much for taking the time to post this information! My family will be going on the Dream in October and this is our first cruise so this information is a diamond jewel! :-)


Tuesday 22nd of July 2014

You are going to have a fantastic trip! We just love the Dream!

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