Over the years, we have had many different experiences arriving at Port Canaveral by car. With the launch of the Disney Dream in 2011, there came port arrival times. Yes, your drive to the port begins well before you sail date when you complete your online check-in. Part of the online check-in process includes selecting a port arrival time that are in 30 minute increment arrival windows beginning at 10:30 AM (updated Sept 2013)
It is recommended that you arrive at the terminal during your selected time. If you arrive before your scheduled time, you may be asked to wait. Think of it like a FastPass in the parks, except that you can still arrive after your arrival window.
Depending on where you are driving from, it may be beneficial to pick up a SunPass Mini Sticker Transponder to avoid the hassle of stopping at the many toll booths. We take a similar route as one would from Walt Disney World, and our round trip tolls are around $7.00. If you are not sure how to get to Port Canaveral, use this address (9155 Charles M Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920) to map your route.
When you finally arrive at Port Canaveral, you will be stopped by a port security guard who will asked to see the driver’s ID. You will be directed into to drive through the green gate where you will be greeted by the first of many Disney cast members. At this check point, you will again provide just one ID. The cast member will check the list and instruct you to drive along to the side of the terminal building to drop off your luggage, and if any member(s) of your party wish they may head into the terminal. Previously, you had would either drop off your luggage in the loading zone or park and carry your luggage from the parking lot. The new process is amazing and from our experience much more efficient.
After unloading your luggage, you have a few choices. As you are leaving the unloading area, a parking attendant will offer to let you park in the same small lot directly next to the terminal. Sounds great, but this is considered preferred parking which is a $20 length of stay upgrade over the surface lot and garage across the street. Be warned, in December as well as today, this Port Canaveral parking lot attendant did not offer this information when offering me the parking spot. There are many options available for you to park at and near the port, some of which I previously mentioned.
Once you are parked, it is time to head into the terminal. You will need to pass through another check point where each member of your party over the age of 18 must present a valid form of identification. From there, you will enter the terminal building and go through a standard security check and your carry-ons will be x-rayed.
Next, you will ascend to the second floor where you will again be greeted by cast members wearing the iconic Mickey Hands.
Your first order of business will be for one member of your party to complete the Public Health Questionnaire to take with you to the check in desk. This important will ask if any members of your party have been experiencing a fever in conjunction with a sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle aches or headaches, as well as if there has been any vomiting or diarrhea over the last 3 days.
It is now finally time to check in. Again, you will be guided to a check in line based on your Castaway Club status, or if you are concierge guest. These lines may at times look long, but move much faster than a check out line on Black Friday. In order to make this process as quick as possible, have all your check in documents ready to present to the cast member at the check in desk. A photo will be taken if there is not already one on file, so that when you are checked on and off the ship security can verify your identity when re-boarding the ship in port. Last but not least, you will be given your Key to the World (KTTW) cards, a lanyard (if you are a Castaway Club member), and depending on what time you arrive, a boarding group number.
The hard work is finally over & you can put your passports and other important documents safely away and start enjoying your Disney Cruise vacation!