Arriving at Port Canaveral for Your Disney Cruise by Car

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) 11:00 AM.

DCL Port Arrival Time Selection

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.

Port Canaveral Parking Map - Cruise Terminal 8 - Disney

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.

Welcome to Port Canaveral

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.

DCL Public Health Questionnaire

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!

 

49 thoughts on “Arriving at Port Canaveral for Your Disney Cruise by Car

  1. Marion

    This is one of the best “How to Get There” guides I’ve seen. Thank you for the images too – they are wicked helpful!

    Reply
  2. Julee

    I know the Public Health Questionnaire says “sample” but was this the one you saw when you cruised recently or in the past? Thank you!

    Reply
  3. Amanda

    If hubby drops us and luggage off while he parks where should we wait for him? Will he need to keep his id?

    Reply
  4. Diane Pierce

    Do you need your reservation info to get in or just ID? We have a passenger on our reservation that will be arriving with someone else (them by car and us by bus) so I’m a little leary if they’ll let him in without us. He’s 13. Any thoughts would surely help!

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Great question. This is not a scenario that I’ve ever had to consider. My best suggestion would be to call Disney Cruise Line and ask them what is the best way to handle this situation to make sure there are no delays or issues on embarkation day.

      Reply
  5. Claire Marie Huff

    What happens after that? Our port arrival time is 10:30, but I have read that you can’t board the boat until 1pm. What will we do until we get on the ship?
    This information is so helpful. Thanks so much for posting it. I really like the map!

    Reply
  6. Airien

    On your more recent cruises, has the health questionnaire been the same? I thought I read somewhere that they were adding more questions.

    Reply
  7. Chris

    How does it work if we are taking a shuttle from park n cruise? Do they check everyone on the shuttle for their port arrival time?

    Reply
  8. Sarah Leland

    We are hoping to do what we are calling Musical Cars…My Hubby is dropping myself, our daughter, and my SIL off at the terminal with luggage. He will then go back to the hotel and pick up our son, my BIL, and my niece. They will drive back to the port and park. They will then join us inside. Will my SIL and I be able to do our port check in without the husbands and 2 kids or do we have to wait for them before we check in? Also is it easy for him to cycle thru after dropping us off so he can go pick up the others?

    Reply
  9. Ben

    The embar time is 3:45, but if we can start boarding as early as 11:30 will we be able to get into our room that early? I’m thinking of selecting an 11:00 am time based on your information and need to know if this is a good time slot. Thank you so much for all the helpful information, we a first-timers!

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Usually around 1:30 PM the staterooms are accessible pending any delays. While you will not be able to enter your stateroom, you may still explore the ship and have lunch once you board. If you pack bathing suits you can even hit the top decks to do some swimming.

      Reply
  10. Rachel

    The time we select with Disney is for when we are to arrive at the port doors or get thru the process and await boarding? We are staying within 5-10min of port, choosen check in time is 10:30

    Reply
  11. Patricia

    Yes there is handicapped parking on each floor of the garage near the elevators as well as in the closer open parking lot (more expensive).

    Reply
  12. Chris

    Scott, my traveling companion and I are traveling with another couple – they are gold, we are silver. They were able to check in online before us and have a port arrival time of 11am. I assume when we get to check in online (in another two weeks!) that the 11:00 times will be gone.

    We are traveling to Port Canaveral together and dropping off our rental car at 10am on embarkation morning. Any suggestions on how to not get split up at the terminal and us having to wait forever while they go onboard without us? Can a cast member override the boarding group number? I was thinking maybe if we all walk up to the counter together even though we have two different res that they may be able to accomodate.

    Reply
    1. misuke

      Chris, were you able to embark earlier than what your port arrival time was? I checked in online too late and our port time is not until 2:15. I would like to be there at 1100 in hopes of getting into the ship earlier than 2:15. Any information will be grateful.

      Reply
  13. Chris

    Amanda, I hope so. Gold check-in started today and we have another two weeks before we as lowly silvers can check in!

    Reply
  14. Penny

    Hello, We will be heading out on a cruise June 12th. I was wondering how do you know what arrival time will be when you are flying into Orlando and taking a bus to the Port. Also, if you plan to keep in touch back at home, and I have Verizon carrier, is that problem? Or should I get a calling card and use when we dock.

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Penny, It looks like you are on the 6/12 Dream 3-Night, correct? When you are arriving by bus you do not need to worry about a port arrival time. I would suggest putting your cell phone in airplane mode as soon as you leave Port Canaveral. If you need to stay in touch try to set up a way to communicate using the internet using either the ship’s internet service or finding a wifi hotspot in Nassau. Check the personal navigator on day one as they have been offering a free 50MB internet data package if you sign up the first day.

      If you really need to be available via phone, I would call or visit Verizon and explain where and how you will be traveling in order to determine what is most economical. I’ve heard of passengers returning home to very high cell phone bills.

      Reply
  15. Chloe F

    Is the drop-off process easy if we have a family member drop us off at the port? Would they just exit after dropping off or is there a separate area for this? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Chloe, Yes there is a drop off area. There are port employees stationed at various locations that will ask you if you are parking or dropping off and will direct you to the appropriate area.

      Reply
  16. Kelly

    Hi, we are first time cruisers and will be coming from the BW to the PC terminal via a town car service. I guess my first question is how likely would it be for us to get an early boarding time? And secondly, I’ve seen lots of videos for people driving themselves and parking in the garage and also the DCL bus arrivals but where will a limo service drop us off at? Thank you for any help you can supply me:-)

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The drop off in front of the terminal. Your driver will be directed where to let you you. Boarding time depends on the time you check in for your cruise. When you check in you will have a selection of times to pick. I have an old post with a video on what to expect. Considering this is your first cruise and you want an early boarding time I would suggest logging on at midnight when your booking window opens to check in to get the best possible time available.

      Reply
  17. Pam Mcswain

    We will be driving into Florida that morning and planning to park in parking deck. How early can we enter the parking deck? How far is it to walk from parking deck to terminal check in? Don’t want to get separated from our friends. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      The parking garage is directly across the street from the terminal. If you are driving they have people on site to make it easy for you to drive up to the terminal to drop your luggage off then you go and park.

      Reply
  18. Julie

    I just finally got to choose my port arrival time for our Nov. 28 Fantasy cruise. I did not have flight info so it would not let me move on. I know we are flying in 1-2 days prior just have been price shopping. I finally just chose that we were driving and it let me move on. I wish I would’ve done that weeks ago. I don’t think this should be like that. The soonest I got to choose was 12. I wanted to get on as early as possible. Anyone else have this issue? We still plan on arriving early and I pray we get to board early. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  19. Regina

    I am taking my first Disney Cruise in late Ocrober. Question…. when dropping off our luggage…. will it be delivered to our room or do we pick it up somewhere on ship?

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Luggage is delivered to the hallway right outside your stateroom door. Basically, they deliver it to your stateroom, but do not bring it into your room.

      Reply

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