Did you Know Disney Series: Checking Into Your Resort Online
I have yet another installment for you in the Did you Know series, where I teach you facts that you may or may not have known about how to make your vacation even more magical. This series includes how-to’s with detailed screenshots for those of you who are currently not in the know! This post focused on online check in. For anyone staying on property at a Disney resort, I highly recommend doing online check in. This allows you to by-pass long lines when you arrive at the resort; and, for the veterans to Disney, can allow you to bypass the desk altogether and go straight to your room! How exciting is that?! Read on for more!
Why do Online Check in?
Online check in will speed up your entry to your hotel. Disney resorts aren’t ordinary hotels. Think of them more like compounds. J I don’t mean to cast any sort of negative light on the Disney resorts because God knows I love them; I only refer to them this way because they hold so many more guests than your regular hotel. For example, the value resort, Pop Century has 2,880 guest rooms! Two thousand! Think about how many people are going to be checking in when you do if you go during free dining week. Now you can imagine how many people wait in line at the check in desk on any given day.
By doing online check in, you bypass the regular line; this line is full of people who didn’t check their email or didn’t read this blog post. You’re smarter than that! You want to be in the shorter, online check in line.
As the infomercials say, BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER! Disney has started something new in the recent past. If you do online check in and are comfortable with bypassing the check in desk altogether, you can. This is loosely referred to as direct check in (as Disney hasn’t officially named it yet). Direct check in works like this:
- Check in online as you regularly do. Make sure you do link a valid credit card to your room. You want this to be the card that will be associated with your room during your trip. Make sure this is the card you intend to you during your vacation.
- At the end of the online check in process, Disney will ask for an email and cell phone number. Give it to them. This allows them to email/text you when your room is ready.
- Disney will text/email you when your room is ready AND provide you with your room number.
- You can now head straight to your room, bypassing the front desk altogether. Done!
That sounds simple, right? That’s because it is! I’ve done this before and it’s awesome. No lines, no check in desk, just go from the parks to your room on the first day. It’s a breeze. The only people I wouldn’t recommend this for are those who are on their first trip to Disney and need some extra guidance on how to find their room or navigate the resort. This can be overwhelming especially for the BIG value resorts. For a Disney veteran like me, or for someone who’s visited a resort multiple times, there’s no need for the standard welcome speech.
Will I still have someone help me find my room?
Even if you do online check in and Disney does send you a text with your room number (thus allowing you to do the direct to room), you can still stop by the front desk for help with finding your room. The cast members are more than happy to help in any way they can.
Keep in mind that Disney hasn’t officially announced the ‘direct to room’ check in process yet so they are still rolling it out to all the resorts gradually. I have done this personally at Animal Kingdom and the Contemporary and it’s worked very well for me. Thus, I know this is live at both those resorts. There is usually always a cast member at the door of each resort to help guide you to where you need to go in case you have no idea where you need to be!
Okay, how do I do the online check in?
I thought you’d never ask. Here’s a step by step on how to do this:
- Click on the link provided to you in your email to do online check in. This typically comes about a week before your trip. You can also do this online within the 30-60 day period before your vacation. You need to login to My Disney experience to do this.
- You are brought to the first screen which verifies your resort, guests, package, and room type (I have mine blurred for privacy). Click on the arrival and departure time buttons to let the resort know what time you intend to arrive and depart. Disney will typically try to honor your arrival time even if it’s before check in so tell them your REAL arrival time here.
- Now, click on ‘edit’ to add room and amenity requests – this is very important because this can make your resort experience really awesome. Here is where you can add requests like: near elevators, near pool, near food court, near transportation, etc…. You can add up to two requests and I always add my two. I always want to be near the elevators and the transportation. It’s not fun to have to hike to your room after a long day in the parks. What you pick here is highly individual but I do suggest you let Disney know what you want!
- Next you’re prompted to set up payment. This is the payment method that is linked to your room and thus your magic band. Make sure you don’t just pick any card here – pick the one you intend to use on vacation. The intent is that you don’t have to stop by the desk or guest services to change this so pick wisely. You will see your travel party below and it will either ask you to set a PIN or tell you your PIN is set. This is the PIN which is need to charge anything to your room or band. When picking, make sure you can remember the PIN but that it’s not super obvious so that it’s easy for someone to steal your band and charge to it (i.e. don’t make your PIN 1234).
- Disney now prompts you to confirm your address. Make sure this is correct. If you want to receive a text with your room updates/room number (if applicable), give them a cell number or email. I highly recommend doing this because if the resort is participating in direct to room, you’ll get a text message with your room number when it’s ready. Finally, agree to the terms and conditions and you’re set!
- Disney shows you one last confirmation screen and allows you to go back and modify any part of the check-in by clicking the modify button. It also gives you a summary of your stay details.
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