Walt Disney World has offered an online check-in service for a long time. When it first came about, guests would simply verify their name and contact information and place a credit card on their account that would then be linked to their Key to the World card upon check-in. When you arrived at your resort, this information was verified again, and you would receive your Key to the World, that would serve as your credit card, room key, and park ticket, plus a welcome packet.
Things have changed since Disney spent millions on its MyDisneyExperience technology including the MagicBands.
Now, the online check-in allows guests to not only link their credit card to their account and choose a pin for purchases but also to link their Advanced Dining Reservations and park tickets to their MagicBand, which you can customize. The MagicBand will be mailed to your home along with your welcome packet (and some coupons). This simplifies the check-in process and even allows you to completely skip the front desk!
But is this really a better option?
Pros of Online Check-In
One of the least favorite vacation tasks is checking into the resort at the front desk. This is time consuming and sometimes even frustrating. With Disney’s online check-in, you can skip this process and spend more time relaxing and enjoying the resort.
You’ll know as soon as your room is ready if you chose the option to receive a text message or e-mail when you completed the form on MyDisneyExperience. You’ll spend less time walking, and those steps are valuable when you’re going to be walking so much over the next several days. It’s easy and seamless!
Many introverts love online check-in because they don’t have to talk to strangers, and planners love it because they can take care of things ahead of time!
On the other hand, if you’re not a frequent Disney World guest, you may miss out on some important things. First of all, one of the greatest things about Disney World is the warm welcome you receive at the front desk. Fortunately, Disney has made up for this by having cast members stationed at the bus stop. If you’re riding the Magical Express, they’ll be standing outside waving and welcoming you to the resort.
Even though the text message notifying you that your room is ready provides a resort map, you may still get lost if you’re unfamiliar with the layout. What’s more, the cast members at the front desk would also point you to amenities and unique activities at the resort like pool activities, recreation, spas, shows, and more.
New guests may also not be aware of extra magic hours or the dining plan. Everyone, regardless of their familiarity, will miss out on special things like the welcome leis at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, the fun decade-specific toys at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and cast members dancing the Hustle at Disney’s All-Star Music.
Good or Bad?
There is a welcome packet in every room listing the resort’s amenities and recreation schedule. This information can be very valuable if you choose to skip the front desk.
If you’re familiar with Disney World Resort and your hotel specifically, skipping the on-site check-in may save you valuable time. In this case, you can use this service and bypass the desk completely.
However, if you are unfamiliar with your resort, you can use online check-in to streamline the process, but you can still stop by the front desk to ask questions and get all of the information you need about the resort.