I have heard this time is crazy because that’s when many buses (Disney Resort) arrive etc. We were told that it really doesn’t matter since nobody can enter the ship until noon anyway. We have 3 kids and I dread a crush of crowd and would prefer to avoid if possible. One idea we are considering is coming a bit later (2pm) instead, but we will need to make some reservations. What are your thoughts based on experience?
We went on the Dream last April after a week in the parks, and planned to be at the port late morning. However, my son was sick during the night and we slept in and made it to the port about 1:30 (we had a rental car). It was so easy at that time- we parked, had no wait for the luggage to go through the scanners, and waited maybe 5 minutes to get checked in. Once on board the ship it was obvious most people had gotten there earlier, but it was no big deal. We were able to go straight to our stateroom without having to pack around our carry-ons (rooms do not open until 1:30). We then went to lunch at the buffet restaurant (not particularly crowded) and then up to check out the pool deck. This is where getting on late hurts you- very crowded at the pool and the line for the Aquaduck was crazy long. This was no big deal for us as we planned on doing the Aquaduck first thing in the morning on the next day (which worked out great if you can get up). I don’t know what the crowds were like earlier in the day of course, but 1:30-2 worked great for us.
We got on late last February (can’t remember what time, but our bus didn’t leave Pop Century until 12:30 so probably 1:30-2:00). We barely made it to Cabanas before they ended lunch service, and we were really not happy about that.