Online Check-in - Indicated Arrival Time

We will be hopefully arriving to WDW early on our first day (prior to 3:00). I have a room request fax in through TP and I don’t want to mess anything with it up though to reduce the odds of getting a room near our preference. I’d rather have a later check-in and just keep our luggage in the car and head to the parks, if that would help get a “better” room.

So, do you suggest I leave the time as 3? Or is it ok to make it earlier? Should I note that somewhere on the TP fax instead?

I’m not sure how your arrival time from online checkin affects the room selection. When we were there in August we put 3:00 down as our arrival time but ended up getting there around 1:30. Our room was ready at that time and pretty much met our room request criteria. Don’t know if requesting an earlier arrival time would have made any difference.

If I might tack onto this question…

Based on the response from @paulasc, what is a common time that rooms are ACTUALLY ready?

Official check in times are listed as 4:00. But I’m wondering if that is just more like the time they will guarantee your reservation will be ready, but most of the time your room is available sooner?

When we go, on our first day, we’d definitely prefer being able to check into our room BEFORE 4:00 so that we can get our stuff into our room (including groceries) before heading into Epcot for our evening dinner. (For us, dinner usually is more like 5:00 pm.)

If I am not mistaken, check-in time is 3:00 everywhere except the villas. My understanding from what I gathered here and there is that rooms are guaranteed at check-in time and it’s pretty much hit or miss and unpredictable when you try to check-in earlier than that.

Yeah. We’re looking at villas, specifically.

We have typically arrived between noon and 2:00. In our experience (four trips), our room has generally been ready around 1-1:30ish. We’ve never had to wait past 2 pm.

BTW, I thought official checkin time for Disney was 3:00. Is that incorrect?

When we rented points for BCV, we arrived around 11:30 and were very surprised our room was ready. I had planned on leaving everything in the car and then walking to Epcot, but got the room ready text on the way there. So it can happen, although they will tell you 4pm is check in time.

It’s 3 except for the villas

Thanks. So there’s a chance!

Our day of check-in, we leave my parents home in Ocala, FL early and get to WDW by 10:00 am. We plan to start out at Disney Springs, eat at Raglan Rd., and then wait for our room to be ready. Once it is, stop off at the closest Publix and get our groceries. Go check in, then head to Epcot for dinner and whatever. Hopefully back to the room in time to watch the MK fireworks from our balcony. Anyhow, I’m really hoping it isn’t actually going to be after 4:00 before we get into our room.

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My concern was they might prioritize the “request” for early check in (indicated when you say you’ll get there at say, 11am) over the room selection.

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I’ve heard from friends who do the villa thing that it’s really rare for them to be ready before 4pm.

I have heard that this is true - if you ask for early check in you end up with ‘first available’

Until the box saying “Early arrival is most important” comes back (it’s on the page where you put your requests - that page that doesn’t really work anymore on MDE), they should not make an arrival time indicative of anything.

IF your room is assigned and doesn’t meet what you want, you can always go to the front desk and ask if there is another room and let them know you’re willing to wait.

BUT there simply may not be anything that meets all your requests available during your stay period. It happens sometimes. That’s why I make it clear when I set up my fax what my priorities are. For example, my February visit, I said something like:
“I would like to make the following requests in this order or priority:
1 - Surf’s Up section
2 - Top floor
3 - Corner Room”
I put my time of arrival (around 8:30am) but did not check the “early arrival is most important” (that was working at the time). My room was not ready exactly when I got there, but I got the first 2 requests and 2 doors down from the corner.

If you’re really worried about it, either don’t put your arrival time (a moot point if you’re using DME since they’ll know) OR in your touring plans fax, make your closing sentence something like “We are willing to wait for a room to meet as much of our request as possible.”

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Rooms are not guaranteed at any time. You can check in at any time, room may not be ready until the official check-in time, but that doesn’t mean you will always have a room at 3pm. You may have to wait a bit longer, although if you are willing to take any room (in the booked category) they can probably find you one.

ETA: with the villas there is far less chance of an alternative being available. Make sure you don’t end up with an upgrade if you ask for a different room (they have sometimes done this and just use extra points to “pay” for it.


Based on that, it sounds like “check in time” really is meaningless, then.

Not meaningless. It’s a guide time by which you should have a room. But nothing can be guaranteed. If someone doesn’t vacate the room until 2pm, there isn’t much they can do. And if everyone checking into that category checked in before 3pm, someone would be out of luck.

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I thought there were check-out times. According to Disney, check out is by 11:00 am. This leaves time for the cleaning crew to get the rooms cleaned and ready for the 3:00/4:00 pm check in time.

Seems kind of crazy to me to have times, but not any kind of enforcement of them. Oh well. Not that it really matters. Disney will do what Disney does! :slight_smile:

Thanks, I didn’t know that.

There are, but people also request and are sometimes granted late check-out times. Disney also cannot kick them out even if they didn’t request the time. No hotel would be allowed to.

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They do have check-out times. But people ignore them, and Disney aren’t going to call in the heavy mob and chuck everything out of the window.

A manager may go up and ask them to leave, but people can be rude and ignorant.

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