Online (Early) Check-In

Good Mornin fellow Disney Travelers!!

We are less than a week from go time here and fingers crossed all goes smoothly.

Question about the online check in feature…

what is the point???

So several years back (maybe 3) my folks took the pack of grandkids to the parks… and they told me that their experience with the online check-in was a disaster. Here’s what happened, they did the online check-in, they had their magic bands and credit info connected, they thought they were good to go, they arrived at the park first thing in the morning… and BAM, the bands weren’t activated, their tickets weren’t linked, and no credit account. They spent however long in costumer service (or whatever that equivalency is) with what my mother describes as herds of other people in the same situation.

Now, the experience example from above was some time back… maybe things have become more streamline?

Maybe it just isn’t worth the risk? Should we do both? check in online, but then also report to our resort first thing at like 7am and double check that everything is in order before we head to the parks? Can they do that at 7am in the resort if check in isn’t officially until 3pm?

We are driving from west central FLA, so we will leave in the evening weds, stay at a random cheap hotel the first night, wake up Thurs and go to Epcot… we DO NOT have an onsite room until Thurs evening, after Epcot… soooooooooooo this is why I ask.

(if it’s helpful, we are staying at Art of Animation and plan to drive there first morning even though we can’t get into our room until 3pm to park our car on site and hop the bus to the park)

And… as usual, thank you all for all the help you share!!

If you do online check-in there is no need to check in at the desk. On our last two trips, we never visited the registration desk once. I think perhaps in the early days there were some hiccups like what you describe. But I haven’t heard of anything like that any time recently.

So if I do online check in our magic bands will be connected and we will be able to enter the parks no problamo? including having our account linked to our payment selection?

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I fly in to MCO. If online check in works as designed I can get off the plane, get scanned on my way on MDE and get a text on the ride to the resort. Sometimes you do not get the text but making sure a credit card is linked and your pin is set will save you time.


perfect. I did all this just this morning. Got a pin, got text alert set up, and magic bands and card are showing linked!! wooo hoooo

I am so paranoid though, I may end up just going to the front desk before I head to the park to be sure they will let us in when we get there. lol

For a while they had CMs with iPads checking on you as you got off DME. That was perfect! I think all resorts cut that out but I did have a survey after my Poly stay asking me if it happened.

what is “DME”?

Disney’s Magical Express (free airport transfer service)

thanks. we won’t be utilizing this service.

Not to add to your paranoia, but i ended up experiencing exactly what was described above. Did early check in, got to the line and… blue Mickey. One hour in the customer relations queue later and it was quickly fixed.

Now, I chalk this up to me doing a split stay, and my tickets were only linked to the 2nd part of the stay. So this might not apply and I could easily be an isolated case. And i had a feeling it was going to happen as I was having “assignment” issues throughout my planning of the trip(I couldn’t select fast passes for anything and It took a phone call to get it straightened out). Because of a split stay, I got 2 magic bands and I took both my magic bands with me to the park thinking I was probably going to need it to clear up any confusion if it arose. But when both MBs failed, I had to go to the customer service line.

If I did it again, I would call Disney on my way to the park/resort the day of and have them confirm my magic bands are 100% ready to go, and if they weren’t, fix them over the phone(takes like 10 minutes if that). What the cm did at customer relations didn’t seem to need me to be present in person to fix.

But absolutely do the early check in. If nothing else, the text saying when your room is ready is a great feature and so you know when/if you can head to your room.

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My travel agent warned me that those bumps still happened. With our last stay a few weeks ago we got a call from Wilderness Lodge few days before we arrived. I asked him if I could go to the park first and he recommended coming to the hotel first even though on MDE we were all linked up. I think I will still do it just to be safe. There’s still lots of things that go wrong and we were ready to hit the ground running on our first day without hiccups.

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Personally I would stop by the front desk just to make sure. I think there are still glitches where not all bands will open the door for example.

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I think all this feedback settles it for me… I did online check in, but the morning before we head to Epcot, we will go to AofA early, check in at desk to make certain everything is in order, leave the car, hop the bus… and then head to the park.
Thanks everyone!!


Thanks for posting this. We are going to be down in 6 weeks and already started to on-line check in process. After reading all of this I too think we will stop by the front desk first in order to hopefully avoid any mishaps. I heard of these issues a couple of years back during our last visit but assumed they had been fixed by now.

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I was going to say exactly this - there may have been hiccups with magic bands and online checkin especially when magic bands were first introduced a few years ago, but we have also done online checkin prior to the trips and not had issues. :slight_smile:

I should add that even though we do online checkin, we also stop by the desk to make sure all is well!

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reckless or prudent when it comes to how much time we have playing in the park, as opposed to time wasted getting into the park… I think I am going prudent.

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