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Guide to the New Disney Cruise Line Fort Lauderdale Port

If you want to take a Caribbean or Bahamian cruise, Florida is one of the best states to cruise from. There are several different cruise ports throughout the state, with many options for cruise ships and cruise lines.

Port Everglades, located in Fort Lauderdale Florida, is one of these popular cruise ports. The Fort Lauderdale cruise port is home to a new Disney Cruise Line terminal. This port can be the perfect starting point for your cruise family vacation.

This post contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission from one of these links. We paid full price for our cruise but have been on media cruises in the past at no or lower cost. All opinions are my own.

Check prices and book your cruise here.

Disney Cruise Line terminal building from above

Guide to the New Disney Cruise Line Fort Lauderdale Port

Why Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

If you are flying in for your family cruise, you may wonder which cruise port to leave from. In general, I recommend looking at the specific cruise first, then the cruise port second (especially for the Florida cruise ports, since there are several options).

However, Fort Lauderdale is an excellent option to consider. It’s easy to fly to, with flight options through either Fort Lauderdale Airport or the Miami International Airport.

While the Fort Lauderdale airport is generally easier, you may find more options through Miami. Both are short drives from the airport, unlike Port Canaveral which is a longer distance from the Orlando Airport.

Regardless of which airport you fly through, I’d recommend staying overnight at least the night before. Flight delays are always a risk, and if you fly in a day earlier, you’ll have some extra time.

As someone who lives in the Northeast, I also enjoy flying in a day or two earlier so that I can enjoy the Florida weather before my cruise vacation from Fort Lauderdale.

While the Fort Lauderdale cruise port (Port Everglades) is not new, Disney Cruise Line has just opened a brand-new cruise terminal. I had the opportunity to sail out of this terminal for my recent cruise on the Disney Dream. In addition to Port Canaveral, this is one of the more popular Disney Cruise departure ports.

Banner sign advertising the Disneyband in the cruise port

Disney Cruise Line Fort Lauderdale Port

Arriving at the Fort Lauderdale Disney Cruise Line Port

Whether you are coming from the airport or hotel, or driving, it’s easy to access the Disney Cruise Line Fort Lauderdale port. You will need to show ID to get through port security, but you’ll be able to take a cab or ride share if you aren’t driving.

It’s a large port, so it’s important to know that the Disney Cruise Line terminal at Port Everglades is Terminal 4. There are likely to be quite a few ships in port.

Parking is available in a port parking garage, which opens up at 10:45 AM. If you have a lot of luggage, you can pull up to the port first to drop off luggage with porters, before being directed to the parking garage.

Arriving via ride share or being dropped off? They’ll be able to pull up along Terminal 4 to drop you off at the terminal.

Once you arrive, you can leave any luggage with the porters to be delivered to your stateroom later in the afternoon/early evening. You’ll need to carry anything you don’t check, and keep in mind that your stateroom may not be ready when you arrive on the ship.

Disney Cruise Line mails your luggage tags in advance to your home, so be sure to have them on your bag. If you happen to forget them, the porters can write you out a tag.

These porters are not employed by Disney and do accept tips. Make sure to have some cash available to tip. Make sure no essentials (especially your Passport and other documents, as well as medication) are in your day bag and not in this checked luggage.

colorful Finding Nemo mural with a camera on tripod in foreground

Checking In For Your Cruise

Once you check your luggage in with a porter (if you choose to), you’ll be directed to go into the terminal. We saw overhead fans in this outdoor queue area, meaning some people may need to wait outside. But we walked right into the terminal.

We checked in with a terminal employee, although most of our actual check-in was completed online. There are separate lines for Castaway Club members and first-time cruisers. If you have a DisneyBand+ (which is completely optional), they can assist in activating it.

Once we completed our check-in, we went through security. This is very similar to an airline security process, but you won’t need to remove your shoes or any liquids in your bag. You also don’t have to follow the TSA liquids rule.

When you check in online, you’ll receive a confirmation with a QR code. You’ll need this QR code until you get your Key to the World key on your stateroom door, so be sure to keep it handy.

There’s plenty of seating, restrooms, and vending machines in this main terminal. Our boarding group had already been called at this point, so we walked right up to enter the ship. Before walking through the Mickey Ear entrance, you can choose to take a group photo.

Like other cruise ports, staterooms are generally not ready until about 1:30-2 pm. Most people go right to lunch in Cabanas and then go to their rooms. Luggage is delivered throughout the afternoon into early evening.

Giant Mickey head entrance to cruise ship

Disembarking Through the Disney Cruise Line Port Everglades Flight

If you choose to have Disney Cruise Line handle your bags, you’ll need to put them out the night before. Make sure you haven’t packed anything you’ll need in the morning (like your toothbrush or clothing), in this bag.

You can choose to do a walk-off if you don’t check your bags. In that case, you’ll be one of the first off the ship.

Otherwise, you’ll need to remember the character that was on the bag tag of your checked bags. When that bag tag is called, you can disembark the ship. You’ll find your luggage on or near a table labeled with that character.

Once you have all of your luggage, you can go through customs with your passport. Then, you’ll be directed out of the terminal based on where you are going and what type of transportation you are taking there. Our disembarkation (we did a walk-off) was very quick and easy for this latest cruise.

Staying Overnight Before Your Flight

We highly recommend staying at a nearby hotel the night before your cruise, if you need to fly in. With flight delays and lost luggage always a risk, it’s a good idea to have some extra time.

This map (with affiliate links) will show some nearby lodging options. There are some wonderful hotels right on the beach, or you can choose a more reasonably priced chain with fewer amenities. While some hotels offer paid shuttle service to the airport, a ride share may be less expensive.

Check prices and book your cruise here.

colorful Finding Nemo mural with camera on tripod in front

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