WDW Tip of the Week: Add Disney Cruise Line Onboard Credit Using Disney Gift Cards Before You Sail!



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Did you know that you can purchase Disney Gift Cards before your Disney Cruise Line cruise and use them to pay your onboard account?  During a DCL cruise, all charges are made using your Key to the World Card and accumulated into a folio/onboard account.  While filling out your online check-in before sailing, you decide how you will pay for all of your purchases made on the cruise using either cash or assigning a credit card.  These charges can include Port Adventures, merchandise, alcoholic beverages, tastings, it’s a small world” nursery!, fees, gratuities, and everything in between.   Every few days, DCL will charge these purchases to your credit card.  But did you know that you can add a Disney Gift Card to your onboard account to pay for these items? The gift cards will be used until those funds run out, and the remaining charges will be put against your credit card or cash settlement.

In the past, the gift cards had to be carried on board and taken to Guest Services to have them entered to your folio – very time consuming. Or you or your travel agent had to call DCL to add any onboard credit before sailing. Just recently, the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App* and the Disney Cruise Line online site had an update, and now you can add Disney Gift Cards to your account before you sail!  The credit can be added to the main guest’s account, or you can even choose someone else in the sailing party.  People often ask if your kids can have an account – this is a great way to let them charge against their own funds, especially if they received a Disney Gift Card as a present.  You can even add credit to someone else’s account if you know their first and last name and sail date! As a side note: I did try this successfully, and the website did not give out any personal information such as a stateroom number for a guest who is not in my party.  Great idea for a birthday or special celebration!  This is very exciting and very easy to do from your computer or in the DCL Navigator App.

Loading Disney Gift Cards on your computer:

  • Go to Disney Cruise Line
  • Sign in
  • Click on Already Booked
  • Select Onboard Gifts
  • Locate a Reservation
  • Reservation Number or By Guest Information**
  • Begin shopping
  • Click on Shop by Category
  • Drop down menu on the far right is the Onboard Credit
  • Fill in the form — add the amount $XX select the Guest, and link Guest
  • Add to Bag
  • View Bag
  • Add personalized message, if you wish
  • Checkout
  • A request will be sent to your email or confirmation
  • Select how you would like to pay (you can use a credit card if you don’t have Disney Gift Cards — DCL accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx, Diners Club, JCB Union Pay)
  • Enter info and save
  • Terms and conditions — you must read and check the box
  • Place your order to authorize amount


Loading Disney Gift Cards on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App:

  • Open the Navigator App
  • Sign in
  • Scroll down past all of the cruise information until you get to…
  • Shop Onboard Gifts and click on it
  • Start shopping
  • Let’s Get Started – since you are logged in on your account the app automatically saves your reservation number if you are loading credit onto your own account.  (If adding for another Guest, you can locate their information as stated in the computer instructions)
  • Click on Locate Reservation – app has saved this information, paste on line and add last name
  • Click on the two dash lines on the top left of the screen (see photo in slideshow) — this will give you several purchasing options such as Food & Beverage, Gifts, Packages, Décor, Rain Forest Pass, etc.
  • Select Onboard Credit
  • Fill in the form — add the amount $XX, select the Guest, Link Guest
  • Add to Bag
  • View Bag
  • Add personalized message if you wish
  • Check out
  • A request will be sent to your email for confirmation
  • Select how you would like to pay (you can use a credit card if you don’t have Disney Gift Cards – see above for cards accepted)
  • Enter info, save
  • Terms and Conditions — you must read and check the box
  • Place your order to authorize amount


A special note will be placed in your stateroom or any other Guest you are adding credit for with the amount added and the personalized note you wrote during check out.

Special Advice: Keep your Disney Gift Cards! I used a permanent marker to write the amount that was on the card, the date I uploaded to DCL, and the order number given at check out.  If, for some reason, all of the credit is not used during the sailing, a refund will be issued back to the gift card, which might take a few days.  You can always check a gift card balance at DisneyGiftCard.com.

I love using Disney Gift Cards as I can often buy them at my local grocery store and save money when I buy them with my Disney Visa – but that is for another tip.  Follow the WDW Radio Blog for future advice on saving money when purchasing Disney Gift Cards and other tips.

As with any Disney or Disney Cruise Line application, they are always subject to change or may not always be available for use.

Please note that when I purchased the onboard credit using Disney Gift Cards, I did not receive an email confirmation. Please write that information down while you are still on the Navigator app or when you see the online verification.  I did call DCL at 1-800-951-3532 to verify that the amount was loaded.

* The Disney Cruise Line Navigator App helps you plan your cruise, book activities and Port Adventures, change your dining time, make payments and complete your online check in.  While sailing you can use the Navigator app as an Onboard Chat with others guests, access your cruise schedule, and more.

** You will need either your reservation number for your own account or if you are adding gift cards to someone else’s account you will need their First and Last Name, Sail Date and ship.

To learn more about Vanessa Prince and read her other posts on the WDW Radio Blog, visit her author page.

(Logo property of WDW Radio. Disney Cruise Line onboard credit logo and screenshots copyright Disney Cruise Line. All other photos from the collection of Vanessa Prince.)

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