If you’re planning to go on a Disney Cruise in the near future, you’ll need to know about their COVID-19 testing and vaccination rules.
Various cruise ships in the fleet will be setting sail again soon, and testing policies have changed over the past few weeks. Now, Disney has announced a new testing option that could make things a bit easier for your family ahead of your next cruise.
Under Disney Cruise Line’s current policies, all guests sailing on the Panama Canal voyage for the Disney Wonder (regardless of age) must be vaccinated. For all other sailings, guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail and they must take a COVID-19 test on embarkation day before boarding.
For all sailings (except Panama Canal) guests 11 years of age and younger are not required to be vaccinated, but they must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result ahead of their trip (in addition to taking the COVID-19 test on embarkation day). The pre-embarkation day test must have been taken between 3 days and 24 hours before the guest’s sail date. The test itself needs to be a rapid PCR test or a lab-based PCR test (rapid antigen tests are not allowed).
Previously, guests could arrange to get tested on their own or order a PCR Testing kit from a specific provider to do their test at home. But now, Disney has introduced a third option. Here’s a full breakdown:
Option 1 (New)
Under this new option, guests can use the Safe Passage website to purchase and schedule a pre-trip COVID-19 test that will be administered at a location in Central Florida. The test will be administered 1-3 days before the guest’s sail date.
The cost of this pre-trip COVID-19 test is $98.33 per test. The available testing locations will be at Orlando International Airport (open from 10AM to 8PM, 7 days a week) and the Radisson Resort in Cape Canaveral, Florida (open 12PM to 7PM, 7 days a week).
The results of these COVID-19 tests take 24-48 hours to process, and the results will be sent to the email address provided when the guest registered on the Safe Passage website.
This Central Florida testing could be convenient if you’re in the Central Florida area or will be in that area just before your cruise departs. Also, if you complete an at-home test but don’t mail it to Inspire via UPS, you’ll be able to drop off your test sample at one of these onsite testing spots in Central Florida, again providing you with a potentially convenient option ahead of your trip.
If you reside in the United States, you can purchase a pre-trip, at-home PCR test directly from the Safe Passage site by Inspire Diagnostics. The kit costs $98.33 per test (which includes a 3.5% processing fee).
Test kits have to be administered and mailed back to Inspire Diagnostics exactly 3 days before your sail date, and you’ll need to use the pre-paid UPS envelope included in the kit to mail it back. If you’re using this method, be sure to drop off the envelope at an official UPS drop box or UPS store location. In a message sent to travel agents, Disney notes that guests should not use a UPS Access Point (drop boxes at spots like pharmacies and grocery stores) to drop off their kits.
Results from the COVID-19 test will then become available 24-48 hours from the time that Inspire Diagnostics gets the sample. Again, the results will be sent to the email address used by the guest to register on the Safe Passage site.
If a guest completes the at-home kit but doesn’t mail it to Inspire Diagnostics via UPS, they will now be able to drop off their sample at the testing locations in Central Florida — guests will just want to make sure they drop it off in time to receive the results ahead of their trip.
Finally, the last option is for guests to obtain a PCR test from any independent testing provider. Again, you’ll just want to keep in mind that the COVID-19 test must be taken and the results must be submitted between 3 days and 24 hours prior to the sailing.
This pre-trip COVID-19 testing generally applies to those ages 11 and under, as all guests ages 12 and up will need to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination ahead of the trip. What if your child turns 12 within a short period of time before your scheduled cruise? In an update sent to travel agents, Disney notes that guests who turn 12 within 5 weeks of embarkation will be allowed to sail, but they’ll have to meet some requirements.
Guests who fall in that category will have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between 3 to 24 hours before their sail date (must be a rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test). And these guests will also need to take a COVID-19 test at the terminal before boarding. Note that all guests, regardless of age and vaccination status, are required to take a COVID-19 test on embarkation day prior to boarding.
UPDATE: Disney Cruise Line has now updated its requirements. For all sailings, guests 12 years of age and older must still be fully vaccinated and take a COVID-19 test upon embarkation. While Guests 11 years old and under are not required to be vaccinated, they must take a “pre-trip NAAT test, rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test for COVID-19, as well as a rapid COVID-19 test upon embarkation.” The addition of the option to take a pre-trip NAAT test appears to be the big change here.
If you have any questions about what testing or requirements apply to you or members of your family, be sure to reach out to your travel agent or Disney ahead of your trip so you can be best prepared. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we find.
Are you planning to go on a Disney Cruise soon? Tell us in the comments.