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Old 01-18-2013, 05:58 PM   #1
TXMalecifent
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Online Check-In - Why?

I am curious what benefit is there to online check in? What is special about it? Do you get your choice of available rooms?

I keep seeing it there taunting me, but I do not want to start the process, if I can't change my mind and bail out.
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Old 01-18-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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My understanding is that the only benefit is that it speeds up the process when you get to the hotel because when you go online you let them know when you'll be arriving, so they'll have all your paperwork already to go when you get there.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:03 PM   #3
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It is supposed to save you time waiting in line. We've also had fairly good luck in our room being ready when we arrived when we did it. Doesn't always work but those are the general advantages.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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I like being able to enter my cc info myself, instead of handing my card over to the CM at the desk. The fewer people who handle my card, the better.

The advice I would give to someone who hasn't tried it yet is this - if you have a room request that will make or break your vacation then do NOT do online check in. Although your room can be changed, it takes a lot of time, which negates any time savings you would net by using online check-in in the first place. It's better to go over your request with the CM so you can find the room in available inventory that best matches your request.

If you just have a basic request, or no requests at all, then online check in does save time, and since they know when you are arriving, they do try to have a room available for you when you arrive (not guaranteed, of course, but so far I have had one every time, even checking in as early as 10am). I don't make a lot of room requests, and so far the rooms I've been assigned have been in very convenient locations so I've been happy.

With online check in moving to 60 days out, there's no way you could select your specific room. There are too many variables with that long a time period. I stay at a lot of Hilton properties, and they do allow you to select your room during online check in (at least, as a Gold member or higher) - but they don't allow you to do the check in until 36 hours out from arrival. I actually prefer being able to select my room from the inventory they show on the screen and I wish Disney did that too even if it meant that I couldn't do online check in until 36 hours out.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:54 PM   #5
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Honestly I've never gone to check in when it was busy enough to make a difference. Actually that's not entirely true. I did get to the Poly once when it was very busy and we had done online check in, but there was a problem with the reservation so we ended up waiting forever to fix it anyway.

I could see the advantages Christmas week or during peak travel times if you had no requests. I mostly just use it when I don't care where my room is all too much. Our upcoming trip to POR is in a Standard View Royal Room so I know it will be in one of two buildings and I am fine with either so I didn't bother. I figured I would leave the requests for those who really had a preference. Also I like to do it from home simply because it's one more thing to pass the time while I excitedly await vacation.
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Old 01-19-2013, 06:57 AM   #6
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I'm wondering if online check in will now start including your Fastpass+ selections once the new system is fully up and running?

I also wonder about the wristbands and online check in. In the past, they'd have your key cards ready. Is there a size choice with the wristbands that you get to pick at check in? A color choice? Or would they wait to load the wristbands until you are standing there to make sure your wristband will fit you OK?

I like putting charging privileges on my KTTK card, but not on my teens' cards. If you opt for online check-in, is there a place that gives you the option of charging privileges on some wristbands but not on others?
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:13 AM   #7
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There is no real benefit. You get checked in VERY marginally faster.....at best.
But....you cant get some of the "perks" by doing in person. I.e. an upgrade, or asking for an upgrade...I think the last 3 visits...we paid for a standard room..but during check in..i ask what "better is available" i got a prefered room. You cant do that with online check in. Yes...you still see a person after online check in..once you arrive...but your room is usually set.
Do it when you get there.... Sometimes...the front desk CM...will take care of you.
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Old 01-19-2013, 08:23 AM   #8
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I've found on line check in to be of very little benefit. They are supposed to have your check in packet all ready to go, and doing that in person takes very little time. I think they assign you whatever room is ready, because more times then not when I used on line check in I ended up with a room in the far reaches of the resort.

I didn't use on line check in for my last 3 trips, and have ended up with better room locations. Unless I go during a peak period such as Christmas or the 4th of July, I won't use it again.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:01 AM   #9
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We have used online check-in every year since it was started, I believe.
I have seen no relation between online check-in and how closely the room assignment matches your requests.

We have usually gotten at least one request, even if not all (ie, got the floor we wanted, but further away than we wanted).
Sometimes we have gotten just what we asked for.

Twice we have been given very wonderful upgrades. From what I can tell, the upgrades were already in the computer when we got there, so it happened with online check-in. I mention this because I have heard people speculate that you aren't likely to get upgraded if you check-in online. You don't really have the opportunity to bat your eyelashes coyly and sweetly ask for a pixie dust upgrade. But that is something that I just don't do, so for me the upgrades were just luck.

I do agree that if you have very specific room preferences and want to study the resort map with the desk CM and pick the exact room you want, just wait and check-in when you arrive.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:15 AM   #10
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I don't have anything to contribute, but I've been wondering: what happens if you online-check-in 60 days out, but at 55 days out, you need to change or cancel your vacation? Still before the 45-day window, I'd think a bunch of people are still tweaking their plans...

That's really gotta mess with inventory & availabilty & room assignments...? And are there any penalties if you change/cancel after you've online-checked-in?
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Old 01-20-2013, 07:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eeyore29 View Post
I don't have anything to contribute, but I've been wondering: what happens if you online-check-in 60 days out, but at 55 days out, you need to change or cancel your vacation? Still before the 45-day window, I'd think a bunch of people are still tweaking their plans...

That's really gotta mess with inventory & availabilty & room assignments...? And are there any penalties if you change/cancel after you've online-checked-in?
They won't actually assign your room that early. You are just providing them with the information they would ask you for if you checked in at the front desk. There should not be any penalties if you have to cancel at 55 days as far as the online check in goes. Cancellation penalties will remain the same as they have always been. Your information would just be unused if you cancel after you've done online check in.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #12
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All you are doing when you do online check-in is putting the information into your reservation that the desk clerk would normally do. Credit card info, phone contact etc...
You can still modify your reservation.

If you don't like the room they assign, just ask them to change it. Though I have always had all my requests honored.

It really does make check-in much faster. You walk up to the counter, give your name, show ID, they give you a pre-made up folder with your keys, maps etc.. and off you go.
Was very convenient when we arrived at the Poly at midnight!

Keep in mind that all this "online check-in" is done so they can have less staff.... Same thing for the airlines. You are doing their work.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
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Another good time to do online check in is when they announce that their system is going to be down. I happened to check-in in December on the day when the entire computer system was down, and having all my info already in the system made it a lot easier for me, both at check in and when I went back to get my actual KTTW the next day (they just gave key cards that first day). The CM's were having to fill out all this manual paperwork for any guests that hadn't done online check in, and I was still just a quick in and out.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:51 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXMalecifent

I keep seeing it there taunting me, but I do not want to start the process, if I can't change my mind and bail out.
There is a back button on each page, and I could go in right now (assuming the website works while I'm doing it) and change things if I wanted to.

I think it's probably important to remember that no one has yet checked in at 60 days using a fully functional system and has also gotten to the resorts yet. I have four reservations and have only very recently been able to complete online checkin, and each time it was entirely different in appearance and full function than the last. It's still in flux. Ask me how it turned out starting Feb 6 at around 1am when hopefully I'm in my first resort!
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXMalecifent View Post
I am curious what benefit is there to online check in? What is special about it? Do you get your choice of available rooms?

I keep seeing it there taunting me, but I do not want to start the process, if I can't change my mind and bail out.
For me, it's because (1) I have no special requests so I don't care where I'm placed in the resort (2) I've been to the resort before so I don't need to know every single detail about things (3) I've been to Disney World over 60 times so I know the hours, the ticket options, etc. so don't need to listen to that (4) don't really want to wait behind fifteen families who have to go through 1-3.

Checked in on January 2, 2012. A half hour in the regular line. If I had done online check in, I would have been gone in about five minutes. Never again, never again.
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