The first day of your Walt Disney World vacation should be super fun and very stress-free. If you are looking for ways to start your vacation I have some great ideas on how you can jump-start your vacation with some magical experiences! Here are 5 great ideas to do on your arrival day at Walt Disney World.
Important Information Due to COVID-19: Certain parks, hotels, restaurants, and other offerings may be modified or unavailable, limited in capacity, and subject to limited availability or closure, and park admission and offerings are not guaranteed. See Disney World’s Know Before You Go Page for more information.
What to do on Arrival Day at Walt Disney World
Get the most value out of your park tickets and don’t go to the parks on your arrival day. Many times you are tired from travel or arrive mid-day. In my opinion, using a full-day ticket for only half-day value is not worth it. There are so many options to magically start your vacation without going inside a Disney Park.
Book a Character Dining Meal
This is the best way to start your Disney vacation. You get the magical interactions with the characters and get a wonderful meal. Out-of-park character meals include Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s (breakfast only), and Artist Point (dinner only).
Chef Mickey’s is the best choice because you get Mickey and the gang. The all-you-care-to-eat family-style meals are decent and the meal is lots of fun for everyone in the family.
Enjoy Your Resort
Even if you are staying at a value resort, the resorts are fun to explore. Go swimming in the pool. All of the resorts have a free movie under the stars in the evening. Get some needed naps in before your first full day at the parks.
Go Resort Hopping
Visit the Deluxe and moderate resorts. They are gorgeous! Grab a dinner reservation at O’hana or the California Grill around the time of the Magic Kingdom Fireworks and you can enjoy them at dinner.
Without a dinner reservation, you can watch the fireworks at the resort beaches. I prefer the Poly for that because I can also grab a Dole Whip to enjoy while watching the fireworks. Check out all the free activities at the Animal Kingdom Lodge!
The Best Resorts to Visit are:
If you are visiting around during the Holiday season, all these resorts are decorated for Christmas with massive trees and some with Gingerbread houses.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Go to Disney Springs
Disney Springs offers so many fun ways to start your vacation with dining and lots of shopping options. There is also a lot of live entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
Things you might enjoy at Disney Springs:
- Coca-Cola Beverage Bar
- Dinner at Raglan Road
- Go to the Portrait Studio and Get your Pictures taken, they are included in Memory Maker.
- Catch a movie at the AMC Dine-In Movie Theater.
- Window Shop
Go Mini Golfing
Did you know that Walt Disney World has two fun-themed mini-golf courses? Fantasia Mini Golf is themed after Disney’s Fantasia movie and Winter Summerland is Santa’s summer getaway. Tickets are less than $20 per person.
At Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course, guests can choose between two courses: the Winter Course or the Summer Course. Both 18-hole courses feature merry touches from Santa and his elves. Golfers play around giant peppermints and a melting ice castle on the Winter Course, while the Summer Course lets guests putt around sandcastles and surfboards.
Tips for Having the Best Disney Arrival Day
- Don’t over-schedule your day. You will appreciate rest from traveling and getting enough rest to hit the parks running on your first park day.
- Let Bell Services Take Your Luggage. Sometimes your room is not ready and that is ok. Simply leave your luggage with Bell services and enjoy the resort and other activities listed above. You will get a text once your room is ready.
- Go over your Touring Plan for the next day. You are finally at Disney and so excited to go to the parks. While you are lounging at the pool or enjoying your first Disney meal, review which rides are your must-dos and continue to build that excitement.
What do you usually do on your arrival day at Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!