8 Fun Things to Do on Your Disney Arrival Day!
You’ve worked hard all year, worked overtime, scrimped and saved every last penny to give you and your family a dream vacation. You’ve been packing and repacking, stressing about last-minute details…now you are finally in the car/on the plane and ready to get to the most magical place on earth. All of the excitement and stress of traveling can take its toll on even the most prepared individuals. You made it to the hotel and check in and what’s the first thing you want to do? If you are like me, take a nap! Some might say “you just made the trip of a lifetime to Disney World! There’s no time for sleeping! Let’s get to the parks!” I’m sure for some people, who have never been to Disney World before, want to get the most out of their trip. They feel like they need to spend every waking minute in the parks, going on rides, and staying until the park closes. You are spending a small fortune on this trip and everyone will have fun every single second even if it means you look and feel like zombies at the end of the night! I’m here to say don’t wear you and your family out before your trip even starts! Here are a few things you can do on property (without going into the parks) to ease into vacation mode and start your trip off on the right foot!
Do Online Check in then go ahead take a nap! Checking in at a Disney World resort hotel has never been easier. They now offer online check in through the My Disney Experience App which lets you start the check in process 60 days before your arrival. Every guest staying on property receives a free Magic Band which acts as a room key that is shipped to you before your arrival. (In some cases you may need to pick up your Magic Bands at the front desk.) You will receive a text with your room number when your room is ready, no need to wait in that long line with everyone else who just got off Disney’s Magical Express! We stayed at the Art of Animation in 2016 and took advantage of this wonderful service. We received our text while on the Magical Express and were able to go right to our room while many other families had to wait to check in with a cast member. We had a long early morning flight and by the time we got off the plane and to our resort we were completely exhausted. We decided for us the best thing to do first was to take a quick nap so we can recharge and be able to enjoy ourselves! After about an hour we were feeling much better and were excited to start having some fun!
Take a stroll around your resort! One of our favorite things to do on our arrival day is take a walk around our resort. We love to explore the property, taking in all the sights and sounds of what makes each resort special. Many resorts have great photo ops, and very few people around to photobomb your pictures! At some of the value resorts including Art of Animation and All Star Movies they even have larger than life statues of some of the most loved characters that you can take some pretty awesome pictures with.
Grab a snack! Last year we finally saved up enough money to stay at our favorite resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort! It was a dream come true for my husband and I. We first visited this resort on our honeymoon back in 2006 for dinner at the ‘Ohana restaurant as recommended by our travel agent. We fell in love with the themeing of the property and really felt like we were in Hawaii. There are many reasons to love this resort but one of the best perks is that it is the only place outside of the parks that you can get the infamous Dole Whip! It is by far my favorite Disney snack. If you purchased the dinning plan you can even use a snack credit here at the Pineapple Lanai to get your hands on your very own piece of heaven. The serving sizes are huge, often my kids can’t even finish theirs on their own so I do recommend sharing with the kiddos. Another great tip that most people don’t know about is you can use snack credits in the gift shops for some small treats. We often get to the end of our trip with 10 or more snacks left and only 1 day to use them. Now we go to the gift shop in our resort and cash out our snack credits by picking up a few treats like bags of candy, popcorn, chocolate bars and even those huge prepackaged cookies and rice krispie treats! Just look for the Disney Dining Plan logo or simply ask a Cast Member if you aren’t sure what qualifies for a snack credit. You already paid for those snacks so make sure you don’t leave them behind!
Take a dip in the pool! One of the best things about vacationing in Florida is that most of the time it has perfect pool weather. We love to spend part of our arrival day at one of the many pools on our resort property. We pack our bathing suits in our carry on bags just in case our luggage is late arriving, then it’s off to the pool for some fun in the sun and much needed relaxation! My favorite thing to do is grab a drink from the pool bar while the kids frolic in the pool, in my opinion it is an excellent way to start a vacation!
Go to Disney Springs! Some people like to start their vacation off at Disney Springs with a little shopping and a great meal. There are so many great restaurants to choose from here you are bound to find something to satisfy even the pickiest eater. Many of the restaurants here are on the Disney Dining Plan and are open late.
Take a trip on the Monorail Loop! One of the most awesome things about Disney World transportation is all of the different options you have to get around the property. Between the busses, boats, and the newly formed Minnie Van fleet you never have to worry about how you are going to get from place to place. There is one form of transportation that is almost like a ride in and of itself: the Monorail. I love the monorail and always try to convince my family to go for a ride as soon as possible. You can see so many beautiful sights, especially at night. Seeing Spaceship Earth lit up in beautiful shades of blue and gold is a sight to behold. If your timing is right, you may even catch a glimpse of some fireworks! Be warned, you will go through security before being allowed to board the monorail however lines are usually short and are meant to keep us safe. So when you board, sit back and relax, and por favor, manténgase alejado de las puertas!
Go resort hopping! There are so many great resorts to stay at on property on Disney World at every price point. You can hop on a bus, take the monorail, or simply walk to a neighboring resort to take in all of the splendor they have to offer, and just maybe start planning your next trip!
Watch a movie under the stars/roast some marshmallows! Many of the moderate and deluxe resorts on Disney World property have great nighttime entertainment. Often at dusk you can find guests roasting marshmallows by fireside, weather permitting. Some nights you can even catch a Disney movie under the stars! We came off the bus from a long day at Hollywood Studios a few vacations back only to be pleasantly surprised to see Star Wars, The Force Awakens was playing just outside the lawn of our room! What a great way to wind down and ease into bedtime. All activities are posted in the lobby of the resorts or you can simply turn on your television to the WDW Today channel to see times of all activities specific to your resort.
Here are other articles that will help you with your vacation planning:
- 8 Useful Items To Bring To Disney World That Will Make Your Trip So Much Better!
- What is the Perfect Bag to Bring to a Disney Park for You?
- Planning Tips for Disney World Trips!
- Featured Content
These are just some of the few fun things you and your family can do on your very first moments on property in Disney World. Feel free to leave in the comments below what your family does on your arrival day to start off your vacation!