How to Plan the Perfect Arrival Day at Walt Disney World

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There’s a lot that goes into planning the perfect Walt Disney World family vacation. There are so many options for your family to choose from. Also, it’s important to consider what your itinerary will look like on your day of arrival. Depending on your travel situation you might want something a little more mellow before getting to park hopping or the water park, or hit the ground running! Not to worry, we’re here to help you plan the perfect arrival day for your Walt Disney World trip!

How to Plan the Perfect Arrival Day at Walt Disney World

First Things First-

On the day of your arrival,  we recommend checking your plans and/or dining reservations with the front desk or on your My Disney Experience App to confirm.  After you’ve confirmed your plans for your stay, the option of keeping it mellow or heading straight to the parks is up to you and your group. Take into account the general vibe of your travel group or family and then make the decision that works best. 

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Enjoying Your Resort-

An important thing that we think every family or travel group should do, is really get acquainted with the resort you’re staying at. Each resort is differently themed and offer a variety of  different amenities. Every Disney World Resort has scheduled activities, crafts, and or movies.  Check with the front desk for a daily schedule so you don’t miss any of these fun and unique activities.

Arrival day is also a great time to get acquainted with your room and get it ready for your stay.  Unpack your bags and get clothes and other essentials ready for the next day. It helps so much, especially if you’re trying to make it to a breakfast reservation in the morning or for early magic hours.  If your room happens to not be ready when you check in, then relax at your resort pool. Remember to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen in your carry on bag when you fly, for this purpose.

Character Dining-

A great way to immerse yourself in the magic of Disney without entering a park is to reserve a character dining experience at your resort. A great choice is character dining at Disney’s Riviera Resort’s Toppolino’s Terrace.  However, keep in mind that since the global pandemic, character dining might be on hold right now or a slightly modified experience. Please check with your specific resort about these details. Also, a good thing to keep in mind is not all resorts have travel amenities to each resort. You will need to make a travel transfer at least once at a park or Disney Springs. Make sure to allow yourself at least 90 minutes of travel time to get to your reservation on time. Another option to get to your dining reservation on time is by using either Uber, a taxi, or a Minnie Van.


Explore While Riding the Monorail-

Another great option on your arrival day is to schedule a meal at one of the restaurants at the Disney
Resorts along monorail loop. After your meal, take a ride along the monorail loop.  Hop off at different resorts and explore! This is especially nice during the holiday season to see all the different decorations at the resorts.

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Disney Springs-

This is probably one of our favorite places to start on arrival day. Disney Springs  at Walt Disney World has so much to offer with its many dining and shopping locations. There’s plenty to explore and it’s actually quite a refreshing break between park hopping and rushing to reservations. We would definitely recommend at least setting aside a great deal of time to enjoy Disney Springs.


Other Arrival Day Tips-

If you can, try not to schedule any reservations or activities too close to when you expect to arrive. We recommend reserving at least 3 hours if you are flying and taking the Magical Express to your resort.  Less time if you are driving. You don’t want to be late for a dining reservation or rushing to make it in time for a Fast Pass. This can result in a stressful start to your vacation, and you definitely don’t want that!

Also, because it is your first day, don’t over do it. It’s perfectly fine to get acclimated to your resort and spend that first day in. Beside, you’re going to want to say a lot of that energy for the parks!


No matter what or where you decide to start your trip off first, we’re sure you are in for a truly magical time at the Walt Disney World Resort!


Photo Source: Disney Parks



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