You’ve spent months planning, shopping, packing and you’ve finally arrived at Disney! As tempting as running to a park might be, sometimes enjoying a day outside the parks on your arrival day makes the most sense. Several things usually play into our decision and it’s something you should think about early on in your trip:
- Arrival time – what time will you be arriving at Disney? If you’re flying in, be sure to account for time to rent a car, drive to your hotel and check in. Magical Express time also needs to be factored in if you’re choosing that mode of transportation. Because it makes several stops, you may arrive on property quickly but wait several stops until you reach your resort. People driving also need to consider checking in and settling into your hotel before making a decision. Arriving early means you get to really feel like you’re on vacation right away instead of arriving and going to sleep. The down side is you’ve got a day to fill but depending on your transportation, things may be delayed or plans may change unexpectedly. Choosing to arrive late isn’t a bad thing either – you can check in and get lots of rest for the following day.
- Budget – your arrival time will dictate a good bit of your options but budget also plays a part. Spending the money adding another day to your ticket can be costly depending on the length of your visit. On the other hand, if you’re visiting during the time of year where there’s a party with a special ticket, the cost of the ticket may be worth only spending part of the day in a park.
- Length of stay – during trips where you’ll have several other days in the parks, it might be a good idea to spend your arrival day spending time outside the parks either tying up loose ends (making that last minute Advanced Dining Reservation or ADR, grabbing a celebratory button or packing your bag for the park for example) or checking a few “must do” things off your list now that you’ve arrived.
Deciding to stay back at the resort on your arrival day doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. There’s plenty to do without heading into one of the parks:
- Visit Downtown Disney and the new Marketplace
- Relax poolside
- Explore your resort
- Get your golf on at one of Disney’s miniature golf courses
- Double check your plans on the Disney website – confirm park hours, ride closures and FastPass+ selections
- Rest up for the rest of your trip
If you’ve decided to hit the parks, here are a few suggestions:
- Remember that others have a jump on you. They’ve been there since the park opened so things will be crowded. Expect to just enjoy wandering in the park unless you have FastPass+ selections. Keep your eyes peeled though – sometimes you’ll get lucky and spot an attraction with a short wait time.
- Remember where you parked. If you drove to the park, who knows where you’ll be parked when you arrive. Take a picture of the spot or row name and number at the end (or both!).
- Remember it’s your first day. Don’t do it all tonight! You’ve got a couple more days to fit everything in. You don’t need to spend hours in line tonight riding things or meeting characters. Don’t overdo it tonight or you may pay for it the rest of your trip.
- Have fun!!! It doesn’t matter what time you arrive. As long as you’re ready for a good time, everything will be ok.
Regardless of what you decide, have a magical vacation!!! What’s your favorite thing to do on arrival day?