Step Inside a Newly Renovated Room at Disney’s Pop Century
We just checked in (June 11, 2017) to Disney’s Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World and were given one of the refurbished rooms! Here’s a photo tour of our room in the 90’s section in building 8.
At first glance, the room is very white (almost stark) with mid-century modern furniture. Everything from top to bottom has been refurbished. In fact, there are no hints of the old rooms in the decor or linens. As you look closer, you’ll seed that the renovation has added some wonderful conveniences to the rooms at this Disney World value resort.
Disney’s Pop Century Photo Tour
Queen Bed and Double Murphy Bed/Table are now featured in the rooms at Pop Century.
After two nights sleeping in the queen bed, I can say that the extra space was wonderful. However, the mattress seemed a bit hard to me; my husband felt it was absolutely fine. If you like sleeping on a firm mattress, the Disney’s Pop Century renovated room is for you. It wasn’t the worst that I’ve ever slept on and I did get much better sleep than in the previous double bed accommodations offered at the value resorts in Walt Disney World.
The pillows were just right; not too soft and not too hard. Medium pillow lovers will like them.
Disney’s Pop Century Resort Features Renovated Rooms
The lighting above the queen bed adds a pop of Mickey to the room.
Mickey Mouse lighting fixture above queen bed in Disney’s Pop Century.
Queen Bed at Pop Century in Walt Disney World.
Our family found the outlets and USB charging ports next to the beds to be extremely convenient. I had my iPhone, iPad, and laptop all plugged in at my nightstand area.
There is still a bedside phone. Retrieving messages was simple.
Cozy queen bed with nightstand at Pop Century.
Queen Bed with two nightstands at Pop Century in Walt Disney World.
Coffee Bar, Ice Bucket, Cups, and Refrigerator at Pop Century.
Large screen television can be easily seen from both beds. Added bonus? Avatar is now playing all day. (Pandora review coming soon!)
Large flat screen television now playing Avatar.
The room seems larger with the lighter wall color and functional furniture.
Luggage can easily be stored under the queen size bed.
The room refurb includes all new textiles, including these groovy orange curtains.
In-room dining information is found in a handy pamphlet.
I like the fridge and coffee bar area for convenience. It’s also a good place to stash the treats that you bring back from the food court or resort bakeries. You’ll find a Cuisinart coffeemaker, cups, and ice bucket on the shelves. Look for supplies in the drawer. Cup lids — yes!
The refrigerator has a see-through door.
Laminated flooring has replaced the carpet. The wood grain pattern works well in the room.
Laminate “wood” flooring at Disney’s Pop Century.
I like the wood look to the flooring. It’s also easier for Mousekeeping to clean.
Sliding doors separating the bedroom and bathroom are similar to Coronado Springs Resort.
The bathroom also has handy storage units and the shower looks like it’s going to be great for sore muscles after returning from the parks.
Sliding glass shower doors are a nice addition and they provide some privacy with patterned glass.
The make up mirror is a really nice touch to the new bathroom decor at Disney’s Pop Century resort.
Not pictured: There is a mirror on the bathroom’s sliding door for checking out your snazzy Mickey Ears and touring outfit.
I love the Sea Salt H2O+ products.
The rain shower was soothing.
A safe is found inside the dresser.
The table is a murphy bed, which was very easy to unfold. You’ll find eight pillows already in the room.
Setting up the Murphy Bed
The boys felt that setting up the Murphy bed was very easy; they even mentioned that I would be able to fold it down myself.
Our 17 year old son slept on the Murphy bed. He’s almost 5 ft 11 inches and thought the bed was very comfortable. Again, the mattress was firm but comfy. He also thought the pillows were great.
The Murphy bed is already made up with sheets and a blanket. There is a switch for the nightlight in the middle of the headboard. Upon opening the bed, you’ll find Pluto already sleeping!
The TV is huge and storage seems quite adequate. The safe is inside the dresser. There are plenty of places to plug in your electronics into outlets or USB charging ports, including on the dresser and at each bedside.
Yes, at first glance the room may seem stark. Personally, I think an accent wall with a painted color would be nice. However, the overall refurbishments really adds comfort to this value resort at Walt Disney World.
Take a look at the pictures and I’ll return with further updates very soon.
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Ten Reasons to Stay and Play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Stay and play at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) for an exotic escape from the stresses of the real world. With a unique setting, the resort is perfect for a weekend or week-long visit.
The immersive experience begins the moment you turn into the driveway of the safari themed lodge.
Landscaping at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
One of the ways that Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge transporting guests to the Great Continent is through the exotic and lush landscaping painstakingly taken care of by Disney horticulturists. From pampas grass to yellow flame trees, the vegetation is reminiscent of Africa for an immersive experience.
I adore the tropical pool areas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Both Jambo House and Kidani Village have plenty of outdoor seating, including shade from the canopy of green trees! Uzima Springs at Jambo House is an over 200,000 gallon, zero-entry pool with a gentle water slide hidden within the Floridian palms.
Uzima Springs Pool.
Shady spots are easy to find!
If your room isn’t ready upon arrival, begin your stay with some poolside fun!
Banana Cabana. Cheers!
Cultural Representatives feature talks on their homeland — an informative session that takes guests on a journey through Africa. Look at the Recreation Calendar at your resort for times. These chats are held at Kidani Village’s Palace Library and Jambo House’s Sunset Lounge.
Go on a Cultural Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Fun activities are offered throughout the resort.
Watch for fun activities.
Campfires are always relaxing and cozy. Sit around the outdoor firepit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to unwind in tropical surroundings. Watch for scheduled campfire activities once the current burn ban is lifted. African folktales are still being told at the Arusha Savanna Overlook.
Firepit with cozy rocking chairs.
You’ll find both quick service and table service restaurants within the Animal Kingdom Lodge resort. For fine dining, reserve a table at Jiko!
The Mara boasts a menu with some unique counter service offerings. I’m always hungry for a peanut butter brownie when staying at the Lodge.
More peanut butter!
AKL is also home to my favorite breakfast at Walt Disney World. With beautiful decor resembling an African marketplace and a scrumptious buffet, Boma with its wood-burning grill has remained consistently memorable throughout the years.
Breakfast at Boma is a must!
Don’t forget to try the Frunch. It’s included in your all-you-care-to-eat buffet.
Jungle Juice at Boma
While you can save money with a standard or pool view, the magic here is in the views of the savanna. However, if you won’t be spending a lot of time at the resort, go easier on your budget but allow time to view the animals from the public overlooks.
One of the best ways to stretch your budget is to play around with your vacation dates. If you can be flexible, you may find some great cost-savings. Try using Undercover Tourist to check room availability and pricing today: Save up to $660 on stays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge!
Featuring handcrafted furniture, standard rooms are 344 square feet evoking a cozy safari lodge atmosphere.
Exotic decor in room.
Splurge on a Savanna View!
If you love animals, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge affords tremendous opportunities to view over 30 species day and night from public overlooks and private room balconies. We love to watch the animals (giraffe!!) roam on this 33-acre savanna!
Yes, Wanyama Safari is now open to all guests of Walt Disney World. However, it’s a definite advantage in convenience and time to stay at a resort with so many unique amenities. While the Wanyama Safari costs extra, it’s an amazing adventure that includes an afternoon safari followed by dinner at Jiko – The Cooking Place.
Architecture and Artwork
Don’t rush by the African artwork at this resort. You’ll find displays of beautiful, handcarved items throughout the hotel. Pair the decor with the impressive architecture and you have a place that makes jaws drop. It’s a truly unique destination right here in the United States.
Animal Kingdom Lodge Lobby
Look up at the bridge!
Fun for Kids
Look for games, activities, the Hakuna Matata playground, a kiddie pool, and more at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. For a fun evening at the resort, take in a Movie Under the Stars.
Kids 2-12 years of age are welcome to play!
I hope you’ll find at least one reason to stop by or stay at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since opening in 2001, we’ve been repeat guests and will continue to return to this thatched-roof oasis!
Share your favorite reasons to visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what you think!
Ten Memorable Walt Disney World Snacks
Here’s a quick list of ten of my favorite Walt Disney World snacks. To be fair, there are plenty more that could be added to this scrumptious inventory. For today, I’m sharing ten really memorable snacks that I’ve enjoyed on multiple trips and sometimes more than once during a single WDW vacation. 😉 Kids and kids at heart will want to find their own best-loved eats and sips!
My new favorite calorie splurge is the elegant Raspberry Eclair at Amorette’s Patisserie in Disney Springs. Tart and fruity with a white chocolate decoration, I’m not kidding when I say that I’m absolutely craving every gorgeous bite of this treat.
Choose your favorite flavor of gelato at Vivoli il Gelato in Disney Springs. My pick is always the Piccola Copetta – a choice of two flavors in a cup. My choice scoops? Peanut butter (when available) and chocolate.
Savor your favorite flavor of gelato.
Chocolate and vanilla gelato.
For a Magic Kingdom treat, I head to Sunshine Tree Terrace and dig into a Citrus Swirl. The orange slushie blended with vanilla soft serve is SO refreshing.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Originally sold at Starring Rolls Cafe, the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake has gone through many variations. However you dress it up (Darth Vader!), it’s still chocolate and smooth peanut butter buttercream — and this mixture makes my heart swoon. You can find it now at other locations in Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as Backlot Express.
Join the dark side!
Peanut Butter Cookie
Found packaged as Minnie’s Bake Shop cookies or in Disney World bakery cases, the peanut butter cookie is thick and chewy with satisfying peanut butter chunks. Choose from Peanut Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Cookie at Goofy’s Candy Company.
Minnie bakes awesome cookies!
I adore the Chocolate Croissant at Gaston’s Tavern. It’s also found at several other locations, including some resort food courts. As a breakfast item, I find this snack decadent — hey, it’s vacation, right?!
For a thirst quencher in the Florida heat, nothing’s better than a frozen lemonade. Also, the Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe has an amazing frozen slushy – raspberry lemonade.
Port Orleans French Quarter fans are already in the know about the beignets. Get them for a snack, dessert, or breakfast! Of course, they are messy but these deep-fried pastries are worth it. Wear that powdered sugar proudly!
Messy but good!
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
You’ll find this comforting goodness at several quick-service locations in Walt Disney World. I like it with chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream for old-fashioned, simple flavors. Yum!
Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich – big enough to share!
Peanut Butter Brownie
Nestled in the exotic Animal Kingdom Lodge, The Mara boasts a counter-service menu with some unique items. I’m partial to the Peanut Butter Brownie (yes, I love peanut butter!).
More peanut butter!
I hope you’ll find at least one snack from this list to try on your next visit to Walt Disney World.
Share your memorable Walt Disney World snacks! Contact Us, Follow Us on Twitter or comment below to let us know what to try next!
Stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for Magic Kingdom Touring
Magic Kingdom fans may want to consider staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, including Bay Lake Tower, during their Walt Disney World (WDW) vacation. The close proximity of the Contemporary to the Magic Kingdom (MK) adds an enticing level of convenience to your WDW trip. Walking to the Magic Kingdom is a time-saver and allows for flexibility in your MK touring plans.
If you’ve been to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, you’ve seen the nearby A-frame hotel that boasts a monorail running right through the atrium! While the unique shape and zipping monorail are what guests notice first, there are plenty more reasons to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
As one of the two original resorts (Disney’s Polynesian Village can also boast this title) on opening day October 1, 1971, the Contemporary also has bragging rights for the closest lodging to the iconic park, Magic Kingdom. An engineering marvel, each room was built off-site, trucked in, and slid into place. The contemporary design was created to mesh with the views of Tomorrowland. We see you, Space Mountain!
Stunning view of Space Mountain!
Painted for the resort opening, Disney Legend Mary Blair’s 90 ft. high mural can be found in the atrium.
Mary Blair Mural.
Bay Lake Tower, a Disney Vacation Club hotel, was added to the Contemporary Resort property in 2009.
Bay Lake Tower
For Walt Disney World guests focusing on touring the Magic Kingdom, the location of Disney’s Contemporary Resort is second to none.
It’s a short walk to the Magic Kingdom.
I love being able to walk into the Magic Kingdom for Extra Magic Hour in the early morning, return quickly to the resort for a mid-day break, and then get back to the MK for more evening touring.
Easy walk to the Magic Kingdom
But there are more perks to this location! Depending on your room location, you may be able to hear the Ferry boat’s whistle, see the monorail making part of its circular journey, watch the fireworks from your balcony, listen to the Walt Disney World Railroad whistle, and take in many other sights and sounds that are near and dear to Walt Disney World fans. We love the views of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon!
Listen to the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom from your balcony room.
For more fun on the water, take the Disney boat to Fort Wilderness and/or Wilderness Lodge. We recommend dining at Trail’s End buffet at Fort Wilderness for yummy but inexpensive food. And Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge is a hoot for the whole family!
If you can’t see Cinderella Castle and/or the fireworks from your room, visit the 4th Floor concourse. There’s an outdoor deck that is open to all guests. Just go out the door next to Fantasia Market.
Great view of the Magic Kingdom.
Don’t forget to view the Electrical Water Pageant from the Contemporary’s beach. It’s a 14-barge night-time spectacle that began in 1972.
Monorail service is offered to the Transportation and Ticket Center where guests can transfer to the Epcot monorail line. For dining and shopping at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, just hop on the monorail. If you prefer not to walk to the Magic Kingdom, the monorail also makes a stop there. However, this will take more time.
With two queens plus a day bed, the standard rooms are spacious at the Contemporary with 394 square feet.
Contemporary Resort Rooms are spacious.
Standard rooms at the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Village are a bit larger.
It’s extremely easy to escape the Magic Kingdom and return to the Contemporary for some down time. With two pools, a splash pad, beach hammocks, an arcade, shops, and Boat Nook marina options (sailboats, fishing, waterskiing, tubing, parasailing), taking advantage of your resort amenities should be part of your Disney vacation. Yes, you can relax at WDW!
Boat Nook Marina
Amenities with no additional cost: Disney resort bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, Wi-Fi, standard parking, online check-in, resort airline check-in, fitness center, merchandise pickup, and more.
Extra cost amenities include: valet parking, laundry and dry-cleaning, spa, childcare, business center, arcade, and more.
Unwind at the arcade.
For a special occasion or just a vacation splurge, dining atop the Contemporary at the California Grill is a memorable experience. Time your meal so that you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks while dining OR dine early and return to California Grill’s observation deck later in the evening. Early diners still get admittance to view the fireworks — just show your receipt at the 2nd floor restaurant’s check-in desk!
The gorgeous dining room at California Grill.
I highly recommend dining early, then taking the monorail for drinks and shopping at the Polynesian Village and/or Grand Floridian, and for the finale — returning for the fireworks. It’s a full evening of resort fun and especially perfect for a date night. 😉
Magic Kingdom Fireworks from California Grill Observation Deck
Another favorite Contemporary Resort activity for our family — Chef Mickey’s for dinner. Mickey cooks up breakfast too but we prefer the liveliness of this restaurant during the dinner hours. In the morning, we aren’t always awake enough to get into the full swing of napkin twirling! Try Chef Mickey’s on your Disney Arrival Day; you’ll get a delicious meal and some time with Mickey and his friends before you’ve even entered a Disney park.
Chef Mickey’s and Contempo Cafe
For quick-service dining, head to the Contempo Cafe. You’ll often find some unique cupcakes here. Our family recommends the sandwiches and flatbread pizzas.
Enjoy a sandwich at the Contempo Cafe.
On the lobby level, The Wave… of American Flavors serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy breakfast before heading to the Magic Kingdom!
The dining room is quiet during an early morning breakfast at The Wave.
On the first floor, Contemporary Grounds showcases bakery items and coffee. Plus, several bars and lounges are scattered throughout the resort.
The bustling 4th floor concourse is also home to Fantasia Market (snacks and sundries), Fantasia (toys and souvenirs), and Bayview Gifts (souvenirs, clothing, and more!). Bayview Gifts is also a convenient stop for a slice of fudge or a freshly baked cookie. Looking for Pandora charms (I love the Cinderella slipper, I got recently!) or a new Disney Dooney and Bourke bag? This is a great place to shop for those pricier items.
Shop at Fantasia for toys and souvenirs.
Of course, toy monorails and the Contemporary Resort playset are especially popular! This was one of our son’s favorite toys.
One of our son’s favorite toys!
Sorry, we had to reach this topic, didn’t we?! How much does it cost to stay at Disney’s Contemporary Resort?
Of course, the tower rooms overlooking the Magic Kingdom are the priciest option.
As of May, 2017, standard garden view rooms begin at $378 plus tax per night. And that coveted theme park view? $585 per night plus tax. Get current rates here.
Sticker shock, I know.
Shake off that shock and try out these budgeting tips:
- Try to find a Special Offer and use a discount. Disney Visa cardholders and Annual Passholders sometimes receive enticing discounts too. My favorite place to watch for Disney resort discounts is mousesavers.com.
- Watch for seasonal pricing. Looking ahead for 2017, Friday and Saturday nights in July and August are cheaper than any other summer nights. Also price out the last week of August, September 1-21, October 15-19, 22-26, 29-November 2, November 13-16, 19-20, 26-30, and December 3-7 for lower prices. Stay away from holidays where even standard rooms begin near $500 per night.
- Plan to stay here for a couple of nights and tour the Magic Kingdom during your brief stay. You can concentrate on the Magic Kingdom during a short visit to Walt Disney World or resort hop to a less expensive hotel during a longer visit. When we recently stayed at the Contemporary, we stayed at a moderate resort for the bulk of our trip and then transferred to the Contemporary for a two-night stay to celebrate Michael’s birthday.
Monorail traveling through the Contemporary Resort.
Our family avoided staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for many years. One reason for not considering this deluxe resort at Walt Disney World was due to the high balcony floors and open atrium. You see, I have a fear of heights and the thought of staying there with a small child made me even more uncomfortable.
I’m glad we finally gave this resort a try. For me, Disney’s Contemporary Resort is all about the location next to the Magic Kingdom.
Walkway from Magic Kingdom to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Still, I’m not a huge fan of the contemporary design and the outdoor pool area seems uninviting compared to other resort pools on property. I would stay here again for a couple of nights, especially on a quick weekend visit with plans to only visit the Magic Kingdom. Read more perks of staying at a Walt Disney World Resort.
Have you stayed at Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Is it on your radar for a future visit? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Walt Disney World Hotel Perks Offer Extra Magic
While we’ve stayed a few times off-site of the Walt Disney World property, we love the perks that guests receive when staying at a Walt Disney World (WDW) resort. My favorite reason for choosing an onsite hotel is the total Disney immersion; leaving the real world behind is an important factor for making the most of our family vacations. But there are even more benefits to staying at a WDW hotel.
Disney Magic Around the Clock
Travel under those beloved arches and you’ll be inside The Disney Bubble. Sounds weird to first time visitors but soon enough, you’ll know what your friends have been talking about. Total Disney immersion is a good thing for fans of Walt Disney World.
Disney World resorts have immersive themes!
What does this really mean?
Cast Members (Disney employees) handing out stickers to your kids (or you!), food shaped liked Mickey, housekeeping’s unique towel art, character wake up calls, and themed resorts (landscaping, pools, stores, restaurants, rooms) all reflecting their own special Disney ambiance.
Mickey Towel Art!
All you really need to know is that if you feel your real life worries have been whisked away AND you start singing silly Disney songs, exclaiming “Hakuna Matata” or “Jambo” to family members, and you find a Mickey Ears hat atop your head, you are surely experiencing vacation inside the Disney Bubble. And trust me, you don’t want any real life stress to pop that thing!
Life in the Disney Bubble!
Did you fly into the Orlando International Airport (MCO)? If you are staying at a WDW resort, you’ll be able to take Disney’s Magical Express to your hotel. Disney’s bus transportation service also includes complimentary luggage transfer. I love checking in my luggage at my home airport and seeing those same bags (that I’ve over-packed!) magically appear in my WDW room on Arrival Day.
Disney’s Magical Express provides transportation between WDW Resorts and the airport.
Once you are at your WDW hotel, you’ll be able to travel throughout the entire property via Disney transportation.
WDW Transportation includes buses and monorails!
This may include buses, boats, and monorails. WDW transportation can sometimes be time-consuming but it’s nice to have someone else cart the family around.
Ride the WDW Monorail.
Another one of my favorite perks is Resort Airline Check-In. If traveling on a participating airline (Alaska, American, Delta/U.S. Domestic Flights Only, JetBlue, Southwest, and United), your family can turn in suitcases to this designated spot at your WDW resort and your luggage will be transported for you — in reverse — all the way to your home airport.
Resort Airline Check-In is WDW hotel perk.
Considering that your bags are now heavier due to those irresistible Disney souvenirs, this service is a tremendous Walt Disney World resort perk. After all, my favorite carry-on Weekender Bag can only hold so much.
Disney Restaurants and Reservations
Want to dine at Be Our Guest Restaurant? Utilizing this benefit will be key to helping you obtain those hard-to-get dining reservations at the most popular Walt Disney World restaurants. So, how does this perk work?
The Rose Gallery at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Make an Advanced Dining Reservation!
Advanced Dining Reservations at WDW restaurants can be made 180 days prior to the date that you wish to reserve. Do you need to count the days? No. For years, I have used this handy tool.
The advantage for WDW Resort guests is that they can make a dining reservation 180 days prior to their check-in date PLUS make reservations for their entire stay (up to 10 days). No need to wait until the 180 day mark to reserve the buffet at Chef Mickey’s for the last morning of your vacation.
Make an Advanced Dining Reservation for Chef Mickey’s.
I don’t know what it is — maybe the Mickey-shaped waffles? — but even dining at a value resort’s food court is more fun than a value meal off-site.
Mickey Waffles — delicious for all ages!
And certainly, the resort sit down restaurants serve up delicious eats with interesting decor.
Make an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) at your resort hotel.
Off-site guests can dine at all restaurants on property (exception: pool bars with guest-only access), however it’s convenient to have these dining choices at your resort for breakfast, a mid-day meal, dinner, and/or a late night snack.
Disney Dining Plan
A Disney Dining Plan can be added to your hotel reservation. Some families like the convenience of pre-paying for their meals. If you book your trip with a Free Dining offer, you may save some serious cash off of your total vacation budget. Watch Disney’s Special Offers!
Adding a Disney Dining Plan to your WDW vacation package is a convenient way to pre-pay for your meals. No matter how it’s paid for, I love the Sweet and Sour Chicken at Yak and Yeti!
Our family prefers the flexibility of paying out-of-pocket so the value of this benefit depends on your vacation style.
If you find the perfect souvenir on your way to your FastPass+ at Expedition Everest, you may want to take advantage of Package Delivery.
Have your purchases sent to your Disney Resort.
You’ll have two options — pick up the package at the front of the park (for ALL theme park guests) or have it delivered to your Walt Disney World hotel’s gift shop. Either way, your hands are free!
Package Pick Up is available to all guests at Disney theme parks.
For an additional fee, you can have your treasures shipped home.
What are those colorful and waterproof bracelets that Disney guests are sporting? Well, they are not exactly the latest fashion craze. However, they are quite the magical tool given complimentary to WDW resort guests and annual passholders.
Believe it or not, those MagicBands are the key to Magical Express transportation, FastPass+ reservations, and theme park entry. Plus, guests can use their MagicBand to open their hotel room door, pay for purchases and dining, store Disney PhotoPass pictures, and more!
Use your MagicBand for access to the exclusive pool at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club.
Off-site guests can purchase bands after arrival.
Scan that band at any restaurant or store and you’ll have your purchases added to your hotel’s room account (if you’ve set up room charging privileges). This is part of the Disney Bubble that you have to be careful with as it’s easy to overspend. The convenience however is priceless.
Our teen son has been charging his food (and some souvenirs) to our room for years.
Buying a shirt with MagicBand!
Now, we don’t have to worry about lost room keys with charging privileges. It’s reassuring to know that the MagicBand is safe on Nic’s wrist for when he’s out exploring on his own and needs a beverage, snack, and/or meal.
Extra Magic Hours
With your Resort ID/MagicBand and a theme park ticket, your family can enjoy some extra time at select attractions in the parks. Check the official WDW calendar for morning and/or evening Extra Magic Hours being offered during your visit.
Watch for Extra Magic Hours.
Usually one park per day has extra hours in the morning or evening for resort guests.
We love early morning Extra Magic Hour at the Magic Kingdom!
Early FastPass+ Planning
A very handy perk is the ability to reserve select shows and attractions early. Using the My Disney Experience app or online tool, link your WDW hotel room and theme park tickets. After, you’ll have up to 60 days (30 days for off-site guests) before arrival to pre-book up to 3 FastPass+ experiences at one theme park per day. With early access to FastPass+ planning, you’ll get better availability and more of your preferred times.
Meet Anna and Elsa using the convenience of FastPass+
Want to ride Toy Story Midway Mania right before your dinner reservation? Just reserve an appropriate time. No need to run there first thing in the morning!
When our child was younger, we took advantage of the childcare facilities at Walt Disney World. Check in your child with well-trained staffed while you enjoy a date night, business meeting, or run a Disney 5K!
Lilo’s Playhouse is the Children’s Activity Center at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Kids are even provided a meal of their choice.
Walt Disney World is home to three championship golf courses. As a Disney resort guest, you’ll get advanced tee times as an added benefit.
Theme Park Admittance During High Crowds
You may have heard tales told of the Magic Kingdom closing due to high capacity. It’s true; I’ve seen it. If you are a resort guest, you’ll have preferred admittance once space is available! This is important on holidays such as New Year’s Eve.
New Year’s Eve crowds in the Magic Kingdom.
Certainly, staying at an offsite hotel will cost less and you’ll likely get a larger room too. If this option suits your family’s budget best, I wouldn’t let it deter you from visiting Walt Disney World. You can have a magical visit while staying off-property.
However, if your budget allows, we recommend staying on-site at a Walt Disney World resort!
What are your favorite Walt Disney World resort perks? Are you staying onsite or offsite on your next trip?
Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World
Congratulations, it’s your Disney Arrival Day! After the stresses of traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth, you are finally on Walt Disney World property. And you’ve likely taken a picture of this welcome sign:
Always a welcoming sight!
While Annual Passholders can certainly head straight to the parks, even these guests may need some down time from early morning flights or long road trips.
After you check in to your hotel, it’s time to embrace your first day at Disney.
Have some fun checking into your resort.
And I have some suggestions on how to decompress from the real world. Breathe in, let it out, and start soaking in the magic of a WDW vacation.
Make Your Hotel Home
Settle into your Disney resort room. I like to at least get our luggage or carry-on gear situated, phones charging, etc.
Standard Room at All-Star Music Resort
Get your refillable resort mugs, then take a walk around the resort.
Take a walk around your Disney Resort.
Become familiar with the locations of the food court, shop, pool, and transportation depot(s).
Explore your Disney Resort.
You’ll want to know where the boat/bus/monorail stop is before you head to your first park.
This is also a great time to relax by the pool.
Stormalong Bay at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort
Let the kids swim away their energy that has bottled up from your flight or drive.
Priceless vacation moment!
Soaking in the hot tub is another way to let your worries whisk away. If you are so inclined, the pool bar will offer libations for over-21 guests as well as kiddie cocktails (for the young and young-at-heart).
Banana Cabana. Cheers!
Swim or take a bike ride, enjoy dinner at your hotel, then have the kids go to bed early or watch the resort’s outdoor movie. Attending the hotel’s campfire offerings is also a carefree pastime for your first evening.
Rent a bike at Wilderness Lodge.
Get a great night’s rest before your first park day!
Dine and Shop at Disney Springs
Shopping and dining at Disney Springs is another fun option. Our teen son likes to head to Earl of Sandwich for one of his favorite counter-service meals.
Bite into a delicious sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.
Walk off your travel jitters and share a counter-service or table-service meal with your loved ones at Disney Springs.
Note that this location will be very crowded if it’s a weekend afternoon and/or evening, so plan accordingly.
Resort Dining and Shopping
Traveling to another resort at Walt Disney World to dine and shop can also be rejuvenating. I find hooting and hollering at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge or Hoop-Dee-Doo at Fort Wilderness to be a complete stress-reliever. For comfort food in a quieter atmosphere, make a reservation at Trail’s End Restaurant.
Comfort foods are on the buffet at Trail’s End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness.
Another favorite first night meal is Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. You’ll get a home-style buffet meal plus meeting Mickey all done in one outing. This place is noisy but you simply can not walk out of here without feeling a little more light-hearted.
Chef Mickey’s is extra fun when traveling with extended family!
Visit Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach
If you arrive early in the day, take advantage of your free time for a water-filled adventure at one of these gorgeous water parks.
Escape to Blizzard Beach Water Park.
Impressively themed, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer attractions for all ages. I just love floating down the lazy river!
Attend a Magic Kingdom Holiday Party
If you’ve got energy (especially if arriving from a different time zone that has you wired not tired), purchase tickets for an after-hours party at the Magic Kingdom. We highly recommend both Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
Main Street, U.S.A. is spooktacular!
And hey, if you decide to just crash and take a nap on your Disney Arrival Day, it’s all good. It’s YOUR vacation. We used to plan every second of our Disney vacations and now we have more fun just winging it. I love to get to our resort, check into our hotel, and park myself in a pool lounge chair (preferably in the shade). LOL! 😉
Kim enjoys the shade at The Dig Site pool at Disney’s Coronado Springs.
What’s your family tradition for your first day at Walt Disney World? Or tell us what you’re planning to do on your first trip! We love to hear from our readers.