Disney Arrival Day: Things to Do on Your First Day at Walt Disney World

Stormalong Bay Pool Yacht and Beach Club

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:

Walt Disney World Entrance Sign on Disney Arrival Day
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.

Caribbean Beach Resort at WDW Check In with Luggage
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.

Things to do on your Disney Arrival Day at WDW

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.

All-Star Music Resort WDW Standard Room
Standard Room at All-Star Music Resort

Get your refillable resort mugs, then take a walk around the resort.

Port Orleans French Quarter Resort Map
Take a walk around your Disney Resort.

Become familiar with the locations of the food court, shop, pool, and transportation depot(s).

Wilderness Lodge Resort Sign at WDW
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 Pool Yacht and Beach Club
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.

Father and son enjoy pool at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
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 Adult Beverage at WDW
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.

Bike Rentals at Disney's Wilderness Lodge
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.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich, Disney Springs
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.

Buffet Dinner at Trail's End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness Resort
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.

Pluto at Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort
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.

Blizzard Beach Water Park at WDW
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. Buildings at Magic Kingdom's Halloween 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! 😉

Shaded Area at The Dig Site Pool at Disney's Coronado Resort.
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.

Kimberly LaPaglia

Kimberly shared her passion for Disney when she was selected for the inaugural Walt Disney World Moms Panel and then as the first Disney Cruise Line panelist. As a Disney Mom, she helped countless families plan their own dream-filled journeys. Blending her love for research, travel, and writing, Kim has been an editor for Disney Food Blog for nearly 8 years. At The Castle Concierge, she blogs about travel, parenting, celebrations, and the road to empty nesting.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.