What to Do on Your Arrival Day at Walt Disney World

Disney World Arrival Day Feature
Credit: Disney

There are so many things to do around the Walt Disney World Resort, that you may not want to lose out on any time at “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” As such, you can often still fit in plenty of activities, sightseeing, dining, and more on your arrival day (assuming your flight isn’t delayed, at least!)

If you arrive in Orlando for your Disney vacation early in the morning, you may be up for heading straight to the Parks. For later arrivals, however, or for Guests who are looking for a more low-key arrival day, we have some tips for how you can make the most of your first day in Disney World.

Cinderella Castle 50th Anniversary

Credit: Disney

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Explore your Resort

Especially if you are staying on Disney property, you may want to spend your arrival day getting to know your Resort. Every Disney Resort comes with unique theming and amenities (and often plenty of photo ops), so spending the day checking out everything your Resort has to offer is always a great way to start your trip.

Along with getting your bearings, your arrival day could be spent relaxing by the pool, checking out the arcade, dining options, gift shops, and other recreational options, depending on the Resort. Every Disney Resort has a quick service dining location, and moderate and deluxe Resorts come with at least one table-service option as well as additional amenities and recreation that could be a part of your first day.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Credit: Disney

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Resort hop

Along with checking out your own Resort, one way to spend your arrival day at Disney is to Resort hop. While some amenities are limited to Guests staying at each Resort (like pools, for instance), all Guests are able to visit lobbies, outdoor areas, dining locations, and shops at other Disney Resorts.

The easiest ways to visit Disney Resorts? Stroll Crescent Lake at the EPCOT Resort Area to hit Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. The monorail loop around the Magic Kingdom can bring you to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. And, the Disney Skyliner makes stops at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Aerophile Hot Air Balloon at Disney Springs

Credit: Disney Springs

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Disney Springs, the Resort’s shopping, dining, and entertainment complex does not require a ticket to visit, and a trip to the area could easily fill out a couple of hours or a whole day.

In addition to several incredible shops and restaurants, Disney Springs is home to live entertainment, like music on restaurant patios or the waterfront stage, Amphicar rides from The BOATHOUSE, the Characters in Flight hot air balloon experience, Splitsville bowling, Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil, and more.

winter summerland

Credit: Disney

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Miniature golf

Did you know Disney World has two miniature golf courses? Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland offer Guests mini golf experiences with Disney’s theming, making them a totally unique (and underrated) experience.

While we do not necessarily recommend taking time away from the theme parks to mini golf at Walt Disney World, both courses are lots of fun and make for perfect arrival day activities.

Hopefully, these trips help you plan your arrival day, so your next Walt Disney World vacation will be up off to a magical start!

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About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."