If you’ve been to Walt Disney World more than once, chances are you’ve settled into a first day tradition…something you do on your Disney World arrival day, every single trip.
Rebecca and I were recently discussing our first day Disney traditions and it turns out that they are very similar!
Is Having a Disney World Arrival Day Tradition Really Necessary?
Absolutely not. If it’s not your thing, then that’s perfectly fine. I did not set out to create one during my family’s first trip, it was just something that happened, naturally. Having a tradition makes the trip even more memorable, fun, and, well… “magical.”
Disney World arrival day traditions are going to be different and personal to everyone, so take your time finding those special things that work for your family, don’t rush or force it.
If your family doesn’t have a tradition yet, that’s okay, too! Once you find it, you’ll know and if you don’t have one yet, we share a few ideas below for you to take as inspiration.
Have a read through what we do and then keep reading for ideas that you can pick and choose from and get you thinking about your own traditions:
Gwen’s Disney World Arrival Day Traditions:
We always book flights that will get us to Disney the earliest so we can have as much of the day left as possible to soak in that first-day Disney excitement.
We also never buy park tickets for day one since we don’t visit the parks that day. After we make our way to the Magical Express area of the Orlando airport, the following happens:
1. We take guesses on what our Magical Express lineup number at the airport will be.
That may not make sense to you if you’ve never taken the Magical Express, but if you have, you know exactly what I’m talking about! (see the picture below!)
2. After we’ve checked into our resort, we head over to the docks (we usually stay at one of the Port Orleans resorts) to take the ferryboat to Disney Springs. (The ferryboat service to Disney Springs is only available at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.)
3. Dinner on arrival day is always at one of the Disney Springs restaurants, a reservation that was made months in advance.
We usually have some time to burn before that reservation, so we grab some snacks (Erin McKenna’s Bakery is always at the top of my list!), browse the shops, and take a look around to see what has changed since our last visit.
4. After we’ve eaten, we walk around a little more, if we aren’t too tired. Disney Springs at night is nice, so we like to stay until it gets a little dark.
5. We take the ferryboat back to our resort. Our luggage is always in our room by the time we get back, (magically delivered, of course!). We then go the the resort store to take a look around and get our refillable mugs. We also take a quick look at the restaurant before we head back to our room.
Rebecca’s Disney World Arrival Day Traditions:
When on the Magical Express, we always end up making a big deal as soon as we see the arch for the Walt Disney World sign (as most people do!). Then, we do the following:
1. We check into our resort and get settled into our room. We then we check the room’s phone messages because sometimes there’s a special one! 😉
2. Next, we often grab a snack at our resort’s quick service restaurant and use our refillable mugs. My husband and the kids ALWAYS share a Cherry Coke – it’s their kick-off ‘taste’ of Disney!
3. We take the ferryboat to Disney Springs and spend some time shopping and browsing. If the kids have gift money to spend, we spend a lot of time at World of Disney.
4. Next, we typically grab a something to eat at Disney Springs and head back to our resort. Since our day likely started at around 4am, we don’t want to stay up too late.
5. When back in our room, we put on Mickey Shorts cartoons, and while watching, we get ready for an amazing night of sleep before kicking off our first park day – which is ALWAYS Magic Kingdom.
Ideas for Your Disney World Arrival Day Traditions:
If you don’t want to head to Disney Springs like we both do, how about one, or more of the following ideas?
- Go to your favourite park and have dinner (or lunch, depending on your arrival time) at one of the many restaurants.
- Head to the spot that sells your absolute favourite Disney snack and have it! You can only get it at Disney, after all!
- Take in your favourite ride, attraction, or show that you must do every time you visit.
- Take some time to walk around your resort and see all of the amenities available to you for your stay.
- Take a swim in your resort’s pool. It has been a long travel day, a little relaxing is going to be welcome!
- Check out your resort’s shop and pick up a special souvenir that will make you think of your arrival day on this particular trip.
- Head to one of the many lounges around Disney World and enjoy some snacks and maybe a fancy drink.
- Take a walk on the BoardWalk.
- If Movies Under the Stars is taking place at your resort on arrival night and you’re not too tired, go!
So tell us what your first day traditions are! Are they similar to ours? Or totally different? If you don’t have one yet, is there something you want to make tradition?
Let us know in the comments below or by tagging us on social!
If you liked this post, you may also like these:
- 6 Fun Things to Do at Disney Springs
- 5 Reasons to Pick Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside
- Best Disney World Planning Websites