Arrival day Hotel and MK plans

Hi! We are staying on Disney property for the first time in December! We are arriving on 12/3 at approximately noon and getting a rental car. We plan to spend as much time as we can at MK this day (we have two other full days at MK during our stay). We are staying at PORS, do we need to check in first before going to the MK? Should we plan to take Disney transportation? MK is only open until 7 pm this day because of MVMCP, can we spend time in the shops or restaurants after 7 or are we kicked out? Thanks!

I would take Disney’s transportation from the hotel to MK. You will be kicked out at 7:00. My understanding is that they start pushing non-party guests towards the front of the park even before 7:00, but not having been to the event myself, I’m not sure. Also not sure about the check in question, I’ll leave that to the more experienced among us!

You won’t need to check in so long as your reservation and tickets are all linked up in MDE. And you’ve done online check in.

Bus transportation to MK is more direct. Driving, you are at the TTC and then have to monorail or ferry it over to the park (kinda an added step). Also, if you check into the hotel first, you’ll get a parking pass to put on your dashboard that is more of a visual for parking attendants that you get free parking. (However they can and may also scan your bands to prove you are onsite). Another benefit of stopping at the resort first is that you can drop your bags off at bell services (if your room isn’t ready). Be sure to sign up for text alerts when you do online check in, just in case your room is ready before you arrive.

However, I’d guess that if you land around noon, you’ll be in the bubble around 2pm (by the time you get bags, the car and such). You could be in the park around 3pm if you drive straight there. If you stop at the resort first, you might arrive around the same time anyway since you’ll be taking time to drop off your stuff and then get on a bus. So it’s pretty much up to you. (I’d drop off the car and take the bus because traffic is gonna be a nightmare on a party night getting out)

You’ll be guided/escorted out around 7. They start checking for bands at all the land entrances. There is not much lingering at the shops or restaurants since that’s really time meant for paying guests. I"ll be honest, it is CROWDED in the shops for this reason. People are trying to linger and it really does no good and just creates chaos (IMO) in the stores.

I would head back to the resort, check in and enjoy the resort that night. Don’t forget YeeHa Bob! It’s a beautiful resort

Although I understand the desire to go to MK on Arrival Day, given that it is a party night I would reconsider that decision. Although it is only a CL 1 day at MK, there are still a lot of people there, and you will be going during the most crowded time of the day. In addition, partygoers will start to enter at 4:00, increasing the numbers already in the park. I would go to EP on this day - it is CL 2 and open until 9:30.

Either way you go, here is one tip to save time at the airport and get to the parks earlier. When you arrive, have one of you go to the car rental area to complete the rental and the rest go to baggage claim. If the bags come quickly you can meet up before you go over to actually pick up the car, but otherwise the car person can get the car and drive around to the arrivals area, by which time you should have your bags and be ready to load and go.

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I’d consider making dinner reservations at one of the MK resorts (on the monorail loop or WL) and driving straight there from the airport. Then you’d have a short ride to the park and a nice place to eat on your first day. If you want to stay out late after your meal, then you might even catch the MK fireworks from a monorail resort after your meal.

The only thing to beware of is that with a lot of people leaving the park at the same time, the lines for transportation away from the MK can be significant if you stay until 7:00 (or even if close to that time), so unless you’re headed to the Contemporary (where you can walk), then factor that in when selecting a dining reservation time.

This assumes that everyone in your traveling party will be ok with being on the go from when you land through dinner. If that’s not the case, then stopping at your hotel when you first arrive to get settled may be a better idea. Either way, I wouldn’t shy away from the park just because of an early closing. It’s not a bad thing to just get a taste of the parks on the first day and have an early rest, since it’ll make it easier to get up for rope drop the next morning!

Wow! Thanks everybody! I think it would make sense to stop in at PORS first and check in. We could even just leave our bags in the rental car and jump on the bus to the MK right away! We are trying to carry everything on the plane so we don’t have to wait for bags. We do for sure want to go to the MK, it’s my youngest daughters first trip to Disney and I know she will want to see the castle right away. We are ok with having to leave the park at 7pm as we are planning to go to Target and get groceries that evening so we have our own breakfasts, snacks and light lunches for the week. Maybe even grab dinner at a restaurant outside the park near Target? (Obviously we do what we can to keep our costs down!) We are going to surprise our 2 girls the night before we leave and we are so excited for our trip! Thanks everybody!!!