Arrival Day Ideas request


I will be going to Disney in May 2019 with a 7 year old and 6 year old. my plane will land around 11 and i expect to be at the resort by 1. I was trying to think of a great way to start the vacation with the kids. I am staying at Contemporary. My initial idea was to go to Epcot and have dinner at the Coral Reef, but since it will be an early day for them I was wondering if that is too much travel and if I should just go to MK since its in walking distance.

I appreciate the advice!


I think at that age they will enjoy MK much more than Epcot.

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I’m going to offer an alternate idea.

It will likely have been an early morning, and your kids will probably want to get some energy out, too.

I would head over to WinterSummerland (outside Blizzard Beach) and play a round of mini golf. Then I would figure out what might be fun for either a quick service dinner or for a resort to go spend energy at, and head there for the remainder of the afternoon, plus dinner (Art of Animation comes to mind). Finally, I would catch the Magic Kingdom bus back, walk back to the Contemporary, and call it an evening (or hit the pool first), so you’re ready to hit the parks, well rested.

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We arrived about the same time this past May with 3 kids. We got our room text when we landed, so after we arrived we dropped off our carry ons in the room. We ate a lunch/supper at the resort QS and enjoyed the pool and resort. For dinner, we ate dessert, which the kids loved. We had a PPO breakfast at BOG the next morning, so we got to bed at a decent time. The low key arrival day really worked for us, as we were ready to go the next morning.


Go to magic kingdom and use fpp and than get good spot for fireworks, retire early so you can rope drop somewhere next day

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I would go to MK for a couple hours to use your 3 FP+ and then have dinner at one of the monorail restaurants.


I personally would not want to waste a full day ticket on a partial day at a park. If it were me I would take a bus to Disney springs and make an ADR for a late lunch or for diner at a fun restaurant and enjoy all the unique offerings there is to enjoy at Disney springs.

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We much prefer to settle in at our resort after a long morning of travel. It exhausts is! We always pack our swim suits in our carry on. We grab some lunch at the resort QS, then go to the pool. When our room becomes ready, we go get unpacked, take a rest. We usually plan an early-ish ADR on site - The Wave, Chef Mickey, California Grill - and get to bed on the early side. Then we are ready to hit it hard in the morning.


You could do the campfire or hoop de doo at FW. Both are festive without having to spend a ticket on a partial day.

You know your kids’ endurance better than anyone, so how much they will be up to, after a day of travel, is something only you can judge. But remember, if you have RD planned for the next morning, they will have to be getting up around 7:00 (or maybe earlier, depending on what your plans are for breakfast).

I, too, hate to use a park ticket for a partial day - unless you have it anyway or have an AP. I typically go to DS or one of the other resorts for dinner on arrival day. Although it’s not necessarily my cup of tea, dinner at Chef Mickey might be a good way to kick off the trip for the kids (and you wouldn’t have to “go” anywhere). Riding the mono around the loop, maybe with a stop at one of the other resorts, might be another idea. 1900 Park Fair at the GF gets almost universally high marks from Liners.

If you do have the ticket and it would otherwise go unused, I would say the MK would be (a) much easier, and (b) would certainly be “more Disney” than EP for the kids. CR is a cool restaurant, but unless you manage to get a table right near the aquarium glass, it’s kind of “just another restaurant “ and probably would not be very exciting; I would probably choose Garden Grill instead (for the kids, not necessarily for me).


Hi I was thinking of the same arrival day plan for our trip in late April. Our flight arrives at 8:55, we’re staying at the poly so planning on relaxing spending time at pool and then going to Epcot in late afternoon for at least the three scheduled fast passes and dinner at coral reef. My kids will be 5 and 7 and I think the adrenaline of being in Disney will power them through. We only have 5 days in Disney so trying to make the most of our time.

I used to be in the same team but when planning our upcoming trip I changed my mind (a decision that depends on the context). In our case, we weren’t planning on doing a park on arrival day and were going to buy 6-day tickets. When we bought, the 7-day ticket was the same price as the 6-day ticket !!! Total no-brainer !!! :smiley:


This is an excellent point - you really need to look at the price breaks for tickets. Generally after paying for 4 days on a ticket, adding an extra day is very cheap, on the order of $10 per ticket, no more than $20. For me that’s really cheap entertainment, even if I’m only in the park for an hour or two, relative to the cost of the rest of the vacation.

Personally I would only hesitate to add a day for a partial day in a park if my ticket was < 4 days currently. Otherwise, adding days is a bargain…


I’d really think about MK if you are thinking of going to a park at all. 3fp’s, and the low queue attractions, and then perhaps an early dinner - depends on their endurance which you will know better than anyone else. If I didn’t want to use a park ticket, we’d have a cool dinner - O’hana, CM or HDDR, and chillax at the resort with some good pool time, and check on Resort events, and retire early.

If you want to do a park, go to MK. Get FPs for rides like Jungle Cruise, Pirates, HM. Those that won’t necessarily be top of the list but still must-dos. Enjoy just wandering, get that first view of the Castle, go to the wishing well, see if Gaston is about. Stuff like that.

Then go back, have dinner - maybe Chef Mickey’s to meet the characters. Watch the fireworks from the 4th floor balcony so you can get to bed quickly and be ready for the next day.

Or if you decide not to go to a park, head over to FW. See the horses and stables, the blacksmith, Pioneer Hall and Trail’s End. Go to the playpark, or even try the kayaking or something if you want something more adventurous. Take the boat all around Bay Lake and maybe stop at WL.

Then do dinner and fireworks.


This is a really fun idea too. Have not considered doing that on arrival day, but a super place to start that’s low key but fun!

Same here, I was only going to buy the 4 day ticket but 5 day ticket was only a tiny a bit more

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Thanks everyone for the advice. Since the incremental costs was small to do 7 day tickets instead of 6, we decided to go to MK since its close to the hotel and have dinner at a MK resort (hoping for Cinderella’s Happily Ever After at 1900 Park Fare).


Solid choice!