Arrival Night Traditions/Recommendations

What do you all do on arrival day, assuming no parks? We will probably arrive mid-day so get to resort late afternoon. Do you do something to kick off the vacation? Do you have a tradition or just relax to get ready for next day? Kids will be 17, 14, 9, and 8 at time of trip and have been to the world 5-6 times.

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We always go to MK.

I know you said assuming no parks, but that isn’t an option for me. :wink:

That said, when the kids were younger we always had dinner at Chef Mickey’s our first night (along w/ popping in and out of MK). I loved the idea of kicking off our visit by seeing Mickey.

We arrive later than that - about 4.30 last trip and probably 6.30 next trip. We just explore the resort and relax. Maybe jump in the pool.

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Our tradition is Le Cellier on arrival, resort and then a night at MK.

If removing parks, I would swim, check out the resort and if arriving early enough head to Disney Springs for a nice meal. That should get you into the “Disney Magic” without burning a park ticket. An alternative to DS would be a nice meal at a monorail resort, AKL or one of the Boardwalk hotels as those can give you a similar amount of Magic and are cool to see. Where I was staying would heavily influence where I went though as the logistics to get some of those places can be tough depending although nowadays you can always Uber/Lyft which makes it relatively easy for a small cost…

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We head to the pool and have a big dinner out on the early side of things, head to bed early, and hit it hard that next morning!


AKL savanna, then Boma on first night. Disney Springs on
last morning.

But these could be reversed.

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We spend the afternoon relaxing at pool and go to Ohana for a nice dinner.


Disney Springs. But we stay off property, so it gets us into the Disney mood.

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DH and I always head to AK because we have early flights.

We’ve never been over the summer so we might hit the pool first and then go to AK afterwards this trip.

Hit the pool to wear the excited kids out (Including me) so that they will go to sleep early and we can rope drop the next day.


I feel like we have had a different “tradition” with each trip! We used to make a point to eat at Cracker Barrel on the way to our resort. Why? We don’t have them in Southern California and our flights usually get into Orlando in the late afternoon.

One year, we went crazy and decided to hit both Space Mountains in 24 hours. We went on Space Mountain in Disneyland around 9:30 PST, and then got to MK to ride Space Mountain on our arrival around 10:00 EST.

This year? We’re heading over to Cowfish at Universal because we fell in love with it on our last visit. Plus, once we hit the Disney bubble, we don’t really like to leave it!


We’re going to do dinner at The Plaza at MK and then fireworks that way we start and end at MK.

DH is taking me to Cowfish in Charlotte, NC for my upcoming birthday. I love their sushi!

We always head to EoS at DS. It ain’t WDW until we’ve had a Christmas turkey or BBQ sandwich!
Tradition is important!!!


Hollywood Studios for the Indiana Jones show, over to muppets and star wars, a burger and beer at Fairfax and Rock & Roller coaster, Tower of Terror Fireworks, Ice Cream and Good Vibes…

I would suggest Disney Springs if you’re not going into the parks. That’s what we do.

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We usually do Disney Springs, and possibly pool time, if we get there early enough.

We have also done Disney Springs on arrival night in the past. This year we are planning to change things up and spend the evening in Epcot instead.

Agree that Epcot is a good choice for an afternoon/ early evening for the first day. Good restaurant choices plus you can get fp for at least one E ticket ride - Soaring or TT plus one for Mission Space.