Arriving early first day, any suggestions on what to do prior to check in?

We will be staying at Coronado Springs from 11/9-11/6, and will be arriving early in the morning on our first day (around 9:30 am). This is our first time staying on Disney property and only our second visit to Disney World. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do prior to our check-in time at 3:00 pm? We have an ADR for 5:30 pm at Rainforest Café in Downtown Disney that day so we will eventually head over to Downtown Disney, but we were not sure we would be able to spend a whole day there. Our fear is that our two girls (ages 4 and 11) would get bored. Any suggestions on how to fill our time between 9:30 am and our 3:00 pm check-in would be much appreciated!

Go ahead and check in. The room might be ready! What about mini golf?

Agree. Check in when you arrive, as they can store your bags for you too. Another idea is to explore the resort. Depending on weather, maybe some pool time.

In Jan we checked in at AOA at 8 am and our room was ready. It’s worth a try. You have a better chance of having your room ready if you’re not too picky about location.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I think we will try an early check in and do some exploring. Does anyone know if there are buses from the resort to the mini golf courses? Our kids love mini golf and that might be a fun way to start our trip.

Can’t help with the mini golf question, but just an alternate suggestion. My DH and DS passed some fun hours at Fort Wilderness. They took bus to MK then hopped on the boat to FW, so a fun boat ride, looked at horses, had a pony ride, there is a playground and a sandy beach… I think they even have archery lessons.

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We are arriving late afternoon one day. We aren’t going into the park that day. Our plan is to take a monorail tour - do the MK loop, have counter service dinner somewhere, and then off to epcot for a roundtrip. It’s my kids’ first trip to WDW so I think they’ll enjoy getting the lay of the land.

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There is minigolf right next to Blizzard Beach, so you can take the bus there and the entrances are pretty much in the same place. Don’t think there is a bus to Fantasia Gardens, but you could take a bus to the nearest park, take a bus to Swan or Dolphin and walk from there. It’s only 5-10 minutes.

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Pack your bathing suits in carry on. CSR is a BEAUTIFUL resort, with an excellent pool area. Just hang out at the resort until your room is ready. Then refresh and head to DTD. Pool time is an often overlooked fabulous part of any Disney vacation. There are pool games and activities too.

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Do on-line check-in, and specify the time that you will actually be arriving. This is believed to increase the chances that your room will be ready for you when you arrive. If it isn’t, leave your bags with bell services and go enjoy the parks!

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I second what @brklinck said about doing online check-in. I did it for our AOA room and chose 8 am. Worked for us.

Even if your room is not ready, check in and they will text you when it’s ready. You can leave all your carry-on items with Bell Services. We are a “get there and go” family, so we would just drop everything and head to a park, but I agree with the other suggestions - pack your swim stuff in your carry on, hang out at the pool, etc. Bowling at Splitsville would be another fun arrival day activity, especially since you are already heading to DtD. I love the archery lesson idea, and I hope to fit that in for my kids on our next trip. I have never stayed at CSR but they might have an arcade, as well. My kids LOVE the arcades at Pop and AoA, so that’s always a must for us.

Edited to add that you don’t need to go back to the front desk once your room is ready is you check in right when you get there, so that frees up the whole day.

I’m also a "drop and go: person. If I have an AP, I just have bell services hold my bags and go to a park. If I’m not going to a park on my first day, I’ll resort hop. Bus to MK and tour the mono loop. Bus to MK and boat to FW or WL. Bus to EP or DHS and take the boat to the BW area. Bus to DTD and take the boat up to PO. Summerland/Winterland mini golf shares a bus stop with BB, so that would be a straight shot from your resort. And even if your room IS ready when you get there, these are all good farrival day options.

During the on-line check-in process there is a check block to request early check-in - but when selecting this option, it makes it your number 1 priority that might cancel out your other room preference choices. Early check-in isn’t that important to me, so I’ve never selected it…

Last time I did on-line check-in there was a box for your anticipated arrival time. Is that no longer there?

Arrival time box is still there. But there was a separate check box to make early check-in a priority. The fact is I RARELY get there much before 3PM anyway, so it’s only on an occasion that my room isn’t ready…

I agree that from mid-morning until 5:30 is too much time just for DTD. I’m definately a “shopper”, and DTD is about a 3-4 hour event (plus the time for a TS meal) for me. Definately leave SOME time for DTD (Your DDs will love the World of Disney store, and probably the Disney Days of Christmas store - both at the RD end of DTD. The toy store and candy store are also popular stops. Skip dessert at RC and get something REALLY good at Ghiradelli’s).

Great suggestions and information! This forum has been great for us in planning our trip because of all of the knowledge and experience here. Thanks everyone! I think the Ghiradelli’s for dessert would be a great mommy treat after all of that traveling! :smile:

Don’t want to hijack your post - but have a question about the monorail. We are arriving late afternoon the day before our vacation really starts. And we’re staying off property that 1st night. Was wondering if we could drive to the Contemporary Resort and ride the Monorail? Would we have to pay for that? What about parking at the resort? Paid? Or not accessible? Thanks!

When you get to the CR, they’ll definitely let you in if you have a meal reservation. If you don’t, you can say you want to tour the resort or eat quick service, and then they will usually let you in (if it is not a busy time.) You can always pay valet there, $15 I think, or if they’ll let you in, self-park for free. Other options on the monorail loop are the Polynesian and Grand Floridian. You could plan a dinner at either of those. We’ve also done this with the Mara quick service dinner at Animal Kingdom Lodge (not on monorail.)