First timer ... evening plans for arrival day --- to do or not to do

Our first timer family (kids 7 and 11) will be doing MK the afternoon of our first day (December 1st), until the park closes for the MVMCP. Should we head back to our resort (AKL) for the evening, or head to a different park (i.e. try to catch a night show/fireworks at HS or EP … or maybe ROL if it’s open)? I should say the next morning will be an early one, and this will be a travel day, and AKL (from what I have heard) is amazing and the kids will want time to explore there. That said…I’m having a hard time being at the resort the first night and not taking in fireworks. One other idea would be to have the kids go to the AKL Simba’s Den so DH and I can go to the fireworks cruise (though I’m hesitant to separate from the kids after we just arrived…). What would you recommend?

I think I might head back to AKL and grab some night vision goggles.

1 Like

I agree that you should set yourself up for success the next day with a chill evening on arrival day. Unless this would be your only chance to see a specific show that is a “must-see” for you, there is so much to do at the hotel. Depending on your home climate, I would suggest some pool time is in order!

Either relaxing evening at the AKL or Hop to HS around 5pm for JBJB at 6:45pm, that would still give you an early night, chance to explore AKL and some fireworks. It’s recomended that you leave MK on a party day by 4pm to avoid the stampede up Main Street, so hopping to HS might be beneficial.

You can technically wander around MK after the party starts. You just can’t do rides. So you could sight see, or shop, or eat until you want to head back for bed so you can do an early start in the morning.

Hopping to another park is an option, but is time consuming, so if you’re looking for that early start in the morning, this may not be a good option.

Exploring AKL is also a good option.

I’m driving down a week from Saturday and after we check into our hotel, I have plans to make it over to Mickey’s Backyard Barbeque. It’s a non park day for us, so I figured it was a good way to kick off our vacation. My daughters are 6, and they think they know what Disney is about, but have never been. I’m sure they will have a blast. I know I will!

1 Like

I’m not sure what time you plan on arriving at MK on the party day, but keep in mind that party guests start arriving at 4:00 PM, and it gets very crowded very quickly. At 6:00 the CMs start to really try to herd non-party guests out, and MS is a complete log jam. I stayed until 6:30 one time and it took me almost an hour to get transportation back to the TTC.

Unless you “must” go to MK on your first day, I would recommend choosing a different park for arrival day. Unless I have an AP, I rarely use a full day ticket on my arrival day (I usually get to WDW around 2:00 PM). If I do go to a park, as an adult, I go to EP and enjoy WS (including dinner at one of the TSs) and stay for IllumiNations. AK would be another option. ROL is “likely” to be running by then, and by all accounts it’s going to be spectacular, but as of now no one knows what the showtimes might be, if there will be FPPs, or if there will be dining packages. Keep checking here and on the Lines chat; once it opens, there will be a LOT of talk about it. DHS will be showing Jingle Bells Jingle BAM (the projection and fireworks show). No one has seen it yet, but from the few bits of concept art released, it should be a very good show. DHS also has Fantasmic.

AKL is amazing; if I am doing a “deluxe” trip, it’s the only resort that I stay at. If you decide to just go back to the resort, there are PLENTY of things to see and do.

This isn’t correct. For EMH you can wander around the park and not do rides. BUT parties are different - CMs WILL come around and they WILL escort guests without a wristband to the front entrance. For example, upon leaving CP at 7:30 pm on a MVMCP night, a CM immediate identified us and escorted us to a back-alley walkway leading back to the front entrance. There was NO option to stay and watch or shop or stroll without party wristband on.

1 Like

Interesting. Never happened to me.

They have been really enforcing that lately. I went to MNSSHP in September and there were lines of cast members blocking the walkways- not letting anyone Ho past until you showed your party band. There were a a lot of complaints last year so they are making sure everyone is out of the park that has not paid for the special ticket event.

Yep. On my one time I was there on a party night, by 6:30 the CMs were getting very pushy - almost rude. They kept shouting “keep moving, keep moving” - but there were so many people packed into MS, you couldn’t move. Comments like “These are sideWALKS, NOT sideSTAY-IN-ONE-PLACES”, were common. the most UNmagical experience I’ve ever had at WDW.

Wow. How very unDisneylike! That’s a shame!

Sort of reminds me of derparture morning on a Disney Cruise. Mickey says over the PA system what amounts to “Ahoy, Get off the ship!” :smiley:

1 Like

Thanks everyone for your replies and insight, such good info here! Now I understand why when I booked FPP’s for this day, they end at the 5-6pm timeframe. I think we’ll stick with MK for Day 1 so my 7yo DD can see the castle (and we have amazing FPP’s), but now I’ll plan on heading out after our last FP. If fam is up to it, I like the idea of HS for the JBJB then back to AKL for night vision goggles and/or swimming. Thanks again for your help!