Friday, November 15, 2013

Magical Blogorail: What to Do on Arrival Day at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World arrival day tips

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Red. Enjoy the ride as we share what we do on the day we arrive at the Disney parks.
Walt Disney World arrival day tips
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We've tried various things over the years but my favorite thing to do on our arrival day at Walt Disney World is NOT MUCH! I know, I know. You are excited to be at WDW and want to hit the ground running but I suggest a slow start is the way to go.
Walt Disney World arrival day tips, Downtown Disney Lego Store

My family just got back on Sunday from 8 days at Walt Disney World. Our first day went quite well so let's walk through it. Our reservation at Old Key West (OKW) began on Sunday, November 3. We decided to break up the 650 mile drive and left on Saturday morning. We met my brother, Chris, near Savannah and caravanned to Jacksonville, FL for the night, using business travel points for the room. The girls got a chance, albeit brief, to play in the hotel pool in the evening and started Sunday with a good breakfast. My husband and brother cruised with the top down on Chris' Mustang and the girls enjoyed Disney movies while I drove the minivan. My parents had stayed in Kissimmee on Saturday night so they had already completed check-in at Old Key West and were doing some shopping. We all decided lunch at Olivia's Cafe was the way to go. I love their po boy, the guys are fans of the Duval Street burger, and the girls love the make-your-own ice cream sundae.

taking children to Walt Disney World
Ready to go to Walt Disney World!

driving a convertible to Disney World

make your own ice cream sundae at Olivia's Cafe, Old Key West, Disney World

After lunch, our room wasn't yet ready so we boarded a boat for Downtown Disney (DTD). Dad and Chris went to Guest Relations to buy Tables in Wonderland cards and the rest of us did some browsing. We let the girls ride the kiddie train and then my parents went back to OKW while the children played at the Lego Store. Minnie fell asleep on the bus and Tink voluntarily went to bed as soon as we got in the villa. Dad and Chris went grocery shopping for us all and brought home deli pizzas for dinner. Since the villas at OKW have full kitchens, it was easy to cook this simple meal. After dinner, my husband took the girls to the playground while I worked on a MagicBand issue with the front desk.

ferry boat from Old Key West to Downtown Disney

kids train at Downtown Disney

Fall at Downtown Disney, Pumpkin Mickey
Taking photos of a toddler is an unpredictable thing
Mr. Potato Head at Downtown Disney, Once Upon a Toy
Woody totally photobombed this shot
Movies by the pool at Old Key West, Disney World, Monsters University
Monsters University was playing near the pool and playground
We've tried hitting a park on the first night or making reservations for a character meal or shopping later than we should at DTD, but simply relaxing and getting settled in seems to work best. Allowing this time for the kids to not be strapped into a car seat and not waiting in line anywhere is helpful. Letting everyone chat and catch up is nice. Getting a bit of extra sleep before a tiring week is awesome.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what your family likes to do on your arrival day at Walt Disney World.

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Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is My Dreams of Disney.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Growing Up Disney
2nd Stop ~ My Dreams of Disney
3rd Stop ~ Disney Donna Kay
4th Stop ~ Heidi's Head
Final Stop ~ A World View


19 comments:

  1. Excellent post! You can read what my family likes to do on opening day (pretty similar to yours) when you get to my blog in the loop! ;)

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  2. After such a long drive I would want to rest and and hang out for a day before hitting the parks. Although it would be difficult for me to not go right to the parks;)

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  3. What about if you fly?! Last year we didn't do a park on arrival day, but this year we are hitting up MK in the evening.. We'll see how it goes:)

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    1. How did it workL we fly in around 10am and have a dinner reservation at mk for 5ish, then the mickeys Christmas party. Hoping the kids won't be tooooo tired.

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    2. We tried a dinner at Garden Grill on arrival day once when we flew. It was too much for the girls in one day. Going to the park was fine but we would have been better off with a counter service meal.

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  4. Way to start us off, Amy! Thanks for sharing your favorite foods at Olivia's with us! We toured Old Key West when we visited in July, I can truly see ourselves staying there one year!

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  5. Great plan! We also split up our 12 hour drive. It is just too long for the littles to be in the car. We have never eaten at Olivia's--will have to check it out :)

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  6. First of all the girls are so stinking cute!! Second, I want one of the make your own sundaes please, YUMMY!!

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  7. Great plan! We used to drive 16 hours each way during our trips. We fly as often as we can now but growing up a family of 5 we couldn't afford to fly when the kids were younger. Thanks for the post!

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  8. I think we are much the same why. Quickly check off the vacation do list so we can have some fun!

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  9. I'm with you - I need some time to shift gears from travel mode to vacation mode too.

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  10. Great post! We're heading down so soon - DtD is definitely one of the first things we hit when we arrive!

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  11. Our vacations seem very similar! This is our typical first day as well!! Sounds delightful!! :)

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  12. Sounds like a great first day - always like to have rest time before park time. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. After such a long drive, I agree with you that spending time at the hotel is the best way to go. And having water transportation to Downtown Disney sounds like the best way to travel on any day!

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  14. Dec will be my 25 th trip to Disney. I've never going into the park on the first day. We fly in arriving around 9:00 am, get to the resort, usually Port Orleans or Saratoga Springs, and just relax. Unpack, pool visit, then trip to DTD. Love it

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  15. OKW is our favorite resort. I have teens so our day is a little different. We usually get groceries delivered. We normally arrive late morning and check in when we get to resort. we put bathing suits in carryons incase we can't get into room when we get there. There are usually places to change if this happens. So we order lunch or make it depending on if room is ready. Then go for a swim. After that the boys will either go to the marina or go play some basketball, sometimes its the game room. Then off to Downtown Disney and Dinner. Depending on how tired everyone is it is exploring Downtown Disney (This translates shopping for my daughter), or back to the room to relax and unpack. The kids are all in their twenties now. No Grandkids. But they still love Disney and will always make the time to go.

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  16. I'm always tempted to make plans on arrival day and I'm always glad when I resist. Our usual pattern is to arrive at 3ish, check in, unpack, play at the playground, have dinner at our resort, and catch a movie by the pool or an early bedtime! We have 8 a.m. breakfast reservations our first full day of our upcoming trip, so we'll definitely stick to the low-key plan! Thanks for the post!

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  17. We normally take two days (3 when kids were little) from the Chicago area. Day of arrival we stay outside of Disney property, have dinner and use the pool, basicly relax with out the disney hotel bill for the night. The next morning we check-in to our Disney Hotel and hit the parks running. This helps us not feel as if we have "wasted" a day at Disney! Do the oppisite on the way home.

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