What to do on your Disney Vacation Arrival Day

Let’s be honest…you’re excited to get your vacation started. Most of us have spent months planning the perfect experience, from amazing ADRs, to Lightning Lane Reservations, to what snacks we want to eat. 

So instead of giving you a list of things that you’re going to laugh at me for mentioning, I’m going to give you a few tips to make your Disney Vacation Arrival Day incredible!

**Starting Point-  When I travel to Walt Disney World for vacations, my point of origin is YYZ Toronto**


Orlando International Airport RideShare Pickup (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

I’ve heard it a million times (and I’ve done it a few myself) about guests who want to get to the parks asap, and then get disappointed with delays. When you get to the resort and your room is available…unpack and have a shower. If you can’t get into your room, leave your bags with the Cast Members at Baggage Services and take the opportunity to grab a meal at the resort’s food court. Nothing (and I mean nothing) will stress you out more than not allocating proper time for delays and things that are beyond your control.

*Fun Story – During a recent trip, we had a reservation for the All-Star Movies resort. It’s always easy to get a great deal and I had assumed that it would be reasonable to make it from MCO Orlando to the resort and THEN to the parks for a 12pm lunch at the Magic Kingdom and then an 8pm reservation at Coral Reef.

Not factoring the 7am flight (3am wake-up), we were incredibly sleepy and ended up at the resort in a groggy state of mind. Oh, and there was a cheerleading competition just ending, our room wasn’t ready and we were coming from Toronto (cold) to Florida (not cold) so without a room to change…stress started to boil over.

Then Jill, my partner, reminded me that we were at Walt Disney World and that everything will work out if we just take a step back and enjoy it all at the pace that we could function at. We checked in, got our magic bands and then decided to play the “Next Bus” game. The EPCOT bus showed up and our first meal at Walt Disney World during our vacation was at Sunshine Seasons:)

Talk about a great start to the trip!

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Starbucks Iced Drinks at Orlando International Airport (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

From my own personal experience, we like to be on the earliest flight getting into MCO airport as possible. Expect to experience some delays, like traffic from the airport to Disney.

When you catch a 7am flight to get into MCO at 9am (ish) you’re bound to run into delays. This is normal. Grab a Dunkin’ (USA) or Tim Hortons (Canadian) before your flight and then when you get off the plane, grab a little snack at Starbucks before heading to the Mears Connect OR your UBER.

This will give you enough fuel to last through the trip from the airport to the resort and then through the check-in process at the resort.

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Town Centre at Disney Springs (Image: Dustin Fuhs / StepstoMagic)

The Magic Kingdom is a magical place to start your vacation. However, if you leave the planning to the next bus that arrives at your resort, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Disney Springs is actually a great way to get acclimated to the ‘Disney Bubble’ (yes, it’s a thing). With the World of Disney right next to the Disney Marketplace (pins, food, and shops), you can spend an hour or so just relaxing and waiting for your room to be ready. This leaves you ready to head out to the parks for a little evening fireworks.


Swimming at the Pool! What’s better than jumping in the pool after being on a stuffy plane and then being shuttled on a Mears Connect bus to the resort?

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Being organized from the get-go will actually help your sanity 3-4-5 days into the trip.

  • Set aside your pins for trading in a plastic bag (for easy transport)
  • Set up your Charging Station, with your cords to charge your phones, cameras, and external batteries.
  • Print out your daily agenda before leaving and then set-up a daily “To-Do” list on the table. Write out what parks, restaurants, Lightning Lane / Genie + ideas and if there are things that you want to accomplish each day? It may sound a little over-the-top, but when you’re getting to the end of your trip and you realized that you needed something from the Animal Kingdom and you’re only doing 1 day there…being organized will help a ton!
  • Hang up your dollar store ponchos, jackets and other clothing in the closet. Remember…you’re on vacation! Stay a while;)

I hope this was helpful! Whatever you plan for your arrival day, I’m confident that you’ll have an amazing experience in Orlando!

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