Making Every Minute Magical!
Great ideas on how to spend your arrival and departure days in the Vacation Kingdom
Are you the type of family who loves to arrive in the parks before the official opening time, in order to catch the famous “rope drop?” Or maybe you are more like my family, who likes to sleep in a little bit (it is vacation after all…) and roll into the gates about mid morning? Whatever your type, I’m sure that you have each day planned out and you know just what park you are going to spend each day in. For example, my family always spends our first day in the Magic Kingdom, holding hands and skipping down Main Street. Ok, ok, you got me, I don’t think I could get my boys to skip or hold hands if you paid them! A mom can dream, can’t she???
I’m sure you think that you have every detail planned out, right? But wait, have you thought about those awkward “travel days” – you know, the day that you arrive and leave Disney World? While it may only be an extra hour or two, some folks have the better part of a day to enjoy after arriving, or before they leave. So why not make the most of it? I’ve got some great suggestions to squeeze every last ounce of magic out of your Walt Disney World Vacation!
Take the plunge! Regardless of whether you are just arriving, or leaving in an hour or two, the resort pools are loaded with fun! Of course, most people don’t travel wearing bathing suits… don’t worry; there are restrooms near every pool to change in and out of your swimwear. Most of the main pool areas also provide towels for guests to use, so no need to bring along your own. You can also find some great burgers and drinks nearby – just don’t swim for an hour after eating! Mom’s Orders!
Resort Hop! One of my all time favorite activities at Walt Disney World is simply visiting other resorts on property. While you can’t swim in the pools, you may certainly indulge in a fabulous meal at one of the amazing Resort Restaurants. In fact, for years, it was our tradition to visit Disney’s Contemporary Resort and eat dinner with some real “characters” at Chef Mickey’s on our arrival day. As a Disney Resort Guest, you are entitled to use all of the transportation options available, from the buses to the monorail! This can also be a great way to get the lay of the land and see the location of the parks in relation to your own resort. If you get the chance, be sure to check out Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and take a tour – absolutely breathtaking!
Head Downtown! Downtown Disney, that is! This shopping and dining complex is completely free to explore and no trip to Disney is complete without at least one visit. All three of my boys save their money all year just to blow it all in one place at the HUGE new Lego Store at the Downtown Disney Marketplace. We have also become big fans of the T-Rex Café, which is truly an experience all its own! You can find the world’s largest Disney Store, World of Disney, as well as tons of other shops to tempt everyone in your group. This is also THE place to catch a movie, create a virtual rollercoaster in DisneyQuest (separate admission fee) or just sit outdoors with a great glass of wine. Buses from every resort provide transportation to Downtown Disney on a regular schedule. Don’t miss out!
Hit the parks! Did you know that once you purchase a four day Magic Your Way park ticket, that adding an extra day will only set you back a few bucks per person??? That’s right, Disney wants you to stay on property for as long as possible, so they make adding extra days a breeze. As long as you have a valid park ticket, you may upgrade it any way that you would like. This is also great for folks who have purchased a package and certain members of the party want more days on their tickets than others. During our past trip, we headed straight into Epcot for a late lunch at the Coral Reef upon touching down! Who knew that travel days could be so much fun?
Picture taken by EspressoMaker
Hopefully I have inspired you to make the most of your time at Walt Disney World, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few pointers…. First, if you are using Disney’s FREE Magical Express airport transfer, please be aware that you won’t see your checked luggage for about three hours after you land. I would recommend packing absolutely anything that you think you will need right away in your carryon luggage. This includes travel docs, medication and swim suits! Also, I usually allow for two-and-a-half hours once the plane lands to reach my resort. It typically doesn’t take this long, but I like to play it safe. Finally, don’t worry if you can’t do it all – there is always next time!