For many guests visiting Walt Disney World, much of their arrival day is spent traveling. This can be exhausting and time consuming. By the time you arrive at the Most Magical Place on Earth, you’ve more than likely already missed out on several hours the parks have been open. Rather than visiting the parks on arrival day, I recommend a relaxing day taking advantage of some of the great Disney activities available outside of the parks.
Visiting Downtown Disney is my favorite thing to do on arrival day. The Downtown Disney area is filled with unique stores, delicious foods, and even a hot air balloon. The World of Disney is the largest Disney store in the entire world. You’ll definitely want to make a stop there. Downtown Disney also features other great stores such as the new Marketplace Co-Op, Tren-D, Disney’s Day of Christmas, and more.
If you’re in the mood for something to eat, Downtown Disney is also home to some fabulous restaurants. You can dine at restaurants such as Earl of Sandwich, Wolfgang Puck, Planet Hollywood, and House of Blues. If you’re looking for something sweeter, you can also find my personal favorite, the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar at Downtown Disney. Goofy’s Candy Co. is another great place to stop for something to satisfy your sweet tooth.
For guests staying on property at Walt Disney World, arrival day is a great time to take advantage of the Magic Your Way package inclusions. Disney’s Magic Your Way vacation packages include vouchers for several different non-park activities. Using your two free admissions, you could spend the day at Disney’s interactive theme park, Disney Quest. If miniature golf is more your style, these vacation packages include two free vouchers for a round of miniature golf at either Disney’s Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland miniature golf courses. You can also take advantage of a 10% discount at Splitsville, the bowling alley at Downtown Disney.
Your arrival day is also the perfect time to take in one of the many shows outside the Disney parks. Visit Cirque du Soleil – La Nouba at Downtown Disney to see a spectacular show consisting of more than 65 talented acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, and more. Several of the Disney resorts also host entertaining dinner shows. You can experience an authentic Hawaiian luau at The Spirit of Aloha dinner show located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Disney’s Fort Wilderness hosts the Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue, a dinner show featuring Wild West dancing, Vaudeville comedy, and delicious BBQ foods.
In addition to dinner shows, the Walt Disney World resorts offer numerous entertaining activities. You can rent a boat from one of the Magic Kingdom area resorts and set sail on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. Both Fort Wilderness and Port Orleans offer carriage rides around the resort. Each of the Disney resorts also features a uniquely themed swimming pool. (Please note that pool hopping is not allowed at Walt Disney World.)
A ride on the monorail is another great resort activity for your arrival day. Many guests, myself included, consider the monorail to be an attraction in and of itself. You can see the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary as you take a ride on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop. You can even take a ride through Epcot’s Future World on the Epcot monorail loop.
What is your favorite arrival day activity at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments below!