Day of arrival


New member
I see many plan to attend a park on the day they arrive at WDW. If our plane arrives on time, 1:35 pm Orlando time, what time could I hope to be at Pop? In my mind arrival day is a day to grab a bite at resort, play around a little and head to bed early. What do you do on the day you arrive? Just curious....


does anybody know how to change this?
I wouldn't count on actually being in your room sooner than 3pm.

Actually, I never count on anything for our arrival day - travel is stressful enough without having arrival plans or dinner reservations.

One thing to think about is what time you get up that morning to make it to the airport. If it's really early, then just hanging out at the resort and relaxing can be a really nice way to start your vacay.

We've done everything from simply collapse and sleep after unpacking, to seeing Fantasmic on our first night, to an evening swim before early bed. I didn't plan anything, just knew what park hours were and then figured we'd decide what we were up for when we got there.


New member
It depends on your transportation from the airport to your resort. I always plan on 3 hours via ME and we've always arrived at the resort before that. That's from the time your plane lands, check in with ME, wait for the bus and arrival. We arrive at the airport at 10:00 last year, and we at The Poly at 11:45.
After we get to our resort, we rush right out to Epcot and have time to do a lot of things before our 5:00 ADR.


New member
I always look at it as 3 hours from landing to resort and to the park. So if you arrive at 1:30 you are talking about being at a park by 4:30. To me that isn't worth burning a ticket, since chances are you are going to want to leave by 7ish to back, settled, and in bed. So by the time you add in lunch/dinner it's not much time.

Days like that we tend to do DTD for a couple hours or swim. If we get there early, like this year we arrive MCO @ 8:30 we will do a couple hours in the park and then out early for an early dinner and bed.

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Our arrival time is 3pm, so we plan to settle in, swim, DTD for dinner.


New member
I also usually say 3 hours from airport to entering park and we usually hit that. Depending on how many days you stay adding an extra day is usually only a couple $. We always head to MK, even if it isn't always recommended, and get a lot of the anytime attractions done, meet Mickey if the lines are short, and just soak in the magic. It is nice having 3-4 hours in the park to get excited for the next day. However, on departure day, we always just stick around the resort. It would seem too rushed to me to try and fit in the park or a character meal and have to worry about transportation problems. We just end the night before with a bang at one of the firework shows.


Real Name: Charcoal Grills
Even if we don't get there until 15 minutes before the park closes and it's a non-recommended day, we like going to Magic Kingdom. Just a stroll down Main Street and seeing the castle and fireworks can really put you in a Disney frame of mind.


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We play it by ear. Depends on what time we get there, what time we had to get up, and what we feel like doing.


expert on dietary needs and disney dining
Here's our plan for arrival day. Our flight lands at 10:05am. We're staying at Poly. Because we're staying CL, checkin in usually pretty smooth for us with no lines (there are just a lot less people to check in for CL than there are regular checkins). I've booked a 12:00 ADR at Kona which is in the resort. Kona does not have a credit card guarantee and this is mid-week (Thursday) so I figure even if we're running late the CL CMs should be able to help us bump the ADR a bit since it's in the resort and it shouldn't be as busy of a day so there will likely be openings) though I doubt it'll be necessary. The only reason I bothered with an ADR is that I want to kitchen to have been notified that we plan to come since we have 3 people with laundry lists of food allergies, otherwise I'd just try for a walk-up and risk not getting one in which case we'd just eat at Captain Cook's which is also fine. After lunch I'm hoping our room will be ready in which case we'll settle in a litte before heading to Epcot to just soak up some atmosphere in WS and maybe try a KP mission and Spaceship Earth before heading back to our resort for an early evening. This is a pretty typical plan for us. Check in, get lunch, do light anytime type activities at a park, early back to our resort for an early night. On arrival day, especially if you've gotten up early in the morning to get to the airport, you really don't want to plan too much since it's an exhausting day and you don't want to start off your vacation by wearing yourselves out or you'll have a lot of trouble getting up for RDs the next couple of days.


Active member
We only do a park if we can walk on arrival day (Epcot resorts). We have done a park on arrival day one other time and really regretted it. We felt disorganized and tired the rest of the trip! We have done DTD for a little while when we were at a resort with boat access. (I think we've gone from Port Orleans, SSR and OKW).

We usually get up early to fly (like 4-5 am since we typically take off at 7:30). So we are tired when we arrive! We get to the resort in time for a late lunch, maybe a swim. We like to unpack and really get organized and get to bed early that first night. Not having the time to unpack and rest is just not worth it. And with our little ones (4 kids 7 and under), they are just dying to get in the pool! So they are as happy to swim as they would be to get into a park.


expert on dietary needs and disney dining
Swimming is great on arrival day but you do want to be sure to put bathing suits in your carryon if you want to swim on arrival day. It can take quite a while for luggage to get to your room so having them in your carryon means immediate access. This is also true of anything you might need for a park if you plan to go to a park on arrival day. Basically, anything at all that you might need on arrival day should go in your carryon.

Some people actually recommend 24 hours worth of stuff goes into your carryon just in case your luggage gets misplaced which is something that does happen with airlines. I can see the wisom in this but I've never done it. I figure I can always buy pjs (or a tshirt) and toothbrush, deodorant, etc at the resort if my luggage goes missing. Irreplacable thing like medication ALWAYS go in my carryon but not stuff that I can just replace at the resort. Yes it's not cheap to have to replace but it's kind of like trip insurance; either you're willing to assume the risk of not carrying it or you aren't for that one time that it's needed. I'm sure when it actually happens that I have to go buy the stuff I'll feel differently.


New member
at the poor end of the world...Pop Century

We haven't stayed at Pop before but I have to say the values in general are awesome. We really like them, especially when the kids aren't with us. I just HATE the buses with a double stroller and this time we are flying and not renting a car.... so monorail tends to win over common sense of price :RpS_blushing:. I think you'll love it... you'll have to tell me how you like Pop. That is the value I want to stay at next time.


What's tougher? The Krispy Kreme Challenge or the
We love trying to hit a park the day of arrival, just makes it feel like we are finally there.

Also we love to stay at Pop Century.


New member
We are planning on MAYBE going to Typhoon Lagoon on our arrival day. Our DD is DYING to go there, and unfortunately I am not sure we will have any time throughout the week to hit it up since Blizzard Beach is a must-do for my mother. So, our flight arrives at 11:30 am, we have a private car taking us to the Poly, we will check-in and grab a bus! Even if we are only there for a couple of hours, it's better than not going at all. :)

(Oh and this is a 7 night stay with 8 days of park hoppers with water park passes)


New member
This is what our arrival day looked like back in 2010....

2am (central time)- Woke up.
3:45am - Drove to airport
6:15am - Flew from Omaha to Dallas. Then to Orlando.
1:20pm (eastern time) - Landed in Orlando, got our bags (we bring them with us rather than having then sent to the hotel.)
1:40pm - In line for ME
2:00pm - On our way to Pop Century
Not sure what time we got to the hotel. But we checked in and checked the room for bed bugs.
3:15pm - Had a late lunch at the food court.
4:15pm - On the bus to Animal Kingdom for evening extra magic hours.
After AK, we ate dinner at the food court back at the hotel.

Back in 2008, it was very similar....except we stayed at Port Orleans Riverside. And we went to Epcot that evening. On our trip next week....we plan on going to Epcot after we get checked in and stuff.


wears a coca-cola shirt to club cool just in case
It depends on where we are staying. If onsite we arrive around 2 or 3pm after a 4 1/2 hour drive. We check in. Get settled in the room. Relax and then eat a nice dinner at the resort. Staying offsite we arrive in Orlando about 3pm after 4 1/2 hour drive, grocery shop, check into villa, get villa organized, swim, relax and eat a nice dinner in villa. We don't particularly care to go to a park on arrival day.

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We like to go to AK ... the park closes early so it forces us to get some rest but we still get a taste of Disney on that first day.