Written by Kellie Blankenship
You’ve spent hours planning it all out, you’ve dreamed about it for months, you’ve packed; and now you’ve finally arrived at Walt Disney World. So how do you spend your first night at the Most Magical Place on Earth? I for one like to experience the Disney Parks first thing in the morning right when they open, so this list has some options that do not include visiting the Parks the first night. So whether you’re a seasoned Disney traveler, or this is your first time; you want to make sure you kick off your vacation just right. So here are my top ten ways to spend your first evening at the World.
10. Go to a Water Park
Assuming you arrive fairly early in the day, why not spend some time at one of Disney’s amazing Water Parks; Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon. Your resort will hold your bags for you if your room is not ready. Or if you’ve used Disney’s Magical Express, your bags will be waiting in your room when you arrive back “home” that night. Just be sure and pack a small bag with your swim necessities and you’re good to go. Sometimes once you’ve started your vacation at Disney, a trip to the Water Parks can be hard to squeeze in. So visiting one on your very first day is a great way to start your vacation off with a splash!
9. Swim at Your Resort
Don’t feel like trekking all the way out to a Water Park? No problem, all the resorts have such unique and amazing pools. Some with slides, some with sand beaches, and they are heated! The pools will have towels you can use, so just sit back, relax, and enjoy a dip at the resort pool; because once again, swimming can be hard to fit in once you’ve started all the fun of your Disney Trip!
8. Explore Your Resort
All the resorts on Disney property have their own distinct theme and checking them out can be an adventure in itself! Look around the resort gift shop; some resorts have items that can only be found at that resort like Animal Kingdom Resort. Some resorts offer nighttime movies on the lawn and s’mores. Have a relaxing dinner at one of the resort restaurants or the food court, which has options for everyone. This is a great opportunity to pick up your refillable resort mugs too. Or just take a stroll along the grounds. You’ll be amazed by what your resort can offer when you just take some time to explore it!
7. Go to Downtown Disney
Since Downtown Disney doesn’t require admission, this can be a great way to spend your first night at Disney. Downtown Disney has some amazing stores where you can find something for everyone in your family. Visit World of Disney where you can stock up on your souvenirs early so you’re not carrying them around all day; everyone needs Mickey ears to wear to the parks! Grab your tradable pins at Pin Traders, or design your own t-shirt at Design-A-Tee. You can see an amazing show like Cirque Du Soleil, or enjoy a fabulous dinner at one of their many restaurants. You can even catch a movie here. You can’t go wrong in Downtown Disney!
6. Go Resort Hopping
Want to check out what some of the other resorts have to offer? Catch a bus to Magic Kingdom or Epcot, and then jump on the monorail to do a tour of the three monorail resorts. Or explore some of the surrounding resorts in your resort area. Some are all within walking distance like the Epcot Resorts. Again, they are all uniquely themed and just going into the lobbies of these resorts can be a rewarding experience. You can check out their gift shops, and maybe grab a dessert or two from their many delicious eateries. Here’s your chance to do some scouting for your next stay at Disney!
5. Go to a Dinner Show
Want some real entertainment for your first night at Disney? Book a reservation in advance for one of their amazing dinner shows like the Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort, or Hoop Dee Doo Review at the Campsites at Fort Wilderness. You will enjoy all you care to eat dining while experiencing first class entertainment like only Disney can provide.
4. Visit One of the Theme Parks
Can’t wait to start the Disney fun? If you have passes for every night of your stay, then why not go ahead and visit a park, or two if you have the park hopper option. Once you’re settled into your resort room, you can catch a bus to one of the Disney parks and start experiencing the magic! Usually, the crowds are a little lighter at night, so this would be a good time to visit some of your must-see attractions. Also, some parks will have extra evening magic hours for resort guests, so you can experience the magic even later!
3. Eat Dinner at a Park Restaurant
Book your reservation in advance for one of the many restaurants in the Disney Parks! Feel like seeing Mickey and his friends? Go to Garden Grill at Epcot. Have your heart set on seeing the Princesses right away? Enjoy a tasty meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. Of course it doesn’t have to be a character meal. There are so many options for your first celebratory meal at Disney. Just be sure and book a slightly later reservation, just in case your flight is delayed. You don’t want to miss out on the fun!
2. Enjoy a Dessert Party While Watching Wishes or Illuminations
This is such a fun way to spend your first night at Disney. On select nights, Magic Kingdom and Epcot hold special occasion events where you will enjoy all you can eat dessert with a VIP view of Wishes, the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom; or Illuminations the nighttime spectacular at Epcot. Watching the nighttime fireworks shows are such a memorable way to spend any night at Disney, especially when you have a plate full of delicious treats and sweets in front of you!
1. Eat Dinner at a Monorail Resort Restaurant
I know this one sounds simple, but it is truly one of my favorite ways to spend our first night at Disney. In fact, going to Chef Mickey’s on our first night of our vacation has been a tradition of ours for many years now. There’s just something so special about taking the monorail for the first time from Magic Kingdom over to the Contemporary where Chef Mickey’s is located. This is usually the first time you see the castle all lit up against the night sky through the monorail windows. If you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the fireworks. The meal itself is a delightful treat as well. You start by getting your picture taken by the statue of Mickey and the big plate, which you may purchase later on (your first souvenir!) Then after you are seated, Mickey and his friends will one by one visit your table for autographs and pictures. At one point during the meal, the music is pumped up and guests are encouraged to twirl their napkins in the air and dance with the characters. And I don’t care how old you are, there’s just something so wonderful about this experience and knowing that you have your whole Disney trip in front of you! Relish this moment, because it will be gone before you know it!
So there you have it, my top ten ways to spend your first night at Disney. Of course, there really is no wrong way to spend your first night, and these are just a few examples. What is your favorite thing to do after you’ve arrived at Walt Disney World?
“My name is Kellie Blankenship and I live in Fort Worth, TX. I am a mother of two kids, ages 11 and 8. I work part-time at an Elementary school, and I have been a Disney fanatic ever since I can remember. From the movies and characters, to the parks and Walt himself, I love it all! I would like to start my own blog someday where I can talk about my love for all things Disney!”
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