What to do on arrival and departure day!?!?

Beer Me

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 3, 2014
I like to get evening FPs on arrival day and plan to watch the nighttime show at whichever park you choose. It makes for a relaxing partial day so you don’t immediately wear yourself out.

Think about FPs for departure day too. You have the best shot for a hard to get FP on the last day since you’re staying on site.

On my last trip I got FoP FP on departure day. Turns out we were able to ride earlier in the week but it was nice to have that insurance. And getting to ride again before we left was perfect.
 

Bjkandma

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
When we have an afternoon arrival, we swim and go to room and rest a little. We have reservations for dinner. Two of our favorites on the first night have been Hoop Dee Doo Revue, a two hour dinner show at Pioneer Hall at Ft. Wilderness.

The second is have dinner some where at resort. Get dressed up (see dress code) and have a late reservation at California Grill ( you could always eat dinner, but we find it a little to o late) for drink and desserts or appetizers and drinks. Go out to their observation deck and watch MK fireworks
 
  • csolilo

    Earning My Ears
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2010
    A lot of people get complementary passes to mini golf, that could be a good thing for the evening, or morning before heading out.
     

    DisMommyTX

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2015
    We usually spend the first and last evenings at Magic Kingdom. We've tried going to a park on departure day but leaving was WAY too depressing. Now we usually chill at the resort or do a character breakfast. If we have a car, we'll go shopping at the Character outlet stores. I enjoy Disney Springs on departure day too, but the traffic can be such a pain.
     
    Last edited:
    Joined
    Jul 23, 2017
    My normal tradition:

    ARRIVE late afternoon/early evening: Go to Epcot, ride Spaceship Earth first thing, then kill time until a Le Cellier reservation.

    LEAVE late afternoon/early evening: Go to Magic Kingdom in the morning. Goodbye lunch at Skipper Canteen and final ride is always the Haunted Mansion.

    But for my trip in a few weeks I'm trying something brand new:

    ARRIVE early evening: It's my first stay and first visit ever to Riverside. Take some time to really explore the resort, toast a marshmallow, and see Yehaa Bob.

    LEAVE midday: There's not enough time for a park, so I'm doing breakfast at Boma for the first time. My final thing will be seeing the animals at AKL and buying Zebra Domes for the road.
     

    Nancyg56

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 17, 2005
    On arrival day I always plan a meal on the monorail. We may hop into a park, but I never have it written in stone becuase you never know how tired or overstimulated the fam will be. Departure day we will visit a park and have lunch there. We may book a TS character breakfast but lately skip it and eat early in teh park, and a quick sandwich before we leave on Tragical Express.
     
  • Rach3975

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 12, 2018
    On our last trip we could have made it to a park in time to have 3 or 4 hours there and still get back to the resort early enough for 9 pm bedtimes for the kids. DH and I pushed for that--it would have meant adding a day once we were on site, but it would have been our 6th day so only cost $10 or $15 per person. But our very responsible kids (15, 12, and 9 on that trip) insisted that wasn't a good idea, and we should wait and hit the parks on our first full day as originally planned. (Hmmm...still scratching my head over that role reversal!) Next trip it's just me and DH, and you can bet we're visiting parks on arrival and departure days! I don't think our actual park plans will help you, though--our trip is much shorter, with only 1 day at each of the 4 parks. We'll do AK and HS on our travel days since MK and Epcot are our faves and we want whole days there. On our last trip we had a resort morning and then did an afternoon arrival at AK one day--it was so nice to sleep late and relax but still have park time. In the past we've always either done long days in the parks or taken the day off.
     

    L_MD

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 24, 2016
    What I typically do:

    Arrive super early morning (like getting to the hotel at 10am): Take my time at the airport, get some food once I'm at the resort, hope my room is ready, hit up Disney Springs, swim for a bit afterward, relax, get ready for an early morning.

    I've tried going to a park on arrival day once, but I'm always just so beat up from being anxiety-ridden about the flight, travel in general, etc that I wasn't able to really enjoy myself. So now I do nothing more stressful than drinking cocktails, shopping, and maybe scheduling an ADR.

    Leave on the latest flight possible: I try to get to a park by 10am on my departure day, ususally MK. I ride my favorites and finish out with a ride on the PeopleMover, wave to the castle, then hop to Epcot if I have time. I head back to the resort with at least 2 hours until DME to repack, shuffle things around, etc.
     

    kevind2112

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2006
    Our last trip in 2016 was our first time driving, from Massachusetts. We drove straight through, about 22 hours. Arrived at our hotel around 4:00. Asked if anyone wanted to just rest, but nope! We hit DHS for the evening. On our last day we spent the morning at Magic Kingdom, had lunch at the Poly, and drove straight home.

    This year we're driving again, arriving a few hours earlier than last time. We've decided we're still going to hit DHS first. This time though on our last day we're heading to Epcot for the morning / early-afternoon before heading out. We're always on the go, so parks on the first/last day doesn't bother us :)

    On both trips we spent our first and last FULL days at Magic Kingdom.
     

    escriven75

    Mouse bars for breakfast!!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2012
    On our last trip we could have made it to a park in time to have 3 or 4 hours there and still get back to the resort early enough for 9 pm bedtimes for the kids. DH and I pushed for that--it would have meant adding a day once we were on site, but it would have been our 6th day so only cost $10 or $15 per person. But our very responsible kids (15, 12, and 9 on that trip) insisted that wasn't a good idea, and we should wait and hit the parks on our first full day as originally planned. (Hmmm...still scratching my head over that role reversal!) Next trip it's just me and DH, and you can bet we're visiting parks on arrival and departure days! I don't think our actual park plans will help you, though--our trip is much shorter, with only 1 day at each of the 4 parks. We'll do AK and HS on our travel days since MK and Epcot are our faves and we want whole days there. On our last trip we had a resort morning and then did an afternoon arrival at AK one day--it was so nice to sleep late and relax but still have park time. In the past we've always either done long days in the parks or taken the day off.
    That is a role reversal!! I did ask them, if we get checked into the resort and just have a few hours in a park when we arrive, do you want to hit one? If so, which one? And the opinion so far...for arrival day...is to go to Epcot when we get there since we'll be hungry and hit the F&G food booths in World Showcase. I think I can get on board with that idea. I could make a couple late evening FP+ to hit on the way out too!
    We are also 'go to one park and stay all day' type of people! So I never know what to do with myself when we just have a few hrs to burn.
     
  • Undavolt

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2019
    What I typically do:

    Arrive super early morning (like getting to the hotel at 10am): Take my time at the airport, get some food once I'm at the resort, hope my room is ready, hit up Disney Springs, swim for a bit afterward, relax, get ready for an early morning.

    I've tried going to a park on arrival day once, but I'm always just so beat up from being anxiety-ridden about the flight, travel in general, etc that I wasn't able to really enjoy myself. So now I do nothing more stressful than drinking cocktails, shopping, and maybe scheduling an ADR.

    Leave on the latest flight possible: I try to get to a park by 10am on my departure day, ususally MK. I ride my favorites and finish out with a ride on the PeopleMover, wave to the castle, then hop to Epcot if I have time. I head back to the resort with at least 2 hours until DME to repack, shuffle things around, etc.
    We typically do something similar, first flight to Orlando usually 7:00am, arrive at our resort around 10:30am via DME, check at the front desk sometimes our room is ready even that early. Head to a park, we change it up every trip. Dinner at or near that park around 5:00pm. On our last day it is usually check in at airline service by 10:00am, head to park, lunch around 1:00pm. Always get an 8:00pm or so flight out. In October it will be Epcot with dinner at Chefs de France and Epcot with lunch at Rose & Crown.
     

    Figment Mom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 31, 2014
    MK on both arrival and departure day (and another full MK day sometime during the trip).

    On my recent trip I woke up at home in Ohio at 2:30 am, was headed to the airport by 4, was at my resort around 9, and straight to MK.

    Did the after fireworks dessert party that night and evening EMH, leaving MK at 1 am.

    On departure day I check my bags for the airport then try to rope drop MK.

    I believe my DME departure time was 6 pm.
     

    imbatman

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2017
    After an airline "adventure" on our first trip, we do not ever schedule park days for arrival and departure days. This last trip was no exception, with a delay on the middle leg. We still arrived early enough to hop on the bus and head to Disney Springs for dinner and to start the magic. Our departure days, we pick mid-day flights so that we don't have to rush. It's nice taking the extra time to either sit on the patio (weather permitting) or lounge in the lobby.
     

    Undavolt

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2019
    After an airline "adventure" on our first trip, we do not ever schedule park days for arrival and departure days. This last trip was no exception, with a delay on the middle leg. We still arrived early enough to hop on the bus and head to Disney Springs for dinner and to start the magic. Our departure days, we pick mid-day flights so that we don't have to rush. It's nice taking the extra time to either sit on the patio (weather permitting) or lounge in the lobby.
    Tell me about airline “adventures”. When we started doing Disney again in August 2016 our 10:30am flight turned into a 5:00pm flight and they used every excuse in the book. In order of use - mechanical issues, plane change, reroute due to weather meaning they had to take us back to the gate to add fuel and because of that the crew time expired so we had to wait for another one. We made it MK just in time for the Electric Light Parade. Since then we always take the first flight available in the morning.
     

    EACarlson

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2019
    We are getting in at 2pm and heading to MK for a few hours before going to Chef Mickey's for dinner. It's our kids first trip and thought that would be a good way to get them right into the Disney spirit. On departure day we are going to RD whatever park the kids want to go back to for their last day.
     

    babydoll65

    I need a Dole whip
    Joined
    Aug 31, 2011
    I don't do a park day on arrival, usually resort hop, go to Disney springs and do dinner at Trails End buffet. I take a late flight out on departure day so we usually do one of the parks. I bring my luggage to the airline check-in at our resort in the morning then head to the parks. We hire a private driver to bring us to the airport directly from the park were at so we don't have to worry about leaving early to get the Magical express.
     

    Auntrosie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2013
    Arrival day: Stop at WAWA on the way to our home airport to buy hoagies for lunch in the park. We catch the 5am flight from Philly. Uber to Hollywood Studios we arrive there around 9:30 - 10:00 am. Leave our suitcases with Guest Relations (since they will not fit in the lockers). We check in at our hotel at around 10 pm that evening.
    Departure day: We bring our suitcases to the park usually Animal Kingdom/Epcot. Again we leave those with Guest Relations. I schedule the last direct flight of the day back to Philly. We buy QS to bring with us to eat at the airport before we enter the security line. If our flight home is delayed SW will send me a text - We’ll stay later at the park if we can. I leave the park allowing us 40 mins travel time to the airport and 1 1/2 to 2 hours to eat and check in.

    When we’re staying on property I’ll use ME yellow tags to have Disney pick-up our luggage at MCO but we’ll still Uber directly from MCO to the park and online check-in will text our room number when it’s assigned. We’ll check our suitcases with Southwest at our resort before heading to the park on departure day and again we’ll still catch an Uber back to MCO.
     

    YesterDark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 4, 2017
    Last three trips with kids:
    2015: Stay at resort, have dinner, relax. (OKW, I didn't plan)
    2017: DisneySprings
    2019: Pool and Dinner at resort

    I liked the pool and resort exploring the first day. Everyone is tired. I personally won't ever do parks even if I had free tickets. With kids it just doesn't work. Disney Springs was too much with the kids a few years ago. Too hot, and not much to do.

    If it was an adult trip, that probably changes things.

    Personally, after a day of travel and knowing that the rest of the trip is going to be go go go. The first day is mostly for relaxing and looking forward to fun.

    Departure date? We're usually leaving early in the day, so no chance to do much.
     


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