How to Spend Your First Evening in Walt Disney World

So you’ve spent months planning your Disney vacation. You have secured Park Pass Reservations, made advance dining reservations, sorted travel, and will soon be packing and ready to leave. You have even finalized plans for each day of your Disney trip. But what should you do on your first evening? Here are our favorite ways to begin a visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Check-In and Unpack

After a day of traveling, it always feels good to arrive at your destination. The first thing on our to-do list is to check into our Disney Resort hotel. This is made easy through the use of the My Disney Experience App. Most Guests can skip the Front Desk upon check-in. Instead, they can go straight to their Guest room. Make sure you have the My Disney Experience notifications switched on. Doing so will alert you as soon as your room is ready. Guests can enter their hotel room using a Magic Band or the My Disney Experience App.

Upon arrival to our room, we always unpack. It feels good to ‘move in’ to your Guest room, giving everything a home. Storing your cases away also helps to forget you are on vacation. Unpacking straight away allows you to relax and enjoy your Disney trip from the beginning.

These are the two most important things to do during your first evening at Walt Disney World. It’s then up to you to decide what the rest of the evening entails.

Collect your Refillable Mug

If you stay in the Walt Disney World Resort for several days or longer, consider purchasing a refillable mug. For $21.99 per mug, Guests can enjoy unlimited soft drinks and hot beverages throughout their stay. Guests can refill their mugs at any quick-service restaurant in the Disney Resort hotels. 

Refillable Mugs
Credit: V Mills

Exploring Your Disney Resort Hotel

If you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel for the first time, we recommend exploring when you arrive. It’s helpful to know where the lobby of your Resort is located. This is where you will find the Front Desk, bell services, gift shop, and restaurants. Taking time to explore will also help you to locate the Disney bus stop, pool area, and other recreational areas at your Disney Resort. Additionally, look out for the activities calendar that will detail all of the fun to be had during your stay.

Credit: V Mills

The first evening is also a great time to pick up food and drink items from the gift shop if you plan on eating in your Disney Resort room. Guests staying in Deluxe Resorts will have a wider selection of items. This is especially helpful if you are staying in a Deluxe Villa.

Visit Disney Springs

Disney Springs, previously known as Downtown Disney, is an excellent place to visit during your first evening at the Walt Disney World Resort. If you’ve spent most of the day sitting in the car or on a plane, you’ll welcome the opportunity to stretch your legs. Spend time browsing the stores, or indulge in the first sweet treats of your Disney trip. Grab a drink from one of the many quick-service locations, then enjoy while watching a live music performance.

Disney Springs Evening
Credit: Disney Dining

Secure an Advance Dining Reservation

Beginning your Disney vacation with dinner is perfect for spending your first evening. Maybe you’ll choose to dine in a favorite restaurant? Or you’ll try somewhere new. Either way, secure an advance dining reservation before you arrive. If you’ve had a long day of traveling, you’ll welcome the opportunity to enjoy good food with a limited wait time. Disney Springs and Disney’s BoardWalk are our favorite spots to dine during our first evening in the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Watch Disney Fireworks from a Disney Resort

You may have noticed that we have yet to suggest visiting a Disney Park during your first evening. While we love spending time in each Disney theme park, we prefer to save the magic for when we feel a little more rested. Trust us, Disney Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane passes are easier to deal with when you haven’t had a day of travel! Your arrival day can be tiring, no matter your mode of transport. With this in mind, your body will thank you for a slower but no less magical evening. 

You can still have a magical Disney experience, though. Have you considered enjoying Disney fireworks on your first evening? This is possible without having to enter a Disney Park. There are two spots we recommend visiting.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort beach area is a beautiful spot to visit. Watch the sky light up over Cinderella Castle from across Seven Seas Lagoon. Another beautiful spot to visit is the marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Take a seat on the wall or steps in front of Gasparilla Island Grill. This spot offers a view of Cinderella Castle in the distance while the fireworks light up the sky above.

Grand Floridian Marina
Credit: V Mills

Guests can enjoy the Magic Kingdom fireworks soundtrack from both spots. The music is played through the speakers in time with the display above Cinderella Castle. You can catch your first view of Disney fireworks without the crowds known to fill Main Street, U.S.A., in Magic Kingdom Park. 

Enjoy Pizza at the Pool

Evenings are an ideal time to visit your Disney Resort hotel pool area. Sun lotion isn’t required as the sun has already set. However, the warm evening provides the perfect bathing temperature. Treat yourself to a relaxing swim in the pool. Enjoy a dip in the jacuzzi if you’re staying in a Deluxe or Moderate Resort. We won’t judge if you’d prefer to stay dry. Take a seat on a sun lounger and lose yourself in a book. 

Coronado Springs Pool Area
Credit: Park Savers

If you plan on visiting the pool, why not grab a large pizza from the Disney quick-service restaurant for the whole family to share? Satisfy your hunger while taking a relaxing evening.

An Early Bedtime

Traveling is undoubtedly tiring. As such, your body may thank you for an early night. Getting to bed early can help you to feel well-rested ahead of your first day in the Disney Parks. A benefit of being a Disney Resort Guest is Early Theme Park Entry. Should you plan on visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom on your first morning, you’ll want to take advantage of this benefit. An early night will help you to get up as soon as your alarm goes off. Additionally, Guests visiting EPCOT and wishing to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind will need to use the Virtual Queue at 7 a.m. to secure a boarding group.

Port Orleans Riverside Royal Room
Credit: Disney

What do you plan on doing during the first evening of your Walt Disney World vacation? However you plan on spending it, you’re sure to have a magical Disney experience!

Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!

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