People ask me all the time: “What should I do on my arrival day in Disney World?” That’s a hard question to answer because there is so much to do!

If you have an Annual Pass, it’s a no brainer that you should visit the parks! If you don’t have an Annual Pass, you may feel like you’re wasting money on a ticket especially if you don’t arrive until mid-day or later.

Have no fear! There is plenty to do on your arrival day, and most of these activities don’t cost anything!

5. Miniature Golf

Disney has two excellent mini golf locations: Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. Winter Summerland is a more family-friendly course since it is easier overall. Fantasia Gardens, themed after the movie Fantasia, is a more difficult course and is more appropriate for teens and adults or a more experienced golfer.

If you booked your vacation with Disney, you may get a coupon book either at check-in or in the mail prior to arrival. There is usually a coupon for free mini-golfing in this book!

Mini golf is a great way to spend part of at day at Disney World.

Mini golf is a great way to spend part of a day at Disney World.

4. Visit Jellyrolls

Jellyrolls is a dueling pianos bar at Disney’s Boardwalk exclusively for the 21+ crowd. Guests will have a blast singing along to a variety of music genres and enjoying the libations. This is quite the popular club though, so arrive early or be prepared to wait for a table.

Dueling pianos at Jellyrolls. Fun!

Dueling pianos at Jellyrolls. Fun!

3. Watch the Fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant

Magic Kingdom‘s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular is visible from several of the Magic Kingdom area resorts, but my favorite is Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village. The sandy beaches and serene view over the Seven Seas Lagoon is picturesque with the fireworks in the background. Even if you aren’t staying at the resort, it is free for you to visit.

While you’re there, grab a tropical drink at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (if you’re part of the over 21 crowd), and visit Pineapple Linai for the famous Dole Whip.

Trader Sam's is a blast!

Trader Sam’s is a blast!

After the fireworks, stick around for the Electrical Water Pageant, which arrives around 9PM. You won’t be disappointed in this unique water parade!

2. Check out Disney Springs

Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney, has seen a massive renovation project over the last few years. There are plenty of new dining and shopping locations to check out!

For inexpensive fare, check out Wolfgang Puck Express or Earl of Sandwich. If you want a more satisfying meal, the Rainforest Café and the Boathouse are excellent.

Disney Springs offers plenty of fun, day and night.

Disney Springs offers plenty of fun, day and night.

Disney Springs is also home to the largest Disney store in the world: World of Disney. This store has anything and everything Disney that you can imagine, so if you can’t find it here, it probably doesn’t exist! The store is divided into rooms, so you can easily shop by department. If you’re looking for other souvenirs, there are plenty of specialty stores offering glass pieces, art, jewelry, kitchen items, snacks and sweets, and apparel.

You could easily spend a whole day or more in Disney Springs!

Whether you plan to shop or dine, be sure to check out your Disney coupon book since there are usually coupons for a percentage off or a free item!

1. Explore Your Disney Resort

A large part of your Disney vacation expense will go towards your resort, but many people often overlook the amenities involved in this cost. Each resort is unique, so why not spend your first day in Disney exploring everything your resort has to offer? From pools and recreation to restaurants and shopping, you’ll find plenty to do at your resort.

If there’s another resort that you’d really like to check out, by all means- do it! Disney doesn’t allow you to visit other resort pools, but it is free to explore other resorts including dining and shopping or just walking around!

While you’re spending time at your resort, don’t forget to get to bed early. Your coming days will probably be packed with park hopping and could even begin very early and go very late if you’re taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours. It is estimated that guests walk about 10 miles per day, so you’re going to need your rest!

Have you been to Trader Sam’s?  What did you think?

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