ARRIVING at Walt Disney World

Today we are sharing How We Know We’ve Arrived at Disney.


Check In 1

Nothing says “You have arrived!” like seeing a giant sign with the name of a Disney resort on it. This is where you will be staying and from where all the Disney magic you experience will start from. From parking the car to checking in to finding your room, don’t rush the process!

I’m going to show you how you can make the check-in at your resort a truly magical way to start your Disney vacation. If you follow my suggestions, you will truly know that you have arrived at Disney! I will be using Disney’s Art of Animation Resort as our model, with one picture from Pop Century thrown in for good measure.

FIRST: Approach the Check-in Desk.

Check In 2

Here you will meet your first friendly Cast Member. Enjoy the smiles and get ready to see more of them! These wonderful people are there to make your stay a memorable one.

SECOND: Get Your Bearings.

Check In 3

These maps are handy to find your building but also to familiarize yourself with the entire property. You’ll want to find the pools, restaurants and food service locations, the bus stop, and the resort retail store.

THIRD: Find Your Home-Away-From-Home.

Check In 4          Check In 5

Check In 6          Check In 7

Check In Room

Squaring away your things before you set out to explore is always a good idea. You can also use the time to relax and freshen up after your long journey to Disney. Once you have put everything away, it’s time to…

FOUR: Explore Your Resort.

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This is a great way to get your first taste of Disney magic and to take those vacation photos that everyone back home will be waiting to see. So take lots of shots and pose with everything in sight!

FIVE: Visit the Resort Store.

Check In 10

You will visit many retail locations during your visit. Some of these you will visit voluntarily while others will be thrust upon you. For example, after most big attractions you will exit into retail spaces and be jostled by some rabid shoppers and many others who just want to get out of there and hit the next ride! Visiting your resorts retail location will give you a chance to browse the merchandise at an unhurried pace.

In conclusion, the basic idea here is that checking into your on-site resort will whet your appetite for everything to come. Usually most of us arrive at the resort later in the day and after an exhausting drive or harried plane flight. Try to resist the urge to rush right off to a park. Instead, relax and enjoy your check-in  experience, for it truly is how you will know that you have arrived at Disney!

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8 Responses to ARRIVING at Walt Disney World

  1. Gotta say that I loved shopping at my home resort! Pretty much nightly I would put the kids to bed, walk to get hot chocolate in my refillable mug, and go buy myself something pretty at the store on the way back! 😉 To be fair, I also bought the kids a good bit of Disney loot as well. Great post!

  2. Patricia says:

    Love staying onsite. We stayed at the Beach Club in April. My husband and I enjoyed a nap cap each night at a different country. We were just a few steps away from the International Gateway.

  3. “Try to resist the urge to rush right off to a park.” This is one where we’ll have to be on different schedules. I say if you want to go to the parks, go to the parks. (I just make sure to work in a good resort day as a midtrip break. The resorts are definitely worth hanging out!)

  4. Heidi Strawser says:

    I totally agree with you, Lee – as soon as you arrive at the resort, it’s ALL-DISNEY! And it’s all so much fun. On my last visit a few weeks ago, we had a room in Magnolia Bend at Port Orleans Riverside. It didn’t seem to take TOO long to get to our building, but we walked FOREVER ’til we finally arrived at our room – those resort buildings are HUGE! It’s always so exciting to check out the room for the first time.

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