Ideas for First Night at Disney


Earning My Ears
Jan 30, 2001
I am really trying to make the first night at Disney memorable for my family. I have picked up some tips from the board but I really need some more help. My first thought was to get priority seating at Chef Mickey's for dinner and then maybe stay and watch the fireworks. I have been told that you do not need to use your pass to get into the CR just to eat dinner. I have also heard that they are enforcing a 3 hour parking limit and that you could get towed. What I am trying to avoid is using our Parkhoppers for only a few hours on the first day. We are staying off site and will not check in until after 3:00 pm on Friday. I thought that this would be a good way to add a little Disney "magic" to our first day and it would only be the cost of the meal that we would be out. Maybe someone else has some other ideas they would like to share. The kids are ages 6 1/2 and 2 1/2 if that makes any difference and we will have 3 adults traveling in our party.

Thanks for your help. I sure have enjoyed reading all the tips on the boards. We are down to 120 days and counting.........:jester:
We usually arrive around 12:00, check our baggage at the hotel and then walk around the hotel gorunds, then go to downtown Disney..the last few years we got into our rooms around 3:00 and then Chef Mickey's for dinner and fireworks are excellent. You don't have to use a hopper to get into the for the parking, we always use Disney transportation so I don't know about the time limit. That is a great first night at Disney and gears you up for all the magic to come.
Personally I think Chef Mickeys and the fireworks are a great idea!! Our first night at Disney, we always do Chef Mickey's and we always have a ball!!

Have a great time!! :)
Downtown Disney Legoland is always good for a first night thing. They have some great restaurants and lots of shops. Enough Magic to ease you in without overloading the kids to the point where they can't sleep because they are soooo excited. DisneyQuest is also in Downtown Disney and is good for a couple of hours. Be warned however that if you are even slightly clausterphobic you not enjoy DisneyQuest. I literally had a panic attack after about 30 minutes.
:) Kerry

dneal, if my calculations are accurate, we must be arriving in Orlando on the same Friday---June 7th! We are also getting in around 3ish and since we're staying at the Contemporary, we will be doing Chef Mickey's that night. I just thought it was ironic that we're talking about the same evening and what to do. Another thing we're considering is heading over to the Boardwalk and looking around the first night just so we're not out too late that first night. We want to get up and get right into MK on Saturday.

kandj2, Thank you for the warning about DisneyQuest and claustrophopbia. I hadn't come across that warning yet. I've been debating whether we'll go there or not. Now I know that will be the time my husband relaxes somewhere else (or unpacks the van LOL!). That would have been a disaster with him and after the expense for all 6 of us to go (we won't have UPH's ) too. Not a good way to start our first trip to Disney! These boards are great!
I agree that Chef Mickey's is a great way to start a trip. After dinner don't forget to take a trip on the monorail. Ask to sit up front for a great view. We even saw the electric water pagent from the front of the monorail last year.

If the weather is nice you could also check out the Movies at Ft. Wilderness. They are free and for around $5 you can buy a s'mores kit that feeds the family. Its fun to see Chip n Dale and toast s'mores even if you don't stay for all of the movie.

Chef Mickey's is great for the first night. Our favorite thing is to go to the Boardwalk on the first night. There's usually lots of good entertainment there, especially on the weekend nights. You can eat in one of the restaurants or sit outside and have one of their fabulous hot dogs. (The hot dogs there are our favorite of anywhere!) The atmosphere is wonderful.
We are doing Chef Mickey the first night. Never even tought about the fire works! what time are they? Our dinner is at 6:30 on Sunday the 24th. we also love to go to DD on our first day get the shopping out of the way!
I think that I read the fireworks were at 10:00 pm every night - at least during the summer. Thanks to everyone for all the great ideas.
Last year we stayed at CBR, upon arrivial about 1pm, we checked in a headed to MK for the parade and food! Got back to CBR about 4pm ~ we were go go go go go all trip! This April trip we are only go go go and lots of R&R! So our first night at CSR is 3pm check in and REST UP! See the resort, relax, swim, relax, eat, relax. A nice dinner and look over the game plan for the next 10 days!
Remember the Electrical Water Pagent and you can go into the parks for 1 half hour ( an hour mabye????) without paying (shoppig pass). So heres my suggestion.

Go to either Chef Mickeys or Beaches and Cream
-If you go to beaches and cream head over to the boardwalk before going to mk area.
- If you go to Chef Mickeys ride the monorail full circle (to Epcot) and back (and possibly go into epcot w/ shopping pass).

Go into MK for the 1/2 hour (possibly hour? someone else will know) just to be in the park...;)

Then go up to observation seck on Contempory to watch fireworks- or watch them from the beach around the lagoon (someone else can suggest an area) and then watch the ewp.
Ok so heres what you could do
Dinner- Beaches and Cream on Connections vouchers (share food/dessert)
Go to the Boarkwalk
1/2 hour in Epcot to walk to front of park to catch monorail and look around a little.
----------------------------MONORAIL TO MK-------------------------------------
Then go either ride the monorail to each resort or right into mk depending on time before fireworks.
Then either go to beach or observation deck to watch fireworks.
Stay at beach or go to beach to watch EWP

Good luck
Chef Mickey's is a great idea. My "tradition" for the first night has always been the Hoop-dee-doo revue..... I like watching the fireworks from the park where I can hear the music and see the whole castle changing colors and such. What ever you do will be special because you are in WDW!!!!
Disney Quest is awesome too!! We love this place and start every trip with a trip to DQ. We love the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride along with the create a CD spot. They have many fun thing to do at DQ.
We also did Chef Mickey's the first night we arrived ... afterwards, we went on the Illuminations 2000 cruise that we joined in on through a wonderful member of the DIS boards here :p ... it was an absolute fantastic start to our two wonderful weeks at WDW (Dixie Landings) back in January 2000.

And we're looking forward to coming back in October :bounce: !!
It's always so tempting to take advantage of all the exciting activities on the day that you arrive but, frankly, travel is tiring for everyone. Especially since you have a toddler, I would not recommend anything more than a jump in the pool and dinner and bedtime. But, if you really have the itch to get started, then I guess I would recommend going to Downtown Disney, have an early dinner, look arond a bit and be back at the hotel no later than 6:30. Give the kids a bath so that they get rid of all the travel grime and germs, then launch straight into the bedtime routine.
Ok, heres what I know. You use a day on your pass. If you return to the Customer Service center within a half hour or an hour (not sure) they put the day back on your pass. You might want to ask on the parks board for more details.


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