The moment you arrive at Disney you’re going to feel a bit tired. And let’s face it: all the excitement and thrill of the previous days before arriving plus the car or plane ride can be quite stressful. But despite all that, you feel as you should head to the parks immediately after you set foot on this magical land, but let me tell you, that is a big mistake. Allow me to show you how to make the most out of your first day at Disney, get some rest, and recharge your batteries before you actually hit the parks.

The first time I went to Disney I got to the hotel at around 3pm and somehow we decided it was a good idea to go Animal Kingdom (of all places!). By the time we did the check-in, left our baggage in our room and took the bus to the park, most of AK’s attractions had already closed or were about to. So for you not to waste a park ticket, I’ll give you some great ideas on how to enjoy your first day and still feel the magic.

Plan ahead

This means you should know what time you’ll be getting to your hotel, and how much time you’ll have that day after your arrival. As I said before, traveling is exhausting, so try to get there in the morning or by lunchtime, so you can enjoy half of the day. If you need some help planning, the Disney World Vacation Planner workbook is available on The Perfect Disney Trip Shop right here.

Pack smartly

Your carry-on bag is your most precious treasure when you travel because our checked bags, if traveling by plane, are at the mercy of the airline and we never know what could happen, so it’s important that in your carry-on bag you have a change of clothes accordingly to the Orlando weather and to the activities you’ll do at Disney.

Tour the hotel

If you’re staying on-site, you must wander around the hotel and discover all the amazing things that Disney hotels have. From the pools and the different buildings to the food court and shop. You might not believe me, but the hotel is as much a Disney experience as a theme park. You want to see your resort and everything it can offer, trust me!

Hit Disney Springs

There’s no doubt this is definitely the place to go on your first day. Shops, dining, and entertainment all in one place. Remember that complementary transportation from every Disney resort is available to Disney Springs so you don’t even have to drive. It’s a perfect outing for your first night!

Make use of the extra magic hours

If you stay at a Disney resort you are entitled to visit the park on extra hours prior to the opening or closing time. My advice is that, if you MUST use a ticket the day you arrive because you’re not staying for that long, you check which park has extra magic hours at night so you can actually cover as many attractions as possible. A great way to check this is through the MyDisneyExperience app.

These are some just tips that have worked for me in the past after making some mistakes on my first trips. Do you have any tips to share? Leave your advice in the comments section!