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What’s Your Disney “First Day Tradition?”

It’s time to talk Disney trip traditions!!! Over the years, my “first day at Disney” traditions have changed and evolved. But there’s nothing like looking forward to that thing you love to do first when you get to Disney World or Disneyland.

So my question for you today is this: Do you have a favorite¬†”Welcome to Disney” tradition that you always look forward to? Let us know in the comments below — I might just have to change mine once I get inspired by a few of yours!

In the interest of fairness, I’ll share one of mine, too… :-)

Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy the View

One of my favorite “first night traditions” in Disney World is shaking off the stress of travel with a deep breath and a relaxing view. The best place to do this in my opinion? Disney’s Polynesian Resort!

I usually choose one of two options once I get there: Either lounge in a comfy, wicker chair at the Tambu Lounge, or head to ‘Ohana for a sunset dinner! (And sometimes I do both!)

Tambu Sign

“The Poly” offers lots of choices for relaxing! ;-)

Tambu Drink Menu -- Click to Enlarge

I always choose the luxurious Lapu Lapu for my first Disney drink — a mix of rum and tropical juices served in a fresh pineapple! This drink is extravagant to be sure, but it really sets the tone for a relaxing vacation.

And if you’re going non-alcoholic, they’ll make you a virgin one in the pineapple, too! No matter which way you go, a drink in pineapple really does say “I’m finally on vacation!!”

Lapu Lapu from the Tambu Lounge

After I take a breather with my pineapple, I’ll often head next door to ‘Ohana (with a previously booked Advance Dining Reservation, of course) for dinner.

Then, if I haven’t seen the Magic Kingdom Fireworks from ‘Ohana, I’ll head down to the Polynesian Beach for the show!

My favorite secluded spot on the Polynesian Resort Beach!

Whether I’m watching the sun set over Seven Seas Lagoon or catching an awesome view of Wishes, this is the perfect way to unwind after what can be a stressful day of traveling on my first day at Disney. The bonus here? You don’t burn a day on your tickets with a trip into the parks, and you still get to see fireworks! Score!!

So how about you? Do you head immediately from the airport to the Magic Kingdom for a Dole Whip? Stop off in Epcot for a ride on Spaceship Earth and dinner at Biergarten first thing? Go to the hotel for a swim? What is your first day or first night at Disney tradition?

Let’s hear all about your favorite First Disney Day tradition — what it is, how you do it, why it’s special! Share below in the comments!

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157 Comments

  1. Gillian says:

    My beau and I are new to Disney as adults, so we don’t have a set tradition yet, but I really liked what we did in February, which was to head to Magic Kingdom our first morning. I knew he’d fall madly in love with Haunted Mansion, so we did that first. :) It was our very last ride of the trip too and seemed to tie everything up nicely. On our last day, we also “took it easy” by visiting the Port Orleans resorts and absolutely fell in love with them. I’m so looking forward to staying at French Quarter in October! This time, we’re arriving in the morning, but instead of using up a park ticket, we’re going to tour some of the resorts, like the Boardwalk, GF, and probably our own too. ;) Maybe even some Downtown Disney. Since we’re starting the parks with Universal this time, it sort of lets us know we’ve arrived, it’s brand new to us, and (what else?) gives us lots of options for amazing food!

  2. Hank Reed says:

    Just inside the turnstiles, I stop and await the train to see who’s name is on the train. We pass under the train station and walk over to where Roy is sitting on the bench. I look up at the 2nd floor of the train station and wave. I rub then rub Roy’s head and turn up main street keeping my head down. When I get to Walt’s spot on the wall I usually hear someone say, Welcome Home. I raise my head and look at the castle, take a deep breath and let it out slowly as the sounds of the day full of promise fill my ears and I feel the stress drain away. I am now ready to enjoy the day fully.

  3. Corrie says:

    On the first night of our honeymoon we went to DTD and had dinner at Raglan Road, then sat outside the cigar lounge in the nice warm weather (it was a treat since it was January and we’re from NJ). We were so happy and excited! Now that’s the only way I can imagine starting a trip

  4. Donna says:

    After we check in at the Boardwalk we go visit our favorite & best bartenders Ty, Joe & Mike at the the Leaping Horse Libations bar by the pool. We then have dinner at Kozzinas but since they are closing, we will be going to the Captains Grille. We also wait for our food to be delivered from wegoshop.com (they are great. Been using them for years) & unpack. Get a good nights sleep & get ready for the most magical vacation ever!

  5. Debbie Dawson says:

    One of our favorite first day traditions is to head straight to Downtown Disney and have ‘dinner’ at Ghirardelli’s. It’s a fun treat to have ice cream for dinner! The Magic Kingdom would be our favorite ‘first day at the parks’ choice and it’s a must to stop and have family photos in front of the castle! Of course that’s after I take a deep breath and wipe the tear away from my eyes! I always tear up seeing the castle for the first time.

  6. Jenn says:

    Oh how i love disney! We always stayed at fort wilderness when i was young but now stay at the all star music resort. Upon arriving, it is the best feeling ever knowing that you are now at the happiest place on earth. It is a hard feeling to describe but it is magical! The first thing we do is head to downtown disney to have dinner at the rainforest cafe and stroll through the shops especially the world of disney shop! It gets you in the spirit of disney. After dinner and shops head back to the resort and take a swim in the pool and have a relaxing night sleep before the first day at magic kingdom!
    The first day at the magic kingdom is amazing! Love the MK! We always headed straight for pirates of the caribbean ride but now that the cafe on mainstreet serves starbucks we stop there to start our day with a delicious starbucks coffee then on to the fun! I have to stop at starbucks bc i am addicted since becoming a store mngr at one!
    So least to say our traditions haven’t changed much because there are many things we love after visiting disney 20+ times now in my life but i love when new things become part of our traditions! Disney is truly yhe most relaxing vacation to me and the most magical place on earth!

  7. Melanie says:

    Our First Day Tradition is to go to the Magic Kingdom and head straight to the Rose Garden to take a family picture in front of the castle from the garden. My husband proposed in this garden with the castle as a backdrop. Of course we had a Disney CM take a photo immediately after the proposal. We have two more family photos in that garden since our engagement that include our now 4-year old son. This year/summer we will add to the collection with a family photo that includes our 4-year old and our 15-month old sons. This will be our first complete family photo in our favorite spot!!!!

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