Five Disney Dining Tips for Your Arrival and Departure Days


Arrival and departure days at Walt Disney World can require just as much thought as the days in between.  Whether you are flying in or driving in, when you arrive at Walt Disney World,  you are ready to start your trip and you are also probably a bit tired.  So how do you manage a hungry family in need of some Disney magic after being in the car or in airports all day?  These days are a great time to enjoy some of the Disney restaurants outside the parks.  Today I am sharing some Disney Dining Tips for Your Arrival and Departure Days.

  • Consider a very late dinner, or a quick service dinner, on your arrival day.  Flights can be delayed, and even when you board the Magical Express, you may not be at your resort for up to an hour after.  Allow yourself about 90 minutes or better from the time you land to the time you arrive at your resort and check in.  In this case, a quick service dinner or a dinner around 8PM would be a good idea.
  • Plan on eating outside the Disney Parks.  Whether it is counter or table service, using a park ticket on your arrival or departure day for a meal isn’t the best use of your time.  Consider the Downtown Disney area, your resort restaurant, the Monorail resorts, or the Boardwalk area.
  • Have a character meal upon arriving or before departing.  This gives you an opportunity to meet some characters, enjoy a good meal, and leave with some sweet Disney memories.
  • Use all your meal credits before your departure day.  The Disney Magical Express will pick you up about 3 hours before your flight.  This may almost guarantee you a meal at the airport.  So instead of leaving Disney with unused credits, be sure to just have a few snacks, or no entitlements left on your departure day.  If you are driving home, perhaps some sandwiches to go from your Quick Service location or Earl of Sandwich at Downtown Disney is a good idea!
  • Consider adding one more day of park tickets so it covers your arrival or departure day.  Adding another day of tickets can cost as little as $10 per person.  It may be worth it to only have a “half park day” on you arrival or departure day to get that dining experience you really want.  If you can time it right with your flights or departure time, it may work out well!  Many guests take the earliest flight into Orlando and the latest flight out.  Just because you want to head to a park on your arrival or departure doesn’t mean you have to do a full out touring plan.  Go in, enjoy a meal, and the parade or fireworks and head back for bed and to get ready for a full day.

Carrie believes that Disney travel is an experience unlike any other, and the best family memories are made at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Book your next Disney vacation with Carrie at 937.209.9473 or  Mention this article on Chip and Co, and receive a free gift when you book your Walt Disney World vacation with Carrie.




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Travel Agent at Destinations in Florida
Carrie is a mom, wife, and avid Disney fan.She shares her Disney love here on Chip and Co, and on her own blog-My Favorite Finds.She's always planning her family's next Disney vacation, and helping others make magical vacation memories as a travel agent with Destinations in Florida,An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.Call Carrie at 937-209-9473 or email her at to book your next Disney trip, cruise, or any adventure!
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Five Disney Dining Tips for Your Arrival and Departure Days was last modified: May 28th, 2014 by Carrie

  • Kristy Beins

    Both times we have started and ended with a character meal. It worked great the first time to do Akerhaus before Epcot opened–we had 8:15 reservations and were out of there by 9:30. Not so much for O’Hana. We had 9:00 reservations and weren’t seated until 10–we are drivers about 15 hours from Orlando, so the driver (me) was getting seriously antsy. We weren’t on the road until 12:30. Just something to keep in mind when you plan that end of trip meal.

  • Yazmean

    Our family was not a fan of the T-Rex restaurant :(