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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss 1st night ideas in the Ask The Experts forums; My first night plans have to change due to our arrival time. I am hoping you experts out there have suggestions for me! My DH and I are taking with ...
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    Cinderella2's Avatar
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    1st night ideas

    My first night plans have to change due to our arrival time.
    I am hoping you experts out there have suggestions for me!

    My DH and I are taking with us a family of 4 (our best friends) all of whom are first-timers so I wanted to take them to something special to "wow" them and welcome them to my world.
    They have 2 girls- one 10, and one who is 8. They haven't been on many trips or gone many places except here to visit us so they just aren't going to know what hit them! Which is why I told them I was going with them.

    Anyway...
    Our planes are arriving around 6:17 pm. As of now I have reservations for us at Hoop Dee Doo that night at 7:15. We definitely won't make it.
    I thought about taking them into MK to see Spectromagic and the fireworks but MK closes at 7:00 pm that night. It is going to be on February 2nd and I am wondering if they are closing early for a pirate and princess party they haven't announced yet.

    I really could use some great suggestions please!

    Thanks in advance-
    Kerry
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    mritty's Avatar
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    Where are you staying? Depending on the resort, just walking around the hotel itself can be something of an experience.

    What time are Fantasmic and Illuminations that night (I can't check WDW's calendar behind the corporate firewall)
    Are any of the parks open for evening EMH?

    For something nice and relaxing, how about heading over to Fantasia Gardens mini-golf? Show them what "Disney Theming" really means.

    I wouldn't recommend DisneyQuest for the first night, fwiw. I don't think a giant arcade sends the right message to the parents about what this place is all about.

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    disneydame2004's Avatar
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    it's possible that date would be a P&P party, but that would start at 7 and by the time you got there you'd be rushing to get there - and what if the flight is delayed?

    Illuminations runs at 9 p.m., so that's an option if you want to go into a park. Or you could just go to dinner on the Boardwalk (Spoodles maybe, or Flying Fish) and get the view of the fireworks from there, as well as enjoy the Boardwalk itself if you don't want to use park admissions. Fantasmic is at 7 that night, so that won't work.

    Is there a later showing of Hoop-de-doo that night?
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    Cinderella2's Avatar
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    I agree about DisneyQuest. I have only been there once and wasn't a fan.
    We are staying at the Boardwalk so we probably could walk over to Illuminations. Do you think that would appeal to the kids?
    It doesn't look like anybody has evening EMH.
    I have never done the mini golf. Where is it?

    Thanks for the suggestions!
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    Cinderella2's Avatar
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    Do you really think we will be able to see the fireworks from the Boardwalk? That might be an idea. I kind of wanted to maybe go into a park because I would feel like I was wasting a ticket day but if we do get there late it might not be worth it. Ugh.
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    I'm pretty sure there are spots where you can see the higher bursts for sure. Definitely if you walk down to the International Gateway entrance and stand just outside the entrance.
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    Here are a couple more options for you besides the couple of good one's I have already read:

    1 - If you hang around the Boardwalk you can always rent a Surrey bike and ride around the Boardwalk. If you want to use an admission to the parks you can always schedule a late meal at one of the restaurants in Epcot. Then you could walk out afterwards to a peaceful park if you finish after the fireworks are over.

    2 - It will depend on how hungry everyone will be once you arrive, you could make reservations at Ohana's for dinner and this would be a fun group dining experience to start off your vacation. The you can watch the Barge show from the beach at the Polynesian. If it is a Pirate and Princess night they will surely have fireworks which you can also view from this beach.

    3 - Not Disney Quest, but walking around Downtown Disney and soaking in the atmosphere is a good way to walk off the flight you just took. It also provides a peek at the merchandise you are likely to find and you know where you want to go before you leave if you get the chance to go back.

    4 - There are also the Fort Wilderness Campground movies and firepit for smores and stuff.

    5 - Will you have a rental car? You can always go offsite and pick up any items (like bottled water) at the stores so you don't have to waste time on that later. On your way back you can take your friends resort hopping to see the other places and the lobbies to start them off with the Disney magic. Don't fogrget to ask each desk for the hidden mickey questionnaire if you do this. It is a lot of fun.

    I don't know how long your flight is or how long your travel time will be but if your flight now arrives and if you are taking Magic Express, you know to give yourself an hour once you get checked in on the bus. Then getting checked into your room will be 15 - 25 minutes (depending on the line at the front desk). buy your tickets if you still need them from the concierge desk and check or make any additional reservations you may want to. You are now looking at approximately 7:45 - 8:30pm. You will want to give the family a tour of the resort area so they know where they are, where the bus picks up, where the boat is and where MGM and Epcot are. I would stay at the Boardwalk, watch the shows in the area and the fireworks, grab some pizza and relax. This way you get a good nights sleep to hit the ground running on your first full day.

    If you plan ahead before you go, create an invitation to your friends family that welcomes them to Disney from their favorite characters, be the last one out of the room after your initial check in and leave the card on the front hall desk. Or call the front desk at the Boardwalk now so and let them know it is your friends first trip.They will often help out by leaving a signed post card from Mickey and crew for them if you ask.

    I have a bunch of other ideas on how to kick off your trip but I don't want to hog the board. PM me if you would like some more ideas.

    Have a great trip!!!!!!!
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    mritty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderella2 View Post
    I agree about DisneyQuest. I have only been there once and wasn't a fan.
    We are staying at the Boardwalk so we probably could walk over to Illuminations. Do you think that would appeal to the kids?
    It doesn't look like anybody has evening EMH.
    I have never done the mini golf. Where is it?

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    I think music, lights, water, lasers, fireworks, and explosions *always* appeal to kids. :-)

    There are two minigolf courses. The one closest to you is the Fantasia Gardens. Simply walk from the Boardwalk over to the Swan (or take a Friendship boat, if you prefer) and walk across the street. The lobby of the Swan has an area map if you're confused about which way to go. They have both a put-put course as well as a par-3 golfing course. The put-put is "Fantasia Gardens", while the par-3 is "Fantasia Fairways"

    The other minigolf course is WinterSummerland, adjacent to Blizzard Beach, so you'd have to drive there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinderella2 View Post
    Do you really think we will be able to see the fireworks from the Boardwalk? That might be an idea. I kind of wanted to maybe go into a park because I would feel like I was wasting a ticket day but if we do get there late it might not be worth it. Ugh.
    You'll be able to see *some* of the fireworks from the Boardwalk, but you won't see the whole show. You'll definitely not be able to see the Earth Globe.

    Don't forget that after the fourth day, adding days to your ticket costs $2.08 per day. So if you're already planning on spending four or more days in the parks, I really wouldn't quibble about "wasting" an entry.

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    You guys are great! Thanks so much for the great ideas. I am getting excited all over again about the possibilities.
    Thanks for pointing out that we will really be arriving pretty late (sadness) and should take that into effect.
    I love the idea of making them a welcome card- that is so great and very special. Those first memories are so priceless.

    I am also glad you mentioned the ticket price- we have 7 day park hoppers. I just love being in the parks, I have to get over it.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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    lovedisprinces's Avatar
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    You could go to the 9:15 showing of Hoop-de-doo revue
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    Our first night arrival ritual is very simple. Head to DD and let the girls shop with their grandparents. They all take pictures posing with the Lego displays and then they get their ics taken in front of the princess statues in the boutique. Not for everyone but it works for us!
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    Cinderella2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohiodisneydad View Post
    Our first night arrival ritual is very simple. Head to DD and let the girls shop with their grandparents. They all take pictures posing with the Lego displays and then they get their ics taken in front of the princess statues in the boutique. Not for everyone but it works for us!
    We have always gone to DD on the first night too. I guess I kind of forget how pretty neat it is. I'm afraid the 9:15 show might be too late, but I haven't cancelled my 7:15 reservation yet so that's still flopping around in my brain.

    Thanks!
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    Here's my recommedation and reasoning...

    First, you will all be excited about being at WDW! But, you will also want to get settled in early enough to hit the ground running the next morning, right?

    Also, you want a great memory for the first night, right?

    Coming from the Quad Cities, we always get into MCO at around 5 or 6. So, we always take DME to our resort. If there is no line at check-in we get that out of the way. Otherwise we leave this chore until we get back from dinner.

    Then, we hop right on the first bus to the MK and take the monorail over to Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary. No park tickets needed, a great dose of Disney Magic, good food (prime rib, shrimp and parmesan mashed potatoes...yummy!), and character interaction (the Fab 5). If we get done early enough, we watch the boat parade on Seven Seas Lagoon. And, if it is a P & P Party night, you can see the fireworks across the lagoon as well.

    But, with 8 and 10 year olds in your group, I have another idea. Same basic idea, but take the monorail two more stops to the Grand Floridian and have dinner at 1900 Park Faire. They just reopened after remodel and have a Cinderella themed character dinner. Again, good food, great fun and a dose of Disney Magic to get the vacation started right. Since the GF is also on Seven Seas Lagoon, you could see the boat parade and fireworks from here as well...just walk down to the beach.

    In both cases, just hop the monorail back to the MK at the end of the evening and take the bus back to your resort.

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    Cinderella2's Avatar
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    Fabulous ideas GalPal! I love Chef Mickey's. We have reservations at 1900 PF later in the week but it is possible to move them up. I have never seen fireworks from somewhere along the Seven Seas Lagoon. I have also never watched the boat parade. I would love to do that. Any idea what time that would be?

    You guys are the best.
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