In my last post, you read about what I did the days before I checked in. After check in I had four more days before traditions and free park admission, four more days to fill with things besides the parks! What did I do?
I think I went to Disney Springs every single day that week! Even after I had my Self Admission Pass to get into the parks I still went to Disney Springs 1-2 times a week. Disney Springs is one of my favorite places in Disney, if you were to compare it to the parks, it'd probably be my third favorite! I like to go into the Ghirardeli store and get free chocolate (they hand it out at the door) and then go into the Ice Cream Shoppe section and order a cup of black cherry ice cream with hot fudge on top. (They also have very good discounts for cast members once you get your blue ID at traditions, sometimes they'll give you the discount with only your housing ID too, this goes for most 3rd party sellers at Disney Springs.) I liked to wander around the World of Disney store and plan what I would buy once I had my blue ID and could get the discount. My other favorite locations in Disney Springs are the Lego store, Wetzel's Pretzels ($2 pretzels for CMs), and Earl of Sandwich. Toward the end of my program they added a whole new section, the Town Center, with cool places like Sprinkles Cupcakes and Vera Bradley. Don't forget to check out the local entertainment when you're there too, my favorite is the dance competition or lip sync battle at the stage in front of WOD.
The day we checked in, my roommates and I all went to watch the fireworks from the Contemporary Resort. Touring those three Magic Kingdom resorts (the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary) that first week set them up to be some of my favorite places to visit. Don't forget you can buy a Dole Whip at the Polynesian! Since my work location was a resort, I also visited that resort. Since my roommates had traditions the day before me, I took my own trip to the Yacht and Beach Clubs and the Boardwalk Resort. I wandered through the lobbies of my resort and looked in the gift shops (some of the most unique merchandise is at the resort gift shops!), then I wandered outside and noticed that the boardwalk was across the lake and walked over there and explored the Boardwalk area as well. Most resorts offer free movies under the stars, and some offer free s'mores as well, check those out too! I'm thinking that for this next program I'll go to check out Port Orleans French Quarter and the Art of Animation Resort, or maybe try to check out all the once I haven't seen.
Whether you flied or drove to Florida, chances are you didn't bring everything. You'll need to go shopping. I recommend a trip to Walmart or Target and one to Publix or a different grocery store you like. Think about necessities like sheets or a cable to connect your TV as well as groceries for your first few weeks. I suggest unpacking completely and making a list before you go so you can get everything you need and not too many things you don't need. While I usually shop for a week of groceries at a time, I recommend planning for the first 2-3 weeks and planning meals that don't require a lot of preparation because the first week and a half after traditions are crazy busy and you'll want to spend all your free time in the parks or sleeping, not at the grocery store. For more information about grocery shopping at Disney check out this post.
These are the main things I did during my first week, but there are lots of other things you can do too:
What do you want to do before you can get into the parks? Do you have a favorite thing to do without park admission? Which resorts do you want to visit? Comment below!