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How to Spend Your Departure Day at Walt Disney World

Departure day at Walt Disney World can be magical-not sad! There are so many magical experiences to enjoy on your departure day at Walt Disney World. I have put together a list of my favorite things to do on departure day to make your last day on Disney property fantastically magical!

We spend months planning the perfect Walt Disney World vacation, don’t we? From booking the best Walt Disney World Resort, to creating a beautiful plan of Disney Dining Reservations, and finally stepping foot into Magic Kingdom to take in the magic of Main Street USA. Planning a Walt Disney World trip is no small task-but don’t forget the importance of your departure day!

Departure day at Walt Disney World is more than just checking out of your resort and making your way home. With some careful planning and timing, you can have a fun and magical last day at Walt Disney World!

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What to Do on Your Departure Day at Walt Disney World

Book a late afternoon flight home. While this technically happens BEFORE you arrive at Walt Disney World, your departure time can affect your last day’s plans. Keep in mind that most airport transportation will pick you up 3-hours before your departing flight. So planning a flight for late afternoon or evening is ideal to get in some last minute Disney magic before heading home! My personal preference is earliest flight to Orlando on arrival day, and latest flight home home on departure day.

Book a character breakfast at a Walt Disney World Resort. This is a great way to enjoy some Disney magic and character interaction before heading home. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort, you likely have a character dining location very nearby OR at your resort. You’ll find the following character dining options at Walt Disney World Resorts:

Even a non character breakfast is a great way to end your trip! Steakhouse 71, Ale and Compass, or Kona are great options for a yummy breakfast before heading home.

Visit a theme park. Which theme park is nearest to your resort? This is the one you likely want to visit! If you choose a theme park near your resort, or one that is very easy to access, this is a huge time saver. If you are at one of the Skyliner Resorts, accessing EPCOT or Disney’s Hollywood Studios is super easy! Or, on the monorail you can easily access Magic Kingdom. Guests of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge have a super short bus ride to the theme park, and it makes a great way to spend a departure day!

Taking in a theme park for a few hours before you need to go to the airport allows you to take your time, get some last minute photos, and take a ride on your favorite attractions before heading home. If you plan a theme park day on departure day, have a very loose plan so you do not feel rushed or disappointed that you did not accomplish everything you had hoped for.

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Disney Springs. Since Disney Springs has a plethora of shopping and dining locations, it is a great place to spend a few hours on your departure day. Visiting Everglazed for some donuts and coffee, and then walking around the shops for some souvenirs makes for a fun morning! Be sure to leave room in your luggage for any souvenirs you may pick up at the last minute! Guests of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, French Quarter, Old Key West, and Saratoga Springs will find it especially convenient to visit Disney Springs on departure day. It’s so easy to just walk over or hop on a boat from these resorts!

Spend a day at your Walt Disney World Resort. Regardless of your resort choice, there is something to do at every Walt Disney World Resort. This is the perfect time to enjoy the pool, take in some resort activities, and enjoy the dining locations at your resort.

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Also, many resorts are in close proximity to others. So even if you are staying at Pop Century, for example, you could walk over to Art of Animation for breakfast at Landscape of Flavors. Or, in the EPCOT area, take a walk around the Boardwalk to enjoy breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, or perhaps Ale and Compass.

Tips for a Smooth Departure Day at Walt Disney World

Ask for a late check out. I suggest asking for this on your ARRIVAL day, not the night before departure. Knowing a few days in advance if you are able to check out late makes planning your departure day easier. Asking when you check in allows the Cast Members to see if they will need to turn your room over for someone else, or if it’s okay to give you a late check out.

When packing for home, leave room for some souvenirs in your carry on or luggage. Since it’s likely you will do some shopping or visit a theme park on your departure day, you will need to have room in your luggage for your purchases. Even picking up some last minute souvenirs at your Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll need room for those!

Leave your luggage with Bell Services. Depending on your plans and flights, it’s wise to leave your items with Bell Services. Perhaps pack a day bag with essentials for the pool or parks, but you can leave your luggage with Bell Services if you cannot leave it in your room. You can also ask them to retrieve it if you need to change clothes or pack additional items. They will gladly store it until you pick it up for your return to the airport.

Allow yourself enough time to meet your airport transportation. With so many airport transportation options in Orlando, it will depend on the specific company or driver as to when you are picked up. General rule of thumb is they pick up 3 hours before your departing flight. Even if you are using a RideShare and booking this yourself, you want to try to stay within that window. Allow for travel time back to your resort from your dining reservation or theme park, and give yourself about a 45 minute window upon returning to the resort to retrieve your luggage, and find the place to meet your transportation.

Your departure day at Walt Disney World can be magical and enjoyable. Even though it is sad to go back home after a wonderful vacation, planning some activities on departure day makes it more bearable!

Carrie Hurst

Not only do I love sharing all my vacation tips and ideas here on A Princess and Her Pirates, but I also work alongside families to create magical vacation memories year after year! Email me at carrie@destinationsinflorida.com to begin the planning process, and join hundreds of families on my current guest list.

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