What to do on your Disney Vacation Departure Day

What to do on your Vacation Departure Day at your Walt Disney World Resort

When you're winding down your time at the Walt Disney World Resort, there are a ton of things to do! I always feel like the focus for most advice revolves around the planning before, but very few actually touch on the last day - as it's a little sad. 

You've spent months (or years) saving, planning, wishing and dreaming about what you would do when you walk through the turnstiles at the Magic Kingdom...and here I am sharing tips about what you should do on your final few hours in Orlando. It's actually more fun when you're prepared, I promise:) 

Think about your last day when you're booking your flight! 

Are you flying out at 8am or at 6pm? Did you rent a car or are you using Magical Express? Did you buy an extra day park ticket or are you planning on exploring Disney Springs? 

Each of these questions are completely up to you. You book your own flight home, so do you want to spend more time in Disney and arrive home late at night, or would you rather leave early and have a more relaxing evening? Personally...I'm a fan of spending more time at Walt Disney World and being a little groggy the next day...

Something to keep in mind: If you're taking Disney's Magical Express...expect the shock of seeing a pickup time of 4-5 hours before your flight (depending on Domestic / International trips). 

Don't worry about your luggage!

Fun fact - you're able to leave your bags with the Hotel Staff when you've checked out of your room. This means that you can go and explore before your shuttle pickup and not have to stress about your bags.

Another Fun Fact - there's no limit to how many bags you can leave with Baggage Services. If you're using your backpack in the parks AND as your "personal carry-on", but don't want to carry everything around with you while you're going on Splash Mountain...you can leave a Disney shopping bag filled with whatever and you can re-arrange things prior to your departure for the airport. 

Go to the Parks

I've heard folks say multiple times "We don't have time to go to the parks because our shuttle is at 2pm". 

Don't believe it.

Here was the timeline of my recent trip: 

  • 9am wake up
  • 10am checkout
  • 1030am Walk to Bus stop and wait for the park shuttle (make Soarin FP)
  • 1055am walk into EPCOT
  • 1105 in line at Soarin
  • 1150am lunch at Electric Umbrella 
  • 12:15pm at Club Cool
  • 12:25pm at the Canadian Pavilion
  • 1240pm at the United Kingdom Pavilion
  • 1250pm at the Boardwalk Cafe (window shopping;)) 
  • 1255pm at Boardwalk reception waiting for an Uber. 
  • 115pm back at the Resort in time for a 230pm shuttle to MCO

And yes, I have photos and timestamps from this entire process. Was it better than the alternative of just "killing time" around Disney Springs? Absolutely! 

Eat Regularly 

This actually happened...

I had a flight from MCO to Miami before an hour layover from Miami to Toronto. The plane couldn't actually de-board in Miami because the Jet Bridge wasn't working. We had to wait over 90-minutes before moving to another gate...which meant that a relaxing layover actually was very stressful. Airports don't really understand that folks are travelling outside of "regular business hours", so most of the amenities may be closed....like the food options. 

I chose to eat early (12pm) at EPCOT's Electric Umbrella and thinking that I'd have more options in Miami...didn't get food in Orlando...and ended up not being able to eat anything (besides pretzels and fruit snacks) until arriving after 1230am in Toronto, where everything was closed. 2am at 7-Eleven is SO MUCH FUN;) 

What did I learn? Eat when you're hungry and remember that travel days are unpredictable. 

Don't Pin Trade on the Last Day

One of the mistakes that I constantly make is thinking that the Pin Trading will magically be better on the last day. It never is...

Say you have "x" pins to trade during the trip. The goal is should be broken down into how many pins you should aim to trade a day. This will allow you to stay ahead of the game and coming home with traders that you purposely brought with you to trade. 

Don't Use Disney Transportation From the Parks to the Resorts

With the uncertainty of the Disney Bus schedules in off-rush-hour, don't put all your eggs into that basket. Using Uber (or Lyft) to guarantee that you'll get back to your resort in time is the best tip, and it'll actually give you piece of mind and allow you to have more fun! Yes, it's an added cost, but that time is worth a lot of money in the long run...as you paid how much for the plane/hotel? 

Get a "FRESH" FuelRod before leaving

When you invest $30 into a power supply for your time in the parks, why not be set up for your shuttle ride and airport trip. Know which park you're going to be at, and make sure that it's on your list of things to do before you hit the airport. Remember that FuelRods are rechargable...so you're still able to use it when you get home (like any other external battery). 

I hope this was helpful! Whatever you plan for your departure day, I'm confident that you'll have a memorable experience in Orlando!