Departure Day Tips For Walt Disney World Travel

You've had a wonderful Walt Disney World Vacation, but all good things come to an end. Departure day is no one's favorite in the vacation kingdom, but we've got a few tips to make your final day in the magic go more smoothly. Read on for our Departure Day Tips For Walt Disney World Travel.

Departure Day Tips For Walt Disney World TravelDeparture Day Tips For Walt Disney World Travel

Late Check-out

When it comes to Walt Disney World travel, late check-out is a rare indeed. While I have known some people to have their requests granted, you should plan on being out of your Resort room by 11:00am.

Make Sure Your Bags Are Packed

Whether you have an early departure or just want to squeeze in some more time at the Parks, pack as much of your bag as possible the day before you leave. Come departure day you'll just have to stash away your jammies and toiletries before heading out.

Bell Services

Disney Resort Bell Services will be happy to store your bags for the day if you won't be leaving right at 11:00am. Once your bags are packed, call the Bell Desk and have them pick up your bags from your room for day storage. When you are ready to pick up your bags again just present the ticket you are given at the Bell Desk. Don't forget to tip your bell staff, $1-$2 per bag is standard.

Make The Most Of Bell ServicesMake The Most Of Bell Services

Resort Airline Check-In

Select airlines offer check-in service, including bag check, at Walt Disney World Resorts. Resort Airline Check-In is open daily from 5:00 AM to 12:00 noon, and guests must present a valid government-issued I.D. for domestic travel or a valid passport for international travel at the Resort Airline Check-In desk no later than 3 hours prior to their scheduled flight departure. Participating airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines (U.S. Domestic Flights Only), JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines. That being said, I stopped using this service after my flights got canceled yet my bags went home without me. It's really easy and convenient to use, until it isn't.

Flight Time

Everyone has their own preferences for flight times. Some folks prefer to leave in the morning so they have time to relax at home before getting back to "real life." Others (like me) book the last flight out so they can squeeze in as much Disney fun as possible. When it comes to scheduling my flight times I always keep these three things in mind.

  1. Disney's Magical Express picks up 3-hours before your flight departs.
  2. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is a madhouse on Sundays.
  3. Take the day off of work after you get back if you don't want to be a zombie.

Disney's Magical Express

The night before departure, Disney Resort Guests receive an envelope from Disney's Magical Express tied to their doorknob. This note contains your pick up time and any instructions you need to follow to catch the bus back to the airport. When using Disney's Magical Express, plan on being back at your resort at least an hour before you depart for home. This should give you plenty of wiggle room just in case you get delayed. It's important to consider when your pick-up time will be when choosing what to do for the day.

Make Sure You Are On Time For The Magical ExpressMake Sure You Are On Time For The Magical Express

What To Do On Departure Day

I'm a fan of sleeping in as late as possible before check-out. I often schedule a great brunch, then enjoying resort activities or head to Disney Springs depending on what time I have to climb on board the Magical Express for MCO. Check out these two previous pieces for non-park ideas for what to do on departure day.

Single Bench Surrey Bike on The BoardwalkSingle Bench Surrey Bike on The Boardwalk

One Last Ride

While I know plenty of people who include a last-minute Park visit on departure day, I don't usually opt to buy a Park ticket for days that I will have less than 8 hours to enjoy them. Your mileage may vary. To fit in maximum park time on your departure day here are tips to make the most of it.

  • Be sure your bags are packed and ready the night before to save time in the morning.
  • Call Bell Services to store your bags before you leave your room.
  • Visit the Park closest to your resort to reduce travel times.
  • Be there when the Park opens to make the most of your hours.
  • Grab a pastry and coffee to eat breakfast on the go or while in queue.
  • Start at the back of the Park and work your way forward so that you are closer to the Main Gate it's time to leave.

Monorail Silver At The Magic KingdomMonorail Silver At The Magic Kingdom

Drive Time

If you drove to Walt Disney World, make a quick stop at Disney Springs for one last Disney meal. Earl of Sandwich, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and The Basket at Wine Bar George offer great selections to grab-and-go that make for a tasty meal or snack even after you've left property.

Do you have any departure day tips and tricks that you swear by? Leave a comment below and share your secrets.

Alex wrote on Sun, 08/11/2019 - 12:56:

Alex's picture

Use the dresser and closet unpacking at your first down time after arrival. If possible, most updated resorts have newer beds, store the lugge under the bed. Then, repack your empty luggage with dirty clothes. At the end of your stay, you have already packed 90% of your luggage. If more than one bag, you could manage to have all bags packed except the last one. Or, you can do yourself a favor and sort the laundry as you pack so you are ready for the wash when you get home, or if you are using the laundry facilities onsite during your stay. If you drove, you can take one repacked bag to the car at a time as packed. If flying, you are ready to call Bell Service as you pack the last bag cutting the wait time. Uber on the return is an option you can consider to save a bit of time compared to the Magical Express, but you also need to consider that check-in at the airport would be required. MCO is a zoo most times, don't miss your flight!

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 08/13/2019 - 15:39:

Kristen K.'s picture

Great Tips Alex, thanks!

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