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20 Things To Do When Your Hotel Room Isn’t Ready

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Photo - Angela Dahlgren
A few more hours my beloved Boardwalk…a few more hours.

We were up at 4:30 a.m. for an early flight to Orlando. Taking no pride in my appearance, I hardly minded when my daughter spilled pureed peas all over my shirt during the flight. After all, I would have time to shower, change and decompress once we entered our hotel room right?


When we approached the front desk, we were informed the room wasn’t ready due to our extra early arrival. This wasn’t in the Touring Plan! We were now left with several unscheduled hours of time. What now?

While time did pass quickly and we managed to stay busy, it got me thinking. What else could we do should this happen again? Here are some ideas!

20 Things to Do When Your Room Isn’t Ready

  1. Ask Bell Services to hold your luggage*: Grab what you need before handing it over!
  2. Head straight to the parks: If you planned to do this anyway, well done you! I need some time to get organized before skedaddling.
  3. Take a Disney Vacation Club tour: Explore Disney’s timeshare program and enjoy a scoop of ice cream on the house!
  4. Explore your own resort: If this is your first stay at the resort, mosey around and check out what it has to offer.
  5. Play some Mini Golf (or should I say ‘Minnie’ Golf?): Check out Daisy Lauren’s review on the courses Disney has on site.
  6. Get your grocery shopping done: Buy everything you need before setting foot in your room.
  7. Go for a swim: It’s hard to make time for swimming with the parks calling your name. Take advantage of the opportunity!
  8. Walk the Boardwalk: This is one of my FAVORITE things to do. Nice shops and entertainment to behold.
  9. Rent a golf cart and acquaint yourself with Fort Wilderness: Have you ever done this? What is it like?
  10. Relax in the lobby: We did this during part of our wait. It was fun to curl up in a cozy chair and people-watch.
  11. Rent a bicycle: I did the research and at least TEN different resorts on property have bikes available for rent.
  12. Write in a Journal: I like to document my vacations to better recall the special memories.
  13. Visit one of the water parks: I always seem to forget about the water parks at Disney World. What better way to spend time waiting?
  14. Enjoy a cool drink: Be it a lounge or by the pool, you just can’t go wrong with this one.
  15. Explore other resorts on Disney property: Check out the different themes. You may just find a new home for your next Disney stay!
  16. Head on over to Downtown Disney: Eat, shop, see a movie, and go bowling!
  17. Ride the monorail around: Get off at a random stop and walk around.
  18. Grab some food: Eat at your resort, a theme park, a different resort, etc. Try somewhere new!
  19. Take a boat ride: Rent a pontoon, canoe, or a kayak (among others). You’ve got options.
  20. Exercise: I’m including this for all you athletes. With all the walking, my exercise at Disney is lifting a fork to my mouth.

*If you take the Disney Magical Express, they can collect your luggage from baggage claim and deliver it to your room. You can either wait or go on without it. Either way, it might be a good idea to put necessities in your carry-on to avoid any worry.

Has this every happened to you? How did you keep busy? Let me know in the comments!

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Angela Dahlgren

Angela is cohost of the TouringPlans Podcast and regular contributor to the TouringPlans YouTube channel. When she's not talking about the happiest place on earth, she spends her time entertaining her own little Minnie and Mickey Mouse. You can find her on twitter @AngelaDahlgren or via email -

7 thoughts on “20 Things To Do When Your Hotel Room Isn’t Ready

  • I remember a blog post probably over 6 months ago with the best place to take a nap outside the parks. I believe the lobby of the Villas at wilderness lodge being pretty quiet. A meal at chef mickeys ( planned ahead of time) or trip to Downtown Disney is always fun.

    • Great ideas Angela (in Ohio)!

      I always love going to to Downtown Disney when I get the chance.

      Thanks for reading!


  • The real issue is that you can’t be sure when your room will be ready.
    Basically, you should do what you otherwise would have done if you weren’t going to be in your room.

    But what if you really wanted the room for a nap or a shower or something?

    If you REALLY want a nap, I don’t see a lot of options on there for that.

    • I’m with Ron on wanting access to a shower. Taking a swim, hitting a water park, or working out are fine ideas, but I don’t like using a public shower.

      • Ron and Kenny,

        That was my problem. We were up very early and flying in a plane makes me feel icky, so I had no place to shower/rest. That was the biggest downside to the room not being ready and is something there is really no good solution for.

        Thanks for the comments!


  • Whenever you check a bag for a flight you should always assume you aren’t going to see it for at least 24 hours, and pack your carry-on accordingly. Lost bags are pretty common. I usually go the other way, once I’m handing bell services my bag I’m taking stuff out of my carry-on to put in the suitcase since I’m pretty sure it won’t get lost, and I really don’t need a change of clothes in the parks.

    • Tim L,

      That is a great rule of thumb. You just never know if those bags will get lost!

      Thanks so much for reading!


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