Disney World

How Many Days Should I Spend At Disney World?

How Many Days Disney

Q: How many days should I spend at Walt Disney World?

When you’re planning your first trip to the Mouse, deciding how many vacation days to use and how many days to stay will probably be your first big planning decision. It’s no surprise, therefore,  that this is a question I get asked almost every day.  The short answer is that no matter how many days you choose, you will have an amazing time at Disney World.  However, for those planning their once-in-a-lifetime Disney vacations or families that really want to see and do it all, here are some suggestions.

Start with a 5 day Plan- I usually tell clients that a nice middle-of-the-road itinerary would be to plan for 5 full days to enjoy everything Disney has to offer.  It’s not too long so it’s easy on the budget, but it’s not short enough to feel like a whirlwind trip.  And depending on your arrival and departure days- this may mean a 7-night stay with five full days in between to enjoy the parks, Disney Springs, and your resort. Here’s how I would break it down:

  • 1 Day Magic Kingdom
  • 1 Day Epcot
  • 1 Day Animal Kingdom
  • 1 Day Enjoying Resort, Disney Springs or Water Park
  • 1 Day Hollywood Studios. 

If you’re going to be at a park every day, the plan may seem a bit relentless, but it does offer you a chance to experience most of the main attractions at Disney World.

For Those Wanting To See and Do It All – If you know this is going to be your family’s one major trip to Disney World and you really want to experience it all,  You may want to consider something similar to this 8-day itinerary.  Again, depending on arrival and departure times you may be looking at a 10 night stay with 8 full days to enjoy Walt Disney World.  Here’s a breakdown:

  • 2 Days Magic Kingdom 
  • 2 Days Epcot
  • 1 Day Resort/Disney Springs
  • 1 Day Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach
  • 1 Day Hollywood Studios
  • 1 Day Animal Kingdom

In an ideal world, I would recommend 2 days at both Magic Kingdom and Epcot .  Magic Kingdom is just very attraction heavy which means with a 1-day plan there will always be things that you are leaving out.  My family always divides the park in half.  We spend 1 full day enjoying Adventureland, Frontierland and Liberty Square and another full day at Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. When you add in fireworks, parades, shows and character dining you are still really cramming a lot into each day.

Then there’s Epcot which is just huge.  If you have older children who will enjoy exploring the World Showcase, then you can easily spend one full day on the attractions and pavilions of Future World and 1 full day visiting all of the countries in the World Showcase.

With Tiny Tots- If you are travelling with small children, then let’s be honest, your days will be a lot shorter with early returns to your resort.  For this reason you may want to start with a 5-day plan, but one that looks a little more like this:

  • 2 Days Magic Kingdom 
  • 1 Day Split (1/2 day Epcot and 1/2 Day resort)
  • 1 Day Animal Kingdom
  • 1 Day Hollywood Studios

Magic Kingdom just has so many toddler and pre-school friendly rides and attractions that it really is worth 2 days.  And though I am not usually an advocate of trying to 1/2 day any park during a first visit, if all of your children are under the age of 5 then there might not be a lot at Epcot to capture their attention.  If you have Frozen fans then you’ll definitely want to pay it at least a 1/2 day visit for the new Frozen Ever After ride, Anna and Elsa Meet and Greet and even the princess character dining experience at Akershus.  The Seas with Nemo and Friends and Turtle Talk With Crush are also perfect for little ones. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios both have their fair share of toddler-friendly attractions (especially with the upcoming opening of Toy Story Land) and shows making them worthy of a full day each.

Disney Over a Long Weekend –  Let’s face it, sometimes budgets, work commitments or school calendars mean that you can’t go to Disney for as long as you’d like to, making a trip over a long weekend more the ideal.  Rest assured that you will have an absolutely amazing time no matter what. Here’s  a quick 3 day/4 or 5-night plan to give you a sense of how it might be done:

  • 1 Day Magic Kingdom
  • 1 Day Epcot
  • 1 Day Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios or 1/2 day at each. 

Again, let me just say I’m not an advocate of going 1/2 day at any of the parks but if you’re trying to squeeze things in and only have a limited amount of time, the Park Hopper ticket is always there for you as an option. It allows you to visit more than one park each day. With Magic Kingdom being as jam-packed with attractions and Epcot being just massive it makes sense to devote a full day to each. However, this plan can easily be tailored to suit.

Great! So can’t I just get a Park Hopper ticket, visit 2 parks every day and cut my itinerary in 1/2? Yes. With Park Hopper you can most definitely do that.  However, if you have the time to spare then I would steer clear of the temptation of a Park Hopper and really take your time with each park.  I tend to only recommend Park Hoppers to regular visitors to the parks that know their way around and know exactly what they want from their Disney days. I also recommend it for longer stays where families have full days to devote to each park but then have extra days to revisit some of your favorites.   If you are a first time visitor to the parks, it’s hard to grasp just how big the theme parks and Walt Disney World Resort really are.   Though it may sound good on paper, getting from a park to a resort, to another park may mean that a hefty chunk of your day will be spent in transit. Why do that to yourself when you can have a relaxing day at one park?  For those doing short visits it might be a necessity but for those with flexibility you may want to give park hopping a miss.

I heard that Animal Kingdom and/or Hollywood Studios aren’t worth visiting or just for 1/2 day. Is this true?  I get asked this a lot and cry a little bit inside each time.  If you’ve never been to the parks before then please don’t base your opinions on other people’s (most often strangers) good or bad experiences at the theme parks.  Be Disney curious and make up your own mind.  For instance, Animal Kingdom is my absolute favorite park and a must do every time I visit Disney.  If my first visit was based on public opinion I might have never visited the park to fall in love with it.  If you have the time and the budget give everything a try and then on future visits, narrow it down to what you want to love or leave.

Each Disney World vacation is unique and itineraries that work for one family may not work for another.  The plans outlined above aren’t meant to be gospel but rather to provide you with a guide as you begin to plot out your own days at the parks.

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Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to help you with everything from finding your perfect package to nabbing those hard-to-get dining and FastPass reservations. I also love sharing tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your time at the parks.  Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025  via email at mroden@mickeytravels.com  or follow along on Facebook.

Image copyright Disney.

 

 

 





Melissa Roden
Follow Along

Melissa Roden

Agent Specializing in Disney Holidays at MickeyTravels
Melissa is a Disney-loving mom who can often be found at the parks with her six year old daughter.  When not euphorically eating a Dole Whip at Walt Disney World, Melissa enjoys helping others plan their magical vacations with MickeyTravels and sharing her Disney knowledge at Chip and Co. and Disney Addicts. Follow along on Facebook or Twitter.
Melissa Roden
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