How many days do you need at Disney World? This is a question I get all the time as a travel agent, specializing in Disney theme parks and Disney Cruise Line. How much time is enough time for your Disney World Vacation? I think there are a few things to consider, including: your budget, the age of your children, the time of year, and the number of days you want to spend in the main theme parks. Keep reading to figure out the perfect amount of time for your next Walt Disney World trip!
What is your budget for your next Disney World trip?
When you are considering the length of stay for your next Walt Disney World vacation, you may need to consider your budget. Disney park tickets average around $110/day. The price of your ticket per day goes down substantially the more days you stay. A park hopper ticket allows you to go from park to park after 2 pm, adding about $65 to each ticket per day.
I think the best way to plan your trip is to plan at least one full day in Disney’s theme parks, including Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you want to have plenty of time to explore the water parks like Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon or the entertainment district area in Disney Springs, you will want to add another couple of days. So, ideally, you will have at least 4 days in the parks, plus a day for your arrival first day and departure day.
If you are traveling with young children, I would also suggest an extra day in the middle of your trip as a break from park days. A Disney vacation is so much fun, but it is a full week. Everyone will benefit from some rest time throughout your vacation. Consider time at the pool or a day of mini golf to have a slower pace during the week. So, if you can get away for a full week, seven day vacation, that would be fantastic.
Consider the age of your children for your Disney World vacation
If you are planning a Disney World trip with small children, allow plenty of time for getting to and from the parks. Also, consider that you may need a nap time or break time in the afternoons. This will mean you may want to plan early mornings in the parks and arriving for rope drop. You will beat the crowds and make it onto the best rides like Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, It’s a Small World, and Slinky Dog Dash with lower wait times. After a half day, you may want to leave after lunch for rest time in the hotel room and come back for evening rides and fireworks. Thus, you may want an extra day or two to get it all done.
Should we stay on property for our Disney World vacation?
Should we stay at a Disney resort? That is always the main question I get when people are trying to decide how many days to stay at Disney World, especially if it is a first trip. If you truly want to escape the “real world” and stay in the Disney bubble, consider staying on property at Disney.
Disney resort guests have access to Extra Magic Hours at Disney World theme parks, which are only available to guests staying on property. You will also be able to make all of your dining reservations throughout your entire trip at the 60 days out mark. If you stay off property in the Orlando area, you will have to make your dining reservations one day at time, 60 days prior.
One of the best benefits is being able to use Disney transportation to all of the Disney theme parks from your Disney resort hotel. Being able to access the Skyliner, Disney buses, the monorail, or the ferry boats is a huge time saver. Plus, our family just enjoys not having to worry about renting a car and navigating the parking lots.
Another great, new benefit of staying at a Disney hotel is the ability to book Lightning Lane attractions by 7 AM. Off site guests can only book once the Disney park is open. Favorite rides, like a boarding group for Star Wars’ Rise of the Resistance is often selling out by park open. Therefore, that may also weigh into your decision to stay on property.
If you have a longer stay at Disney World, consider taking advantage of your resort. Plan pool days, check into daily special events provided by the resort, or plan some fun character dining reservations at your hotel.
Which Disney resort is best for my family?
If you are on a tight budget, consider a value resort. My personal favorite is Pop Century. Our family loves the over the top theming, the pools and the access to the Skyliner to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If you want a little more room and a few more amenities, check out the moderate Disney resorts.
My favorites are Port Orleans and Coronado Springs. If close proximity to the parks is important to you, consider the deluxe options. I love Beach Club for its access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios or Wilderness Lodge for Magic Kingdom.
What order should I spend my days in Disney World?
As you are planning your days in Disney World, check a crowd calendar to check your particular park days and park hours. This will help you determine the best time to visit which parks. For instance, if a park is hosting a special event or extended hours, but you are not interested in the event or the extended hours, you may want to avoid that park for that day. Be sure to make park pass reservations at each park you wish to visit.
For short visits or a long weekend, consider spending at least an entire day at Magic Kingdom. If you are a first time visitor, this will have all of the iconic rides like Splash Mountain and It’s a Small World. Magic Kingdom areas like Liberty Square, Main Street and Tomorrowland are magical. The second day, you might want to consider heading to Hollywood Studios. Rope drop popular rides like Slinky Dog Dash and Rise of the Resistance.
If budget allows, consider park hopping over to Epcot or Animal Kingdom. Make sure to try Test Track in Epcot and spend a good amount of time in the World Showcase. Check out Epcot’s festivals like the Flower and Garden Festival or Food and Wine Festival.
Animal Kingdom is the best park, in my opinion! If it is your first visit, make sure to explore Pandora and take a ride on Flight of Passage. During a busy day, take a break for lunch in Satuli Canteen. It’s a fantastic option for a quick service lunch or dinner.
What extra things can I do on a longer stay?
If you have a longer stay, plan at least one full day for each of the four parks. Also, consider making a reservation for a character meal. It’s the perfect way to cool off and take a break with some delicious food. My favorites are Tusker House in Animal Kingdom and Via Napoli in Epcot. Also, you can try Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom or Sci-Fi Dine In in Hollywood Studios.
For a longer trip, also consider visiting Universal Studios. It is an easy drive or Lyft ride away from Disney. If you are a Harry Potter fan, be sure to purchase the park to park ticket. It allows you to explore both sides of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Another great option is shopping and eating at Disney Springs. Our family also loves to play miniature golf at Disney. If you stay on property, you receive free passes as a part of your Magical Extras!
More to discover!
As always, reach out to a travel planner specializing in Disney vacations for more help (like me!) Our services are free to use, seriously! Sign up for my newsletter for free Disney tips. If you are looking for more tips for your next Disney World vacation, make sure to keep reading more here: