There are many articles talking about when is the best time to visit Disney World, but you don’t see much information about how many days to spend in the House of Mouse.
How many days you should spend will depend greatly on your family’s situation.
First, you’ll need to determine how many days you can spend. Do you have several vacation days from work? Can your budget afford several nights?
Second, what is your traveling pattern? If you have little ones who will need an afternoon nap, you’ll spend less time in the parks. If you have older kids, they might want to visit more attractions. Does your family like a fast and furious vacation plan or a relaxing, leisurely one?
Here are a few typical plans that might help you decide how many days your family should spend in Disney World!
The 5-day plan
This is a plan that will work for most families, but it might result in a seven-night stay depending on your arrival and departure plans. I try to avoid visiting the parks on my arrival and departure days since I’d never get a full-park day and it seems like a waste of a ticket price.
If you have time on either your arrival day or departure day, these are also good times to either visit Disney Springs for some shopping and dining or enjoy the pool, arcade, and dining at your resort.
This is a nice plan because it’s long enough to enjoy just about everything but it’s not so long that it’s going to break the bank.
The 5-day plan with little ones
If you have little ones in your family, I would suggest doing the 5-day plan a bit differently.
Magic Kingdom is attraction-heavy and has lots to do for the little ones. Many of the attractions are specifically targeted to the younger demographic, and they like to enjoy things a bit longer than the older kids. Therefore, I would suggest spending two of your days in Magic Kingdom.
Compared to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot is not as kid-friendly. If your child is a Frozen fan, you won’t want to miss the Norway Pavilion in World Showcase where they can meet Anna and Elsa and ride through Arendelle to see Olaf and the rest of the Frozen gang. The rest of World Showcase probably won’t be of as much interest to them, but Future World has some fun things like The Seas with Nemo and Friends where you can see manatees up close and even watch dolphins, sting rays, and other fish float by. There are also Cast Members in the area who are wonderful at answering questions and entertaining the kids (and the adults) with fun facts. Turtle Talk with Crush is also a great spot for the little guests. Since this won’t fill a whole day, I would recommend getting to Epcot at park opening and spending the morning. You can eat lunch here if you want, but I would suggest heading back to your resort for an afternoon of swimming and an evening by the campfire roasting marshmallows and watching a movie. Epcot is an easy half-day park when you have kids.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a full-day park. There are more shows than attractions, and if your little ones like animals, prepare to spend a lot of time on the walking trails.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios isn’t as kid-friendly these days either. This could easily be a half-day park for the kids with a mid-day swim break or nap then a trip to Disney Springs in the evening.
Here’s how it breaks down for the parks:
Magic Kingdom: two days
Epcot: ½ day
Animal Kingdom: one day
Hollywood Studios: ½ day
Your final day can be spent at one of the water parks or enjoying your resort. Again, Disney Springs and your resort are great places to spend your arrival and departure days.
The 8-Day Plan
The eight-day plan is longer and may not be possible for some families due to work and school commitments, but if you’re planning a once in a lifetime trip, this is the way to go if you can swing it.
On this plan, you will spend two days in Magic Kingdom, two days in Epcot, one day in Hollywood Studios, and one day in Animal Kingdom. That leaves you one day open for a water park and one day for your resort or Disney Springs.
In order to make this plan effective, you’d probably end up spending 10 nights at your resort. Depending on when you arrive and when you leave, you might also have time at your resort or at Disney Springs on these two days.
The Long Weekend
For Disney veterans, the long weekend is a great plan. In fact, it’s my favorite!
If you’re visiting on a holiday weekend, you’ll probably have Monday off, so you’ll arrive on Thursday and leave on Monday or arrive Friday and leave on Tuesday. This means that you’ll only have to take one or two days off of work depending on when you leave on Thursday or Friday and arrive back on Tuesday.
For this plan, you’ll spend one day each in Magic Kingdom and Epcot then choose between either Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios or split the day in half for a half day in each park. If that’s your plan, you’ll need to add the Park Hopper option to your ticket.
If you aren’t visiting on a holiday weekend, you might end up taking more days off, but it still wouldn’t amount to the days spent in the other plans. Plus, the parks might not be as crowded and you’ll be able to get more done.