If you want my honest opinion, I would say everyday should be spent in Disney World.

However, since we have to have jobs and lives to pay for those dream vacations to the most magical place on earth, that’s not possible.

As you start planning, Disney World can be intimidating. You begin to realize just how much there is to see and do, and you wonder how you could possibly fit everything into one vacation.

First of all, you need to realize that you can’t do it all. With 43 square miles of amazingness, it’s just not possible.

If you’re a first timer asking how long your first vacation to Disney World should be, I think I’ve got an answer for you. While each family is different, and each budget is different, here’s what the average family can expect from their Disney vacation.

1 day

One day in Disney World is going to be tricky, but if that’s all you have, then we can work with that. Plan to visit just one park. My suggestion would be either Magic Kingdom or Epcot to get the most bang for your buck. You’ll have to move pretty quickly, but if you stay from park open to park close, you’ll be able to accomplish quite a bit in just one day.

Limited time? Check out the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
Limited time? Check out the Magic Kingdom or Epcot.

2 – 3 days

You’d be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a few days. You may not have time to visit every park, but you’ll be able to get some important things in.

Get a ParkHopper, choose a park, and arrive before the park opens. You can squeeze a lot into the first couple hours since the park is pretty empty at this point.

Around late afternoon, head to another park and do some things there. Stay until closing time. As the park hours fade, so do the crowds. Just before closing is a great time to hop in line for a typically busy attraction or catch a nighttime show.

This plan won’t leave you much time for breaks so it’s best if your traveling party includes older kids and/or adults. Kids who need a nap won’t make it through this!

4 days

In my opinion, this should be the shortest vacation for first-timers, if your budget allows. In four days, you can do one park per day and not be completely exhausted. Enjoy not only the attractions but also the finer details like the architecture and the theming. You might even have some time for extras like a visit to Disney Springs or a round of mini golf.

Four days? Awesome! One park per day.
Four days? Awesome! One park per day.

5 – 7 days

If you are able to spend a week in Disney World, you’re going to have a lot of fun! You’ll have time for at least one day in all four parks, plus you might be able to squeeze in a water park day or a “downtime day” at your hotel pool.

8 days or more

More than a weeklong vacation opens up opportunities that shorter vacations just don’t allow for. All four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, and even a little R&R are in your future!

I would suggest spending a day or two in Magic Kingdom and Epcot (especially if you want to fully enjoy World Showcase) and one day each in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you’re not a huge fan of Star Wars, you might spend less time in Hollywood Studios and use the rest of your day to visit Disney Springs. When Animal Kingdom closes early, head over to Disney’s Boardwalk at night; it’s beautiful!

For your remaining days, visit either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach (or both!) and spend some time at the resort hotel pool. Even the value resort pools are pretty awesome. Play a round of miniature golf at either Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland.

There are also amazing dinner shows at the Disney resort hotels like Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness (a personal favorite) or Spirit of Aloha at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Use your time to take in an amazing dinner show.
Use your time to take in an amazing dinner show.

If you don’t mind a splurge, check out Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for some special treatment. Get a massage, a facial, a mani pedi, or the whole works! You deserve it.

How many days should a first timer spend in Disney World?