A lot of first time vacationers aren’t sure how many days they will need for a Walt Disney World vacation. It can seem incredibly intimidating because once you start planning a trip you realize how much there is to do. Every family has different limitations, but I wanted to give the average family a rough estimate how much they can accomplish with a set amount of time. These are all just my suggestions, but I wanted to give Disney novices at least a rough outline on what to expect when planning out how many days to visit.
If you are just passing through Orlando, and you only have one day to visit, be prepared to limit your expectations. Realistically at the very most you’ll probably only want to visit two parks, but even that can be overwhelming. I’d recommend selecting the base ticket, and just enjoying one park thoroughly. If you run around all day trying to hit every park you’ll feel more like a chicken with its head cut off. So my suggestion is just recognizing that you are there for a short visit, and just enjoying the time you do have without feeling like you need to accomplish all there is to do in the 43 square miles.
If you are visiting for two or three days you actually have a good amount of time to squeeze in a lot of hours in the park. At this point if you are willing to spend the money a park hopper becomes more crucial. Splitting up a day or two means you could visit all four parks. This might be more of an expedited visit to each park, but at least you can say you walked though the gates of each of the four main theme parks. With a short visit like this you won’t have a lot of time for breaks, but if you are willing to to stay in the parks from the rope drop until the park closes there is a lot you can see and do.
The way I see it, four days means four theme parks. If you are visiting for exactly four days you can hit every park giving each its own designated day. Personally I’d suggest this being the minimum amount of days a first timer should spend. This gives you the time to truly see the beauty of the Disney parks without having to run from one attraction to the next. With 4 days you’ll also begin to have time for additional experiences. After a long day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios you may decide to visit Disney Springs.
Now we are getting to the good stuff. If you have the opportunity to take 5 days to a full week suddenly you have a lot of time to play with. Having this time means you’ll easily get to visit all four theme parks, plus time for additional fun like a pool day at the hotel, or even a day at the water park. The great part about having more than 4 days is that you get another full day or two at your family’s favorite park.
8 days or more
You could spend a lifetime at Walt Disney World without accomplishing every single thing. So long stays like 8 days or more just mean more new experiences. An extended vacation of 8 days or more means you’ll be able to visit all the theme parks, the water parks, spend some time at the hotel pool, and Disney Springs. If you have this much time you also might allow yourself to sleep in a day or two of your vacation. The more time you have the less guilty you have to feel spending that extra hour sleeping.
Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!