Everyone’s idea of the ideal length of stay at Walt Disney World is different. For example, each time I book a trip to Disney World, my first thought is: How long? I don’t like to rush; I like to take my time and enjoy some rest and relaxation along the way. But somewhere around the fifth day I crave my home and my bed. So while my heart says that two weeks is barely enough, my head tells me that five days is my limit. Someone else may not be interested in laying by the pool and want to spend all their time in the parks. They may decide that four days is ideal for them.
So what is the perfect vacation length for you? That’s what we’re here to help you decide. Since this is one of the first decisions you will make, let’s look at several factors that can help you choose the ideal length of stay for your Disney vacation.
How Long do you Have?
An important factor in knowing how long you can spend at Disney is how long you can take away from work and school. Determine the maximum time you have available. Are you limited by the time you can take off from work? Do you have school-aged children who can only take time off over school breaks or summer? This will not only help you determine how long to stay but what time of year you can go. School breaks are among the most crowded times at the parks. Higher crowds means it takes longer to see everything. Will higher crowd levels dictate the need for you to stay longer?
How Big is your Budget?
The first step in planning a Disney vacation should always be to set your budget. If you’ve done that, you know the basic costs associated with a Disney vacation and know how far your budget will stretch. If your main priority is to stay as long as possible, consider trading your stay in a Deluxe resort for a Value resort. Are you willing to cut back on some amenities to stay longer? Will you trade some table service meals for quick service meals? This may allow you to extend your stay. The good news is that park ticket prices go down in cost the more days that you stay. Decide where your priorities lie to find out how far your budget will stretch.
If you live in the western United States, the longest flights will take about 7-8 hours to get to Orlando. That’s one full day of traveling plus a 3 hour time loss. If you live in Europe or Canada, it could be even longer. If you drive to Orlando from some locations, it will take you longer than one day. Subtract traveling days from the length of your stay at Disney World. If you have 7 days total for vacation and you can travel to Florida in less than one day, then you’ll only have a maximum of 5 days to spend on vacation. Do you need an additional day or two at home to unpack, do laundry, and rest before your return to work or school? Additional days like this can impact the length of your stay at Disney.
How long does it take to see everything?
First of all, Disney World cannot be completely seen or done in any one trip. There are too many attractions, stores, shows, rides and activities available. And there is always something new to see and do. Every season brings something new and different whether it be a new parade or show or a new ride. So, when planning your trip, don’t start with the idea that you can see everything. Make a list of the top things that you want do. What rides have you been wanting to ride? Or what show have you been wanting to see? What restaurants sound like something you’d like to try? Has your daughter been dying to meet Ariel or have tea with Alice in Wonderland? Make those your priority and build your trip around the experiences that mean the most to you and your family.
Here is a list of everything that Walt Disney World Resort has to offer. Use the information below to help determine what your priorities are before you decide how long to stay.
4 Theme Parks
Two Water Parks
Disney Springs – Shopping, Dining and Entertainment
Disney’s Boardwalk – Shopping, Dining, and Recreation
Special Events and Tours
Sports – Golf, Basketball, Miniature Golf and more
Entertainment – Live shows and movies
Spas and Fitness Centers
How Long for Each Theme Park?
Magic Kingdom -Our suggestion is two full days at the Magic Kingdom. There is so much to see and do in this one park alone that one day usually isn’t enough. Two days allows you to take your time, ride all of the attractions with time left over for a show, character meal and some shopping.
Epcot – Minimum of one day. If you have young children in your group there may not be enough at Epcot to keep them entertained for more than one day. However, if you want to see everything in the World Showcase you will likely need two days for Epcot.
Hollywood Studios – One day should allow you to see the whole park.
Animal Kingdom – We recommend one full day, but if you move fast a half day would be adequate.
Water Parks – Each water park takes about one half day.
How Much Can You Do In One Day?
How is your stamina? What about those in your party? Can you keep up a fast pace all day long? According to knowdw.com, if a person were to walk around the perimeter of all 4 theme parks, you will have walked 8.51 miles (13.69 km). For each individual park, here is the mileage for just walking the perimeter of the park:
- Magic Kingdom – 2.17 mi (3.49 km)
- Epcot – 2.78 mi (4.47 km)
- Hollywood Studios – 1.39 mi (2.23 km)
- Animal Kingdom – 2.27 mi (3.65 km)
- Disney Springs – 1.83 mi (2.94 km)
Remember, that is only walking the perimeter of the park. Think of how many additional miles will be walked just going back and forth between rides and shopping. And don’t forget the walk to get back to your bus and the walk from the bus to your room. Those miles add up quickly. Add in summer high temperatures and humidity that will sap your energy quickly, and you may find yourself exhausted by lunch time.
The goal isn’t to scare you away from visiting Disney World! The goal is to help you decide, realistically, how much you can accomplish in one day. I can guarantee that your trip will be much more enjoyable if you give yourself extra time to take breaks or get in an afternoon nap or relaxation time at your resort.
Will you be visiting any other Florida attractions?
There is so much to see and do in Florida outside of Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando, Sea World, Kennedy Space Center, Legoland, the beaches and so much more. If you plan on visiting any of these attractions don’t forget to add that time into your vacation plans.
The Perfect Vacation!
Choosing the ideal length of stay at Disney depends on you. If you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation 10 days may be ideal for you and your family. You may be planning your fifth trip in five years and four days is your ideal trip length. Hopefully this guide can help you determine the length of stay that’s right for you. Focus on the amount of time you can take away from your daily life, your budget and all you want to see and do on your vacation. Those factors will set you on the right path to finding your ideal length of stay at Disney World.