How Many Days Are Needed at Walt Disney World?
One of the most common questions when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is how many days it takes to experience the resort, and that’s a valid question. With so many parks to visit, it can be overwhelming to determine how many days you truly need, especially when costs come into mind.
Although many sources may give you a set number of days you need to visit Walt Disney World, we think this question is best answered according to what you’re interested in and what your budget is. Why? Everyone has different interests and costs they can afford, which will ultimately determine how many days you—and your travel party, of course—need for your vacation.
To help you plan out your trip, we broke this guide down into scenarios/sections so that you can select which one best matches your case.
Experience it All: 6 Days or More
Walt Disney World is home to 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom), 2 water parks (Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach), and 2 shopping/dining/entertainment complexes (Disney Springs & Disney’s BoardWalk). To do it all, you’ll need to purchase the appropriate tickets that grant entry to each theme park and water park. Of course, this comes at a hefty cost, which is essential to note. As for Disney’s shopping/dining/entertainment complexes, those are free to enter, if you’re interested!
If you’ve crunched the numbers and you’re able to take it all in, you’ll need at least 6 or 7 days as a bare minimum at Walt Disney World’s destinations. If you’re adding in break days to rest at your hotel or vacation home, your overall trip, however, can easily surpass a week.
So how’d we get that number? 4 theme parks + 2 water parks = 6 days. Yup, these are all full-day experiences when you take into account all of the rides, shows, themed areas to explore, and additional attraction offerings. Some of the parks can actually be considered 2-day experiences. Whether you decide to spend more than 1 day at the same park depends on, of course, your budget and if you want to have a non-rushed experience, revisit attractions, and truly do everything in the park. Magic Kingdom, for sure, can be considered a 2-day park.
That 7th day we previously mentioned as a bare minimum is more of a bonus if you like to shop or dine. That’s because Disney Springs, which features tons of stores, unique dining experiences, and some pretty awesome entertainment offerings, is so large you can spend basically half the day there. Part of the 7th day can be used to visit Disney’s BoardWalk, which we see as more of a brief evening visit since it’s smaller. Do note that Disney’s BoardWalk promenade is located at a Walt Disney World on-site hotel with limited parking, so you may not be permitted to park there if you don’t have a dining reservation.
As you can see, Walt Disney World has a lot to do. 6-7 days is simply a bare minimum in order to visit all destinations. You may have priorities that can easily extend that. To further enhance your trip, you can use our free Walt Disney World planning guide, equipped with planning resources and information about the resort.
The Common Trip: At least 4 days
Walt Disney World’s theme parks are the main drawing point for visitors, and the resort has 4 of them. If theme parks are your priority, not water parks, we recommend the common trip length of at least 4 days—so 1 day per park.
The parks are full-day experiences, so you’ll probably want to spend the entire day in each park, especially if you want to get your money’s worth. Additionally, we recommend not purchasing a park hopper ticket. With how spread out the theme parks are, you’ll take precious time out of your day by park hopping and spend more money to do so.
In most cases, 4 days total gives you adequate time to do all of the theme parks, but if you truly want to see and do everything in the theme parks, you may want to consider spending an extra day at some of them, especially the Magic Kingdom. Doing so will allow you to re-ride your favorite rides and take things more slowly so that you can better appreciate the themed areas, live entertainment offerings, and less popular attractions. This comes at a slightly higher cost, but the cost per day does get reduced with each additional day.
You can extend your Walt Disney World vacation by spending a day at Disney Springs, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is absolutely free to visit.
No matter how many days you ultimately decide to visit, our free Walt Disney World planning guide will help you get the most out of your trip.
A Short Getaway: 2-3 Days
A short getaway is mostly recommended for frequent visitors who have likely already done many of the attractions at Walt Disney World, but perhaps doing more days is not within your budget, and that’s okay. Because Walt Disney World has so many parks and is so vastly spread out, it’s unlikely you’ll have the opportunity to hit up all the parks.
With that in mind, you’ll need to determine if you’re able to visit for 2 or 3 days. Keep in mind that the more days you add, the less you spend per day, so a 3-day ticket may be more affordable than you think. Additionally, to save more time and money, we don’t advise purchasing a park hopper ticket. Regardless of how many days you choose, our free Walt Disney World planning guide, equipped with planning resources and information about the resort, is designed to help you get the most out of your day in the parks. Next, you’ll need to decide which parks you want to visit.
Do you want to see what Disney is all about? Definitely visit the Magic Kingdom—it has the most rides, the charming Cinderella Castle, the best fireworks display, and is the resort’s prized possession. Interested in world culture and edutainment (educational entertainment)? Make a trip to EPCOT, home to some educational yet entertainment attractions as well as World Showcase, which features pavilions recreating different countries. Want to step into Hollywood and become a part of some of the most famous movies? Disney’s Hollywood Studios is calling your name. Do you like thrilling attractions and nature? Disney’s Animal Kingdom is sure to impress. How about water parks? If you like them, Walt Disney World has 2—Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach (the names pretty much describe their themes).
As a bonus, you can also visit Disney Springs, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex that is free to visit. You don’t even have to pay for parking.
Just for the Day: 1 Day
It’s simply impossible to experience Walt Disney World in just a single day, but time and money may prevent you from extending your stay. To help you maximize your time, you can use our free Walt Disney World planning guide, equipped with planning resources and information about the resort.
If you’re unable to spend more than 1 day, you’ll probably want to see the most “Disney” park there is, and that’s Magic Kingdom. Magic Kingdom is THE park to go to, and if you’re visiting Walt Disney World for the first time, you have to visit this park. It’s home to timeless attractions, world-class rides, the iconic Cinderella Castle, a phenomenal fireworks display (perfect to end the day with), and more.
If you’ve visited the Magic Kingdom in the past, however, consider trying a different park. Also, if you’ve visited Disneyland Park, which is very similar to Magic Kingdom, you may want to visit a park unique to Walt Disney World. EPCOT has classic attractions and celebrates cultures from around the world with its popular World Showcase. Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrates the magic of Hollywood by putting you into popular films. Disney’s Animal Kingdom brilliantly showcases nature’s beauty with thrilling rides and experiences. There are also 2 water parks: Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, which is themed to a typhoon-wrecked paradise, and Disney’s Blizzard Beach, a ski-themed water park. In most cases, we suggest visiting a theme park as opposed to a water park, however. Moreover, you shouldn’t purchase a park hopper ticket. The parks are quite spread out, and it can be time-consuming to change parks.
If you can budget for more than one day, we highly recommend doing so. It may be less costly than you think since the cost per day is less when you add more days. You simply cannot truly experience Walt Disney World on such a short trip. Our other scenarios may be a better fit for your trip.