Did you know that the average Disney World guest walks about 25,000 steps a day? Regarding a Disney World vacation, walking is just part of the package. That’s why when it comes to Disney walking, you’ll need to prepare.
Here’s everything you need to know about how many steps you’ll walk per day at each park, the best walking paths to take at your resort, and the top shoes with the most comfortable soles.
Can You Just Walk Around Disney?
Can you just walk around Disney World? The answer is yes and no. Since Disney Springs is free to all guests, you can walk around there, visiting stores and taking in the sights and sounds. But this is really the only place in which you can walk around Disney for free.
To walk around any of the four theme parks, you will need to have a park ticket. If staying at one of the nearby resorts, such as the Contemporary, you’ll be able to walk up to Magic Kingdom’s security check before the buses, but that’s about it. Likewise, if you’re staying at one of the Disney World resorts, you can park for free as long as you have a valid reason for doing so, such as a dining reservation.
But once you’re done with your reservation, just take a bus to one of the other parks and transfer to another resort to go resort hopping free of charge!
Read more: Pros and Cons of Every Disney World Resort
Disney Walking Paths
I just mentioned the walkway from Disney’s Contemporary to Magic Kingdom, but there are a few other Disney walking paths worth mentioning.
Though the most common way to get to all of the four theme parks is by bus, a few resorts are located close enough to the parks that you can walk there instead, saving time and offering up a different view of Disney property that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
I’ve broken these up by resort/area:
There are two walkways to get to and from Magic Kingdom. The first is from the Contemporary and Bay Lake Tower. This pathway will only take you about five minutes. Keep in mind that to get to Magic Kingdom, you will need to cross the street.
The other option is a walking path from the Grand Floridian. This is one of the newer walkways and will take you about 15 minutes to reach Magic Kingdom.
If you’re staying at Disney’s Saratoga Springs, you’ll have access to a walking path that takes you to and from Disney Springs.
The walk should only take you a few minutes and when you get to Disney Springs, you’ll be dropped off at the East Entrance, which is where the Friendship Boats pick you up to bring you back to Port Orleans.
There are five resorts that offer walkways to and from Epcot:
- The Swan Hotel
- The Dolphin Hotel
- Yacht Club
- Beach Club
- BoardWalk Inn
Each pathway will connect you directly to the International Gateway at Epcot. This means you’ll enter the World Showcase near the France Pavilion. The times it’ll take to walk to Epcot will vary depending on your resort.
For example, your walk from the Boardwalk to Epcot will only be about five minutes, whereas if you’re staying at Yacht and Beach, it’ll be approximately 10 minutes.
The cool thing about these walkways is that you’ll get picture-perfect views of Spaceship Earth, which is pretty cool to see far off in the distance at nighttime.
If you’re staying at any of the Epcot-area resorts like the ones mentioned above (BoardWalk, Yacht and Beach Clubs, and the Swan and Dolphin hotels), you can also walk to and from Hollywood Studios.
Because Hollywood Studios is a tad further from these resorts than Epcot, the walk will take you upward of 20 minutes depending on where you’re staying. Usually, it’ll take the most time to and from the BoardWalk, as that is the furthest one away.
Can You Walk to Animal Kingdom?
Unfortunately, no you cannot walk to Animal Kingdom from any of the Disney resorts.
Though it’s never been confirmed, I would like to assume it’s because of the wild animals on property. Like, will a lion somehow get out? The answer is likely no, but Disney’s going to take precautions nevertheless so there isn’t a Scar-Mufasa issue, if you catch my drift.
Or, the more likely answer is that they don’t want people to have access to the parks after hours since there are wild animals on the premises. Your guess is as good as mine, but regardless, you’re either going to need to take a bus or drive your car to Animal Kingdom. So as Scar would say, BE PREAPRED for how you’ll get to and from the park.
Read more: The Secret Shortcuts of Disney World
How Much Walking is Disney World?
In total, Disney World is over 25,000 acres, which is only about 5,000 fewer acres than the city of San Francisco.
Overall, Walt Disney World as a whole is 43 miles wide. Now, granted, you’re not going to be walking that entire distance as it includes backstage areas, storage, and other utility areas. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be walking miles each day of your Disney World vacation.
Here’s how the parks fare in terms of size:
- Magic Kingdom: 107 acres
- Epcot: 300 acres
- Hollywood Studios: 135 acres
- Animal Kingdom: 580 acres
- Disney Springs: 120 acres
As you can see, Animal Kingdom is by far the biggest park and anyone who’s visited and walked in probably can agree. On average, here’s how many steps you’ll walk per Disney park:
- Magic Kingdom: Up to 30,000
- Epcot: Up to 20,000
- Hollywood Studios: Up to 15,000
- Animal Kingdom: Up to 20,000
- Disney Springs: Up to 20,0000
Of course, these are just estimates. You may walk fewer steps at these Disney parks or you may walk more. It really depends on how many times you go to the hub of the park. So even though Animal Kingdom is bigger than Magic Kingdom, more guests tend to revisit the hub area several times a day, making the step total here the highest of all the parks.
Is Walking at Disney Good Exercise?
In general, walking burns about 100 calories every mile. The average person walks about 10 miles per day at Walt Disney World. Walking has many benefits, including but not limited to lowering body fat, bettering your heart, and increasing your endurance.
So, in short, yes walking at Disney is good exercise. However, keep in mind that for as many calories as you’re burning at Disney, you’re also probably packing on just as much when you consider the food you’re eating down there. A single-serve Dole Whip contains about 110 calories, while corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner are about 280 calories.
Remember, the key is to keep everything in moderation. This is your vacation, so you shouldn’t be turning down snacks you really want because of calories. Food is meant to be enjoyed.
Read more: Must Have Best Disney Snacks in 2023!
Tips for Preparing to Walk at Disney World
Now that you know how many steps you’ll be taking on your Walt Disney World vacation, now’s the time to prepare.
Here are our tips for preparing to walk at Disney World:
Wear the Right Shoes
Far too often, people wear the complete opposite of what they should to the parks. Do you know how many flip flops, Chuck Taylors, and even high heels I’ve seen at the parks? Too many to count and they are all the wrong type of footwear.
Instead, you’re going to want to invest in something that has a comfortable sole and if possible, geared for hiking and other athletics. Shoes like that are going to be designed for long wear, so they’re going to be more comfortable on your feet.
That being said, don’t look for shoes that are designed specifically for runners. Though they may seem like a good fit, running shoes and walking shoes are very different. Oftentimes, running shoes can’t handle lots of idle standing or walking.
If you’re curious as to which shoes we recommend, stick around until the end of the article.
Load Up on the Deodorant
With lots of walking comes inevitable chaffing and in Disney, there’s nothing worse. If you’re like me and suffer from really bad chub rub, bring some extra sticks of deodorant to slide across your inner thighs before you head to the parks.
Applying some in the morning and mid-afternoon when you’re likely to sweat the most can help deter chaffing if not greatly minimize it. If you prefer to use an actually anti-chafe stick instead of deodorant, this is a great option.
Another thing worth mentioning, if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking around Disney World: wear socks. Don’t attempt to rock your sneakers barefoot. Protect those piggies!
Practice Walking to Increase Your Endurance
Most of us have pretty sedentary lifestyles. Even if we are walking a mile or two per day, we’re likely to walk up to 10 per day in Disney World. That’s a big difference!
While your feet might be fine on the first day of your vacation, they will wear out pretty quickly by Day 2. So, I’d recommend upping your endurance now. Start small and add 100 steps to your walk, then 200, then 300, and so on, and so on until you’re walking about 20,000 – 25,000 steps a day without difficulty.
Best Shoes for Disney Walking
The rule of thumb to remember when it comes to the best shoes for Disney walking is to spend as much time wearing the shoes you plan to wear at the parks. Speaking from experience, there’s nothing worse than breaking in a new pair of shoes on your first day at the parks.
We provided a helpful guide on the best shoes to wear to Disney here. While some of these recommendations may be the same, we’ve added some new ones, too:
The sole of the Adidas Women’s Ultraboost is made out of the same rubber used in car tires, so you know that it can handle a lot of wear and tear.
Not only do these sneakers come in a variety of shades, but they’re designed for long wear and working out. In other words, they can keep you comfortable on a visit to the Disney parks. Keep in mind that these sneakers do come with a hefty price tag of about $100-$150, but it’s worth it if you plan on wearing your sneakers long past your vacation.
These are available in both men’s and women’s sizes, so you can knock out your shoe-buying process in one quick trip to the Addidas store.
Skechers GOwalk Joy
At less than $70, these slip-on sneakers are a real treat. Lightweight, breathable, and comfortable, these sneakers have an Ortholite insole that is designed to offer maximum heel support. Because of how breathable they are, these are excellent options if you’re visiting Disney World in the summer.
Best of all, these sneakers are usually on sale, so you’ll likely be able to score them for less than $40 in some cases. The men’s alternative is the Skechers Men’s Go Max-Athletic slip-on, which has many of the same features as the GOwalk Joy.
If you’re not a sneaker person, then check out the Teva sandal. These are strapped sandals, similar to a Birkenstock (but a whole lot more comfortable in my opinion) that provide a lot of padding for your heel for ultimate support.
One aspect of these shoes that everyone raves about is their durability. These sandals can stand up to so much, including wading through water. Which, if you’ve ever been caught in a midday storm at Disney, you know is a big benefit. These sandals come in a variety of styles for both men and women. You can browse these styles and price points here.
How do you feel about all the walking at Disney World? Do you have any tips that make all that standing and walking more tolerable? Let us know; we’d love to hear from you!
For more info on Disney walking and how to prepare, be sure to follow us on Instagram. Our content is always magical.
As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.
Need More Help Planning Your Vacation?
A travel agent is an essential resource when planning a vacation. Reach out to Magical Travel and they will make sure your vacation is pure magic and no stress! Their services are 100% FREE to you!