Just how many days should you spend on your Disney World vacation? Really so much of this is controlled on not the advice I give you but the constraints of your family. You have to consider how much time you can get off of work, school schedules and vacation, and of course budget.
Plan Days Based on What You Want to Do
We just went through this when planning our trip out to Disneyland. It’s a good idea to make a list of all you want to accomplish. Are there 10 restaurants you must eat at? Or do you want to spend a whole day in Star Wars Land when it opens? Do you like to spend every day you possibly can of your vacation traveling and you won’t be able to visit again for another year or two?
Disney Must Do Planner
So you start by using our awesome chart to help you out. It comes complete with boxes to list out your family’s must-do dining, attractions, shows and more! Do your research on each park first to uncover what your options are and then you can break out your favorite must dos from there. Not only will this help you find out how many days to stay but help you start to form your vacation’s touring plan. This is especially important if you are a first or second time visitor. Also for you returning pros, don’t forget that Disney World is always adding attractions.
How Much Can You Do in a Day at Disney World?
Know that every family’s park pace is different. If you have little ones your ride options are limited and you probably won’t be able to be at the park from morning opening to park close each day. Depending on the time of year, the number of hours that each park is open differs too. During peak season, Disney tends to extend the day’s close time, but these extra hours come with much larger crowds, which means much longer wait times. Do you like a vacation that is relaxed with time at the resort or spa, then plan to stay at one of the deluxe resorts to take advantage of their amenities. Worried that not everyone in your family is a fan of the rides, then sprinkle in other activities like golf, boating, water parks, musical acts, shopping, spa, people watching fine dining experiences, and park tours.
How Long Will You Have to Travel
Are you close enough for a five hour or less drive to Disney World, or will you require an entire day of driving or a flight to the happiest place on earth? This will affect you if you only have a limited time for a vacation or you have to add the cost of airfare to your budget. I had to fly to Disney World for vacations when I lived in the northeast, so I felt like we should spend the most days possible at Disney World to balance out the high cost of airfare.
How Much Can You Afford
It all adds up – hotels, meals, park tickets, souvenirs, gas, and tolls or airfare. We would all choose to stay at the Happiest Place on Earth indefinitely, but the cost adds up really fast, for details on what to expect for those costs, see our article on what it costs to visit Disney World.
A Good Starting Point
A typical Disney World vacation is around the five-day mark. This gives you one day at each park and a more relaxing day at Disney Springs or one of the Disney Water Parks. Or you could take your extra day to go back and get even more done at one of the parks. Sometimes people even take the fifth day to pop over to Universal Studios for things like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
The other reason five days end up often being the sweet spot is that it is not super long but also doesn’t fall into the super short category either. It’s just enough time to not feel like you are in a constant rush while at Disney World. Remember that you will be walking at least five miles a day (probably more) and that combined with the long days will start to catch up with you, requiring a vacation from your vacation.
If you are going for the gold and want enough time to thoroughly experience Disney World then I recommend stretching out your trip to ten days. It gives you multiple days to knock out all the big hitters at each park. Now if you are trying to do everything it’s really just not possible in one trip you need to move on down to do every, show, activity, etc. I suppose this is what has us all itching to come back to Disney World year after year.
Make sure when you are planning to account for those pesky travel days. You have to leave time to get to and from the airport. The traffic can be terrible here in Orlando. At least if you are on the Magical Express you have some entertainment on the bus to keep you busy while you wait to get to your resort.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!