A vacation at Walt Disney World can be customized in a hundred (possibly thousand) different ways. Trips can be customized for those with young kids, single travelers, couples on an anniversary vacation, family reunions, and special event goers.
Honestly, the list goes on and on…
Within each of these types of travelers, there are a ton of combinations on how to spend your days at Walt Disney World. Ask any two people from different travel groups on their return home from a Disney trip how they spent their days and you will get two completely different answers. A Disney trip is as unique as the person who takes it.
With that being said, where do you begin when you are planning your Walt Disney World trip? It can definitely become overwhelming. Before we get into what I recommend, let’s start with one thing that is certain.
You’re not going to fit it all in.
If I am the first one to break this news to you, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. There is just too much to do and fit in. If you try to do it all, you’re going to end up one of two things: Burnt out and exhausted. You may even vow never to return to Walt Disney World!
Instead, set a realistic expectation of what you can do on your Walt Disney World vacation. If you keep your plans in check and your attitude positive, you’ve already set yourself up for an amazing trip.
Now that we can acknowledge the fact that you think I’m a party pooper, telling you can’t do it all, we can move on to understanding WHY you can’t fit it all in.
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida consists of four theme parks, two water parks, a downtown Disney Springs area and currently 25 WDW resort hotels. There are special after hour parties, extra perks before the parks open and events you can experience during normal park hours. Behind the scene tours and special shows you can be a part are also options during your time at the parks. Over a 100 dinning options at the parks and at the hotels. Pools at the resorts are numerous and pool ‘party’ activities can keep you busy pool side. Plus, there are arcades, gyms at some of the resorts, and walking and running paths to help keep you active.
In short, there is a LOT to do.
So, how in the world are you going to figure out how many days you need for your Walt Disney World trip in order to ensure you have a good time? First, let me say that it’s Walt Disney World, regardless of what you decide to do, you’re going to have an amazing time. The beauty of having so much to do is that you can be a life-time Walt Disney World vacation goer and each time you go have a unique trip. That being said, let’s see what you should try to do each time you go.
Ah, in my opinion, the heart of Walt Disney World. The one place, that if you can only pick one park to go to at Walt Disney World, the Magic Kingdom would be it. It has the characters you know and love and the rides and excitement that you come to expect from Walt Disney World. I love the Magic Kingdom and recommend you make a point to visit it on every single trip at Walt Disney World. I would even suggest if you have extra time, the Magic Kingdom is a park worth of two days of adventures.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, much like many of the other Walt Disney World parks, is a park that is currently under intense changes. In 2018, Hollywood Studios experienced and expansion that included the new Toy Story Land. If you have fans of Toy Story in your home (which I think might include just about everyone, or at least does in our home!), you’re going to need to make a stop here. In 2019, the new Star War’s Galaxy edge is expected to open, and if you are a Star Wars fan, it’s going to be a must-do.
Currently, there are several other Star Wars opportunities to experience in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, Hollywood Studios has a ton of awesome shows you can experience throughout the day. Shows often take up a decent amount of time, which can eat away at your day. This is a good thing, but just needs to be considered when you are planning your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As the park changes it is important to take into account all the things you want to experience and be sure to leave yourself enough time.
Where else can you experience the future in the morning and see the rest of the world in the afternoon? Epcot is a two land park that provides you with experiences to learn about other cultures and learn a thing or two while being surrounded by Disney magic at the park.
If I am completely honest I used to not be the biggest fan of Epcot. I have come to realize my mistake and now put Epcot up with my favorite parks. Basically, I realized my mistake and being able to feel like I am in so many different places in such a short amount of time is awesome.
Epcot often has amazing festivals throughout the year complete with unique food offerings. If you can time your trip during an Epcot festival, be sure to plan part of your day for sampling the different foods offered at the different countries.
I remember when Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998. I also remember walking into the park for the very first time and seeing the ‘Tree of Life’ in all it’s glory. It’s definitely on the do-not-miss list. Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a great mix of rides, shows and animal exhibits. It is sure to please most park goers. Move away from the idea that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is just a glorified zoo. It’s definitely not.
A day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom should include a chance to conquer Everest, take a safari ride and ride down a raging river. Most things that would require you travel outside of the United States of America to experience. You aren’t going to want to miss Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a relaxed environment. People in the surrounding Orlando community and those guests visiting Walt Disney World can all go to Disney Springs relax, dine and shop.
If you’re already thinking, I don’t think I want to go to Disney Springs because I don’t want to spend more money, wait a moment. First, yes I agree, the options for spending money at Walt Disney World are endless. Adding Disney Springs to the mix increases the odds of spending more money that you want, but Disney Springs is so much more than a money pit.
Since being revamped from Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is a beautiful place to visit. There are nice water features, beautiful walkways and fun Disney things to look at. If you have kids they will love going to the Lego store where they can try their hand at making Lego creations.
While it does mean you need to spend a little money, you can grab a Starbucks and enjoy a free nightly music show at the Disney Springs bandstand. There are also, what can best be called Disney street performers, walking around who you can stop to grab a picture with.
As noted in previous posts, I am a big advocate of a resort day during your stay at Walt Disney World. The resorts, from the value to the deluxe, are all designed to help keep you constantly surrounded by the magic. With pools, restaurants, and daily resort activities, there is so much to explore at your Disney hotel. Plus, as noted in my previous post, having an opportunity to spend the day at your resort gives you a chance to have some down time.
With all the activities listed above, you’re going to need a minimum of 6 days for your trip, but I strongly recommend 8 days. The first and last day of your trip can be travel days and you won’t have to worry about cutting into your park days. If you happen to have an early or late flight on your arrival day or your departure day, you can spend the extra time enjoying your resort or enjoying Disney Springs a little longer.
There ya go! Now that you know how many days you should spend at Walt Disney World, you can start planning your vacation.