How Many Days Do You Need for a Walt Disney World Vacation?

How Many Days Do You Need for a Walt Disney World Vacation?

How many days do you need for Disney World? How many days do you need in each Disney park? While these answers may be more about how much time you can get off work, or your Disney budget, it’s still good to have a basic idea. Walt Disney World is a HUGE undertaking on any vacation, so you might as well give yourself enough time to enjoy it! So, just how Long Should a Disney World Vacation be? 

walt disney world opens in july

How Long Should You Stay at Walt Disney World?

If you’re hoping to really get into all the Disney magic that Walt Disney World has to offer, we recommend 9-12 days. Really that long? YES! Frankly, if you can afford it by all means stay longer! What’s our reasoning behind this? Well once you see how the parks break down you’ll see where this comes from. Of course, it’s not just all about the numbers either. Having been to Walt Disney World many, many, times we can tell you that the Best Disney Vacation is 9-12 days on average. 

How Many Days Do You Need at Walt Disney World? 9-12 days

What do you do at Walt Disney World for 9-12 days? 

We’ll break this down by park too, but for the most part, it goes like this. By Day this is what your plan will generally look like. The park order can change depending on which day you start your Disney vacation. 

  1. Arrival day. Explore your Resort or Resort Hop for a Dinner Reservation. If you’re getting in extra early you can always head to the parks. Which park should you go to on Arrival Day at Disney World? Magic Kingdom. No contest. There is nothing like getting your first dose of Disney at the Magic Kingdom. Cinderella’s Castle, the cinnamon roll smells on Main Street , and Pirates of the Caribbean make this a great first day of vacation. 
  2. Magic Kingdom
  3. EPCOT
  4. Hollywood Studios
  5. Animal Kingdom
  6. Disney Springs/ Ferry Resorts
  7. Magic Kingdom
  8. Resort Day/ Pool Time and Disney Boardwalk
  9. Departure Day. Every Disney Resort has checkout at 11 AM. That said, you can easily stash everything in your car or leave it at Bell Services while you explore the parks one last time, or head to Disney Springs for last minute souvenir shopping. 

See how even at 9 days you may feel a little rushed? The only park here that got two days was Magic Kingdom, which is required. But there are other things we left off this list too! There’s no Resort Hopping time when you can explore the Monorail Resorts, Skyliner Resorts and Boardwalk Resorts. EPCOT usually requires a 2nd day, especially during a festival. Hollywood Studios usually requires a day and a half if you’re a Star Wars fan. And  if you’re traveling during the holidays it’s important to build in time for the Festival of Holidays, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, Disney Resort Decoration Crawl and the Christmas Tree Trail. 

disney day shows

Are 12 Days at Walt Disney World Necessary?

Necessary? No. Better? YES! Because at 12 days your Disney Vacation becomes a “Vacation.” You just simply have a little more time to make decisions, to do all the things you’re excited about, and see more than just the basics at Walt Disney World. As Disney Season Passholders, we can tell you there is more to do than you will ever know. After years of visits, we still haven’t done it all. Give yourself the time to experience the entire Walt Disney World Resort.

At 12 days you can add another day for EPCOT and a second Hollywood Studios day that is only a half-day, with the other half of the day being on the Disney Boardwalk since it’s walking distance. You can also add a full lounge day at your resort, or head to a resort you’re excited to see! We love having a day for Animal Kingdom Lodge or heading to a fancy breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort. Or a nice dinner at Toledo at Coronado Springs. And we always try to fit in a boat ride to Fort Wilderness Campgrounds for some walking and exploring. With each Disney Park taking up at least one full day each, it’s in your best interest to cut yourself some slack and aim for 9-12 days. 

relaxing at disney on the hub grass

How Many Days Do You Need in Each Disney Park?

We alluded to this a little above, but we’ll be clear about how many days you need in each Disney park so you can see if it fits your schedule. Mind you this is also based on your interests. 

How Many Days Do you Need for Magic Kingdom?

Magic Kingdom is by far the reason most people visit Walt Disney World. Whether it’s to see Cinderella’s Castle, meet the Beast at Be Our Guest or head to Haunted Mansion, this is the most ride-heavy park to visit. It’s also the most kid-focused. With so many rides you will need at least 2 days to NOT feel like you’re rushing. Check out the Top 10 Things to do at Magic Kingdom and our Magic Kingdom Bucket List to get started planning what to tackle each day. 

How Many Days Do you Need for Magic Kingdom? 2 days

The best time to visit Magic Kingdom is usually on a Tuesday or Thursday. As Walt Disney World’s smallest park it will feel the most crowded faster, so be mindful to avoid weekends and holidays. 


animal kingdom kilamanjaro safari

How Many Days Do you Need at Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom used to be a half-day park…IF you didn’t walk all the animal trails. But, with the arrival of Pandora it is now officially a 1 day, full-day park. AND technically, if you add in all the animal trails and Wild Africa Trek to your Disney Vacation, this could easily be a 2 day Park. Read through the Top 10 things to do at Animal Kingdom and check out our Animal Kingdom Bucket List for a checklist of rides, restaurants, and shows. This is probably the best multi-generational family Disney park. There are paths for walking and seeing the animals for taking it slow. Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids for the thrill-seekers, and Dinoland for the little ones.

How Many Days Do you Need for Animal Kingdom? 1 day

The best time to visit Animal Kingdom is usually on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Our best tip here is to plan to arrive very early before opening so that you can rush to Flight of Passage as soon as the park opens. This will give you time throughout the rest of the day to tackle all the things to do in Animal Kingdom, without waiting in the often more than 2-hour line for Flight of Passage. 

Flower and Garden Festival Epcot

How Many Days Do You Need at EPCOT?

EPCOT is one of our favorite parks! No longer just a park for adults, this park includes Frozen Ever Ever, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure coming soon and Future World. EPCOT World Showcase is also home to 4 Annual Festivals; Festival of the Arts, Flower and Garden Festival, the Food and Wine Festival and Festival of Holidays.  Check out the Top 10 Things to do at EPCOT and our EPCOT Bucket List to get started planning what to tackle each day.

How Many Days Do you Need for EPCOT? 2 days

The best days to visit EPCOT are Mondays and Wednesdays. And if you’re adamant about avoiding the crowds, stick to daytime hours before 4 pm. EPCOT is a favorite spot for locals and annual passholders. So, consider yourself warned. We adore EPCOT, but you can always feel the crowds when they start descending here. 

hollywood studios 30th anniversary

How Many Days Do You Need at Hollywood Studios?

Hollywood Studios is another park that used to be a half-day. BUT, with the arrival of Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy Edge this park has jumped to a full 1-day park…and sometimes even more than 1 day if you can manage it. 

How Many Days Do you Need for Hollywood Studios? 1-1/2 days

The best time to visit Hollywood Studios is on Tuesday, Wednesday and sometimes Friday. Another park you don’t want to be stuck in during the weekends, Hollywood Studios has key rides you don’t want to miss. So avoiding the crowds, in case you have to wait in lines, is necessary. 

magic kingdom mint julep kid friendly drinks at disney

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Walt Disney World Vacation Tips

When planning how long to stay at Disney World, it’s important to know a few facts! Here are all our tips that may affect how you schedule your Disney Vacation, especially now that you HAVE TO pick your park days ahead of time via the Disney Park Pass Reservation System from now until September 26, 2021. 

Which Disney park takes the least time?

If you’re leaning towards a shorter vacation, there are ways to cut down on the magic and just do the necessities. In terms of size, and being able to navigate the park easiest, Hollywood Studios will take the least walking time to get through. BUT if you’re riding rides and making the decision based on that, Animal Kingdom could also be another option. Major Hollywood Studios rides include the following; Star Tours, Smugglers Run, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Midway Mania, Tower of Terror, Rise of the Resistance, Slinky Dog Dash, and Rock n Rollercoaster. In contrast, there are FEWER major rides in Animal Kingdom; Flight of Passage, Na’vi River Journey, Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Kali River Rapids.

Is Disney more crowded on Saturday or Sunday?

Disney Parks are always the Most Crowded on Sundays.  Of course, Saturdays come in a close second. This is why a 12-day vacation is PERFECT because then you can arrange your weekend days to be resort hopping or Disney Boardwalk or even Disney Springs days! Without entering the chaos of the parks. 

When is the least crowded time to go to Disney World?

The least crowded times to visit Walt Disney World based on historical attendance and the DVC rate calendar are January 1st -31st, September 1st-30th, and December 1st-14th. While these dates align with the slowest times at Disney World, they also align with the cheapest and are definitely worth a second look when planning your Disney Vacation. 

What is the best time to visit Disney World?

We’ve written before about the best time to visit Disney World and the decision really does come down to what you’re looking for in a Disney vacation. Disney offers different festivals and events throughout the year that you may want to attend. Specials and discounts show up throughout the year. And the weather should ALWAYS be a variable in your plans. For instance, we NEVER visit Disney World in the summer by choice. For us, the best time to visit Walt Disney World is a few times each year. We LOVE the Epcot festivals and try to get to them annually. If we have to choose one time of year we never miss at Walt Disney World it’s Fall, usually in September before the crowds and prices get crazy. 

Wondering how many days for Disney World you should plan? While we always argue for a longer vacation, we share what we consider the "Minimum" stay here, so that you can really get the most bang for your buck and an experience that is worth the cost! #disneytips #disneyplanning #polkadotpixies

1 thought on “How Many Days Do You Need for a Walt Disney World Vacation?”

  • Thank you so much exceptionally useful information. Being in Australia, I’m trying to ensure we spend the right time frame for here. This helps me plan my trip greatly appreciated!!

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