I get many questions from people who are thinking about visiting Walt Disney World and want Disney World vacation tips and suggestions. Disney vacation planning can be very involved and confusing as well, so the goal of this series is to start at the beginning, and look at everything you need to think about, in the general order you need to think about it. Each week’s post will be numbered and will eventually link to all the others so that, when complete, you will have a guide with all the steps and information you need to plan your own Disney magic.
This week’s post is going to encourage you to give some thought to how long you plan to stay at Disney World: you can’t book your vacation until you know how long you are going to be there!
So first of all, you need to look at your available time, work schedules, school vacations, etc. This is the first step: seeing how much time you have to work with.
Next, since you now have an idea of the parks, attractions, and events you want to see while at Walt Disney World, let’s now discuss how much time it is going to take to do everything you want to do!
As with most everything on a Disney vacation, the answer depends on a number of factors. Let’s talk about 3 of them.
- Time of year. As I have mentioned before, certain times of the year are more crowded. The more crowded the parks are, the harder it will be to do everything you want to do.
- Weather. If you are visiting from May through September (at least) you can expect very hot and humid conditions in central Florida. And while some hardy folks arrive at the parks first thing on a hot summer’s day and carry on without taking a break for the entire day and evening, I have never been able to do that….and I really like hot weather! We have found that everyone is much more pleasant during those conditions with a mid-day break in air conditioning or at the hotel pool. But if you do that, it does take time away from the parks…so again, it may take a bit longer to see and do everything you want to do.
- The age of your children. Little ones need a break, especially in hot weather. Nothing ruins the magic quicker than crying children. Do them…and yourselves….a favor and leave the parks to rest and relax a bit. And allow extra time to see what you want to see.
Having said all of that, in general, how long would it take to visit each park, if you wanted to “see everything”?
To see all four parks completely, you should plan for at least 5 full days. Note the emphasis on full. If any of the above conditions apply to your plans, expect to need more time. And if you want do any of the “extras”, then allow a bit more.
On our first family trip, we went for a week. It was the middle of the summer so we planned our days in “half-days”, and roughly our itinerary worked out like this:
- Magic Kingdom: 2 half-days and 2 evenings
- Hollywood Studios: 1 half-day and 2 evenings
- Epcot: 2 half-days and 2 evenings
- Animal Kingdom: 2 half-days
- 1 evening left over for whatever we wanted
This is a suggestion only, but worked out well for us, allowed us those much-needed breaks to rest and cool off, and we were able to see pretty much everything we wanted.
Now based on your family’s list of “must-sees” this could be different. So your next step in planning your Disney vacation is to decide how long you will be there.
Have fun planning your affordable Disney family vacation! Have a magical day!
- Affordable Disney Vacations Step by Step. Part One: When Will You Go?
- Affordable Disney Vacations Step by Step. Part Sixteen: Getting Ready to Go!
- Affordable Disney Vacations Step by Step. Part Two: What do You Want to See?
- Affordable Disney Vacations Step by Step. Part Eight: What to Know if You Want to Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort
- Affordable Disney Vacations Step by Step. Part Four: What is Your Budget?