There are many different types of Disney World vacations, so the ideal number of days to stay in the “happiest place on earth” can vary. This guide will lay out what you can expect for various lengths of stay and help you decide what is best for your trip.
1 Day – The Passthrough
Sometimes people who are bound for a completely different destination will stop at Disney World for the day while passing by. Presumably, you would go to Magic Kingdom (a few might choose Epcot) and hit as many attractions as possible. While this can certainly be a fun little taste of the magic, I would not consider it a Disney World trip. If you have never been to Disney World before, a quick drop in is not a good way to form your opinion of the place, since much of your time would be spent dealing with the logistics and crowds just to get inside.
Personally, I wouldn’t bother; but that’s just me. I like “living” in the Disney World bubble so much, that visiting for a day would only make me wish I were staying. Also, the cost for that one ticket is very high, as you are not able to take advantage of the drop in price for buying multi-day tickets. In short, stopping at Disney for the day might give you a glimpse of what all the fuss is about, but it doesn’t come close to doing it justice.
2 Days – Just Visiting
This many days would still be a quick rush through only the park highlights, but at least you could see two of the parks. The first day would probably be spent in Magic Kingdom and the second day would be in one of the other three parks, most likely Epcot. If you just want to get a feel for what Disney World has to offer, before planning a full trip, this could be a valid option. However, I would still consider it just a small sample of the experience available.
3 Days – Bare Minimum
Three days would be the minimal amount of time for what could be considered a “Disney World” trip. You will still only be able to experience a fraction of what is there, but you’ll have a little time to get to know the surroundings. In most cases, you would visit Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and either Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. At this point, you’d probably choose Animal Kingdom because of the new Avatar land. When the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion is complete, Hollywood Studios will be the place to go.
4-5 Days – The Real Deal
Now we’re getting somewhere. When you stay this many days or more, you have yourself a real Walt Disney World vacation. You will be able to visit each of the four parks and start to feel like you are settling in a bit. If you need to go back to the resort during the day and relax or cool off a little, you won’t feel too guilty. You can even make a diner reservation at one of the deluxe resorts and take a look around. If you are planning your first Disney World vacation, you should probably be looking to stay in this range. I will warn you though, if your family gets into the magic, this trip will seem like it’s over in the blink of an eye. The “last day at Disney World” blues is a real thing, and it hits very hard. The only cure for it is to stay longer or make plans for your next trip.
6-8 Days – Living In The Magic
This is when Disney World takes on a whole different feel. You are no longer in a huge rush to do everything; you can relax and breathe it all in. Disney World begins to feel like a magical place where you are living. You can choose your favorite parks and visit them more than once, or decide to take a day to rest and hang out around your resort. With this length of vacation, you could even consider doing a split stay, where you switch resorts midway through the week to enjoy a variety of atmosphere and location.
8-10 Days – Welcome Home
Some people discover that Walt Disney World is their favorite place to be on earth, while others will look at them like they are crazy. I’ve seen people’s eyes fill with tears when they arrive and a cast member tells them, “Welcome home.” Because in their heart, that really is their home. If you are among those who love the magic, 8-10 days are ideal (if possible). For my family, we now always plan for 10 days. If we are in a situation where this doesn’t work, be it financially or another reason, we would actually rather put off the trip until we can make that happen. We have found that the experience of arriving and knowing that you have 10 full days to live in the magical fantasy world is worth waiting for.
During our trips, we plan for one day to lounge around our resort. We also try to do a split our stay between two resorts, such as Yacht Club and Animal Kingdom Lodge. On the day that we are switching resorts, we like to spend the afternoon traveling around on Disney transportation and visiting other resorts.
While there are some of us that would like to stay in Disney World much longer than 10 days, for the most part, it’s just not feasible. I hope this guide helps you choose the ideal length of your Disney World vacation.