One question that we are asked rather frequently is “how many days is the minimum number that I can go to Walt Disney World and still full enjoyment of all of the parks and rides”? For me personally, this is a very difficult question to answer. I could go to Walt Disney World for two weeks straight. Go to all the parks, the water parks, Disney Springs and still say that’s not enough time. But that’s me, so in the real world how many days do you need in the parks?
The absolute minimum would be four days. That does make sense of course; four days for four parks.
But let’s delve a bit further and talk about how I would use each day. By the way, when I say 4 days, I’m actually talking about four full days in the park. So one travel day before those four days, and one travel day after. Also depending on your travel schedule that could mean another half day in the parks potentially or maybe at Disney Springs just relaxing and enjoying the magic.
But let’s assume for the purposes of this article that you arrived at Disney World late in the evening on that first travel day and you have to leave early on the very last day to get back home. That gives you 4 full days at Walt Disney World. I recommend spending the entire day in the park each of those 4 days. I don’t recommend sleeping in if you’re only there for four full days. You definitely want to get there at rope drop and experience all the magic.
4 Day Itinerary
When you go on a shorter trip to Walt Disney World it is extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to see every single attraction. But that’s okay, there are some fantastic attractions that you’re definitely going to want to see. Each of our parks guides go into all about these great attractions a bit further.
But you also want to plan out what you want to do and you’ll want to have fast passes reserved in advance. You want to know where you want to go when you want to be there, and you’ll want to have it all planned out so you don’t miss a moment.
I recommend spending the entire day at Magic Kingdom, one day at Epcot, one day at Hollywood Studios, and another day at Animal Kingdom and that includes seeing the fireworks at night. It is really worth it to be able to stay the entire day. You can rest when you get back home. Trust me, you’re going to want to see the magic while you are there in the parks.
Now there are some caveats to this, for example, if you’ve been multiple times like me. If that’s the case, then you could take a break in the middle of the day and head back to your resort for some downtime at the pool or a nice mid-day nap to recharge. But for this article, I’m going to aim mostly at first-timers or people who haven’t been to Disney in a really long time.
Typically when we get to Disney World we flew out in the morning and arrived in the late morning or around lunchtime. So, we’ve been known to take our time on the first day and just wander around the resort a bit and go exploring, especially if it’s a resort we have not stayed at before. We also typically will go to Disney Springs for dinner that night and some shopping.
How To Fit In Character Dining?
What I recommend in those situations where you really do want to experience a character meal is to go to an early morning breakfast. Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom is a great example. You can get into the Magic Kingdom before it even opens. Then you can enjoy breakfast at Be Our Guest, and go into the park right away so you are saving every possible moment.
Another example would be when my daughter was little and we took her to the character breakfast at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios. We got in the park early because of our reservation and after breakfast, my husband got to go ride his favorite ride (Star Tours) 3 or 4 times in a row with ZERO lines.
What About FastPasses?
So that’s the thought I have in my head when it comes to these shorter trips. You want to be able to utilize every second of it to the best of your ability. Now if you’re planning this trip way out in advance then you will definitely have time to book those fast passes before your adventure. If you’re like me you’re probably going to shape your itinerary for the day around those FastPass times.
But, I mean that is not a bad thing at all, just be sure that when you get those fast passes that you get them for the most popular attractions at the park. That’s really critical, so get it for Soarin’, don’t get them for rides like Living With The Land. Otherwise, you might come up to the gate and see there’s no five minutes standby line. You’re going to want to change it last-minute and usually, those popular fast passes are sold out.
If you’re a last-minute planner and maybe your trip is tomorrow and you’re just reading this now then you can continue to check for fast passes that become available on the My Disney Experience App. Just keep refreshing and looking for those fast passes and cross your fingers that a good one shows up.
Now I want to recap, four days is the minimum amount of time that I recommend you go to Walt Disney World. If you can only go for two days, then that’s better than zero days at Walt Disney World. So it’s not like you’re not going to have a lot of fun no matter what you end up doing. I’m sure you will have a lot of fun. However, I recommend at least four full days, and if you can make even more time then that I absolutely recommend a 7 night, 7 day stay like we did last year. If you can pull it off that’s great! But if not, then I at least recommend four full days at Walt Disney World.