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Planning Your Trip to Disney World: How long do I need for a Disney vacation?

Planning Your Trip to Disney World: How long do I need for a Disney vacation?

This topic ties in very nicely to answering what tickets to choose!

Let me restate something everyone should know when planning a trip to the Orlando area.  Each major theme park company wants you to spend all your time/money on their property!  Therefore, the first day or two of a ticket will be your most expensive.  Days 3+ will likely be inexpensive add ons.  The ticket prices are front loaded to keep you there.  If you are on a strict budget, then you should choose… Disney or Orlando Flex Tickets (which allow access to Universal Studios, Sea World, Busch Gardens, Wet n Wild etc).  Visiting a couple days at Disney and a couple days at Universal will NOT save you money because each day is not equal in price.

Now, lets talk about time.  Just to cover it, you CAN spend a week at Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure, Sea World, Aquatica, Lego Land etc combined.  If Disney is not on your radar then a vacation like this is just as much or more than Disney.  A vacation to all those destinations requires a different topic though, so I will move on to Disney.

While you can spend 1 day in 1 theme park, or just a couple days on property at Disney, you are really cheating yourself out of an experience.  I recommend to my clients that if you have a strict budget and want to see Disney, then stick to Disney.  Not only will you still not see everything, but this will then give you the opportunity to come back to Orlando to explore everything else.  If Disney is on your list and this is your first time, then please just stick with that!  I only say this because I want you to have the best vacation possible.  If you have not been to Disney before, then I ask you to trust me about the “Disney Magic”… the quality of your vacation will improve if you stay on property and focus on the Disney product.

If you are reading this and thinking “but I want to see more than just Disney and so what if it is my first time” then I say go for it!!  This is my recommendation though: Spend as long as you want/have budget for off Disney property doing other theme parks.  Stay in a Universal Resort… go see Aquatica and Sea World.  Do all of that!  Then, when you have seen the “more” go check into your Disney resort package and spend at least 4 full days in Disney, and don’t leave the property.  The reason for this is so you get the full effect of what every entertainment company has to offer.  This will make your vacation well rounded and you will see as much as possible.  Last time we went to Disney, we visited Universal for 2 days beforehand.  We stayed in a Drury Inn in Orlando and had a lot of fun.  Then we checked in to Port Orleans Riverside and had even more fun for 5 days on Disney property.  What I liked about it was my vacation was compartmentalized.  I got to experience Universal the way they wanted me to, then I got Disney the way they wanted me to.  That gives each company the opportunity to give it their best.

I have mentioned it but not gone into much detail yet about it.  “How long do I need for Disney?”  Well, the short answer is a week, just for Disney.  Here is the long answer:

Disney has 4 theme parks, 2 Water Parks, 2 miniature golf courses, a shopping district with restaurants and a movie theater and several resorts!  In land size, Disney World is twice (that’s 2x) the size of the island of Manhattan!  Disney has it’s own system of roads, it’s own street signs etc.  It is basically a small city.  If this is your first time and you are not sure you will ever “do Disney” again while your kids are growing up, then please, please go to all 4 theme parks, even if you *think* you should just stick to Magic Kingdom.  Magic Kingdom is amazing, but that is just a part of Disney.  If you only have a few days, take 4 full days.  One to see each theme park.  If you have a half day extra, then go to Magic Kingdom twice.

Recently I helped two different families that are also friends plan trips to Disney.  Each time I heard at least one person from each family (usually the adult male) kind of express exasperation over just going to Magic Kingdom each time they have taken a day or two for Disney World.  They asked me “please no Magic Kingdom… I am done with Magic Kingdom!”  This is why I am telling you…. please go experience all 4 theme parks.  Don’t spend all your time in Magic Kingdom or else you may end up feeling like these guys.  Disney World offers tons of variety so take advantage of it.

So one day for each theme park… that is 4 day base tickets minimum.  If you want to park hop add on park hoppers.  If you are there for more than 4 days, either visit your favorite park twice (so make that a 5 day base for only a little more) or add on the Water Park Fun and More option.  If you have 5 days in Disney World, and you have 4 day base tickets and the water park option, that means 1 day for each theme park and 1 day for a water park.  You do not have to use your water park option within those 4 days.

I hope this helped you answer your question about how long to spend with Disney in Orlando.  How long do you recommend? Leave a comment below.

 

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Laura Mims

My parents took me at the age of 15 and in the last decade plus I have continued to return year after year. We believe that the most informative and entertaining part about planning and going to Disney is hearing about others trips. I’m also a Disney Trip Planner, so when you’re ready to book fill out our quote form here!
Follow Laura

About The Author

Laura Mims

My parents took me at the age of 15 and in the last decade plus I have continued to return year after year. We believe that the most informative and entertaining part about planning and going to Disney is hearing about others trips. I’m also a Disney Trip Planner, so when you’re ready to book fill out our quote form here!

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