The first question anyone planning a Disney World vacation needs to answer is “How long should I go to Disney?” It’s one of the first questions friends ask me when they consider a WDW trip. And my answer is usually, “Well, it depends…”

Of course, the answer varies from family to family. Some will try to pack in as much as they can over a long weekend. Some traveling from overseas will embark on an epic, multi-week vacation. There is no perfect answer to the question of how long to go to Disney World, but I’ve learned from experience that there’s a sweet spot. I’ve been on trips that feel too short, and they are exhausting because you’re trying to do too much. I’ve also been on trips that might have been a bit too long.

If you’re unsure about how long to go to Disney World, this article will give some ideas on how to best plan your vacation.

Disney Vacation Length: Factors to Consider

Cinderella Fountain - Magic Kingdom

When can you travel?

Of course, your travel schedule is going to be dictated by how much time you have to take a vacation. If you have one week of PTO and your kids are on Spring Break, you’ll probably want to maximize that time off.

What is your budget? 

Besides time, the other big factor that will dictate how long you can go on vacation is your budget. Surprisingly, adding days to your park tickets isn’t the big expense here. For each day you add to your park ticket, it gets cheaper to add another day. As I mentioned in 6 Ways to Reduce Stress at Disney World, adding extra days to a multi-day ticket is reasonable.

While the jump from 1 to 2 days is significant (almost double the price), as you go up, each day gets cheaper to add. Depending on when you go, a 5-day ticket can cost $450. But a 6-day ticket during that same time costs just $462. That’s only a $12 increase for the extra day in the parks. A 7-day ticket for the same arrival date costs $476. (Prices will vary based on season).

Of course, there’s a good reason why Disney makes it affordable to add extra days to a multi-day ticket. For every extra day you spend your time in the parks, you’ll also be spending your money – on food, merchandise, hotel and more. Consider that when you budget out your trip. If you have a great deal on a hotel or can pay with loyalty points, you might be able to afford to spend more days in the parks than you realized.

How far do you need to travel?

Personally, if I travel a long, I want to make that trip feel worth the distance. If you’re traveling across the country, you probably will want to try to stay in Orlando for at least a week. If you are a short car ride to Disney World, you could always do a shorter trip and return on a more frequent basis.

Do you need to see it all? 

Between four theme parks, two water parks, Disney Springs, the resorts, the golf courses, the mini-golf courses, the spas, and everything else I’m failing to mention, it is almost impossible to do everything at Disney World over the course of one vacation.

Even if you just focused on the theme parks, it’s hard to do everything within one week. I’ve been to Disney World dozens upon dozens of times, and there are still things that I’ve never done.

If this is your once in a lifetime Disney World vacation, I would maximize my time in the parks to get the full Disney World experience. If you’re a frequent visitor and visit every year or every other year, you might be better served with going on the more casual end of our

Do you want to do anything outside of Disney World?

If you want to go to Orlando’s other attractions, the answer of how many days you should spend at Disney World will go down. I’ve done plenty of trips where I only spend my time at Disney World. But if you want to fly like a wizard or race like a velociraptor, you’ll probably want to spend 1-2 days at Universal Orlando.

Minimum Days To Spend in the Parks

EPCOT during Flower and Garden Festival - Disney World Vacation Planning

If you want to feel like you had a complete experience, I would recommend going to the parks at Disney World for a minimum of 5 days. With a 5 day schedule, you can dedicate one full day to each of the parks, leaving one extra day to do attractions you might have missed. It’s the start of that sweet spot, where you have enough time to do a lot of your must-do attractions while having a bit of breathing room to take breaks and relax.

5 days will work well for many vacation schedules, which usually is around a week long in the US. This leaves extra days to do other attractions in Orlando, go to Disney Springs, or just relax at your hotel.

With 5 days in the parks, you could definitely opt for a one park per day ticket. However, the 5 day schedule works great with park hoppers, as you can spend some of the days going to two of the parks. The park hopper is a good way to maximize your days by spending the first part of your day at a park that closes early (like Animal Kingdom) and spending the second half of your day at a park that closes later (like Magic Kingdom).

Can you do Disney World with less days in the parks? Of course! I recommend 5 days as a minimum over 4 days for three reasons: the extra day in the park is a reasonable charge, it is still reasonable for many vacation lengths, and that extra time in the parks will make the vacation feel a less rushed. But doing 4 days is still a reasonable amount of time to go to Disney World. Here’s how I would split up those trips to get as close to a complete WDW experience:

  • 4 Days: 1 day per park.
  • 3 Days w/ Park Hopper: 1 day in Magic Kingdom, 1 day Animal Kingdom/Epcot, 1 Day Hollywood Studios/Magic Kingdom
  • 2 Days w/ Park Hopper: 1 day in Magic Kingdom/Epcot (use monorail to park hop), 1 day in Animal Kingdom/Hollywood Studios

The fewer days you spend in the parks, the more rushed your vacation would feel. If you can only spend 4 days or less at Disney World, I would focus on 2-5 big priorities per park and don’t worry about doing it all. You’ll enjoy focusing on having fun rather than doing everything possible.

Stay tuned to Guide2WDW for guides and recommendations for these shorter vacation lengths.

Maximum Days To Spend in the Parks

Millennium Falcon - Galaxy’s Edge

Okay, technically, the maximum number of days you can spend at Disney World is the rest of your life. But most likely you’re on this site for a practical recommendation. For this recommendation, I’m going to focus on a week long vacation, since that is most common in the US.

Let’s say you have a week off from work or school, meaning you have from Saturday to the following Sunday for vacation. If you arrive in Orlando on Saturday morning and leave Sunday evening, that’s 9 days you could potentially spend in the parks. I’ve actually done a vacation with this exact schedule, and it is a lot. For me, spending every single day of a vacation inside the parks is a bit too exhausting. The plus side of getting a 9 day ticket is that you could spend some partial days inside the parks and still do pretty much everything you want to do — maybe even multiple times. However, for most people, I’d recommend against going this route.

For me, the upper end of the sweet spot is 7 days in Disney World parks. This lets you visit the each park multiple times, while still building in plenty of room to take breaks and do activities outside of the parks. Occasionally, I might bump that up to an 8 day ticket just to use it for a partial day, such as the day I’m leaving. The price difference is minimal compared to the rest of my vacation at that point, so adding days is more about buying the flexibility to hop into a park on that final day.

Even if you go into the parks 7 out of the 9 days of your vacation week, it’s still a good idea to take breaks or do a partial day. 7 days in the parks can be exhausting. It’s pretty typical to walk 20,000 – 40,000 steps a day at Disney World. All of the long days walking (and Mickey bars, if we’re being honest) can take a toll. It can be tempting to get every cent of value out of your park tickets by spending every waking moment of your vacation in the parks.

But you’ll be much happier and have a much better time if you remember that it’s a vacation. Focus on having fun.

What if you’re spending longer than a week at Disney World?

For those traveling overseas, it isn’t uncommon to take a long holiday in Orlando. For our friends from the UK or Brazil or elsewhere who are visiting for an extended amount of time, I’d recommend spending 3-5 days per week of your vacation in the parks. This all depends on how much you love Disney and how much you want to do other attractions in Orlando. All the same advice above about taking breaks applies.

You’ll have a much better time building some variety and relaxation into your trip to Disney World rather than marathoning the parks every single day.

How Many Days to Spend at Disney World – The Sweet Spot

Imagination Pavilion - EPCOT - Disney World Vacation Planning

For the best balance of being able to do all of the theme parks and not feel burnt out, I’d recommend spending 5-7 days of your vacation in the parks at Disney World. This gives you a chance to visit every park multiple times, while building in breaks. If you are visiting Orlando for a week, you’ll still have plenty of things to do outside WDW, like Disney Springs or Universal Orlando. If those other activities are must-dos for you, you should go for the 5 day ticket. If the Disney World theme parks are your number one attraction, then a 7 day ticket (or even 8) is the way to go.

We want to hear from you!

Do you agree with my recommendation for how many days to spend at Disney World? How long is your ideal Disney World vacation? Let me know in the comments below!