PLANNING YOUR LENGTH OF STAY
When planning your trip, it is important to determine the number of days that you’ll need to cover off the items on your must do list at a reasonable pace.
First and foremost, you will never be able to do “everything”. So, the first step is to look at the list of things to do and determine what are your “needs” versus “wants” on your to-do list.
NOTE: COVID-19 also impacts availability of attractions and experiences, such as the pause of parades and fireworks.
At Walt Disney World, you will not be able to do all of the attractions in a single day, with the possible exception of Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the Water Parks. During the brief period of times when EPCOT is not hosting a festival (which is part of the summer and a few weeks between festivals), you may be able check off EPCOT in a single day (due to ongoing reimagining of the park) but that will definitely be an exhausting day.
Other considerations are the park hours, extra magic hours, getting a boarding pass to ride Rise of the Resistance at Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios), whether you will be there for park opening (called “rope drop”), how long and hard you’re willing to push yourself each day to get things crossed off your list, and what attractions and experiences you’re looking to enjoy in each park. For instance, if you are planning to have a character breakfast at the Magic Kingdom, ride all of the mountains, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Tomorrowland Speedway, Dumbo, and go to a Happily Ever After Dessert Party and watch the fireworks, that would be a jam-packed day and would take about 9-12 hours (1 hour per ride = 8 hours + 4 hours for food and fireworks) of non-stop running from attraction to attraction, with little time for rest. If anyone in your party cannot keep up with that pace, it may not be realistic unless you pay to go to one of the special ticketed events with lower crowds and shorter wait times.
It is also important to take into consideration travel times (which can take an hour on a Disney Transportation bus on property, and what non-theme park activities you want to participate in (such as shopping and dining at Disney Springs, time at your resort, naps for young children, and other factors. For those staying off-property, there may be long delays between buses.
Finally, it is important to factor in those days when you know it will be a late start, off property excursions, and the realities of travel days (flight delays, travel to and from Orlando International Airport), and other activities (such as golfing, mini-golfing, and other similar experiences you’ll want to have to determine the number of days that you’ll want to be at Walt Disney World.
Be realistic with how hard you want to work to cross things off your list and the amount of time it will take you get through it, with the person you expect to take the longest amount of time to through each attraction or experience to set a realistic number of days you’ll need to book at Walt Disney World and remember that unexpected activities and experiences will pop-up that will cause you to be flexible and may eat into the timeline you’ve set.