Disney World Planning Pt 2: How Long to Stay

Welcome back for the latest installment in the Disney Planning 101 series! If you’re new to SoCal Style, you can check out Part 1: When to Visit Disney World in 2018 by clicking HERE (and I highly recommend this as there’s a FREE Crowd calendar included). This week we’re talking about how long your trip should be and how many park days to plan for. You may have seen other articles that strictly tell you 7 days is the minimum you need to stay, but I think there’s much more to it than that. The length of your trip depends on so many different factors, and what right’s for one person isn’t always right for everyone.

So let’s jump right in!

Start Here

Since 7 days is a really popular answer to this question, we’ll use this as the base line adding and subtracting days based on the details of your trip. This is using the assumption that you will be visiting all 4 theme parks and 1 waterpark.

When Are You Visiting?

See I told you to check out last week’s article! It’s makes pretty good sense that if you go during the busiest time of year (please don’t, just trust me) that you’ll have to wait in longer lines and have less time to do things, right? And vice versa for the off season. Now , if you will be going during a period of time that is filled with mostly 3-5’s on my Crowd Index Calendar than you’ll want to add 2 days. If your trip falls on lots of 1 and 2’s, you can subtract 1 park day. If you fall in between these two and have lots of 2’s and 3’s than stay steady at 7 days for your trip.

How Big is Your Party?

Are you going solo or is this a big family trip? Navigating through the parks of Disney World can be considerably more challenging when you have more than 4 people in your group. That’s because you will have more opinions, wish lists, and physically just a larger presence to try and negotiate crowds. If you have a group of 4-7 you’ll want to add at least 1 more day to your trip. If you are traveling with one other person or alone, than you can take 1 day off your trip. If your group size is 3-4 people, than stick with 7 days.
Now, if your group is larger than 7 people you will almost have to break up into smaller parties throughout the day. In that case you’ll want to consider how many people will be in each party.

Who is Going With You?

Are you traveling with friends or family? Will there be children or grandparents in your group? Is anyone in your group a slow mover? If your traveling party includes slow movers, such as small children or some grandparents, than you’ll want to add an extra day to your plan. If your group is comprised mostly of teenagers and adults under 45 than you can subtract 1 day. Anywhere in between, stay strong at 7 days.

What Are You Most Looking Forward to?

What is at the top of your to-do list for this trip, as well as the to-do list for the rest of your party? Are you thrill seekers planning to ride everything over and over again? If so you’ll want to add a day to your trip. If you’re more interested in meeting characters, experiencing the atmosphere, and general lounging than you can stay at your current number.

Are You a Go Go Go Getter?

When I visit Disney with my family there is rarely a minute that I have not scheduled something to do, or as my boyfriend puts it – I have “no chill.” BUT everyone is always glad we did it that way in the end. If this is you than there is no need to add any extra time. If you prefer to take it slow than add 1-2 days, your preference.

How Many Parks Are You Visiting?

If you are planning to visit less than 3 of the parks (theme or water) than subtract 1 day. If you are looking to enjoy a non-park day, which I highly recommend, than add at least 1 day to your trip. You can also add an extra day for any parks you want to visit more than once, for instance Magic Kingdom could require 2 days.
Festivals and Holidays

Disney World holds many festivals throughout the year and, obviously, has a lot going on for Halloween and Christmas. If you are visiting during a festival or holiday event add 1 day, if you are visiting FOR the festival or holiday event you’ll want to devote 2 days to that event. So if you are going just to do the event and leave, you only need 2 days total. If you are adding the event into a longer trip, I would suggest adding 2 days to that trip.

What’s Your Number?

How many days does this math add up to for you? As a general rule you need at least 3 days (unless it’s a festival event). I also would not, personally, recommend staying more than 11 days – but that’s just me. I could probably live at Disney, but the rest of my normal traveling party would be over it by day 10.

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