How many days in each park?

Hi all! I am planning my family’s first trip to Disney World for November 14-21 of this year. We’ll have a total of four adults (myself, my husband, and my parents) and three princess loving girls (ages 7, 4, and 1). I’m working on our touring plans and trying to decide how many days to spend in each park. I don’t have a ton of interest in Animal Kingdom (honestly wouldn’t mind if we don’t go there at all, but the kids might enjoy it?) and I’m not sure if we could get more than one day out of Epcot. We’ll spend most of our time at MK, but I’m not sure how many days you all would recommend.

What are your suggestions? We probably will not go into a park on arrival day, but probably will departure morning. Thanks in advance!

If you’re only looking at staying in the Disney bubble the whole time (ie. not going to Sea World or Universal or anything), then 2 full MK days, 1-2 at EP, and 1 each at HS and AK is probably going to suffice. You can also add a rest day in the middle either just staying at your resort or heading to a water park, and then I’d say go back to MK on the morning of departure day. I wouldn’t skip Animal Kingdom, I really liked it, the Safari is neat, the Maharajah Trek is really cool, and the adults (esp DH) would probably enjoy Expedition Everest. Plus there’s Kali River Rapids, Flights of Wonder bird show, and Rafiki’s Area. Lots to do! has some interesting itineraries for first-timers

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Just a note, but Epcot takes a lot more time than you think. Even if the rides aren’t to your taste the sites to see in World Showcase can easily take a whole day. The food and drink to sample in each country, the buildings, the shopping, and chatting with the imported CM’s is a lot of fun. Give yourself some extra time there.


I agree with @mALYficent on number of days. DON’T skip AK - it’s absolutely beautiful. There are some thrill rides for the adults, two awesome live shows, and the safari may be the best attraction in any WDW park. I typically spend a whole day at AK (and have never done everything there in one day). If you are worried about total number of days in the parks, at the VERY least go to AK for RD, stay until mid-afternoon, and then hop for your second half-day in EP, focusing on WS (if you do this on Friday, you’ll have PM EMH until 11:00).


Do you have park hopping tickets? I agree that AK is a " must do"! I ask about the park hoppers since another strategy may be to visit HS and AK until late afternoon and then hop to MK after a break.

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Thank you so much for the responses! You have definitely changed my mind regarding AK- I’ll plan for a full day there.

With the number of young kids we’ll have with us, do you think we would need to do more than one day in Epcot? My girls are not going to enjoy just touring the pavilions and sampling for more than a short time. I know there are attractions there so I want to do a full day for sure, but is there enough there for kids to warrant another half (or full) day?

I have also seen advice on having a non-park day in the middle of the week and I’d like to hear some opinions on that. This is not going to be a cheap trip so I almost really hate to waste a day not going to a park. Thoughts on why that is or isn’t a good idea?

I forgot to add that yes, we will be getting park hopper tickets. I really want that flexibility.

I understand your feelings about a non-park day - you are spending a lot of money, so you want to make the most of it. However, a non-park day can be a good way to recharge to ensure that everyone is at their best for those all-important park days. Plus, it’s not like you are going to be doing nothing, as you will be taking advantage of everything your resort has to offer, especially if you are staying at a Deluxe resort. Also, a non-park day can help you take better advantage of things like EMH and later park hours - for example, you can do late hours and/or eEMH on Day X, have a non-park day on Day Y, and then hit mEMH on Day Z without your crew getting totally exhausted.

Also, you never know how your kids are going to react to EP WS - they may very well be totally fascinated with it if they go in with the right mindset. There is an excellent Blog series which goes clockwise from Mexico, but you can find the links for each country in the final post for Canada - this can give them a lot of things to look for when going from country to country.

You’ll be there a decent amount of time. I totally get the feeling of wasting a day but a day of rest can really mean the difference between a good second half of the trip and fighting fatigue and soreness and just being ready to go home. You could always plan to do something with the half day. Are you booking as a package? If so you’ll have coupons for a free round of mini golf or two admissions to Disney Quest, which is fun with a lot less walking involved.

As for Epcot it’s really going to depend on the kids. There are a lot of kid friendly activities in the innoventions buildings and a lot of kids enjoy talking to the cast members from other countries and doing the activities at each kidcot station… Plus there are a lot of character meet and greets in world showcase which can help give the adults a bit more time to enjoy the sights there.

Even as an adult, if I do more than 3 consecutive park days I start dragging (but I go RD to closing without a break, and frequently have a late resort dinner after closing). Even if you plan a no-park day, there are WAY more things you could do than you would have time for at the various resorts, DTD, etc. I recommend giving yourself that flexibility.

We are most likely doing a package… I didn’t know about those extras, so that is good to know. We may need to do an easy day in the middle to give the kids some time to recuperate and maybe go to a park for the last half of the day.

You all have given me plenty of great info and things to consider. I really appreciate your input! It’s invaluable to a first-timer and someone who doesn’t know what to expect. Thank you!

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It can definitely be overwhelming your first time. Don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you think of.

[quote=“Tiffany_Miller, post:7, topic:10500”]
My girls are not going to enjoy just touring the pavilions and sampling for more than a short time[/quote]

Will they be interested in the Phineas and Ferb game that is played in World Showcase? You can spend a half hour playing that in one country or an entire afternoon if you wanted to see all the countries?

What about character meets? There are many princesses around World Showcase, some with lengthy waits. If seeing Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Mulan, or Alice in Epcot is important, then plan for extra time to do that. Chip and Dale also meet in Future World (in addition to the character spot), so character meets add to the time you’d want to spend in Epcot.

[quote=“Tiffany_Miller, post:7, topic:10500”]
I have also seen advice on having a non-park day in the middle of the week and I’d like to hear some opinions on that. This is not going to be a cheap trip so I almost really hate to waste a day not going to a park. Thoughts on why that is or isn’t a good idea?[/quote]

I’ve never stayed at a Disney resort and not visited a park at all for an entire day (unless arriving very late or leaving very early). I do, however, like to include some days to sleep in, spend time at the pool, or just rest before heading to a park in the evening (for morning people, the same could apply if you returned to the resort mid afternoon and went the bed early). That’s how I try to find time for the non-park activities and not wear myself and the people I’m traveling with out.

I think the great thing about the new FP system is that you can rest in the morning and still cheque headliners for later. I love all the parks at night!

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We have two daughters, 8 and almost 3. We spent 6 days in the parks, including 3 MK, 1 EP, 1HS, and 1AK. I think Park Hopper would’ve been an unnecessary expense for us. Although I did wish we could’ve spent another 1/2 day in Epcot, mostly because we had to take an afternoon break for the girls to make it through Illuminations that night, which then made our time in World Showcase feel rushed. Otherwise, I was happy with our plan. AK and HS were easy for us to do in a day apiece. My 8 year old isn’t into animals, but I was still glad we did AK. The safari, Nemo, and Lion King were major highlights for us, and then we did Hoop Dee Doo Revue that night (it would also be great as a “break” night if the park closes early like it did for us, or with Park Hopper you could use that time to catch an evening show in another park). We also enjoyed having lots of time in MK since it felt the most crowded and had the most things my girls wanted to do. They were really into character meetings, many of which took place in MK. It gave us another day for fast passes and another day to do whatever we previously missed or even things the girls wanted to repeat.

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We don’t do a non park day but we always take a good long nap in the middle of the day. I think one of the two is necessary with kids. We absolutely love ak for the kids, in fact this trip were skipping dhs instead. 2 days are a must at mk and we park hop back there often. Leave some time as swing time to decide on the fly after you see what the kids like.