How Many Days in [Each] Park?

(First, wonky title because apparently “How Many Days in Each Park?” has already been used. So you gotta get creative, I guess.)

We have a 2-week trip with 8-day tickets (not hoppers) planned for December. I thought I was set on 3 days MK, 2 each EP and AK, and 1 HS. But now I’m wondering if my girls (4, 6, 8) might rather have 4 MK and just 1 in either EP or AK? They have never been before and this trip is a surprise and they won’t know about it until much closer to time. We’ll also have grandparents in their late 60s along with us. And we won’t be back anytime soon because we’re only in the States every 2.5-3 years.

So…who wants to help me make a decision? I’m pretty set on just one HS day Beyond that…ugh, I just don’t know. If we switch I think we’d do EP, MK 2x, and AK our first week. Then have a day where they could pick which park (so either EP or AK), then MK, HS, and MK on our last day. We’re off site so FPP access doesn’t really affect us. Will they want a second day in EP and AK? Help! I’m spending way too much time thinking about this and I just want it decided!

I have a similar question except we have 7 day hoppers, 3 kiddos (9,7,5) and grandparents. The major difference for us is that we’ve been to Disneyland twice in the last 3 years.

Even being offsite, you can and should still book FPP’s 30 days in advance.

I would definitely vote 2 days at Animal Kingdom. There is so much to see! Epcot would be the big variable: last time, we only did 1 day at Epcot, but I wish we did two. However, we were only adults, so with little kids I could understand one day is enough.

My recommendation would be: try all the parks with the super fixed schedule (1HS, 1EP, 2MK and 2AK) and decide what is left to see in each of the parks. Then, be a little bit more flexible for the two last days and decide which parks you would like to go back to. A lot of the attractions, it is possible to get FPP+ the day of and even some restaurants booking. I would pick one extra day at MK and one at EPCOT (to pick the restaurants and FPP+), but worst case change them when you have a feeling of what your group would like to see again.

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I think you have it right- 3MK, 2 E, 2 AK, and 1 HS. We usually only have 7 so 2MK, 2E, 2AK, 1HS. I find we can do everything we really want in MK in 2 days so 3 would allow you to soak it all in. My kids love AK and Epcot. People often say Epcot isn’t as good for kids but mine have loved it at every age—in WS, they like Agent P, Kidcot stops, meet and greets, and looking for new candy from each country. And Epcot is set up well for 2 days–left and right so you get some rides and some WS each day.


Definitely do 2 AK. There is a ton to do that isn’t an ‘attraction.’ Wilderness explorers, walking the trails, Playing in the Boneyard.

I would be tempted to do 1 EP day unless you think your kids will love WS. Although with 3 days at MK, you will have plenty of time to cover everything you want.

Our 8 day trip (two are half days) is 4 MK, 2 AK, 1 EP, 1 HS.

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Here’s a recent thread with advice for someone who’s familiar with DL. 9 days out, need opinions fast

And yeah, I know I’ll get FPP 30 days out being offsite. I’m just saying that I don’t get the 60+ whatever so it wouldn’t matter if someone said, for example, “go to HS and AK at the end of your trip so you can get good FPP.” That was my only point there.

My only problem with this is that we have different grandparents coming at different times. The first week we HAVE to do AK because it’s the only thing that set of grandparents really wants to do with the kids. The second week WILL have two MK days because of the way things fall, requests that those grandparents have made, etc. It’s just kind of a pain! I don’t want to put something off and then them love it and want to go back.

Are your kids the type that want to do everything or do they like doing the same thing over and over? Are they more rides or meeting with characters? As an adult, I love the World Showcase at Epcot and there are many characters to meet around the world. The shows from all the country are pretty cool too. However, if they are the type for rides, the WS is low in rides. WS is also great with older people, but as a kid I would have loved it (but I was a weird kid).

Three days at MK is a lot. We did two (with breaks in the middle) and did everything, watch the fireworks twice, the parade, met with princesses, ate, ect. We rode Big Thunder MOuntain four times.

Maybe check with both sets of grandparents if they want to do Epcot?

I really have no idea what to expect from the kids! I think they will like WS. We live overseas and so we’ve talked about lots of these countries, and even though they haven’t been to any of them, they’ve been to ones that are close. The grandparents are completely unhelpful. They refuse to contribute, insisting that they are just happy to be coming. I’m grateful, just hoping that that’s actually the case and not that we get there and they’re like, “Oh, I wanted to do such-and-such.”

I think we’ll stick to the original plan. But I’m going to put HS in our second week for sure so that we’re not “stuck” with an extra Epcot day if they don’t love it. So our second “week” (3 park days) will be a full day in HS and MK and a short day in MK. First week will be a full day in EP and AK, a short day in MK and EP, and another day to do AK if the kids want to go back, otherwise it’ll turn into a shorter MK day.

I think I like this. Thanks for helping me make a decision!


That sounds like a great plan! Scheduled but with some flexibility if need be.

I also found out when we went last time that everybody is so much more happy if we are flexible! Meaning, I was the master planner and followed my plans, but the other adults could go and come and do as they wanted. We were meeting at meal times and FPP, but if somebody did not want to do something (or wanted to go back to sleep), we let them do it. We ended up not fighting and loving our time.

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This is perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about this.
3 days in MK is plenty and enough time to do some repeats of your favorites.
2 each EP and AK is also perfect. Remember, it’s also your vacation… and Epcot is amazing and not to be dismissed. My DD7 loves, loves, loves it there. Sit the kids down for Kidcot and let them color a Duffy bear. My DD cherishes those fans. As for AK, I say 2 is perfect because 1 day was not enough for my DD7 on our last trip - we didn’t get to tour the entire park in 1 day while having 2 TS meals… she requested another day that I couldn’t give her…

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Since you are going in December, Epcot will have extra things going on for the holiday season. Food booths, storytellers, and Candlelight Processional to name a few. Plus, Epcot is big, especially the walk around World Showcase. I like your original plan.

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I also feel pretty good about your 3 days MK, 2 at EP, 2 at AK and 1 at HS. With those plans, I would probably make HS a long day - RD to close probably, if you thought your kids could take it. We went to Disney in December 2017 with a group of 10 - 5 adults & 5 kids aged 6 or under. One of the things I really considered was advice I read in The Unofficial Guide that rang true to me - a woman had said that they did their first day at MK and the kids loved it so much that on their next couple of days in different parks, the kids mostly just whined about when they were going BACK to MK. I could totally see my kids falling into this trap, so we did a day at EP first, followed by AK, and then MK. This worked out great for us because everyone enjoyed everything with no comparison to anything else, but I know for others, it just wouldn’t be right not to visit MK first! We did make a point of ending our trip at MK though - something about saying goodbye to the Castle & Main Street made sense! So think about how your family might act - if there’s a chance they could be so fixated on MK that other parks might be a little bit of a disappointment for them (more walking, less rides, less kid-focused items, less Princesses, etc), then take that into consideration.

While my group had park hoppers, the second to last day of our trip we deliberately left sort of blank, except for we knew we’d all likely love FOP at AK and scheduled a second FP on that day for it. We sort of made a mental list as we vacationed of things we loved or missed, and then tried to add those to that second-to-last day. We had 1 EP day (Day 1) but everyone loved Soarin so much and were pleased with our first day lunch at Sunshine Seasons that we went back to do both of those before heading back over to AK for late afternoon FOP FP. We had the ability to park hop to do that, but even without hoppers, you may find that there’s a clear “winner” on where to spend the time.

I’d forgotten about the Candlelight Processional. We won’t do a dining package for this but I’d love to see it. Two days in Epcot for sure!

Yes, our HS day will be open to close. Maybe a break in the middle. I feel less like we’ll need a go-back-to-the-hotel break since HS isn’t huge and there are a lot of shows. Maybe my 4-year old will be ok without a nap…she usually doesn’t take one… I’m hoping to persuade her on a few days of the trip, though! And we have a resort day planned for the next day, so if we don’t go back we’ll just go to bed early the next day.

I had a plan all worked up with Epcot as the first day and then I felt like a bad mom for not going to MK first and scratched it…now I’m wondering if I should go back to it! Ugh, I will be FINE once I just figure out which parks which days and stick to it. I only have like 3 ADRs to get and FPP is like 7 months away so…thanks. I’m scratching my whole plan and starting over thanks to this advice! :joy: :sob: :joy:

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Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, I definitely don’t mean to change your mind so much as I do suggest knowing your kids! I think we all are biased as parents, but as sweet as my DD6 and DS4 can be, I knew that comments like “I want to go back to the Castle!” or “When can I ride Haunted Mansion again?” were going to be our reality if we did MK on Day 1. To both my sister and I, going to EP & then AK on Day 1 and Day 2 of our trip allowed us to experience those parks with no bias, and that just so happened to work for us - maybe not everyone. My son had recently turned 4 about 10 days before our trip and neither of my kids napped at all during our trip, other than maybe a snooze here & there in the stroller while walking in the parks.

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I think I would choose the extra day at AK over EP. This was before Pandora and it still felt to me like there was more undone at AK after 1 day than EP, plus DD loved Wilderness Explorers. But we also do not have a real zoo here so it was our first time seeing many of the animals. We had 2 days at MK and we skipped so many things.

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I say keep your plans as they are, but go light on the second AK day re. most desired FPs… book your “need to dos” for the first AK day, as well as any ADRs (e.g. Tusker House breakfast). Leave that last AK day to play it by ear. Some families feel that AK is a one day only, some can’t get enough. You won’t know which your family is until you do that first day.

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Yeah, I think we’ll try to pack the first day so that if we don’t go back it won’t be the end of the world. My kids love animals so I can totally see them wanting to go back to wander more, do the petting zoo, boneyard, etc., more. But MK might win out in a fight, lol! So we’ll see what happens! The second AK day is going to be the “if they decide they don’t want it we’ll go to MK instead” day. But I bet we keep the second AK day. :slight_smile:

Can I just add here… if you have a day that is truly a wild card… a fourth day at MK/ second at AK really is a bit excessive. I would actually strongly recommend you go to Typhoon Lagoon instead. The waterparks don’t get much love here, but TL is amazing.