Given that a trip to Walt Disney World is incredibly expensive, it can be tempting to cut back on the number of days you’re at the resort in order to save money.
However, reducing the length of your trip can make it harder to experience everything the resort has to offer.
One week is enough to visit all the parks at the Walt Disney World Resort, provided you plan your trip in detail in advance and maximise your hours inside the park.
However, if you want to have a more relaxed trip to Walt Disney World and still experience everything the resort has to offer then ten days is may be better.
Having spent as little as three days at the Walt Disney World Resort and as long as two weeks, it’s safe to say we know how to maximise your trip to ensure you experience everything at the parks during your visit.
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Make Park Reservations For Every Day Of Your Trip
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World has become increasingly more important over the years as a result of park reservations.
The new admission rules into any of the Walt Disney World parks mean that you not only need park tickets but also a park reservation in order to enter the park.
Selected parks can sell out of park reservations in advance. As such to ensure you get to visit all of the parks during your week at Walt Disney World it’s incredibly important you make your reservations as early as possible.
While you may only plan to visit each of the Walt Disney World theme parks once during your trip we highly recommend you make a park reservation for every day your tickets allow.
i.e. seven-day park ticket equals seven park reservations.
Plans change, and by having these park reservations in place you’ll still be able to go back to one of the Walt Disney World parks and experience anything you might have missed during your first visit.
My recommendation for a seven-day trip would be;
Day 1 – Magic Kingdom
Day 2 – EPCOT
Day 3 – Hollywood Studios
Day 4 – Animal Kingdom
Day 5 – Magic Kingdom
Day 6 – Hollywood Studios
Day 7 – Animal Kingdom
If you’re visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during the summer months then you may want to swap a second visit to a park with one of the resort’s waterparks.
Alternatively, given that you’re only visiting for seven days you can only visit three parks twice.
In my example, I’ve chosen Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom since these are the largest parks with the most rides and attractions.
However, if you’ve visited Walt Disney World previously, then you’ll know which parks you enjoy the most and may want to swap one of these out with EPCOT.
Plan Your Trip In Advance
With a limited amount of time inside each of the Walt Disney World parks, it’s important you understand the rides and attractions available prior to your visit.
This will help you to;
- Decide which rides you’d most like to experience
- Understand which rides are the most popular
- Find out the rides younger members may not be tall enough for
This can then help you to decide which rides you’ll want to head to at rope drop and minimise the amount of time you spend waiting in line on rides for which your entire party may not be eligible.
Of course, planning your days at Walt Disney World doesn’t just include rides and attractions but also dining experiences.
If you know you want to dine at a specific restaurant within a park then you’ll want to make those reservations as soon as possible.
This not only allows you to secure your reservation and avoid disappointment but also get a suitable time and begin planning the rest of your day around these reservations.
Arrive At The Parks Early
We always recommend arriving at the Walt Disney World parks at least one hour before they open.
This allows you to park your vehicle (where applicable), pass through security and arrive at the park gates before the park opens.
Then, once the park is open to the public you’ll be one of the first inside and able to maximise ‘the golden hour’.
The golden hour is the first hour from which the park opens and is the quietest hour inside the parks you’ll experience throughout the day.
This is the time you want to head straight to the park’s most popular rides (which you’ll have found during your planning stage).
Where standby wait times for popular rides during the middle of the day can reach two hours, during the first hour of the park opening they’ll often be under 30 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, this will help you save hours on your day and experience more of the Walt Disney World park during your visit.
Stay On-Site At A Disney World Resort Hotel
The exact specification of this perk varies significantly throughout the year but generally includes;
- At least two hours extra inside the parks (i.e. if the park closes at 9pm to the general public, for those staying in selected Disney Resort hotels it’ll close at 11pm).
- Extra opportunity to join the virtual queue for the latest rides inside the park.
This perk is often great for adults and those with teens who are able to stay up past 9pm.
However, it may be more challenging for those with younger children without ruining a sleep schedule or taking them back for a nap during the middle of the day.
Invest In Disney Genie+
If you have the budget but not the time then a great way to maximise your visit to Walt Disney World is to invest in Disney Genie+.
Disney Genie+ costs $15 per person, per day and replaces the previously complimentary FastPass system.
This service allows you to pay to skip the line on a number of selected rides throughout the day and can be done using your previously planned itinerary within My Disney Experience or on-the-go.
If you want to maximise your Disney Genie+ experience then it’s more important than ever that you plan your day and research the most popular rides on the service so you’re able to reserve those as early as possible.
Visit During The Off-Season
Another way to not only save money but also cut back on your standby wait times when visiting the Walt Disney World Resort is by visiting during the off-peak season.
During these selected times of the year, the cost of a hotel is often 20% cheaper when compared to the peak season while crowd levels inside the park are often reduced.
We’ve found the best off-peak time to visit is between January and March before Spring Break.
However, while Florida is the sunshine state you’ll still want to be prepared for slightly colder weather and potentially some rain if you choose to visit during these months.