There’s no right or wrong way to plan your Walt Disney World vacation. Still, the prospect of mapping out a dream vacation from scratch can be a bit overwhelming. Each family has to take their own travel style into account, including budget, age/energy/ability levels of those vacationing, and many other factors. What follows is a sample plan for a 7-day family trip.
Families with children tend to favor the Magic Kingdom, which has the most attractions of the 4 major theme parks; for that reason, 2 days are allotted for the Magic Kingdom, with 1 day at each of the other 3 main parks (Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios), as well as a stop at Disney Springs. If your family would prefer to prioritize another park, or include the water parks and other activities, you can easily substitute those for extra Magic Kingdom time.
For simplicity, this plan assumes that you have a 5-day Non-Hopper ticket option, but you may want to consider the park hopper add-on if you like to move around on the fly. You may want to buy more park days than you initially plan and allow yourself less time in the parks each day. Some families like to plan a rest/pool day mid-trip, while others prefer to take small breaks mid-day and return to the parks in the evening. You’ll want to consider how many park days you’ve purchased, and take your group’s energy level into account. Ticket costs can be steep, but as you add on additional days, each consecutive day is less expensive.
For instance, a 4 day standard ticket starts at $101 per day. At 5 days, the price drops to $83/day, and at $71/day at 6 days and so on. Adding on that 6th or 7th park day not only gives you flexibility, but the chance to take pool and rest breaks on your busy park days instead of going till you drop each of your 4 or 5 days to cram everything in. As for water parks, adding a water park option to your theme park tickets is going to cost more money, so unless you have slightly older children or a specific interest in water slides, consider just enjoying your resort pool!
Day 1: Arrival & Resort Activity
Depending on when you arrive, you may not want to use a park ticket for a partial day. Instead, consider an exciting dining reservation, a trip to Disney Springs, or some activities at your resort for your first evening. A character meal outside the parks is a great way to start a vacation. Some lunch and dinner options to consider are Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary, 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, or Storybook Dining at the Wilderness Lodge. Check out some activities at your resort, like movies under the stars, and get some rest for your first full park day!
Day 2: Magic Kingdom
Most families enjoy starting their vacation at the Magic Kingdom, but it’s not essential. My favorite tip is to “rope drop” the park, which simply means to arrive 30-45 minutes (or more) before park opening so that you’re through security and ready to be among the first to enter the park. By doing this, you’ll take advantage of shorter lines (this is true at all of the parks.
Since we’re planning to dedicate 2 days to the Magic Kingdom, you can split the park into two halves and focus on a few lands each day. Ride the most popular attractions first, like the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Space Mountain. Then, utilize FastPass+ to enjoy other attractions later in the morning and into the early afternoon. Remember, you can always select additional FastPasses after you’ve used your 3.
One possibility would be to enjoy Fantasyland early in the day, and schedule FastPasses for Tomorrowland attractions before and after lunch (Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, and the Tomorrowland Speedway all see long lines during the day, so they’re great choices).
Don’t miss the hilarious Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and definitely be sure to enjoy the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover for a wonderfully relaxing view of the park. When you’re ready for lunch, consider a quick-service option like Pinocchio Village Haus or Casey’s Corner, or snag a same-day reservation for the Plaza. Take a break after lunch, go swimming, and take the energy pulse of your family to decide what to do with your evening.