With 4 main theme parks and 2 wonderful water parks, figuring out how to divide park time among the 6 parks at Walt Disney World is no easy task. Here’s a list of things to consider when making this decision for your trip.
1. Park size/number of attractions in each park
All parks are not created equal. They’re all fabulous in their own ways, but the number of attractions and square footage of the parks varies widely. The Magic Kingdom has many more attractions than any of the other parks, hence requiring more time to tour. Epcot is huge, and if you want to spend any time exploring the details of the World Showcase, you’ll need a lot of time to do so. Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, however, take some guests less than a full day to tour because there are fewer attractions to see.
2. Your traveling party and their interests
If you are traveling with young children, you’ll certainly want to spend a great deal of time at the Magic Kingdom. However, adults are certainly apt to enjoy spending additional time at Epcot, strolling the World Showcase and enjoying all kinds of food and drinks. You might be traveling with small children and animal lovers- if that’s the case, you might find yourself spending 3 days at the Magic Kingdom and 1 day at Animal Kingdom, forgoing Hollywood Studios and Epcot! There are no “rules”- do what makes you happy!
3. What kind of ticket you have
Do you have a park hopper? If so, you can split your days so that the larger parks get some of your evening hours, after you’ve finished up at a smaller park. If not, you will have to choose one park per day, and decide whether a park gets one of your days or a solid two.
4. Park hours during your visit
You probably want to make the most of your days, so you’ll want to know which parks are open early or late during your stay. If you have a park hopper option on your ticket and Animal Kingdom is only open until 5:00pm, then you might consider spending some evening hours at another park. You’ll also want to look at Extra Magic Hours; 3 extra evening hours in the Magic Kingdom can really help you see and do everything you want!
5. Length of your trip
If you have 4 days to devote to the parks and are interested in all four of the main parks, then you’ll probably want to spend one day at each, but also invest in a park hopper. You can see most of what you want at Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom in less than a full day, and that leaves two evenings to go back to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. If you have six days for the four parks, 2 days at Epcot and Magic Kingdom and one day each at the others is a good general guideline (again, depending on the interests of your party). If you’re in Disney for a week, you have much more wiggle room. Plan out you first few days and then leave a day or two open toward the end of your trip to give yourself time to go back and do anything you missed.
6. Are you interested in water parks?
If you are, then you have two additional parks you can add to your itinerary. Perhaps you want to choose one of them, and spend half a day there and then go to another park in the evening (since the water parks do not stay open late). Or, perhaps you want to hop to a water park mid-day to cool off. Or, you may choose to spend two full days exploring both parks. Do some research to decide how much the water parks mean to you, vs. the “regular” parks. Do you live near water parks at home, or not? Do you have teenagers with you who are dying to go? These questions will help you prioritize.
7. Crowd levels
Are you traveling when crowd levels are at their peak? If not, you have more flexibility and you’ll probably be able to get through the parks more quickly and easily. If you’re traveling during peak times, though, you’ll need extra time to do everything you want. If this is the case, be sure to check out some of our articles on efficient park touring, how to avoid time on lines, how to use FastPass+, and how attending rope drop is a great idea!
No matter how you decide to divide your time, you’ll never get to experience everything that Walt Disney World has to offer in one trip. Enjoy your time and start counting down to your next trip!
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