By the co-author of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook ever -- The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit.—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor

(Other Disney World Trip Lengths)

By Dave Shute

How Long to Stay      Other Trip Lengths      Itinerary Design Goals 

Designing Your Own Itinerary      Shorter Itineraries 


This site recommends a 9 day, 8 night trip. The next best choice is one day and night longer! Below are alternatives, including for shorter trips


  • Click here for a seven night Walt Disney World itinerary that covers the Easter calendar–the weeks before and after Easter
  • For a seven night Summer itinerary, click here
  • Click here for a seven night Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary with a Saturday arrival
  • Click here for a seven night Autumn-Winter-Spring itinerary with a Sunday arrival
  • For a seven night variant of the Basic December Itinerary with a Saturday arrival, see this
  • For a seven night variant of the Basic December Itinerary with a Sunday arrival, see this




For an example of a slightly longer itinerary, see this, and for example multi-week itineraries, see this


For help in designing your own itinerary, or making major changes to the itineraries presented above, click here 

If you need to figure out what you can afford first before thinking about an itinerary length, click here for what you can do for various budgets 



1 Tom { 10.06.10 at 1:32 pm }

this will be our 2nd trip to WD …we are thinking of going Aug23/11 till Sep 2/11…10 nights/11 days ….10 day pass for WD/ Water parks/park hopper (dining plan is thrown in ) …looking at staying at 1 of the moderate resorts …kids are 12,14,18 plus 3 adults ….thanxs for any advise you can offer ….

2 Dave { 10.06.10 at 3:47 pm }

Tom–first, there are some great alternatives to moderates for a group that big. See this.

Some of them may appear expensive, but buying one annual pass and getting a passholder rate may really help. See this.

Since you’ve been before, you likely have ideas about what to see–for more help, see this, this, and this.

3 Tom { 10.06.10 at 7:07 pm }

the biggest thing for us is convience getting to and from the parks …plan on taking everything in and hoped that with 10 days to do it we shouldn`t be so rush but still be able to see everything …last trip was only 7 days and we stayed at Port Qrleans Riverside 2 rooms ….

4 Dana { 06.08.11 at 9:45 am }

I am just curious about January 3rd and 4th. From what I understand, nothing is going on that week. Is it crowded? About what percent of the rides are closed?

5 Dave { 06.08.11 at 10:16 am }

Hi Dana!

I haven’t completed my analysis of 2011-2012 Christmas break dates (because a lot of school boards haven’t put their calendars out yet) but right now the 3rd and 4th look very uncrowded.

Typically 3-5 rides are closed, almost always including Splash Mountain. See

6 Kathy Strachan { 04.29.12 at 2:20 am }

Hi Dave,
Am arriving into Orlando from Australia on Thursday 6 December at 9.35pm. We are planning on staying at WDW so am assuming won’t get to bed until at least midnight. We then are departing on Thursday 13 Dec flying to Washington DC at 1.10pm. This gives us 6 full days at WDW and are hoping that we won’t be suffering with jetlag. What would be the best itinerary option with this? And with this time being classed as “lower” would this greatly reduce the travel time from accomm to parks? Still haven’t made up our mind as to where to stay as have a few things to factor in. If travel time isn’t really an issue at this time it will make choosing the accom a lot easier.
Thanks heaps Dave.

7 Dave { 04.29.12 at 9:44 am }

Hi Kathy, I don’t have an itinerary that fits that period. Check back with me in a 3-4 weeks, after Disney’s December calendar is out, and I’ll be able to give you some more specifics.

The lower crowds don’t have much of an impact on convenience or travel time, just on lines in the parks themselves and how early you need to arrive. However, the worst case difference in the convenience rankings of WDW resorts is 30-60 minutes per round trip park visit, so if you have good reasons for ignoring the convenience rankings they don’t matter a huge amount…

8 Jennifer { 01.15.13 at 10:09 pm }

We are looking to come to Disney World Feb 4th to the 8th .We have a 4 year old which is almost 39″ tall and a 2 year old 34 1/2 ” measured without they measure with shoes on or off there? And is there very many things for them to ride and do? Where is the best place to stay for 2 adults and 2 lil girls with the best price?

9 Dave { 01.16.13 at 8:52 am }

Hi Jennifer they measure them with shoes on! This site focuses on older kids, but take a look at this for what to see and do: For my hotle recommednations by price class, see this:

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10 Heather { 02.01.13 at 1:15 pm }

Hi there, my family of 5 (2 adults, 2, 8 and 15) will be using our 4day hopper tickets from the military special offer to visit WDW the 2nd week of June. We will be in Orlando the entire week but would like to spend a couple days seeing the area, and my husband would like one day of golf. What suggestion do you have for utilizing a 4-day hopper to its best without over-doing it with 3 kids in tow? Thanks in advance!

11 Dave { 02.02.13 at 7:10 am }

Hi Heather! I don’t have any 4 day itineraries, but I’d plan on two days at MK, and one day each at two of the other three parks…

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12 Krista { 02.07.13 at 9:02 pm }

Hi Dave,

Your site is excellent and is helping me to get my head wrapped around planning this December 2013 holiday for my husband and 2 boys ages 5 and 2. I am looking at staying in the Art of Animation Family Suite, as I think that the extra room will make bedtimes easier. I know that your focus is on the first trip to Disney World (this is our first), but I am assuming that we will likely return in 5 years, so I don’t feel like I need to do it all. Also, we are a family of early to bed, early to risers, so a lot of the late night things (after 8 pm) will not apply. What should I cover in a 6 night holiday?

13 Dave { 02.08.13 at 7:07 am }

Hi Krista and I’m so glads the site is helping!

At those ages, there’s not much beyond the Magic Kingdom. You could spend three mornings at MK, and a morning each at AK and HS, and have a great trip See this:

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14 Sandy { 12.04.13 at 3:12 pm }

This is a great website with a ton on valuable information. We are planning our first trip to WDW in Jan 2014. Four nights, 3 full days and 2 half days (Sat – Wed). We are planning to stay at the Polynesian Resort (based on your recommendation). We have one child, he will have just turned 7, and is not very adventurous when it comes to riding rides. I am looking for recommendations regarding the best itinerary. Also, advice on if we should purchase the park hopper or dining plans. Any thoughts, advice, recommendations will be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!

15 Dave { 12.05.13 at 8:57 am }

Hi Sandy and thanks.

All my stuff is for much longer trips, but here’s some thoughts.

Target 2-3 mornings at MK, and one morning each at AK and HS.
Target an evening at each of Epcot, MK and HS (for the evening fireworks).
Add this up, and you will need a hopper.

I would skip the dining plan, though–it saves little to nothing, and that only if you do all the sit-down meals you have [paid for–which is a bad idea on such a short trip…too much time, too many schedules to meet

See also this:

16 Owain { 07.07.15 at 4:46 am }


Love the site its a great help. However I was wondering if you had any advice on a 14 day trip I’ve booked. Im leaving the UK on the 2nd of November and returning on the 16th. 2 whole weeks I can’t wait!

Many Thanks


17 Dave { 07.07.15 at 7:53 am }

Hi Owain, what are your starting thoughts? Any kids, and if so, how old? Are you thinking about other places to go to–SeaWorld, Universal, Legoland, etc?

18 Anonymous { 07.08.15 at 12:13 am }

Hi Dave

Well I’m staying at Disney’s Old Key West for the entire two weeks (My favourite place to stay in Disney). This is my first solo trip with my long time girlfriend (26) and her 30 year old brother (His first trip to disney and her second).

So as this is my first trip without them I’m desperate to get this right for the pair of them. They have been

I usually go with family who have been DVC Members since the very beginning and visiting disney world for years before that. They have been so many times that they just go with the flow but this often ends with missing out on things.

Now as for my thoughts so far:

Spend as many days at disney as possible in order to fit in as much as I can so my partner and her older brother can experience as much as possible. I love the Food and Wine fest hence the booking in early November. So I fully plan on enjoying that!

I want to set aside days for bushe, sea and islands of adventure as we are coaster junkies too!

Is there a way to fit the extra trips outside of disney property efficiently or should we just go when we feel like it?

I’m not really sure how to approach all of this, it’s very overwhelming haha.



19 Owain { 07.09.15 at 1:05 am }

I should note this is 2016. Just noticed I said November and didn’t give a year XD

20 Dave { 07.09.15 at 8:02 am }

Owain, I’m inferring–forgive me if I’m wrong–that you aren’t up to speed on the newish FastPass+ program. It more or less requires you to commit to specific WDW parks on specific days, ideally 60 days ahead. See this for the details.

You will probably want to get Park Hopper tickets so you can do Food and Wine in evenings after spending the earlier part of the day at a different park than Epcot.

The most efficient way to see Universal, by far, is to have a night booked in a Universal hotel–even if this means you are double booked!! See this.

You want at least 2 days at MK, 1.5 at Epcot (excluding F&W), and day each at HS and AK. If you LOVE thrill rides, then 2-3 days at Universal and a day at Sea World.

21 Owain { 07.09.15 at 11:28 am }

Hi Dave :)

Ah yea I had heard about FP+ but was unsure how it worked so thanks for the link :)

I bought Park Hopper as thats something that I’ve always done with a Annual Pass that my Dad would get me when I went with him.

Since I last commented we are thinking of hiring a car for a few days in order to get to Bushe Gardens, sea and the Universal parks. (Always wanted to do some driving in the US) So we will have to weigh up the pros and cons of ether car or room :).

If we go for the room I think I would extend the holiday for a few extra days in order to spend maximum time at disney.

Anyway thank you very much for your help regarding this. Just talking about this has allowed me to focus ^_^

I’m defiantly going to be investing into the new edition of the guide. This is an incredible site and resource.

Many thanks


22 Camille { 07.25.15 at 1:54 pm }

Hi Dave,

Thank you for all your hard work on this site. it is invaluable! I am feeling very overwhelmed to say the least! We are going to Orlando arriving in the early afternoon of Oct 30 and flying out Nov 14. I have purchased Magic your way 6 days as well as 3 days at Universal and we would like to take a quick trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium over 2 days. There are 2 adults and 3 kids ages 8, 10 and 17. I plan to stay in a VRBO townhome obviously off site and rent a car. WHERE DO I START!!! Should I do you recommended 7 day itinerary for over the fall weeks and just use it for the days we actually go to Disney as I do not want to do DW every day. I would like some down days as well as the universal days. I would also like to go to Typhoon Lagoon one day. Can you recommend an itinerary of 6 days over the 2 weeks we will be there. Is it worth the extra money to to the Halloween party on Halloween or the Christmas party the week after? We can only do one. Thank you in advance for your help!

23 Dave { 07.26.15 at 9:34 am }

Camille, in your spot I would pick your WDW park days based on my co-author Josh’s good and bad days calendar– October here and November here.

Aim for two days each at MK and Epcot, and one day each at HS and AK.

Then either simplify my daily itineraries to the days you are in the parks, or use the touring plans you can find in Chapter 6 of my book.

On the Halloween/Xmas party. First, there is an enormous payoff to staying one night at a Universal hotel, even if this means you are double booked, in terms of early morning lower crowd access to Harry Potter, and, if you stay in one of the more expensive Universal hotels, most of the other rides there too. See this.

So before I’d spend money on either party, I’d spend it on a double-booking at Universal first.

After that, if you can afford it, then the parties are indeed fun. You are about half a day short on MK anyway. I’d pick the Xmas party–see this for a review of the 2014 edition.

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