Are you planning a trip to Disney World and wondering which day is best to visit each park? Today’s post in our Planning a Magical Trip to Disney Series will help you decide which day is best for your family to visit which park.
It seems like everyone has a theory on what days are best for each park. Many of awesome sites put together intricate crowd calendars to help give you advice on which park will be less busy. Truth be told I have had a hit and miss experience with a variety of crowd calendars.
Honestly, I think vacation seasons are changing and crowd calendars are having a hard time keeping up. So, while I definitely consult them, I do not let them dictate every part of our trip.
I usually consult them at the beginning of planning and revisit them if I am trying to decide between two parks for a certain day.
I especially pay attention to them if one park is rated particularly busier than the rest. That may indicate a special event that you will want to avoid. The good news is that if you are working with a free Disney Vacation Planner, they should be able to help you with crowd calendar knowledge as most have access to the paid services that in my opinion tend to have a higher quality.
Park Hopper Ticket
Planning becomes a lot easier and less risky when you have the more expensive park hopper ticket. This ticket allows you to go to any park and switch parks on any day. It is especially nice when you go to one park in the morning, go back to your room for a mid-day rest then head out for dinner and a different park at night.
Park hoppers also make it so nice to really leverage the Extra Magic Hours we have access to because we stay on property. Each park has a different Extra Magic Hours day where they either open early or stay open late (sometimes really late) for resort guests only. We LOVE Extra Magic Hours. So if a park is open really late for resort guests and we don’t have park hoppers, that pretty much seals the deal for us. Park Hopper tickets make our schedule more flexible.
A luxury indeed, but not always an option for the budget. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can just buy a less expensive 5 day ticket for a 4 day trip and just use two tickets on the same day to get into two different parks. You can’t. You will have to purchase the park hopper ticket to get into a second park or only go to the park you visit first that day.
Truth be told, we only do Park Hopper about half of the time. It is a budget luxury. It is completely doable without, but really nice when you have it.
If you like to make table reservations at some of Disney’s best restaurants– and also for those Character Meals that save you all kinds of time NOT having to wait in line to see characters– you will need to consider what day you can get into the restaurant so you can plan to be in the corresponding park or a close by park if the restaurant is at a resort or Downtown Disney.
Putting It All Together
So after checking and noting all of these things I then consider our preference. We usually do at least two days at Magic Kingdom and if we can two at Epcot. Then one full day at Hollywood Studios and no more than a half day at Animal Kingdom. We like to start with Magic Kingdom and leave Animal Kingdom for our last day, but we don’t always follow our preference. If we have Park Hopper, we tend to let the crowd calendars dictate as long as we can make dinner reservations work with it. And then we circle back to any park with Extra Magic Hours at night.
If we don’t have a Park Hopper ticket then late night Extra Magic Hours pretty much dictate it for us, then reservations and then crowd calendars. Do note that a lot of resort families tend to make this same strategy and tend to make the parks during the day a bit busier. It is worth it for us though. We love the low crowds, short lines and cooler weather at night.
This post is a part of a 10 part series (gone wild… I hope to get it down to 20 parts!).
- Part 1: Lodging (Onsite or Off and Choosing a Disney Resort)
- Part 2: The Parks (When to Visit and Which Park Which Day)
- Part 3: Top 5 Parks Tips
- Part 4: The Parks ~ Fireworks & Parades
- Part 5: Food Options
- Part 6: Characters
- Part 7: Our Favorite Places
- Part 8: Transportation Options
- Part 9: The “Extras”
- Part 10: Apps We Love
Next up we will be talking tips and sharing how we make the most of our Fast Passes. How about you, do you have a favorite Disney tip?
I am the mama behind GOODEness Gracious and the owner of Cris Goode Solutions. Here at GOODEness Gracious, we like to keep it light and fun as we cook up family meals, share our super mommy secrets and chat it up about the GOODe life:) So come on in and sit a spell.