Vacation length is determined by many factors. These factors can include vacation time available, budget, reason for visit, time of year and age of people in your party. I don’t believe there is the “perfect” time to visit WDW, but I do believe there is a perfect vacation length and time for each party.
Vacation Time Available & Budget
These two factors may not be one in the same. Disney does offer specials throughout the year and often times it is beneficial to stay longer in order to reap the most savings. If you have the vacation time available to you it is worth checking out all specials when deciding on your length of stay. In October we were originally planning on only staying 5 days. However, with the special it was cheaper to take advantage of their 6 night, 7 day free dining promotion. This meant extra days off of work and school, but we decided it was worth the trade. As with any WDW decision, planning is the key to success. If you can plan ahead and save up your vacation days it can save your budget in the long run.
Reason for Visit
Is it your first time? Are you going for a specific event? The reason for your visit will play a large role in determining your length of stay. If you have never been to Walt Disney World in Florida, I would suggest no shorter than 5 days to visit the parks. This also goes if you are traveling with young children. You are going to move at a slower pace. However, short trips to Disney can be just as fun. There is nothing quite like experiencing a whirlwind Disney trip. A park hopper ticket can be a great way to experience the World in a weekend. I would never suggest this to newbie’s as you will leave unfulfilled and frustrated. But for those of you that know your way around the parks it is a great experience. This year will be a great time to go for a short trip. With Limited Time Magic premiering this year, be sure to check out the schedule and plan accordingly. These special times of the year make a magical place even better.
Time of Year
Crowd levels are synonymous with certain times of the year (i.e. Spring Break, July & August, and Christmas). This will also play a part in your park touring. It will take you much longer to do the same amount in a park during Spring Break then in mid September or early December. Check out the crowd calendars and if you are touring during peak season be sure to set your expectations accordingly.
I touched on their briefly before, the age of the people in your party greatly affects your touring speeds. Thus the younger and older your party is the longer you will need to adequately enjoy the parks. I remember vividly taking many long weekend trips throughout my teenage/college years. With all of my siblings able to make early mornings and late nights, we could see and do everything on our list in 4 days. Now, with children under the age of four, I always budget at least 5 days.
Obviously, there are lots of things to consider when you start planning for a trip. I highly suggest starting your planning process early and start getting a feel for how long you can afford to take and what will be the best fit for your family. If I had to tell you the “perfect” vacation length for me, right now it would be 6 nights/7 days, 6.5 of those days would be spent in the park, and half of a day would be spent at a pool, touring resorts or relaxing.
What is the “perfect” vacation length for you family?