by: guide4wdw – Collin

Is There A Best Order to Visit Disney World Parks?

After sharing a few itineraries of ours over the last few days, that very question popped into mind. At first, I didn’t think much of it, but as I spent a few minutes thinking about the concept a few distinct ideas came to mind. My first and most prominent thought was that there could be no “perfect order” to tour the parks but then I caught myself. While there may not be a set order, there’s a few things that can affect the way you should likely plan your Disney park days throughout your length of stay. 

Obviously, no two guests will be doing the same thing everyday and very few guests will be arriving at Walt Disney World on the same day or at the same time. For the entire premise of this question that poses a fairly significant problem. How could there be an ideal order to tour the parks if no two trips are exactly the same? Ultimately, that realization led me to a few different thoughts which I’ll share in a bit more detail below. 

  • Length of Stay Will Make Difference 
  • When You Arrive Will Make A Difference 
  • Where You Stay Will Make A Difference 
  • Your Travel Party Will Make a Difference 
  • Park Hopping Will lake A Difference
  • Extra Magic Hours WiIl Make A Difference  

Honestly, the easy answer to this question is a simple “no.”  However, it’s not quiet that simple. So many of these little things that will “make a difference” posted above can play a vital role in the best case scenario of your Disney trip. Sure, there’s no perfect way to plan a trip and while we do have a few different “go-to” itineraries (below this section) for our Disney trips of various lengths, nothing will beat looking at each of these categories and figuring out what works best for you! 

Disney World 4 Day Itinerary – Making the Most of a Short Disney Trip
Our Typical Disney World 7 Day Itinerary 
Our Ideal 1-Day Walt Disney World Itinerary for 2018 

That’s the key to the whole thing. There may be a best order to visit Disney World parks for your given situation, but no two situations or travel plans will be identical. Dive into the details and you may be shocked at what you come up with for your trip! 

Length of Stay Will Make A Difference 

Chances are, every Disney trip you go on is going to be slightly different that the last in a few different ways. The experiences are going to be different, cast member interactions are never the same, and so many little details from your resort to your number of ticketed days will add up to a shocking difference from vacation to vacation. Your length of stay will mandate how you should best plan your days and order in which you visit the Disney World Parks. For example, you might go to Disney for four days and choose to spend your time trying to complete as many attractions as possible. To do so you’ll probably have to spend long hours in the parks and avoid the crowds to the very best of your ability. By contrast, you might go to Disney for a 10 day journey (which makes for a truly incredible length of stay), but in doing so if an attraction is crowded or you don’t feel like waiting you can simply come back another day and try it again. In either situation you can have an incredible trip, it’s just a little different outlook in the big picture. 

With longer stays, pegging down when you head to the parks isn’t all that important because you have multiple opportunities to revisit parks and favorite attractions time and time again. The crowds will be the same as a shorter stay but your sense of urgency wont necessarily require you to plan your days quite as aggressively.        

When You Arrive Will Make A Difference

The beginning of a stay and the end of a stay tend to be the most difficult aspects of a Disney trip to plan. If you choose to fly to Orlando, chances are your flight wont arrive early enough in the day to make it to the parks for the opening timeframe. As a result of the later arrival you’ll have to stage your fastpass+ selections late in the day in order to best utlize that particular option. Personally, I see a partial day as a great way to catch a favorite nighttime spectacular like Happily Ever After or Illuminations while also starting off your trip right with a few guaranteed attractions preselected in advance as your fastpass selections. 

If you arrive late at night, you may not even make it to the parks on your first night. A good compromise would be to schedule a meal at Disney Springs or a resort hotel to take full advantage of the Disney magic while making the most of your time. 

Personally, my recommendation is that if you are arriving for a partial day, head to your favorite park or what you’re looking forward to most first thing. If you’re waiting for your first full day before you go to a park, head to your favorite park first but avoid Magic Kingdom on Mondays. From my experience, Magic Kingdom always tends to be a bit more crowded on Mondays as a result of guests heading there for their very first day of a week long vacation. Sunday and Tuesday tend to be much better options in regard to crowds. It’s not a massive difference but may be worth it to you to hold off on that Magic Kingdom day to save yourself a bit of time standing in line. Another great strategy is to use our tips on How to Ride 6 or More Attractions in 90 Minutes or Less: With Only 1 Fastpass+! 

Where You Stay Will Make A Difference 

To be completely honest this particular category tip sounds a little crazy. To an extent, it’s overplanning at it’s finest. However, if you’re staying at Bay Lake Tower or any of the Magic Kingdom Monorail resort loop resorts chances are you’ll be much more likely to spend time in Magic Kingdom. In a similar way, if you stay at The Boardwalk resort or any of the Crescent Lake properties you’ll likely spend more time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios. That wont necessarily effect the order in which you visit the parks, but it will have a pretty strong connection with what parks you visit the most during your stay in the vast majority of cases.       

Your Travel Party Will Make a Difference 

When many families travel to Disney, there’s a few different types of situations. Typically you have parents with kids, all adults trips, teenager/college age trips, and potentially extended family trips. In nearly every case, each guest in the party will have at least a few things they want to do and see more that anything else. To accomplish it all, the best thing you can do is have everyone in the group create a top 3 choices list. If all goes well, a few things will overlap on a few of their lists and in the end you can make those things a priority and schedule your order of visiting the parks accordingly to assure that you can get everything you would like to get done accomplished. 

In a similar way, if you travel with young children, you may prioritize your days differently that you would if you traveled solely with adults. Kids tend to prefer Magic Kingdom and surprisingly Animal Kingdom. As an adult, I tend to prefer Epcot and so do quite a few other adult Disney fans. When it comes right down to it it is all a matter of perspective.       

Park Hopping Will Make A Difference

As many of you may know, I tend to be a big proponent of the park hopper option when buying tickets. In my opinion it opens you up to so many more dining and planning options that it more that outweighs the additional cost of the ticket. If you are purchasing a park hopper, I don’t see there being a best order to visit the parks in any way. If one park is overly crowded and you’re not too worried about your length of stay, you can simply head to another park. The park hopper also offers guests the opportunity to revisit a park for a few hours rather that having to spend an entire day in a park to go back and experience those one or two attractions that you were really looking forward to but happened to miss on your first day in that particular park.       

Extra Magic Hours WiIl Make A Difference 

When you’re planning park days, this is the single most important thing I look into and recommend other guests look into before they pick their park days. Extra Magic Hours are select hours designated to give Disney’s onsite resort guests access to the parks 1-2 hours before the park opens to the general public for the day. An extra hour seems like a short amount of time but if you get there when the park opens for the extended hours, you can accomplish a vast array of attractions before the largest crowds of the day roll in. Typically early morning extra magic hours will be more productive timeframes compared to late night extra magic hours. Either way, if you can plan your order of visiting the parks around these extra hours you may add as much as 10 hours to your “park hours” over the course of a 5+ day vacation. 

Final Thoughts   

As you’ve likely deducted at this point in the post, there really is no best order to visit the Disney World parks. Your Disney vacation is going to be different that your friends Disney vacation and that’s part of the joy of a Disney vacation as a whole. There’s no one “best” way to do Disney and everyone is going to have a different goal in mind going into their stay. The most important thing to take away from this whole discussion is that you have to do some research and find out what you want to do more that anything else. You can’t see and do it all in one trip. Truth be told you can’t do it all in one lifetime, but that’s the magic of Disney. There’s always something new to explore and enjoy that you’ve never done before! 

Your Thoughts

As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don’t hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you’re there, and we’ll keep the conversation going in the future. We’re not the largest Disney community, but we’re one that’s there and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are!

How Do I Create These Posts? 

Every once in a while I get questions about my gear. This is what I use and highly recommend at the moment in the realm of content creation. This list is varied and tends to change from time to time, but this is my current set up of gear used to create these posts. If you have any questions or need some tips in the site building process, feel free to message me on Facebook!

ComputerMacbook Pro  
If you get one of these you’ll inevitably need dongles (The USB-C Struggle): 
Main DSLR CameraNikon D3400 (kit lens currently)
Tripod for Night PhotographyPrimaPhoto Traveler 
Photo Editing SoftwareLightroom 6 Stand Alone Version (Not Creative Cloud) 
Secondary Camera: iPhone 7 (Older Photos on the Site) 

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Last but certainly not least, if you’re starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You’ll probably even save money along the way.