Disney 4-Day Touring Plan
Walt Disney World is simply huge. Housing four theme parks as well as golf courses, water parks, and many other recreational activities, Walt Disney World is a place where one could vacation for a month and still not see everything. Nevertheless, four or more days will allow you plenty of time to see all of the highlights of all four gated theme parks. Careful planning is required, however. With four or more days to see the parks, you have the luxury of touring one park per day. It is still necessary to keep a reasonably quick pace, but you will have time to see not only the major attractions but some of the smaller ones as well. Your additional days will allow you to relax and pay more attention to the details that truly set Walt Disney World apart.
Day One: Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is Walt Disney World’s flagship park. Most guests choose to see the Magic Kingdom first. With an entire day to explore the park, you will be able to take in many attractions, particularly if you make good use of the Fast Pass system.
Make a circle around the park rather than backtracking or crisscrossing. Finish each of the seven lands before moving on to the next one. Keep in mind that the shops on Main Street stay open for one to hours after the park closes, so wait to shop until the end of the day.
See the parade if it is important to you, otherwise take advantage of the seriously diminished crowds at popular attractions. Likewise, save a spot for the Wishes fireworks only if it is important to you to stand in a particular location. Otherwise, just listen for the five-minute warning then find a spot that is near where you happen to be.
Walt Disney was left-handed and decided to give lefties a small break. Whenever a queue splits, always follow the left-hand path. The line will be shorter and there will be more to see.
Day Two: Epcot
Epcot is the second-largest Walt Disney World park in square footage, and every inch is packed with interesting things to see and do. The pavilions are huge and tend to house several attractions. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the time, as it would be easy to spend the entire day in only one or two locations.
If your party does not mind splitting up, take advantage of the Single Riders line at Test Track. This line is often shorter than even the Fast Pass queue, and you will not have to wait around for a Fast Pass Return time. Be careful with Fast Passes, as it may in some instances be better to simply wait in the Standby line and move on than to hang around one area waiting for your Fast Pass to become valid.
Eat from counter service restaurants. Some of the World Showcase countries, most notably China and Morocco, offer the same food that is served in the table service restaurant at a fraction of the cost as well as terrific time savings.
Illuminations are viewable from all around the World Showcase Lagoon. Get dinner from a counter service place in the World Showcase and watch the show from the restaurant’s outdoor seating area.
Day Three: Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of the smaller Walt Disney World parks, making it easy to see in one day. Get a Times Guide (show schedule) when you arrive, as many of the major attractions are shows that are performed at specific times of the day. Plan the rest of the day around the shows that you want to see.
Hollywood Studios offers two highly themed and entertaining table service restaurants– the Prime Time Café and the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theatre. Advance reservations are highly recommended at both. With a full day to tour the park, you should have enough time to visit one or the other.
Fantasmic is normally performed twice each night. The first show is far more crowded than the second. So plan to visit popular attractions during the first show and see the second with a smaller crowd.
Day Four: Animal Kingdom
Arrive early to see The Awakening. This early morning show helps to entertain the waiting crowds 15 minutes prior to park opening. You might also be selected to participate in a special event.
Ride Kilimanjaro Safari either first thing in the morning or right before park closing. The animals are most active at those times. You might catch a stampede if you ride just before a thunderstorm. However, remember that the ride vehicles are open and you will get soaked.
Medical procedures are performed in the mornings at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Try to arrive before 10 am if you want to see a procedure. Rafiki’s is only accessible by Wildlife Train, so be sure to allow time for the train ride.
Day Five & Beyond: Park Hopping
By following the above tips, you will have seen every park fairly thoroughly by Day Five. This is your time to relax, enjoy shopping and table service meals, and catch additional shows and smaller attractions. Re-visit the parks with an eye toward appreciating the details, see the parades, perhaps just stroll aimlessly through the parks. There is so much to see and do at all of the parks that you will certainly be glad for additional time, but since you will have already seen the highlights some of the pressure will be off. Feel free to park-hop, visiting multiple parks on the same day.
Disney World is so large that it would take a month to truly feel that you have seen it all. A longer vacation of four or more days will allow you to slow down, relax, and enjoy the experience.