How Many Days Do You Need at Each Disney Park?
Due to the Great Resignation and evolving corporate policies, you may have more vacation days than just a few years ago.
In fact, some companies have enacted vacation rules that allow you to take a day off whenever you need one. Those places remain the minority, though.
As such, your vacation time remains a precious treasure, something you must protect at all costs.
For this reason, you may want to visit Disney without wasting all your vacation. And this leads to a simple question.
How many days do you need at each Disney theme park in North America?
Disney California Adventure
We will start with the easy one. Even after the introduction of Avengers Campus, Disney California Adventure remains a one-day park.
Even during the hectic month of July, Disneyland Resort’s busy season, only five attractions average waits of 50+ minutes.
Yes, one of them is WEBSLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure. However, its crowds have lessened since the opening rush last year.
So, you’ll definitely spend the most time at Avengers Campus, which is also home to Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Still, after those two rides plus Soarin’ Around the World, Grizzly Run, and Toy Story Mania!, you will have crossed the priorities off the list.
Most of the other stuff at the park like the Pixar Pal-A-Round and The Incredicoaster should have tolerable wait times on most days.
Please remember that the posted wait times often exaggerate how long you’ll spend in time. Disney wants to prepare guests for the worst.
The one thing to remember about DCA is that it features the dazzling World of Color at night.
You’ll want to stay until the end or, at the very least, return after dark for the show.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
This answer’s easy unless you’re an animal lover who wants to do everything at the park.
Even though Animal Kingdom qualifies as Walt Disney World’s largest park, it operates the fewest rides…and one of those is TriceraTop Spin.
So, you can visit Pandora – The World of Avatar, ride Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey, head to Festival of the Lion and Kilimanjaro Safaris, and still find you have eight hours of park time.
Friends, you will NOT need eight hours to do everything else at the park.
Honestly, Animal Kingdom is barely even a half-day park once you know what you’re doing.
We often start the day here and then finish at Magic Kingdom or EPCOT.
The one caveat is that Pandora after dark is special. You should try to see it (at least) once during your trip.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Two days. That’s the answer here, and I’m emphatic about it.
Five years ago, I would have said four hours, and even that would have been a stretch.
Before Disney opened Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, this place had Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith on one side.
The other side consisted of Toy Story Mania!, which pre-dated Toy Story Land, and Star Tours – The Adventures Continue!.
Seriously, this place got bleak for a while after The Great Movie Ride closed.
Nowadays, up to seven attractions could require waits in line of 60+ minutes. Some of them are even worse.
So, I’d strongly recommend that you purchase Disney Genie+ at this park…for both dates that you visit. Otherwise, you still might not get to do everything.
Pro tip: make time for Walt Disney Presents… Fans of classic Walt Disney stories and theme park attractions will adore it.
This one’s a tough call, and much depends on 1) the time of the year when you visit and 2) how much of a Disney fan/historian you are.
A motivated park visitor with a solid itinerary could definitely do everything iconic here in a day.
I think of those park visits like videogame speed runs. You’re skipping most of the good stuff if you do that, but it’s your choice.
Magic Kingdom operates five attractions that require average waits of 60+ minutes…and that’s before we factor in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
You could easily spend three hours at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge just for its two attractions…and those rides didn’t even exist until three years ago!
So, you can tell how much value Disneyland added with its new themed land.
That’s the bonus stuff! This park has operated since 1955! It already hosted dozens of attractions that are all worth your time!
Yes, I’m using a lot of exclamation points here, but it’s important that you understand the opportunity you’re facing at Disneyland.
You can and should explore every nook and cranny of this place, paying particular attention to the stuff that Uncle Walt did himself!
At a minimum, you should spend two days at Disneyland. I’d strongly suggest three unless you’re in three-day weekend mode.
I’ll admit in advance that it wounds me to say this. You really only need a day at EPCOT, my favorite theme park on the planet…and not even that.
The caveat here is that the statement applies more to those who care about attractions rather than experiences.
Over the years, management has honed EPCOT into the ultimate adult theme park escape.
You can hang out at the World Showcase for hours and absolutely love life the whole time.
Conversely, you can tear through the park’s top attractions in eight hours or less. Yes, you’ll still have some stragglers afterward.
However, EPCOT behaves differently in that its less popular rides don’t require extended waits. Most of them average 20 minutes or less throughout the year.
So, you can get plenty done here in one day…but you’ll have more fun if you spend plenty of vacation downtime at the World Showcase.
Each week in the Walt Disney World wait times article, I track more than 25 attractions at Magic Kingdom. All of them are worthwhile in their own ways.
For this reason, the clock is your mortal enemy during a Magic Kingdom visit. You’ll want to do everything, but it’s just not possible.
After all, shows like Country Bear Jamboree, Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, and Walt Disney Presents… are all 10+ minutes in duration. And that’s not including waiting in line!
Meanwhile, attractions like Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and Splash Mountain often require waits of 60+ minutes.
Iconic attractions like It’s a Small World, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain slot into the 35-50-minute range.
You can already appreciate the time crunch, right? Even when you spend two days at this park, you might not get to do everything.
So, what many vacationers do is Park Hop to Magic Kingdom after they’re done elsewhere.
Nothing feels better than sneaking in four or five rides at Magic Kingdom after you’ve spent a full day at a different park!
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Feature Photo: Disney