The Perfect Walt Disney World Itinerary For First Time Visitors

STARTING OUT WITH A COUPLE HOUSEKEEPING THINGS

  • There isn’t a right or wrong way to vacation at Walt Disney World
  • There also isn’t a general number of days that folks visit for, because that boils down to budget and time that you’ve got allocated to your vacation.
  • Your arrival and departure day will be different than everyone else, so knowing that you’ll be creating a plan that is unique to your family…that’s a great starting point!

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – THE FIRST DAY

Orlando International Airport
Orlando International Airport

Okay, so this is a cop-out, because I’ve done an article for the Arrival Day at Disney World. Check it out…because it shouldn’t count towards anything due to the number of factors that could be either in your favor or going against you. Don’t stress about anything, because your real ‘First Day’ is actually Day Two!

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY TWO (YOUR REAL FIRST DAY)

Magic Kingdom Welcome Show
Magic Kingdom Welcome Show – Photo by Steps to Magic

Location: The Magic Kingdom
Article: Magic Kingdom in One Day
Highlights include:

MY THOUGHTS IN TWO SENTENCES:

Starting your vacation off at the Magic Kingdom is just the best way of stepping into the Disney Magic, and as cheesy as that sounds…it’s so awesome to walk through the turnstiles, under the train station and turn the corner on Main Street USA to see Cinderella’s Castle in front of you.

Any planning that you do should be spread out, because you’ll want to take everything in. Looking at an article or a YouTube video and doing it yourself is night and day.


Article Continues Below

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY THREE

Epcot Turnstiles
Epcot Turnstiles – Photo by Steps to Magic

After spending your first day at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll have two choices on your next day. It’ll either be Disney’s Animal Kingdom or EPCOT.

How do I choose? Honestly, it’ll depend on what the daily hours of the parks would be.

  • EPCOT Day: Standard hours are 9-9pm, with flexibility on the closing hours.
  • Animal Kingdom Day: If you can spend time at DAK after dark, it’s definitely worth it.

If you can’t get either of these, then you’ve got flexibility, and I would base it on the your Advanced Dining Reservations. We’ve actually been known to plan for one day, and then the day before get a last minute dining reservation from our ADR’s to get ASAP list and then redo the plan….so don’t be afraid to change on the fly.

MY THOUGHTS IN TWO SENTENCES

Your second official day in the parks is still part of the exploration period. You’ll be seeing things that you’ve only seen through the lens of someone else, so take it all in and don’t stress about running from location to location.

If you’re doing a Park Hopper, this may be a day where you’ll want to open the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and then end the day at EPCOT. When you’re staying on property at a Disney Resort, you’ll be able to access Early Entry…so that may help with your decision.

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY FOUR

Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort – Photo by Steps to Magic

Want a curve ball? This is usually the day that we’ll plan to head to Universal Orlando!

After a couple days in the Disney Bubble, it’s fun to see things like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Jurassic Park. Check out my article about 10 Things you should know about Universal Orlando before you go!

MY THOUGHTS IN TWO SENTENCES

When folks are visiting Walt Disney World, they are actually visiting Central Florida…home to hundreds of things that fall within a $30 uber ride of your Disney Hotel Room.

Universal is growing in popularity among theme park fans because of their attention to detail with properties like Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, Marvel and Dreamworks. It’s worth the trek over, if you’ve got time, budget and interest. Remember, many folks don’t visit Universal on their first vacation because they are overwhelmed with the options at Walt Disney World…so don’t feel like you have to.


Article Continues Below

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY FIVE

Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Photo by Steps to Magic

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Article: Top 10 Things To Do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Highlights include:

  • What Attractions should you plan for? (Rise of the Resistance, Smuggler’s Run, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Toy Story Mania / Slinky Dog Coaster, Rock n Rollercoaster, etc)
  • Shows and Activities
  • Food Options and Ideas

MY THOUGHTS IN TWO SENTENCES:

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park that’s changing constantly, so knowing that before you visit will set expectations accordingly.

DHS is all about the details, so make sure to know what to look for…and also when you should call it a day. I’ve been known to do the Studios in the morning and walk to EPCOT for the afternoon/evening, but that’s up to you and your ticket options.

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY SIX

Disney Springs Water Tower
Disney Springs Water Tower – Photo by Steps to Magic

Let’s assume that you’re staying at Walt Disney World for longer than four or five days…maybe you’re there for a week. Maybe you’ll want to do a half & half day:

First half: A Theme Park or Water Park
Second half: Disney Springs

The idea behind this day is more of a bridge to get you to start thinking about what you would want to either see again or last minute plans. We’ve done this day as an Early Entry theme park morning, where we rope drop the headliners and then we head from the park to Disney Springs for the late afternoon and evening.

Remember, this is just an idea…because depending on where you’re staying…you could actually be ending your evenings at Disney Springs! When we did our stay at the Holiday Inn Disney Springs resort, we would take the bus from the parks to DS and then walk back to our hotel after we got some shopping done at World of Disney and the Coca Cola Store.

Be open to revisiting this day throughout the vacation, because a resort dining reservation may come up that you didn’t expect and this would be a great evening to do that!

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY SEVEN

Be Our Guest with Dustin
Be Our Guest with Dustin – Steps to Magic

Whether or not this is actually your “Day Seven” or your “Last Full Day of your Vacation”, I think that it’s almost a given that you’ll want to end this day at the Magic Kingdom with a fireworks spectacular…so expect to close down the Magic Kingdom on your last full day!

I won’t tell you what to do on this day, because no matter what I share…it’s your call! If you want to start out the day at a park that you want to revisit OR if you want to do the full day at MK, you can’t go wrong. Don’t be afraid to try to rope drop Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for this day, as you can never experience this attraction too many times.

THOUGHTS ON DINING FOR YOUR LAST FULL DAY

You’ll want to get an ADR for your dinner, but don’t be afraid to do a reservation at the Grand Floridian, Contemporary or the Polynesian Village Resorts. When you’re on the monorail line, it’s incredibly straight-forward to get back to the Magic Kingdom for the rest of the evening!

WALT DISNEY WORLD VACATION ITINERARY – DAY EIGHT

Uber / Lyft at Disney World
Uber / Lyft at Disney World – Photo by Steps To Magic

This is your departure day, which means that you’ll be at the beck and call of your transportation home.

Article: What to do on your Disney Vacation Departure Day

I’ve had to leave at 4am for an 8am flight…but I’ve also had evening flights home. Each trip has a different option for the last day, so take into account that UBER and the Minnie Vans exists and that you paid for a vacation to Walt Disney World which goes until the moment that you step onto the plane.

Our usual flight home is an evening trip, so we’ll have the morning and lunch in the parks before UBER’ing to the hotel to leave for the airport in the mid-afternoon and eat dinner at the airport before heading home.


I hope that this gives you a starting point for your vacation to Walt Disney World! There is always more to go through, so feel free to bookmark StepstoMagic.com and visit again throughout your planning!

You can also visit us at Pinterest.com/stepstomagic for a bunch of articles that you may not have known that you want to know about…like The Stitch’s of Hollywood or What is the Sorcerers of Magic Kingdom 

The Perfect WDW Itinerary for First Time Visitors
The Perfect WDW Itinerary for First Time Visitors – @StepstoMagic

Most Popular

Must Read

More from StepstoMagic

Disney Springs

Universal Orlando Resort

Magic Kingdom

51 Shares
Pin51
Share
Tweet