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Tips for Planning a Long Weekend in Walt Disney World

Any time spent in the Walt Disney World Resort is magical. Ask most Guests, and they would wish for an endless amount of time to spend in the Disney Parks and Resorts. While that, unfortunately, isn’t possible, we’re sure that you’ll be grateful for any time you spend in Walt Disney World. A week or longer is an ideal length of time to visit Lake Buena Vista. You have time to visit each Disney theme park, dine in your favorite restaurants, try new experiences, take a little downtime, and, most importantly, make memories.

But what if you want to spend a shorter time in the Walt Disney World Resort? A shorter Disney vacation can be just as magical. Here are our tips for visiting Orlando for a long weekend.

Length of Time

Three or four nights offer the ideal long weekend in Walt Disney World. Arriving Wednesday evening and leaving Sunday evening allows you three full days to enjoy all there is to offer. Arriving Friday evening and leaving on Monday or Tuesday can also tie in with holidays throughout the year. Less than five days is ideal, though, if you’re in need of a little Disney fix, having visited before. We wouldn’t recommend visiting the Walt Disney World Resort for the first time with a long weekend. 

Where to Stay

Choosing the Disney Resort hotel closest to the Disney Park or Parks you are planning to spend the most time in will allow you to maximize your time. If you plan to spend most of your time between Magic Kingdom Park and EPCOT, staying in the Magic Kingdom Resort area will provide you with easy access to the Disney Monorail. For Guests planning on spending their time between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, then one of the EPCOT Resorts or the Disney Skyliner Resorts will allow ease of access via the Skyliner and Disney FriendShip Boats. Guests looking to spend their time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, or Disney’s Coronado Springs are the places to stay. For easy access to all of the Disney Parks and Disney Springs, Disney’s Port Orleans Resorts are in a perfect location. 

polyneisan-village-lobby

Credit: V Mills

Disney’s All-Stars Resorts are the place to stay if you’re looking to keep the cost down for your long weekend. While you may experience bus journeys that are a little longer to some of the Disney Parks, the Value Resorts offer all that is needed to provide Guests’ with a comfortable stay.

Whichever Disney Resort hotel you plan to stay in, take advantage of the Early Theme Park Entry offered each morning in all Disney Parks. If you’re staying in a Deluxe Resort, your Disney vacation may also coincide with Extended Evening Theme Park Hours.

Visiting the Disney Parks

When taking a long weekend Disney vacation, choosing the Disney Parks to spend time in is essential. You don’t want to pack your weekend with so much that you leave feeling exhausted. One Disney theme park per day will allow you some time to relax. We’d recommend spending a morning in one Disney Park on one day (Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great place to spend a morning), and on another, plan to spend the afternoon and evening in another (the other Disney Parks are ideal for this). Make sure you secure Park Reservations ahead of your Disney vacation to guarantee entrance into your chosen theme parks.

walt-disney-world

Credit: Visit Orlando

If your short Disney vacation coincides with one of the EPCOT International Festivals, we highly recommend visiting the Disney Park for a day. Look at the activities that will take place and food offerings found around World Showcase before you visit, so you can experience everything you wish to when you are there.

Limit your Wish List

A long weekend in the Walt Disney World Resort shouldn’t be about running from one attraction to the next, to do it all. Instead, make a list of all of the things that you wish to experience during the weekend. Pick out your favorite attractions, must-see shows, and Disney characters you hope to meet, then stick to this list. If you have time for additional experiences without exhausting yourself, go for it. Otherwise, leave the Parks for some downtime once you’ve done all that is on your wish list. You’ll be thankful for a slower Disney vacation at home time.

Dining

A long weekend in Walt Disney World should be about enjoying your favorite parts of the magic. Plan the Disney restaurants that you will dine in during your Disney vacation. For full-service dining locations, secure an advance dining reservation. We love to plan at least one breakfast and dinner reservation throughout the weekend. Also, plan the quick-service locations you plan on stopping by to refuel during the day. This will ensure you can maximize the rest of your time daily. Mobile Ordering at quick-service locations can reduce your wait time too.

Cinderellas-royal-table

Credit: Disney

Use the My Disney Experience App

Ahead of your Disney vacation, download the My Disney Experience app. Linking your Disney hotel reservation and Park ticket to the app will allow you to keep track of your plans. Ahead of traveling, you can make advance dining reservations and Park reservations using the app. When you’re there, you will have access to Mobile Ordering, Lightning Lane experiences, Self-Checkout, and even the MagicMobile Wallet at your fingertips. Using the My Disney Experience app in the Disney Parks will allow you to see show times, Park hours, and live wait times so that you can plan your day the best way. This is also how you can access the Disney Genie+ should you wish to pay for the experience.

my-disney-experience-app

Credit: Disney

Relaxation

Remember that a long weekend in the Walt Disney World Resort should involve relaxation. Our favorite ways to relax during a Disney vacation include:

  • Time by the pool – mornings offer a quiet time before the pool activities, and entertainment begins. Alternatively, a couple of hours in the evening provide the perfect opportunity to end your day with a soak in the jacuzzi.
  • Watch Disney Enchantment from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort beach area or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa marina.
  • Hire a surrey bike at one of the Disney Resort hotels and enjoy the views while taking some pressure off your feet and legs.
surrey-bikes

Credit: DVC Rentals

  • Spend the evening in a bar while enjoying live music. You’ll find us in Jellyrolls on Disney’s BoardWalk or Scat Cat’s Club Lounge in Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort.

Pack Light

When taking a short Disney vacation, it’s essential to pack light. Plan outfits before you go, choosing those you won’t need to iron when you arrive. Take one pair of shoes you can wear with all of your outfits, and limit the mouse ears you will take too. Packing light will make travel easier, reducing the need to wait for baggage when you arrive at the airport. Remember to save room for a few purchases you may make during your Disney experience.

Transport to and from the Airport

Ahead of your Disney trip, consider how you will travel to and from the airport if you are flying. Mears Connect is a service that can be booked right up to the day of travel. To reduce your transfer time, consider using a Minnie Van via Lyft. 

minnie-van

Credit: Disney

When will you take a short Walt Disney World vacation? These tips will help you plan your much-needed escape to the magic!

About Victoria Mills

Victoria is a Disney-loving, tea-drinking, Math teacher from Liverpool, England. Her motto is 'work hard, Disney harder'! Having taken part in the Disney College Program back in 2010, Victoria's love and appreciation for Walt Disney World only grew, and it's the place where she feels most herself - it's home!