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Madison asks over Twitter (edited for clarity): Taking kids (6,8,and 9) to Walt Disney World in October for a week. Is it better to spend all 7 days at Disney or break it up with 2 days at the beach? How many days is best for Disney World? What’s the best way to schedule the trip?
I love this question because it gives us a chance to talk about strategies to help maximize your time at Disney World. I’m going to break my answer down into three parts: my answer, my rationale, and my suggested schedule.
My Answer: Both. On a 7 night vacation you can easily visit the Parks on 6 and still spend 2 nights on the Beach. Note: This answer works with kids of the ages listed and above. Babies or toddlers? Keep it simple!
- Take a look at Disney Park Ticket Prices. You’ll notice an interesting trend starting on day 4. Every single day after 4 is only an extra $10/day. This means visiting even for a half day or even a couple of hours can be worth your time if you use it wisely.
- Open to close at a Disney Park is a LOOOOONG day. You’re going to break it up anyway with a dip in the pool- breaking it up with an hour long drive to the beach is really no different. Since parking is free as a hotel guest, you can pack up in the morning, throw the luggage in the car, drive to the park, and leave directly from Space Mountain.
- Ditto a day at the beach. You can arrive at the beach at 2ish, get a good four hours beach time in, and feel like it’s a full beach day. The day of departure you can enjoy the sunrise, get a good swim in, then head over to the parks for lunch.
- Disney World is one of the few places I break the minimize transitions rule on purpose. The hotels are destinations in themselves. So moving hotels twice to get the beach in is no great hardship, especially with older kids.
I’m keeping the parks open because you would pick them based on the Touring Plans Crowd Calendar.
Sunday: Arrive to Disney Hotel, Evening in Park
Monday: Park, Disney Hotel
Tuesday: Morning Park, Beach Hotel
Wednesday: Beach Hotel
Thursday: Morning Beach, Evening Park, Disney Hotel
Friday: Park, Disney Hotel
Saturday: Park, Disney Hotel
Which Beach? Which Disney Hotels? I’d suggest the Radisson Melbourne Beach (be sure to book with points before May 31 if you have a Club Carlson card for the last night free).
At Disney? For two shorter stays I recommend two different on-site for fun. Which ones? Well, not these! I’ve tested and liked Port Orleans Riverside and Coronado of the Moderate level Disney hotels (my recommended level). I’ve also heard nothing but raves about Art of Animation, which is officially a value resort but is brand new and apparently miles above the all-stars, which I do NOT recommend. Or if you want to go big, splurge for one of the all-in themed deluxe on the first two night stay-Animal Kingdom Kidani got the most love from readers.
Readers: What are your thoughts on my plans for Madison? Please share in the comments.
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