Can you do Disney World in 3 days?
You absolutely can, but you need a plan!
Luckily for you, I am known as the Disney Solo Traveler, which means I’ve learned quite a few things when it comes to planning an amazing 3-day Disney World itinerary and guide.
Whether you’re going solo, with friends, family, or as a couple, I’ve got you covered.
When most people think of Walt Disney World, they think of the Magic Kingdom Theme Park, but the Disney Resort has way more offerings than you think.
Walt Disney World Resort is the biggest Disney-themed area in the world with four theme parks and two water parks.
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Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks
Walt Disney World Water Parks
The Magic Kingdom was the first of the Walt Disney World parks built (opened in 1971) and continues to be the number one theme park in the world.
I know you’re probably thinking that this is way too much information than what you thought Disney had.
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How Do I Make a Disney World Itinerary?
Disney can feel overwhelming even before you start making plans. So, it’s crucial to have some type of Walt Disney World itinerary on hand.
Choosing a ticket package, deciding if you should go with a Disney Planner, or if you should just plan the trip out yourself can all be too much to think about.
Not to mention knowing the difference between the parks and what days are best to go can be overwhelming as well.
But don’t worry…
I will make this 3-day Disney World planning guide and itinerary super easy to follow.
When you finish this article, you’ll feel so much more confident in planning the most AMAZING (in my Oprah voice) Walt Disney World vacation ever! You’ll also know how to plan out your Disney World itinerary.
How to Prepare for Your 3-Day Disney World Trip Itinerary
Being a self-proclaimed ThemeParkHipster makes me the main one in my group of friends who “knows” the ins and outs of theme park tips.
One question I always get is:
How can I get cheap Disney World tickets?
One of the best theme park authorized ticket sellers is The Park Prodigy. I recommend them for a more hands-on approach for your Disney tickets and travel planning.
Their website is easy to use and whenever I send them a message, they quickly responded to my inquiry.
Get a Walt Disney World Park Hopper Pass
The Disney Park Hopper Pass gives you the option to visit more than one theme park on the same day.
I recommend getting your Disney tickets that are one or two days short of your total vacation length. If you will be at Disney for four days, maybe book only two days to go to a park.
To prevent exhaustion, on your last day you may want to skip the parks and only discover the resorts on property which are just as grand.
If you do decide to visit a Disney park, then try to keep your to-do-list light and only be there for half of a day.
When Should You Go To Walt Disney World?
For parents, this can be a bit tricky. Taking your child(ren) to Disney World sounds like the best gift ever!
The only issue is every other mom and dad has the same exact idea.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your kids to Disney for Christmas season or any other holiday for that matter.
It just means you’ll need to be prepared for a lot of company.
You’ll notice that April has crowd sizes ranging from low to moderate, while March has crowd sizes ranging from Moderate to High (mostly due to the influx of Spring Breakers).
While you’re planning that perfect day to go, don’t forget to download the official Disney Crowd Calendar to view the crowd level of each day!
What are the Best Times to Visit Disney?
These months are closely followed by May, September, and October as still pretty decent visiting times.
What to Pack for a 3-day Walt Disney World Trip?
You’ll want a good pair of sneakers. Have your go-to sneakers that you know are always dependable and are wonderful for walking MILES in, because your days will be filled with 8+ hours of walking each day.
Disney Day Bag Essentials
- Disposable Rain Ponchos or rain jackets
- Download ThemeParkHipster App
- Water-proof zipped bags
- Reusable water bottle
- Hand wipes
- Hat for sunny days
- Portable Phone Charger
- Water mist sprayer
- Theme Park Guide Books
What should you pack in your suitcase?
Since it will be a short trip, you’ll want to take the minimalist packing list approach which you can read about below.
Here are a few more must haves for your 3-day packing list:
- Active, casual, and formal clothing
- Bathing suits
- Flip flops
- Formal shoes if needed
- Water shoes
- Sunglasses/Regular eye-wear
Get Your 3-Day Packing List for Disney World Below!
Should You Get a Disney Travel Agent or Do Your Own Planning?
Planning an epic trip to Disney World can be stressful, but a cure for the stress is using an authorized Disney Planner or Travel Agent.
A Disney travel agent is a specialist in all things Disney. They stay up to date on all the upcoming attractions and customize your itinerary based on all the interests of you and your family.
They can even help you create the PERFECT Disney World itinerary that fits your needs!
Many agents even attend a special Disney “college” to make sure they know the best way to put your package together.
Most travel agencies do not charge you to plan your vacation. Disney covers all agent fees themselves.
So, whether you book through them or do it yourself, there’s no extra cost for the service!
A thorough conversation with your agent is usually all you’ll need to completely customize your vacation.
If you’re traveling with family, just let your agent know, and they’ll be sure to include family-friendly events.
The reason I prefer top Disney Agents is because they are an earmarked agency with Disney. This means Disney recognizes them as an official agency.
If you love making a Walt Disney World Planning Spreadsheet, then I recommend doing the following steps below:
- Pick vacation dates
- Purchase park tickets
- Book flight
- Choose a place to stay
- Download MyDisney Experience App
- Get familiar with the new Genie Service at Disney
- Make dinner reservations
- Have a Disney planning timeline
- Map out your Disney trip itinerary
- Depart for your trip
- Have fun!
Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!
What to Expect When Planning for Your Disney World Trip
When your trip starts, you’re most likely to arrive at the Orlando International Airport in the morning.
Making Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World
Prior to your arrival, you’ll want your dinner and lunch reservations made months in advance. Disney allows you to make reservations 60 days before your departure date (in the past it has been 180 days).
So, if you’re trying to get that coveted seat at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest, you’ll want to book your spot ASAP.
Using the Disney Genie+/Lightning Lane to Skip the Lines
It’s sad to say, but we have officially left the FastPass era and have entered into the world of Disney Genie and Lightning Lane.
As per Disney, Genie is the brand new complimentary and convenient new digital service within the My Disney Experience app specially designed to help create your perfect Disney day.
So you can basically view the Disney Genie as your own personal travel assistant. It will give you the park hours for the park you have chosen for the day, suggested things to do, and a so much more!
Disney Genie versus Disney Genie Plus
The Disney Genie+ is a version of the complimentary system that you will have to pay for in order to access its features.
It features Lightning Lane selections on 40+ attractions for your entire day. With this, you can book arrival times throughout the day for attractions with very little wait.
With Lightning Lane, you will have to pay for each attraction that’s special to this feature. You can choose up to 2 attractions per day to use Lightning Lane and they are usually the most popular rides in each park.
Where to Stay in Walt Disney World?
The most convenient places are the resorts on Disney property. The Walt Disney World Resort has over twenty hotels, including Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Deluxe Villas, and a campsite, for theme park guests to choose from.
If you’re vacationing on a budget then you’ll save money by booking a Disney Value Resort or an offsite Orlando vacation home averaging $150 per night.
Disney Resort Hotel Prices
- Deluxe Villas – From $318/Night
- Deluxe Resort Hotels – From $326/Night
- Moderate Resort Hotels – From $191/Night
- Value Resort Hotels – From $100/Night
- Campgrounds – From $53/Night
A vacation home is another great option where you can get a wonderful deal on lodging for your Florida vacation.
Top Villas is one of the best luxury villa rental specialists with more than 4,000 luxury villas in over 50 of the world’s finest vacation destinations.
I am a fan of vacation home rentals with resort amenities for families or friends traveling to Disney on an extended vacation.
Ready to plan your theme park trip? Watch the best vacation planning tips on YouTube. Get started here!
3-Day Walt Disney World Planning Guide and Itinerary
Now that we’ve gotten the basic pre-planning Disney checklist done, let me show you how to conquer your vacation in 3 days.
Day 1: Arrive, Check-in, Head to EPCOT
Once you land at the Orlando International Airport (MCO), get your luggage and head to your chosen transportation or Mears Bus.
These buses were made to make your trip much easier by dropping you off at your Disney hotel.
Once you’re checked in, freshen up and head over to Epcot.
EPCOT THEME PARK
Let’s talk about my absolute favorite theme park in the world. Epcot! Disney’s Epcot approach has been to take the present and create the future we want to have.
This has been done through neighborhoods (World Nature, World Celebration, and World Discovery) highlighting technological advances of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Whereas World Showcase goal is to highlight learning and living with people of other cultures.
There aren’t many thrill rides here, but the rides at Epcot come with more of a purpose then what you will see in other Disney theme parks. The classic dark rides, the theatrical entertainment, and the seasonal events are great for a more mature audience.
This isn’t to say that kids won’t enjoy Epcot.
But a lot more adults truly love and enjoy it and I’m TOTALLY not being biased…
…well maybe I am.
Epcot Daytime Itinerary:
- Explore Neighborhoods at the front of the park.
- Ride Soarin’ Around the World and Living with the Land.
- Hop on and ride Mission: SPACE and Test Track.
- Explore World Showcase.
- Have lunch at La Cantina de San Angel
- Ride the Three Caballeros
- Have a margarita at La Cava Del Tequila.
- Ride the Frozen Ever After Attraction.
- Do the Wine Walk.
- Watch Impressions de France and Explore the France Pavilion.
- Walk through the shops of the United Kingdom Pavilion.
Epcot Nighttime Game Plan:
- Ride Spaceship Earth
- Have early dinner at Spice Road Table in Morocco
- Book a dessert party (when available)
- Watch the fireworks show at Epcot to end your night
Best Epcot Rides:
- Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
- Test Track
- Soarin Around the World
- Frozen Ever After
- Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
- Living with the Land
Best Food and Drink Places at Epcot:
- Les Chef de France in France
- Biergarten Restaurant in Germany
- Spice Road Table in Morocco
- La Cava Del Tequila in Mexico
- Takumi Tei in Japan
- Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar in Italy
Once your time at Epcot is over, head back to your resort and relax for the next day ahead.
Day 2: MAGIC KINGDOM
The next morning you’re going to want to start early, because you must experience a character breakfast at Walt Disney World.
Since you will be in the Magic Kingdom, you might as well meet a princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Keep in mind that you must book your reservation for this experience ASAP.
If you can’t get this one, then here are a few Disney character dining places:
- Beach Club Resort’s Cape May Café
- Epcot’s Garden Grill
- Topolino’s Terrace
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Lodge
- Animal Kingdom’s Tusker House
- Chef Mickey’s
After breakfast, it’s time to spend a magical day inside the Magic Kingdom theme park. The Magic Kingdom is thought to be the most magical place on earth.
This park is a wonderful starter for those interested in the classic Disney appeal. It gives a good variety of thrilling attractions on the milder side.
You’re also in the thick of theme park entertainment with all the shows, parades, and fireworks in one place.
The Magic Kingdom is divided into six lands:
The lands are centered around the hub, which is Cinderella Castle. This is especially important to note when planning and mapping out your trip.
When it comes to experiencing the attractions, if you’re a thrill ride junkie, then this may not be the park for you.
If you’re an adult who likes to mix up moderate thrills with more relaxing moments, then you’re in the right place.
Magic Kingdom Daytime Itinerary:
- Head down Main Street, U.S.A.
- Start in Adventureland.
- Hike up the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.
- Ride Jungle Cruise.
- Experience the Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
- Ride Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Head to Frontierland and conquer Splash Mountain and BIG Thunder Mountain.
- Take a break and explore Tom Sawyer’s Island.
- Ride the Haunted Mansion.
- Have lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern (make reservations prior to visit).
Magic Kingdom Nighttime Game Plan:
- Return to the park
- Head over to Fantasyland and ride Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world,” Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Under the Sea~ Journey of the Little Mermaid.
- Now step into the future in Tomorrowland and ride Space Mountain, the PeopleMover, Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.
- Experience the storytelling of Belle
- Check out the Hall of Presidents
- Watch the classic Country Bear Jamboree show.
- Experience Once Upon a Time projection show
- Participate in the Dessert Party
- End your night with the Fireworks Show
Best Magic Kingdom Rides:
Best Food and Drink Places at the Magic Kingdom:
I recommend staying as late as possible at the Magic Kingdom, since the crowds get much smaller after the fireworks show.
Hipster Power Tip: If you want to meet characters in shorter lines, go during the mid-day parade.
Once your day comes to an end at the Magic Kingdom, it will be time for you to head back to your resort for your final day at Walt Disney World.
DAY 3: DISNEY HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS & ANIMAL KINGDOM
Sorry to let you know that this is your last day at the most amazing themed resort in the world. But don’t be sad. Your Disney World itinerary is not quite over yet…
You’ll end your 3-day trip with a fun theme park or two.
Start your day early and possibly order room service to bring you breakfast or just make your way to one of the onsite restaurants for a quick meal before the parks.
Hollywood Studios was once known as Disney-MGM Studios when it opened in 1989. It has always been a great half-day theme park for those visiting Walt Disney World solo.
However, it is now a park that is spectacular to discover for over a whole day.
Hollywood Studios Itinerary:
- Visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Explore Toy Story Land
- Go fast on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Sunset Boulevard
- Scream on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Sunset Boulevard
- Watch Beauty and the Beast, Sunset Boulevard
- Have lunch at Tune-In Lounge, Lounge, American Food, Echo Lake
- Go on an adventure with the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, Echo Lake
- Ride Star Tours
- Watch the Muppets 3-D Vision Show
- Encounter Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay, Animation Courtyard
- Experience the March of the First Order, Star Wars
- Enjoy Galaxy’s Edge at night
- Watch the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular- Fireworks, Stage Show or Fantasmic! (sometimes both shows may run at the same time so double check the schedule when you arrive)
Hipster Power Tip: Do the nighttime events only if you plan on coming back to Hollywood Studios for the evening. Since we are focusing on a 3-day trip, you may have to save those activities for another visit.
Best Hollywood Studios Rides:
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run
Best Food and Drink Places:
- Tune-In Lounge, Lounge, American Food, Echo Lake
- The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
- Woody’s Lunch Box
- BaseLine Tap House
If you think Animal Kingdom is just a place to watch animals, then you’ll be surprised at all the rides, attractions, shows, and food you can partake in at this one-of-a-kind theme park.
A large chunk of the park is geared towards educating you about animals and their habitats, but another chunk is aimed at providing exquisite cuisines from around the world.
Here you can meet local singers, dodge a yeti, and go on a wild safari adventure. Animal Kingdom is a good park to end your Disney vacation as you relax and unwind on the many majestic natural walkways.
Animal Kingdom Itinerary:
- Conquer DINOSAUR and watch Finding Nemo the Musical.
- Ride Expedition Everest.
- If you want a big cool off, ride Kali River Rapids (you will get soaked).
- Watch Festival of the Lion King.
- Have dinner at Tusker House.
- Ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris.
- Journey to Avatar on The Flight of Passage (you may have to wait until the evening when the line gets lower to ride this attraction)
- Ride the Navi River Journey
- Explore Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
- Watch It’s Tough to be a Bug!
- Spend the rest of the day exploring the various wildlife throughout Animal Kingdom.
- Enjoy a special Animal Kingdom tour or evening event
Hipster Power Tip: If you are a big Star Wars fan, then you’ll want to head back to Hollywood Studios to watch the Star Wars Nighttime Spectacular (once it returns).
Best Animal Kingdom Rides:
- Avatar Flight of Passage
- Kilimanjaro Safaris
- Expedition Everest
Best Food and Drink Places at Animal Kingdom:
Departure day on your Disney World itinerary may come on a late flight on your third day or an early morning flight on the fourth day. You can always think about waiting in Disney Springs until it’s time for you to return to the airport.
Either way, your 3-day Walt Disney World has come to a temporary end, but I know you’ll come back soon.
You are now armed with the most spectacular things to do at the Disney Parks in Florida.
CheapOair also offers a FREE rewards program that allow you to get up to 20% off flights and up to 55% off hotels.
What do you think about this Disney World itinerary template?
I know this itinerary is a bit intense, so feel free to add more half-days at the parks, that way you can relax and enjoy your resort or spend a day shopping and dining at Disney Springs.
I’m sure you will have a blast on your Walt Disney World vacation and I hope I was able to take a bit of the stress away from planning this trip.
Have you done Walt Disney World Resort in 3 days? If so, let me know in the comment section below.
If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:
- How to Save $3000 for Walt Disney World in 6 Months
- What’s the Best Restaurant in Disney Springs? Don’t Miss These 5 Spots!
- Easy Ways to Do Disney World on a Tight Budget
- 9 Fastest Rides at Disney World You MUST Experience
- Where To Get The Best Breakfast at Disney World (6 Places You CAN’T MISS)
- 51+ Things to Do at Disney for FREE
- Disney World Characters: Where to Find Them ALL at Walt Disney World?
- Disney World Roller Coasters: ALL RANKED
- 35 Best Restaurants at Disney World You MUST ADD To Your Dining List
Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!
(Original article date: June 10, 2019/Updated June 1, 2022)