The ULTIMATE 3-Day Disney World Itinerary Template and Planning Guide for 2024

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.

Disney Magic Kingdom Rear view of Cinderella Castle next to Sir Mickey Store

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Planning Your Disney World Vacation at a Glance:

Keep reading to get your ULTIMATE Disney World Planning Guide TODAY!

What to Expect in the Disney Guide Today: show

Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks

How big is Disney World with Spaceship Earth Cinderella Castle Mount Everest

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.

Have a DIFFERENT kind of Orlando vacation with a Resort home next to Disney World. Find Your Disney Resort Vacation Rental here!

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.

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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.

Animal Kingdom Asia Shrine with Expedition Everest in the background on a beautiful Florida day.
Animal Kingdom Shrine in the Asia Section

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.

Recommended: Top 5 Ways to Find Cheap Disney World Tickets for Your Vacation!

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.

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On the first day in Orlando you may be tired or jet-lagged. Use that day to explore Disney Springs or discover your resort.

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?

While you’re searching for discounted theme park tickets, and taking advantage of the incredible dining at Walt Disney World, have you considered what are the best times to go to Disney?

Avoiding the Disney Holiday crowd (especially in November and December) means shorter lines and less traffic. 

Disney Magic Kingdom Christmas tree in the Florida sun. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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.

Santa and Reindeers during Disney Christmas Parade Magic Kingdom
Photo Courtesy of Disney Co.

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.

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House with Majestic Christmas Tree and Piano in the Lobby
Grand Floridian Resort at Christmas

You’ll notice that April has crowd sizes ranging from low to moderate (choose wisely during this time for Spring Breakers), while March has crowd sizes ranging from Moderate to High (mostly due to the influx of Spring Breakers).

Disney crowd calendar. Best time to go to Disney World. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

Nowadays, I’m seeing late January, early February, early May, late August, early October, mid-November and early December as the best times to go to Disney World.

What are the Best Times to Visit Disney?

These months are closely followed by September and October as still pretty decent visiting times.

What to Pack for a 3-day Walt Disney World Trip?

Now that you know what days to go to the Disney Parks, you’ll want to know what to pack. First off, you must have comfortable shoes!

And no not flip flops or Crocs.

Disney World Packing List

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.

Ready to start planning your next Disney World vacation? Listen to the latest podcast episode on Apple or on your non-Apple device now!

Disney Day Bag Essentials

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.

Rafiki's Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom train leaving for harambe
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom with train leaving for Harambe.

Here are a few more must haves for your 3-day packing list:

Get Your 3-Day Packing List for Disney World Below!

Disney Packing List on Clipboard. #disneytips #disneypackinglist
Click image to grab your Disney Packing Check List!

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.

Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Kali River Rapids Water Ride Animal Kingdom

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.

Test Track Epcot Entrance area with monorail and Spaceship Earth

As Laura explains in episode 27 of the ThemeParkHipster podcast, this also means Disney is more likely to honor special requests from them because of their legitimacy.

For a free service, I think that’s pretty cool.

If you love making a Walt Disney World Planning Spreadsheet, then I recommend doing the following steps below:

  1. Pick vacation dates
  2. Purchase park tickets
  3. Book flight
  4. Choose a place to stay
  5. Download MyDisney Experience App
  6. Get familiar with the new Genie Service at Disney
  7. Make dinner reservations
  8. Have a Disney planning timeline
  9. Map out your Disney trip itinerary
  10. Depart for your trip
  11. 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.

Orlando International Airport Gate A
Orlando International Airport Gate A

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.

Genie Pass Walt Disney World Itinerary
Screenshot of the New Genie System at Disney

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.

Disney Magic Kingdom Aladdin Magic Carpet Ride Lightning Lane Adventureland. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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.

New Lightning Lane Entrance at Epcot Journey into Imagination Ride

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 you to choose from.

Yacht Club Resort Walt DIsney World. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World

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

Remember that hotels are less expensive off site. If you do stay on site you will get special perks such as free transportation within the property which can save on car rental or cabs.

Reunion Resort Vacation Home Near Disney
Reunion Resort Vacation Home Near Disney (Photo Copyright: Reunion Resort)

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.

Disney Magic Kingdom Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary Topiary Best Way to Do the Magic Kingdom. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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.

Test Track Epcot Entrance area with monorail and Spaceship Earth. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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.


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.

Creations Shop and Connections Cafe at Epcot World Celebration. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

This has been done through neighborhoods (World Nature, World Celebration, and World Discovery) highlighting technological advances of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Spaceship Earth with monorail passing by. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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:
Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Mary Poppins in UK Pavilion. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Epcot Nighttime Game Plan:
Best Epcot Rides:
Best Food and Drink Spots at Epcot:

Once your time at Epcot is over, head back to your resort and relax for the next day ahead.

Read NEXT: 21 Best Drinks to Have in Epcot


The next morning you’re going to want to start early, because you must experience a character breakfast at Walt Disney World.

New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Cinderella Royal Table

Since you will be in the Magic Kingdom, you might as well meet a princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Disney Magic Kingdom Cinderella Castle with Chip n Dale 50th Anniversary Statues. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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:

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.

Cavalcade at Disney Magic Kingdom with Tinker Bell. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

For the occasional theme park goer, the Magic Kingdom is a manageable and easy park to navigate.

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.

Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Clear Day. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

When it comes to experiencing the attractions, if you’re a thrill ride junkie, then this may not be the park for you.

Disney Magic Kingdom Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster going over the bridge Frontierland. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

If you’re an adult who likes to mix up moderate thrills with more relaxing moments, then you’re in the right place.

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Magic Kingdom Daytime Itinerary:
Tom Sawyer Island Dapper Day at the Magic Kingdom. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Tom Sawyer Island with Disney Fans gathering for Dapper Day
Magic Kingdom Nighttime Game Plan:
Best Magic Kingdom Rides:
View of Space Mountain from Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Best Food and Drink Places at the Magic Kingdom:
Friar's Nook Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Friars Nook Buffalo Chicken Tater Tots

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.


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…

Disney Hollywood Studios Ticket Gates. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.

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.

Start with Hollywood Studios first, then Animal Kingdom (if you want to do both in one day). This is a good way to make them both fit on your 3-day Disney World itinerary.

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. 

Jessie holding Christmas lights in Toy Story Land. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Jessie holding Christmas lights.

However, it is now a park that is spectacular to discover for over a whole day.

The addition of Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, has made Hollywood Studios a competitive theme park.

Disney Hollywood Studios Star Wars Land with Stormtrooper and Millennium Falcon. Keep reading for you perfect Disney World itinerary.
Hollywood Studios Itinerary:
Star Wars at Hollywood Studios Storm troopers
Star Wars March of the First Order at Hollywood Studios

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:
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.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. A must do ride to add to your Disney World 3-day itinerary.
Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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.

Rafiki's Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom train leaving for harambe
Rafiki’s Planet Watch Conservation Station at Disney Animal Kingdom train leaving for harambe

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:

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:
Animal Kingdom Expedition Everest in Florida Sun
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.

cheap plane tickets for disney #disneytips #travelbudget

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.

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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.

Walt Disney World guide and itinerary. How to do Disney in 3 days.
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Have you done Walt Disney World Resort in 3 days? If so, let me know in the comment section what your perfect Disney World itinerary would be below.

If you enjoyed this article, then you’ll love these:

Until next time, Happy Park Hopping Hipsters!

Hoop Dee Doo Revue NikkyJ Dinner Show Disney World. Author bio of theme park expert Nikida Metellus.

About the Author

My name is Nikky. I’m a wife, a mother, a pharmacist turned theme park blogger, USA Today 10Best Contributor, and a writer who loves ALL things amusement park related!

Traveling alone to the parks has changed my life and I want to show how you can create your own solo theme park memories.

Connect with me on Instagram!

(Original article date: June 10, 2019/Updated April 5, 2024)

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14 thoughts on “The ULTIMATE 3-Day Disney World Itinerary Template and Planning Guide for 2024”

  1. I’m bookmarking this as I am hoping to visit Disney in November. I followed the advice in your book for my Universal Trip and got through the parks quickly enough that I got to circle back to the HP sections several times. Thanks for this service! 🙂

    • I am sooo happy it all worked out for you!!! **doing my happy dance**
      I love giving advice and tips for all of the theme parks in Florida. I want you all to have a fun time and not have to stress about missing any of your must do attractions!

  2. What a whirlwind three days if thrills you have olanned! We absolutely like a lot of what you shared, so this could be a fun trip for us. My son likes to go to Hollywood & Vine on almost every trip to Hollywood Studios, and we had a lot of laughs at Prjme Time Cafe. You listed a few restaurants that we have not tried yet. Lord wolwill, we still have plenty of time!

  3. Thanks for this wonderful post about Disney world. I have bookmarking this. I hope my next destination will be Disney World. And This blog will be helpful for me.

    • Hi Danial!

      I’m so happy that I was able to help you start planning your next Disney vacation. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions 🙂



  4. I read the article from Start to finish. I will be a first timer in Disney world. And I can’t wait to plan. It will be a short 3 days but with your guide it will def be worth it. Thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome and congrats on your upcoming Disney World trip! I know it’s hard to do everything in 3 days, but I hope you do enough to enjoy your time there 🙂



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