If you’re lucky to find two free days to go to Disney World, count yourself lucky. But that doesn’t mean your trip will be easy? After all, with four major theme parks and only a couple of days, you’re going to need to make some tough choices. Well, in this article, I’m going to show you how to do Disney World in two days. I’ll also provide a Disney World checklist PDF that you can download (or print) out that will help you maximize your 2 days at Disney!
How to Do Disney World in Two Days – Park Reservations
The first thing you need to consider for your two day Disney plan at Disney World is to ensure sure park reservations are available for the days you’ll be there. Both a theme park reservation and a valid admission ticket for the same park on the same date are required for all guests ages 3 and up. The Disney World website has a calendar that will let you know if reservations are available for the day you want to visit.
Admission: 1 or 2 Parks Per Day?
Two days at Walt Disney World means you can of course visit two parks, but if you add the park hopper option to your tickets you could visit all four Disney parks.
Walt Disney World Park admission is now based on what day of the week you visit, and park capacity. Weekends and holiday break times are going to be more expensive. As an example, a two-day ticket for mid-January will cost an average of 285.86 for an adult ticket (Ages 10+).
If you decide you want to try to visit all four parks in two days, you can buy a Park Hopper option in addition to your regular admission ticket. With a Park Hopper, you can visit a second park on the same day, anytime after 2:00 PM. The added cost for a Park Hopper is an average of $60-$70 to the price of each ticket.
If you plan to park hop, be sure to check the website calendar to verify the park hours on the days of your visit. Magic Kingdom usually has the latest closing time of any of the parks, staying open until 11:00 PM on most nights. Animal Kingdom closes the earliest; usually at 7:00 PM. Hollywood Studios and Epcot typically close at 9:00 PM.
A good park-hopping strategy to maximize your park time might be to visit another park first, then hop to Magic Kingdom after 2:00 PM and stay until it closes. That way you’ll have a longer day to enjoy Walt Disney World, and you’ll get to see the iconic fireworks over Cinderella’s castle.
For your second day, choose Epcot or Hollywood Studios as your second park of the day, since they have later closing times. Use a basic strategy of “arrive early/leave late” to get the most out of your limited park time. The Disney free transportation options make it easy and fun to get around the parks.
But as reliable as Disney’s free transportation options are, they might take a little longer than you’d like. This is especially true during the early mornings and on the busiest days at Walt Disney World. It might be quicker to drive yourself to a second park if you have your own car. It can also be a time saver to take a taxi or ride-share service.
Should You Stay At a Disney Resort Hotel?
If you’re visiting Walt Disney World for two days, you’ll need a place to stay for a couple of nights. There are definite advantages to staying at one of the Disney Resort Hotels. All of the Disney hotels offer free transportation to the parks, as well as to Disney Springs.
Guests of the Disney resorts are also allowed into the parks 30 minutes before the regular opening time on any day. If you stay at one of the Deluxe Resorts, you can take advantage of extended evening hours at select parks on select dates.
If you’re only staying for a couple of nights, and don’t plan on spending a lot of time at your hotel other than to sleep, one of the “Value” or “Moderate” resort options will be your best choice economically. The Deluxe resorts are wonderful, but if you’re not going to be there to take advantage of all their amenities, you might reconsider spending so much money for a short stay.
If you plan to drive yourself back & forth to the parks, there are plenty of nice hotels and vacation home rentals around the nearby Orlando and Kissimmee areas. For a large family, sometimes renting a multi-bedroom home is a less expensive option.
Regardless of if you choose to stay at a Disney Resort hotel or off-property, make your hotel reservations at the same time you purchase your park tickets.
Do You Really Need a Magic Band?
If you have a Magic Band from visiting Walt Disney World in the past, you probably can link your existing band to the My Disney Experience app. If you don’t have one, it really isn’t necessary to purchase one unless you want to. The Mobile Magic feature on the My Disney Experience app does everything that a basic Magic Band does. You’ll just have to use your phone instead of the convenience of tapping your Magic Band.
The basic Magic Bands are currently selling for $15 to $20. It’s a small expense, but if you’re sticking to a budget it would be better to spend your money on Genie+ for everyone in your group. Genie+ will save you valuable time during your short Disney trip.
My Disney Experience App and Genie+
One of the best time management tools you’ll have available for a short visit to Walt Disney World is the My Disney Experience App. This app is free to download to any smartphone. It can be used to enter the parks, view park maps, check wait times on any rides or attractions, and take advantage of mobile food ordering.
Download the My Disney Experience app before you arrive at Disney World, and spend some time getting to know its features. It’s fairly easy to figure out, but you can find help online to learn more about it.
The other invaluable time-saving tool available to maximize the magic at Walt Disney World is Genie+. This service will be yet another added expense (averaging $15 to $22 per ticket, depending on the day), but it’s the best way to avoid waiting in too many long lines and to find entertainment options throughout the parks. Genie+ can be purchased through the My Disney Experience app on each day of your visit. Be sure to purchase it for everyone in your group.
Using the Genie+ feature, you can book “Lightning Lanes” to avoid waiting in overly long standby lines for the most popular rides and attractions. If you remember the old paper Fast Pass system, Genie+ is similar to how it operated. You can make your first Lightning Lane selection using the app at 7:00 AM on each day of your visit. After that, you can book another selection two hours after theofficial park opening time or two hours after you check in for your first Lightning Lane (whichever comes first).
One strategy to get the most out of using Genie+ is to essentially stack your Lightning Lane choices. Basically, “stacking” means you prioritize your most sought-after Lightning Lane choices for early in the day, and then make a note of that two-hour rule for when you can book your next one! You can set your phone alarm to remind you when it’s time to book the next Lightning Lane; that way you won’t miss any opportunities to ride your favorite rides.
If you’re park-hopping you can also use Genie+ to book Lightning Lanes for your second park of the day. It will only let you book times for 2:00 PM or later though since you can’t enter a second park until that time.
TheGenie+ app is also where you can purchase “Individual Lightning Lanes”(ILLs) for some of the newer, most popular rides. The prices for ILLs will vary, but seem to average around $15 per person.
Planning Ahead: The Night Before Each Visit
It’s finally the day before your magical two days at Walt Disney World! There are just a few things to do the night before, to make your day begin with as little stress as possible.
Before you go to bed, be sure to charge up your phones and a portable phone charger to take with you in the park. You’ll be using the My Disney Experience app on your phone throughout the day, as well as taking lots of photos.
Pack your park bag or backpack to save time in the morning. That way, you’ll be able to just grab your bag and head out the door once it’s time to leave!
You’ll want to get up early, so set your alarm for 6:30-6:45 AM. You can purchase Genie+ and make your first Lightning Lane selection beginning at 7:00 AM. You’ll want to leave early to make it to the park as early as you possibly can.
Finally, take some time to review the park map(s) online. Try to plan your day so that your Lightning Lane choices will be in close proximity to each other. That way you don’t find yourself walking needlessly back and forth across the park. You’ll save time, and won’t tire yourself out as quickly. Arrange your ride plans to do as much as possible in one area of the park, then move on to another area.
Most importantly, try to get a good night’s sleep! You’ll need to start each day at Walt Disney World bright and early.
Beginning Your Disney Park Visit
Before 7:00 AM, open the My Disney Experience app on your phone and purchase Genie+ for everyone in your group. Beginning at 7:00 AM, you can make your first Lightning Lane selection.
If you’re staying on Disney property, you can enter the parks 30 minutes before the official opening time. It’s a good idea to still try to arrive 30 to 45 minutes before that time.
If you’re not staying at a Disney hotel, you should still plan to arrive at the park approximately 30 to 45 minutes before the official opening.
Arriving early lets you get through the security line more quickly. Walt Disney World has greatly streamlined its security check procedure, but the lines can still be long first thing in the morning.
If you’re staying on Disney property and will be using Disney transportation, expect that the buses and monorails will be very crowded in the early morning. To save time, it might be faster to drive yourself or take a taxi, or ride-share.
Mobile Food and Table Service Restaurants
Using the mobile food ordering feature on the My Disney Experience app is another useful way to manage your time.It is available for many of the quick-service restaurants throughout all of the Disney Parks.
When you use the mobile food order feature, you choose a time window for when you want your food & place your order. You can view the menu right there on the app. Then, you simply notify the restaurant when you’ve arrived so they prepare your meal. You’ll have your freshly prepared food within minutes of your arrival time. It’s a great time saver, and you are still able to sit down and enjoy a nice meal.
There are many wonderful table service restaurants in the Disney Parks. While the food is great and the experience is always enjoyable, table service restaurants do take up more time than eating at quick-service choices. With two days to enjoy the parks, you should consider if you want to spend the extra time and money at a table service restaurant. You could always make plans for a table service meal on just one of your two days.
The table service restaurants all require reservations, and the reservations can be made online up to 180 days in advance. It’s not impossible to get a table without a reservation, but if you really have your heart set on eating at a particular restaurant you should make an advance reservation. This is especially true for any character meal experiences. The character meals will also take up slightly more time during your day, so plan accordingly for that.
Two Magical Days At Disney World Hopefully, these basic tips for how to do Disney World in two days will help if you’re planning a quick Disney World getaway. It seems like a lot to remember, but we’ve also created a basic checklist to help keep you on track for your Disney Day.
Disney World Checklist PDF (2 Day Itinerary)
You can download the 2 Day Disney World Checklist in PDF format that I recently created to help you properly plan and enjoy your one day visit to Disney World.
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