Disney feels overwhelming even before you start planning. Multiple parks, reservations to make and loads of attractions means you may just have to move in for a few weeks, or at least that is how it can feel.
Although a week at Walt Disney World itinerary with kids will give you a more relaxing time in the parks, it is possible to cram almost everything into a 3-day Disney World itinerary IF you know how to do it and use your FastPasses wisely.
3-DAY DISNEY WORLD ITINERARY
Here is our 3-day Disney World itinerary that can get you and your family through Walt Disney World at record speeds. It pairs very nicely with our Walt Disney World Parents’ Survival Guide… trust me.
NOTE FOR PARENTS: every park has a Starbucks. We will make sure you know where they are so you can keep up. You can also pick up “You Are Here” mugs in each park (Epcot is our favorite mug). Pick your mug up at the end of the day so you don’t have to carry it.
Day 1: Magic Kingdom
The Magic Kingdom is where the magic began and where you really feel like you are finally at Walt Disney World with your kids. I mean really, this is where the castle is (well, the Florida one that is!).
There are parades and stage shows in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Character meet and greets are found throughout the park, as well as special character dining opportunities. This is also where the crowds gather.
Magic Kingdom is by far the most crowded park you will encounter in Walt Disney World. It can be overwhelming and you will definitely want to plan some downtime back at the pool after a few hours or at least a sit down lunch.
- Starbucks: On the right as you walk down Main Street. It is disguised behind a bakery façade.
- Fast Passes: Splash Mountain, Barnstormer and Space Mountain (or save for character meet and greets)
- DAS Pass: read our full Disney DAS pass guide.
- Character Tip: If you want to meet characters without using a FastPass, go during the 3pm parade or immediately after, especially if you want to see Tinker Bell. Another great time is during Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fair stage show.
- Parade: 3pm Festival of Fantasy parade (this is where ALL of the Disney Princesses can be found)
- Shows: Mickey’s Royal Friendship Fair stage show (throughout the day in front of Cinderella’s castle)
- Once Upon a Time projection show
- Happily Ever After fireworks show
Grab discounted tickets to Disney World HERE.
DAY 2: DISNEY HOLLYWOOD
The biggest reason to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is for the Star Wars attractions. This is the only place you can see Stormtroopers, Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Kylo Ren.
Make the most of your time using our guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Star Wars. It will get you through all of the sites in one afternoon, so you can still have time in the morning to hit another park if you really want to.
However, there is enough to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to keep you entertained for most of the day. Outside of Star Wars, you can do my son’s favorite ride—Toy Story Mania.
- Starbucks: On the right side of Hollywood Boulevard just before you can turn onto Sunset Boulevard. Remember, all Starbucks are disguised to blend in.
- Fast Passes: Toy Story Mania ride, Star Tours—The Adventure Continues and Rock n’ Roller Coaster
- Parade and shows:
- Jedi Training (even if your kid isn’t in it they will enjoy watching the show)
- Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away (afternoon shows tend to be less crowded)
- For the First time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-A-Long (they keep it entertaining so even my husband laughed at one point)
- Dinner at PizzeRizzo
- Star Wars: a Galactic Spectacular
Read our full Guide:
Disney Hollywood Studios Star Wars Guide
DAY 3: ANIMAL KINGDOM
Animal Kingdom, like Disney Hollywood Studios, tends not to be as crowded as the day goes on. This is where you can have some downtime with the kids but still be in a park.
Go on safari, meet local merchants, join a Carnival dance party or watch a Broadway-style show like The Lion King. There is a lot of walking to be done in this park, so bring a stroller, baby carrier and your walking shoes. You can take this park at your leisure though without the overwhelming crowds.
Starbucks: This may be the largest Starbucks in all of the parks. Head towards the left when you enter the park and you will see it before you cross the bridge.
Animal Kingdom nighttime events:
- Kilimanjaro Nighttime Safari
- Rivers of Light show (A must! Watch our preview video now!)
- Expedition Everest (at night)
- Stop at the Tree of Life on your way out
Need tickets? CLICK to grab the Orlando CityPASS now!
I’m not going to lie, Epcot is my favorite park because of the World Showcase. I love that I can sit in Italy sipping on prosecco one minute, and meet Anna and Elsa in Norway a few minutes later (well, unless the line is insane).
Buy your cheap tickets to Walt Disney World HERE.
There aren’t a ton of thrill rides in Epcot. There are enough to use your Fastpass+ and keep the kids entertained at the front of the park before you dive into French pastries in the back of the park. There are a few ways you can squeeze Epcot into a three-day trip to Walt Disney World if you want to cram it in. A progressive dinner is my favorite option.
Starbucks: Located in the front of the park, near the giant golf ball. This Starbuck’s “You Are Here” mug is my favorite out of all the parks. There are other coffee options in the World Showcase if you’d rather wait for the good stuff in “Italy.”
Fastpass: Fast Track, Soarin’ and Frozen Ever After (if available)
Night time at Epcot:
- Illuminations Reflections of Earth Show
- Park your bottom anywhere around the lake at Epcot for a prime seat at this fireworks and laser show.
- It can be loud for smaller children, especially if they are already fast asleep in the stroller.
- Bringing ear plugs can help and noise canceling headphones are great if you want your little ones to keep sleeping.
- Progressive Dinner: There is no better way to experience Epcot Center than to eat your way around the world at Epcot. Save France for dessert, but you can enjoy a fresh crepe as you walk to Japan to enjoy ramen, miso soup and sushi. Head to Italy for a mid-meal prosecco or a beer in Germany. Wrap it up with fish and chips in England, and finally macarons and pastries in France.
Staying longer? Read our 6-Day Disney World Itinerary.
Where to stay in Walt Disney World
If you can swing it and you will only be visiting Walt Disney World while in Orlando, I highly recommend that you stay on property. You will save big time on parking plus the bus, monorail and ferry systems make it easy to park hop.
Beach Club (Deluxe price): I love this hotel because you can walk to Epcot Center. This is the best place to eat in Walt Disney World (in my opinion, outside of Disney Springs maybe). Your kids can go on the Kidcot Fun Stop hunt while you enjoy a progressive dinner through each country.
You can also easily hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom from here. The rooms are comfortable, but the beach-style pool is the best part of the resort. The Cape May Café offers a character breakfast as well, but make sure you book a reservation. This breakfast spot is in high demand.
Port Orleans Riverside (Moderate price): If your kids are fans of the Princess and the Frog movie, you should definitely stay here. It is a little farther from the parks, meaning you will take a longer bus ride, but the resort vibe is much more low key.
There are a few pools, including the central one with a waterslide. Better yet, there is a pool side café and parents can enjoy cocktails from their lounge chair while they watch the kids swim.
Orlando Destination Guide
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort: Disney adventures await. The resort features a pool, free Wi-Fi, and Disney magic.
- Wyndham Garden Orlando: This resort includes a free shuttle to parks. Pets are allowed and parking and Wi-Fi is included.
- Coco Key Hotel and Water Park Resort: Family friendly resort located near major parks. There’s something for everyone with a waterpark, fitness center, indoor play area, and bar.