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What Do You Count as a Visit to Disney World?

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This morning I got an email survey from Walt Disney World. Because the questions sometimes telegraph new procedures or attractions, I complete every Disney survey I receive. This one happened to be unremarkable; I clicked the boxes I was supposed to click.

And then I got to the demographic questions.

Does it count as a visit to Walt Disney World if you don’t see the castle?

One of the demographic questions Disney ALWAYS asks in its online questionnaires is “How many times have you visited Walt Disney World?” Every time I encounter this, I stumble. I want to look the survey designer in the eye and ask them, “What do you mean by visit? Please define your terms. What counts as a ‘visit’ to Walt Disney World?”

Here are some of the many ways I’ve experienced Walt Disney World:

  • A pre-cruise overnight hotel stay where I didn’t enter a theme park.
  • A two-hour stop in a theme park on my way to another destination.
  • An stay in an off-site hotel where I experienced several Central Florida attractions, one of which was a brief stop in a Disney theme park.
  • A three-day trip where I stayed on WDW property, visited several Disney hotels, but never went in a theme park.
  • A weekend at a Disney World hotel and a three-hour pop into a theme park.
  • A five-day stay where I visited all four theme parks.
  • A weekend stay where I only went to Disney Springs.
  • A trip where I went to the Disney theme parks for two days, then went on a four-day Disney cruise, then went to the parks for two more days.
  • A week long stay where I went to all four theme parks, a water park, and Disney Springs.
  • A two-week stay where I briefly entered the theme parks but spent several hours at all of the Disney-owned resort hotels.
  • A three-week stay where I went to each of the theme parks multiple times, but only visited my own resort.

Do all of these things count as a “visit”? Do any of them count as more than one visit?

In addition to my own situation, there are other even more complicated versions of “What is a visit?” For example, I have several friends who are former cast members or have participated in the Disney College Program. Does their time working at WDW count as multiple visits? Or are only vacations “visits”?

What about people who live in Central Florida? What if they just grab dinner at a Disney resort hotel, is that a visit? What if they go to the theme parks regularly, but have never set foot in a Disney hotel?

When thinking about this topic, I sometimes circle back to the Castaway Club at Disney Cruise Line. For the purposes of Castaway status, all cruises hold the same weight. A Caribbean three-nighter in the least expensive inside cabin has the same impact on your status as does an 11-night cruise through Europe in a concierge stateroom. If DCL thinks all cruises are equal, does this mean that Disney World thinks all visits are equal?

I know there’s not a real answer here. And I know it doesn’t really matter. I assume that the Disney survey folks are mostly trying to gauge whether you’re a newbie or a loyal customer. But still, I’m curious. What counts as a “visit” to Walt Disney World in your mind? Standard week-long vacations or something else?

Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

8 thoughts on “What Do You Count as a Visit to Disney World?

  • DW and I had a number of DVC points that were about to expire. The kids couldn’t go because of Homecoming Week at school. We stayed at the Polynesian Bungalows for two nights and watched the MK Halloween fireworks from the patio.
    No Parks (Agree with Paul)
    No Kids
    No Souvenir Purchases
    However, the number one deciding factor: We still had cash in our pockets and room on all our credit cards upon returning home…
    Ergo: NO “Visit”!

  • I’d say it counts as a visit if you enter a theme park.

  • I have the same problem…at DLR. Local and go (when it’s open) at least 1X/week, usually for just a few hours. It’s not a vacation or a trip. Do I count each 1 day visit as a Disney official “visit”? That’s what I’ve done, when completing a survey, but I always wonder. Because of this, I wonder if a “visit” is each day, for WDW. If I go to the WDW parks for 5 days on a vacation, is it 1 visit or 5? First world problems.

  • Wow – how lucky are you going to V & A more than once – we went last year – had a fabulous time – but it cost the same as 2 return Virgin Atlantic air tickets from the U.K. – so it was a once in a lifetime experience for us – but so glad we experienced it.
    We count each visit to Florida from the U.K. which includes visiting WDW in any way as one visit because I have never thought about it in any other way – but this article does pose a reasonable question about what a visit is.

  • The question seems biased towards traditional vacationers over locals or big fans like us.

    For me a visit is any vacation where Disney is involved at any level. If it’s a split stay I’d still count it as one just as I’d count stopping at DS for dinner. Obvious problems come when Disney is incorporated into your life on a more basic level, like a mall, job, or restaurant.

  • Ah, locals with AP problems 😉 Us non-locals have no such difficulties – if a plane ticket and a Disney gift card is involved, it’s a visit 😀

  • I never stay in Disney hotels; I have a timeshare off 192 just south of the cast entrance to Animal Kingdom. I consider a “visit” any time I use a ticketed day. I’m still using up the last of my never-expire passes; I think we have two days left – after that, it will likely be any time I need to buy tickets. We have eaten at Disney hotel restaurants without visiting the theme parks (I took my family to Narcoosee’s for my parents’ 50th anniversary, and our last dinner at V&A’s was on a non-park day), but I don’t consider that a “WDW visit.”

  • It’s an interesting question. For me, it’s anytime I step on WDW property. But then, we live over 1000 miles away and only make it to Florida every 5 years (on average). To me this makes each visit very distinct and special.
    We honestly can’t wait till retirement, when we hope to live nearby and visit as many times as desired.


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