Mickey and Minnie

If you're reading this article, then you're probably a fan of Walt Disney World. Heck, millions of us are. But the simple fact is that visiting the resort can be very expensive, and it can be hard to justify such a hefty outlay. When you're trying to convince your family members to take a Walt Disney Vacation, you need all the ammunition you can get. There are many, many great reasons to visit both Walt Disney World and Florida's other amazing theme parks. "The kids will love it." "There's a new ride opening." Or, simply, "It'll be fun."

Sometimes, though, to finally convince your partner, mom or dad to book that vacation, you need to show that you've done your homework. How about impressing them with the surprising health benefits that you (and they) will derive from the experience? Here are four to get you started... (Just don't mention all the calories in those burgers and turkey legs you'll be devouring...)

4. You'll do a lot of walking - and burn a ton of calories in the process


Not everybody considers walking (or any other form of exercise) to be a fun activity. When you're racing across the Magic Kingdom to reach Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before your FastPass+ window expires, though, it can indeed be very enjoyable. The theme parks at Walt Disney World are huge. And despite their cleverly-designed, hub-and-spoke layouts, you'll do a lot of walking during your vacation. A typical visit often involves a lot of backtracking and zig-zagging to get from one ride or show to another. Even if you tackle the parks in a linear fashion, you're still faced with burning a lot of shoe rubber. At Epcot, for example, you'll cover some 1.25 miles if you trot around the World Showcase Lagoon from Mexico to Canada. A typical visit also often involves a lot of backtracking and zig-zagging to get from one ride or show to another. Exactly how far do you walk during a typical Walt Disney World theme park visit? There are no concrete stats to go on, because each park (and visitor) is different. But let's consider some examples:

  • Our friends over at Chip and Co found that they averaged 8.74 miles per day during a visit to Walt Disney World. They maxed out at 10.76 miles at the sprawling Disney's Animal Kingdom.
  • The excellent Cheapskate Princess blog reports walking an extraordinary 21 miles in ONE DAY at a Disney park. Even on a less energetic day, the pedometer still registered some 4.5 miles.

So, you can probably expect to walk an average of 5 to 10 miles during every day at Walt Disney World. This will help you burn around 500 to 1000 calories, although this is of course very dependent on your weight and metabolism. Visiting for a week? That could add up to a huge 3,500 - 7,000 calories. You can't afford not to make that trip!

3. You'll burn more calories on the rides


As we pointed out in our recent article about the health benefits of visiting theme parks in general, you don't just burn calories when you're making your way around a park. You actually burn them while you're on the rides. A few adults may differ, but there aren't many more enjoyable ways to burn off fat. A team of scientists, artists, engineers and designers known as the Thrill Laboratory has looked into this in the past. They discovered that the attractions in Thorpe Park in the UK helped riders to burn between around 40 and 70 calories apiece.

Tower of Terror

Image © Disney

The rides at Thorpe Park are generally a little more intense than Disney attractions. You're not likely to burn many calories on It's a Small World, for example. But there are still parallels - the likes of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Space Mountain are thrilling enough to cause your heart rate to increase and your hands to grip onto the safety rail. If you experience 4 or 5 rides of this type each day, you could burn through another 250 calories or so - the equivalent of a couple of cans of cola.



I easily average over 10 miles a day! Our best was 12 miles - not bad for a sixty tear old

October 2013 we were at Disneyworld for 6 days, averaged 11-15 miles per day including walking from the card.

As much as I am a major Disney fan, and I understand the overall jist of the article, I would like to play devil's advocate for a moment. While yes,one tends to burn more calories on average while walking around Disney,guests also tend to consume more on average than they would in a normal setting. Especially those on the dining plan. I only mention this because some people, especially those who have never been to Disney, may assume that going to Disney means losing 5 lbs in a week and that is not the case.

I am saddened that themeparktourist.com would quote a travel agency like Chip and Co.. This agency recently deleted/banned a huge Disney fan that was disabled and had been a member of their facebook group (the name of the group is "You Know Your're a Disney Addict") for years. It is a very "unDisney" group of people who have upset thousands in the past week.

In reply to by Saddened Sara (not verified)

That doesn't make the research that Chip Co did inaccurate.

View More Comments

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...