This past weekend we scored some 1 day park hopper tickets for a pretty good deal. We decided to attempt the unthinkable and try to visit all 4 Disney parks in 1 day.
The night before I did some research on if it was possible and any suggestions on making it happen. I only found about 3 sites/blogs that really gave me any ideas. I then found a few sites through disney that gave me a list of all the attractions, one site even had up to date info on the wait times for each attraction at each park , when and where to see characters and which places still had fast passes available. Technology on phones is insane! If we ever try to do this again, I found in reading the few other blogs that if you visit the disney site you can customize your own maps to specify the exact places you want to stop like attractions and food spots. I also wanted to find out what people said about using the Disney Transportation system, everyone said it was the way to go… park once ride the buses and monorails.
Putting the Plan into Action:
We went to Publix the night before and grabbed dinner to eat in our hotel room, snacks, drinks, and breakfast for the day of. We had left over chicken tenders so we decided to save those to bring with us. We bought a big bag of popcorn as well, something lightweight to carry around, easily accessible and not at all messy. We got ready and finished our breakfast in record time so we decided to run to walmart to pick up an umbrella stroller because we didn’t bring our double stroller for the first time. The kids starting fighting over it right away but we worked out a system that worked great all day, they switched after every attraction, rest stop or bus stop.
Animal Kingdom 9:00am-11:15am
We arrived at the Magic Kingdom around 8:15am. All the parks opened at 9:00am but in my research I found out that Animal Kingdom sometimes opens a little early so guests are there for the awakening hour or something. Anyway, we decided to park at Magic Kingdom and catch a bus to Animal Kingdom since we would be ending the day at Magic Kingdom. I have never parked so close to the entrance before, it was crazy being able to walk to the Ticket and Transportation center of Magic Kingdom and not have to take one of those trams. We caught the bus over to Animal Kingdom and sure enough they opened up a few minutes before 9:00am. We were already boarding our first ride by 9:00am.
We have only been to Animal Kingdom once before over 4 years ago, so we really didn’t know what we wanted to do other than the Kilimanjaro Safari and the It’s Tough to be a Bug show. We obviously would have loved to see the Lion King and Finding Nemo shows but we knew if we wanted to stay on schedule those just wouldn’t be options. Plus my mom has been dying to take the kids and I wanted to save some stuff for them to do together. We were going to go to the Dinosaur ride to do a fast pass so we could come back after we hit up the Bug’s life show and the safari but there was NO wait so we just went ahead and got on. In retrospect, we should have skipped this ride. WAY to SCARY for little ones, plus most of the ride is very nearly pitch black. I thought it would be similar to the Spider Man ride at IOA but it was too dark and too scary. We moved on with a mission to get to the bug’s life before it go to crowded but the kids carnival area of the park was empty so we had to take advantage and jumped on the dinosaur version of Dumbo. Great choice, the kids loved it! Made it over to the Tree of Life for no line at It’s tough to be a bug either. We just had to wait for the show ahead of us to be over. The kids loved walking passed the tree and looking for all the animals engraved in the bark. We actually had to tell them not to stop and look for too long. Enjoyed the show then moved on over to the safari. At this point it was 10:00, there was a 30 minute wait or we could do fast pass and come back at 10:30 and move right to the front. We did fastpass, sat down for a snack from our bag then went on the short (boring) train ride over to the petting zoo area, we didn’t even get off the train because by the time we got on the train that got back around it was 10:30. Jumped right on the safari which is about a 20 minute ride I think then left to the next park. Animal kingdom was virtually empty so I think we could have come here at a different part of the day I have just been told that the animals are more likely to be out and about earlier in the day before it get too hot.
Hollywood Studios Epcot 12:00-3:00pm:
Our plan was to go to Hollywood Studios after Animal Kingdom so that we would still get there early enough in the day to do a fast pass for the new Star Wars ride and the Toy Story ride that we have yet to get on in the 3 times that we have been. We also wanted to hit up Epcot right before Magic Kingdom so we could take the monorail instead of a bus. Unfortunately we waited and waited and waited for a bus that just took too long to come so instead we jumped on one of the 2 buses headed for Epcot. I could not even tell you the last time I went to Epcot, maybe elementary school, I really don’t know I’d have to ask my parents… So I had no idea where anything was. We grabbed a map and went inside an air conditioned store to take a look as I had written down what we thought we would all enjoy. I read Mission: Space was the thing to do so we went over there to either get a fast pass or jump on depending on the wait. No wait, but Leilani wasn’t tall enough and Trey didn’t want to do it so we went to grab lunch before heading over to Nemo and the other kid friendly rides. Trey had his left over donuts from breakfast and Leilani, Louie and I shared the left over chicken tenders and bought some cheeseburger kids meals. Just the right amount of food at a very reasonable price. Both meals came with grapes so Trey ate both of those. The set up at Epcot was the best because you could get refills on your drinks all day with the soda fountains out in the dining area instead of behind the counter.
Again, no wait for Nemo and Friends. I thought this ride would be a little more exciting. Maybe a little bit more like the Buss Lightyear ride or even the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. But it was pretty lame. After we got off Nemo were were going to head straight to Figment but we decided to check out Turtle Talk with Crush. The set up was a little nerve wracking because the let all the kids sit in the front on the floor while the parents sit on benches. I was so nervous it was going to end and our kids were going to be separated from us. ( maybe this comes from a deep seeded fear from me, myself being separated from my family at Epcot as a child. ) Anyway, it was a cute interactive show, Crush even called on Trey to ask a question but he got nervous and forgot his question… so precious. Crush was actually very funny. We walked around the inside of the facility for a few minutes afterwards, viewed the aquariums and let the kids take apiculture inside Bruce the Shark’s mouth. Then we headed over to Figment. Another lame ride, or it was at least until Leilani commented on how it wasn’t scary at all and then there was a big gush of wind and a loud noise, no big deal though. Upon exiting the ride they had a little imagination play area. Both kids got to design their own Figment and play around a few minutes before we left. AS we were leaving we saw that there was no wait at Captain EO, so we thought why not. ( should have kept walking) Leilani thought it was too loud and didn’t want to wear the 3D glasses so she and I left to take a potty break. Louie said Trey really enjoyed it and he even told Louie to tell me how good it was but Louie said it was brutal… I mean the movie was made in 1986 so how good could it still be.
We went back to fill up on drinks again then headed over to “Mexico” for the Donald Duck 3 amigos ride. This was my favorite of the rides at Epcot. Very similar to its a Small World without the annoying stuck in your head for the rest of eternity song. It was so nice to be inside and a cool dimly lit place, plus it had Donald so the kids LOVED it. We left and ran into donald outside for a photo op… Trey refused so Leilani was on her own. She LOVES the characters and wanted to take a picture with everyone that we saw, some just had way longer lines then others and I know all too well out waiting in line for 30 minutes just to have them tell you they are taking a break when you get to the front. From Donald we went to the Maelstom, which I think used to be called the Matterhorn. This was the longest wait we had up to this point. the sign said 20 minutes but it couldn’t have been more than 15. I remember enjoying the ride as a kid because of the surprise backward drop but it was so lame and the kids were even a little scared of the troll monsters or whatever. This was our last stop at Epcot, we grabbed refills on our drinks and went back to the bus stop.
Hollywood Studios 4:00-7:15pm:
Leilani fell asleep on the bus and Trey was very near ready to fall asleep so we decided to invest in another stroller for the remainder of the day. It was good to know that we only have to pay one fee to use the strollers and both parks that we had left. As soon as we put Lani in the stroller she woke up and was ready to take in all the sights. Louie wanted to try the Tower of Terror so on our way there we saw that Beauty and the Beast has just started so being that this was all Leilani asked to do we rushed up to watch the rest. She loved it! She sang along and warned me of the bad guys and asked where beauty and beast were whenever either one of them wasn’t in the scene. It amazes me that they can fit so much of the movie into just 25 minutes. From there Louie went to see if they had a single riders line for Tower, they didn’t but the line was so short he got on anyway while the kids and I waited. It was a good time for them to sit and rest and also take a bathroom break. I told Louie he could to the Rock N roller coaster but I just needed help getting over to the kids area that has the Disney Junior and Little Mermaid shows. We walked over and he just decided to stay with us, I mean who wants to pass up dark air conditioned spaces when you have been up and moving since 7:00 am in the hot Florida sun. The kids absolutely LOVED Disney Junior as they have added Jake and the Neverland Pirates to the show and this is their new obsession. We ventured down to see just how long the wait was for Toy Story Mania… 140 minutes… sorry Trey won’t be doing that today. Star Wars was just as long, so the 2 top priorities on our list got the boot. We back tracked to the Little mermaid but had to wait 20 minutes for the next show so we grabbed a drink and listened to the tail end of the High School Musical show under the big wizard hat. Went back for the Little Mermaid and it was so worth the wait… Leilani loved it. Even though the kids have the most fun on the rides I think they both favor the shows because their favorite movies come to life and seem so real. We left Mermaid then thought about doing the Narnia show but heard someone say its kind of boring just shows props and stuff like that from the film so we walked around and found Pizza Planet for dinner. Even though we didn’t let them play any of the arcade game the kids still had sensory overload just from being in there and looking at everything. They thought it was so cool. Hollywood Studios is not as friendly on the wallet as Epcot. Way more expensive for less food that didn’t even taste good. We made our way out and headed for the bus for our last stop at the Magic Kingdom. We thought about calling it quits a couple times, not to go home but just to stay in once place and not feel rushed. But with one place left to go, we were feeling pretty good about it, not to mention for the most part the kids had been angels all day besides the occasional bicker over the stroller, no problems at all.
The Grand Finale: Magic Kingdom 7:50- 10:30
Animal Kingdom and Epcot were EMPTY, Hollywood Studios was a little crowded but no big deal if you avoided the main attractions but Magic Kingdom was a MAD HOUSE. I guess everyone had the same thought process we did… end the day here because it has a parade and fireworks and it stays open an hour later than the other 2. The only thing Trey talked about ALL day was the Buzz Lightyear ride so that was our mission. We raced paced all the crazy people sitting on the sidewalks waiting for the parade that didn’t even start for another hour and a half. There was a 20 minute wait or we could fastpass and visit something else. Fastpass it is. Trey had also asked to do the raceway so Louie went with him and I took Lani on the teacups. Both had about 20 minute waits so it filled up our time before getting on Buzz. Lani wanted to see the Castle so we thought we’d walk through it over to the Carousel and Snow White and Philharmonic and all those but they had it blocked off. Bummer. We headed for the Magic Carpet ride and decided to give in and just watch the parade. I normally skip the parade and fireworks because it means there are no lines on most of the rides. But there was prime real estate open at the front of the side walk and right next to an ice cream vendor so we set up camp and waited, and waited, and waited. The parade was supposed to start at 9:00. It didn’t start until 9:15 and we were at the tail end of it so it was even later by the time the beginning got to us. The kids loved it though, worth the wait. It was so crazy to watch it and totally remember seeing this creations as a kid.
After the parade we had a bathroom break then hit up the flying carpet ride. This was my favorite of the day. At a time you would have thought the kids would be so difficult and cranky, they had huge smiles on their faces, it was still hot but it was breezy and there was no wait for the ride. I wish it would have lasted a little longer or that we would have gotten on again and witnessed the fireworks from up in the air. I don’t even know if it still runs during the fireworks though. We decided to call it a night but as we walked by Pirates of the Caribbean Leilani said she wanted to check it out to see if it was scary or not. Such a brave little thing. So we did. There were a few “dark” moments but nothing crazy scary for them. It was relaxing and cool and so amazing to see these recreations of Jack Sparrow. As we exited the ride we caught the finale of the fireworks. A spectacular way to end a spectacular day with our amazing family. We didn’t hit all the rides we would have liked to but we’ve been to Magic Kingdom enough times to know that Peter Pan and Pooh are cool but not worth the forever long lines, and even though its a small world is nice and cool and relaxing its not worn the never ending song in your head. Trey originally said he wanted to try Space Mountain and I would have loved to do that with him but by the end of the day he wasn’t interested and the line was a little long so we stuck to what we knew would deliver smiles. We pulled out of the parking lot at 10:49 and made it home a round 1:00 am. I usually don’t mind speeding a little and making it under 2 hours but I just didn’t want to risk a ticket and ruin our great day.
Things I would have done differently:
First of all I think this would be more fun to try in the cooler months but it wasn’t all that un bearable with all the rides barely having a line we spent most of our time in doors. We waited the longest for bus transportation but it was still better to ride in an already cool bus instead of a stifling car then have to park and walk forever. It would have been better to have done it when we were staying another night so that we could stay until the very end of the night and not have to attempt exiting with strollers in a mob of people, also we wouldn’t have had to drive 2 hours after the longest day ever. I would have started at Hollywood Studios instead of Animal Kingdom to ensure we at least got a fast pass for the rides we wanted to see. Other than that it was a pretty cool experience and we feel very accomplished to be able to say we did all 4 in 1 day.