I will definitely say that I appreciated how amazing Disney world was MORE when I was an adult rather then when I was a kid. I had gone to Disney in grade school with my family then again when I was 24 then again when I was 28. That place NEVER gets old! The first time I went we visited The Magic Kingdom and MGM (Which is now called Disney’s Hollywood Studios) The second time I went with a friend and strictly visited the Magic Kingdom and the third time was the charm: Why do we have to choose? Why can’t we go to ALL OF THEM in one day?
Easier said then done- It is NO secret that Disney World is a popular place and people flock there from around the world at all times of the year! (Mainly because Florida always has beautiful weather!) I was going with my Boyfriend and him and I wanted it ALL-Space Mountain, The Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest THEN a wicked meal from Epcot. We only had one day allotted for Disney on our Florida vacation, so we needed to do our research. JUST NOTE: If you are someone who loves to take their time, check out ALL the rides and ALL the shops/shows, this may not be your ideal day. I like to think of this as ‘The amazing race, Disney Edition!’ You want to see the BEST OF THE BEST of all that Disney has to offer without spending the money on day passes to every park. Now be prepared: Bring lots of water, comfortable shoes and your camera. You will want to be hydrated and well rested for your magical day.
Here are a few of our insider tips on HOW we made this epic day of ALL 4 theme parks (without missing any of the BEST rides!)
1. Timing is EVERYTHING!
What time of year do you want to visit? We were planning to take our trip in May, and statistics show that a mid week trip (We went on a Wednesday) in May was one of Disney’s slowest times of the year. May doesn’t generally have any holidays and kids are still in school. Other great times to visit would be January (this would be a great Christmas gift for someone you like A LOT) or September, when kids are back in school. Be weary of any time Disney has a special event such as Star Wars Weekends, Mickey’s Not-So- Scary Halloween Party OR Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas. These events draw in more people so lines are obviously longer (and who wants to wait, right? Not me!) ALSO note: Weekends are busier, so if you can get the time during the week, this is more ideal.
2. From Dawn until Dusk!
If you are not an early riser- set your alarm my friend because you will need to be there bright and early! My boyfriend was super excited and woke me up at 6am (Yes I said it, 6 am-and I was NOT impressed because that was a ridiculous time to get up since the park did NOT open until 9!) Check the park times before you go since there are numerous parks and sometimes changing hours. An appropriate time to get up would have been 7am, enough time to get ready, get to your first park, purchase your tickets and enjoy the opening ceremonies at the front of the pack. I would suggest getting to the park an hour early to ensure you are not stuck in a ticket line or ferry line (If you are beginning with the magic Kingdom)
SPECIAL NOTE: When prioritizing your parks, you need to take into consideration the hours of operation at each park. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom ALL OPEN at 9:00 AM on a regular day, HOWEVER: They all close at different times based on the day of the week and the time of year. This being said, you may want to begin at Animal Planet, work your way over to Hollywood Studios, Grab a bite at Epcot then finish your day at the Magic Kingdom since it is often open the latest. Animal Kingdom appears to close the earliest. (Guess the animals like to hit the hay nice and early) It also depends on which attractions are the most important to you. If you want to make sure you get to the most rides at Magic Kingdom, you may want to begin there and then prioritize the order of importance from there.
What we did: Began at Magic Kingdom>Animal Kingdom>Hollywood Studios>Epcot for dinner and fire work display.
3. Park Hopper Pass
Okay so, this is obviously key! To purchase a regular one day ticket to Disney World is between $93-$99 based on your age. The more days you book together, the cheaper the tickets become. HOWVEVER if you only have ONE DAY and want to see as much as you can, The Park Hopper ticket is the way to go! The $60.00 they charge seems steep at the ticket booth, but it may be worth it if you have seen all you want at one park and then want to venture somewhere else. Being an adult, purchasing your regular day ticket, plus your park hopper will come to a total of around $142.00. You will also want to look into the fast pass as well. We didn’t use one when we went, we just got lucky with shorter lines. It seems as though the system in how they work is constantly changing (How many rides you can use this for, when you can use them, etc..) SO do your research before you go, because this is definitely an advantage I wish we had!
4. Prioritize your day
What rides at each park are the most important to you? Are there any shows which you want to see-this is a huge factor on choosing the order in how you plan your day. You may want to go online before hand and take a look at what each park has to offer and create a list with all the top places that cant be missed! You may also want to do a little research on which rides have the largest lines, and then hit them up first so you don’t miss out. We watched the welcome show at Magic Kingdom, headed straight for the castle to get a fun photo in front of it (without the large crowds of people in our way! A trip to Disney is obviously NOT complete with some adorable photos for the scrapbook) and then made a bee-line for Space Mountain, which we only waited in line for about 5 minutes. While you are figuring out where you want to go in each park-take a look at an online map and determine which order makes the best sense when getting to each ride.
Rides at each park we made sure we saw:
Magic Kingdom:Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Mad Tea Party,
Animal Kingdom: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur,
Hollywood Studios:The Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Rollercoaster, Star Tours-The Adventure Continues, The great Movie ride
5. Planning ahead
If you have a specific character you want to meet PLUS you want to enjoy a nice meal while you are here, you are able to go online and make a reservation to one of the restaurants where they make apperances. This way you wont have to wait in the line to meet them. (I waited for over an hour to see Safari Mickey and Mini-when I could have been on the rides!!)
If you don’t want to wait in the lines for food, bring a snack so you are able to eat on the go. If you don’t want to wait in the line at the gift shop for those adorable mini ears, which are all the rage here- you can buy them outside the park for MUCH cheaper!
Find out how to get to each park: There is nothing worse then being lost-ESPEICALLY when you could be riding space mountain! There are numerous buses/shuttles as well as the monorail linking the parks, so when you decide how you want to organize your day, find out the best way to get from one destination to the other without wasting time. We rented a car, so we were able to drive to each park (Obviously using a GPS!) THE BEST PART: Once you pay to park at one of the Disney parks for the day, you are able to park at all of them!
IF YOU HAVE AN EXTRA EVENING DURING YOUR FLORIDA VACATION: Check out downtown Disney (Pleasure Island!) There are a lot of fun places to eat or grab a drink, all with the same Disney charm!