Disney World Challenge – Visiting all 4 parks in one day!

Walt Disney World Entrance

When it comes to visiting Walt Disney World, there are so many things to see and do that it almost seems impossible to see it all!  When we visit, we take about a week to see as many of the sites and sounds of all four parks, but what if you only have one day?  Is it worth it to attempt to see all four parks in one day?


This challenge is known as the Disney World Challenge — and I’ll tell you, it probably isn’t easy, but I certainly think it is possible!

Pre-requisites

Before you start, you do need to do a little pre-DWC (Disney World Challenge) planning.  To make the most out of your time, here are some questions you’ll want to get answers too.

  • Pick a day that has either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot with evening Extra Magic Hours.
  • Decide what attractions you’re going to absolutely need to ride at each of the parks.
  • Are you driving to each of the parks or utilizing Disney Transportation?
  • I recommend starting your day with Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.
  • Lastly, make sure that you have park hopper tickets or annual passes — standard Magic Your Way tickets without Park Hopper will not allow you to get in to all the parks on the same day.

My Disney World Challenge Road Map

Like I said in the pre-requisites, I think starting with Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the best way to get the challenge started.  Here is the order of park visits that I’ll be going with.  In this example, my pre-planning has determined that the Magic Kingdom has evening Extra Magic Hours until 1AM.  Additionally, I am taking advantage of Disney Transportation for this challenge.

  1. Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  2. Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  3. Epcot
  4. Magic Kingdom

Disney's Animal Kingdom

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I’m going to plan on being there at rope drop, and I have two attractions that are must do on my list: Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids.  My plan is to head straight over to Kali River Rapids to get in and out as quickly as possible, then, after I ride it, I’m going to take on Expedition Everest in the Single Rider Line.  If the park isn’t very busy, I may add on Kilimanjaro Safari to my attraction list.

After Animal Kingdom, I’m off to the busses to head on over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Sorcerer Mickey Hat

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I have some specific attractions that I need to ride — mainly Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.  These two attractions, though, are among the longest lines at the park, so it’s extremely important to try and make sure that I get a FastPass for at least one of them.  Using my Touring Plans Lines App for my iPhone will tell me the standby wait and whether or not there are any FastPass tickets available, so make sure you have access to it.  Depending on the results of your inquiry — and how late in the morning it is — I would make a beeline to TSM to get a FastPass ticket if they are available.  If they aren’t, then go get one from Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.  In my hypothetical example, there is a FP available for TSM, so that’s what I got, then went over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to utilize the Single Rider line available for it.

After riding the coaster, and before my TSM ride, I take a moment to enjoy lunch at Fairfax Fare, where I enjoy their wonderful Barbecued Pork Sandwich with slaw and a drink.  Yummy!  After lunch I’m off to Toy Story Mania, then I’m off to the boats to head on over to Epcot!

I know that a lot of people feel like the boats between Hollywood Studios, Boardwalk, and Epcot’s International Gateway entrance are too slow — and maybe they are.  But it’s also a way for me to get off my feet and rest a minute, and to confirm what I want to do at Epcot.

Spaceship Earth

At Epcot I have some attractions that I would love to enjoy, and fortunately, almost all of them are not as busy as some of the big rides at Epcot.  I’m planning to enjoy at least Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros, Spaceship Earth (at least twice each), and if I can, Soarin’.

After the rides at Epcot, it’ll be time to take the Monorail over to the Magic Kingdom, where I’ll finish my challenge and enjoy some great attractions at the same time!

Walt Disney World Railroad Station

 

The Magic Kingdom is where I plan on enjoying my dinner — either Casey’s Corner, Cosmic Rays, or Columbia Harbour House, depending on my mood at the time.  After dinner, I believe I’ll have several hours available to enjoy the park, so the first thing I’ll try to do is pick up a FastPass for Peter Pan’s Flight.  I’ll also enjoy “it’s a small world“, Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse — all great attractions!

Depending on the time, I plan to grab a popcorn and a diet coke, and settle in to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade, and then later on, Wishes.  Since the park isn’t closing until 1AM, I believe I’ll have plenty of time to hit up my favorites, including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain, as well as get in my Peter Pan FastPass.  Additionally, I’ll watch the Carousel of Progress and ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover!

All in all, I think I’ve got a realistic shot of making this happen — what do you think?  What things have I left off of the list that may snag me up?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

 


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Mike

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Disney World Challenge – Visiting all 4 parks in one day! was last modified: September 9th, 2013 by Mike



  • E-ticket-lizabeth

    We actually did it! We did 4 parks in one day with our kids (DD 4 and DS then-8). Unfortunately, somehow we missed that May 4 is NOT a good day to be in HS, especially if Star Tours goes down for the entire time we were in the park. However, we made it, and our day was:

    AK: Kilimanjaro Safaris, Everest, It’s Tough to Be a Bug
    HS: Backlot, lunch, bus to Epcot (so I could relax a little, since I was driving!)
    Ep: Spaceship Earth, Nemo, 3 Caballeros
    MK: Pirates, Haunted Mansion, dinner, parade, Wishes

  • Kimberly

    My daughter and I did this over the summer including DCL as well. We were on one of the DCL cruises out of NY that stopped in Port Canaveral for one day. We started at Hollywood Studios (so we could ride TSM), then did Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Chef Mickeys, and Magic Kingdom. It was a great day and amazing experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cole.monroe Cole Monroe

    I was there in September, and you can go from Animal Kingdom to the TTC. Then catch the monorail from TTC to either Epcot or Magic Kingdom. You just cant go from Downtown disney to the parks or vice versa…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaime.meyer.73 Jaime Meyer

    Question for you. You can’t park hop as easily as you used to. When we were there, the buses did not go from one park to another. You had to take a bus to a resort and then get on another bus to take you to a different park. That is why we loved the boat from Hollywood studios to Epcot. Now when we went 13 years ago we did something like what you said and did all 4 parks in one day. The buses took us from one park the to next and it was awesome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaime.meyer.73 Jaime Meyer

    Question for you. You can’t park hop as easily as you used to. When we were there, the buses did not go from one park to another. You had to take a bus to a resort and then get on another bus to take you to a different park. That is why we loved the boat from Hollywood studios to Epcot. Now when we went 13 years ago we did something like what you said and did all 4 parks in one day. The buses took us from one park the to next and it was awesome!

  • http://twitter.com/mangeKim Kimberly Searcy

    I did 4 parks/1 day my last day in Orlando. Sadly that day EPCOT was open the latest at 9 and Magic Kindgom was open until 8 but we still were able to do it! We went to Studios first to make sure we could get fastpasses and ride Toy Story Mania a few times, Star Tours and then ToT and Rock n Rollercoaster. I wasn’t too into those rides so I grabbed a snack at Starring Rolls and then went to meet characters while waiting for friends (my favorite Disney thing to do)! then we drove to Animal Kingdom (had lunch at Flame Tree) did Everest a couple of times and Dinosaur. Then we drove to EPCOT snacked in France and Japan and rode Figment and Maelstrom (my favorites!) and then took the monorail to MK. By the time we got there we only had about an hour or so left but we were able to ride space mountain and Jungle Cruise. the park closed at 8 and we took the monorail to the Polynesian for Dole Whip and to watch the water parade and then took the monorail back to EPCOT. Granted I would’ve loved a few more hours at Magic Kingdom but considering all we did in about 11 hours I was pretty happy. Planning is the most important thing when trying to go to 4 parks for sure!

  • http://www.facebook.com/hh312 Helen Partlow

    That sounds like a great plan! My husband and I have always wanted to try for 4 parks in 1 day. We have done 3 before. It would. Fun article to write about possibly doing a Disney world scavenger hunt type thing to compete with our vacation mates. (I am thinking those without super small children would work best). Such as having a “to do” list and see who can complete it first and race to the finish line. Such as you have to go to all 4 parks, take pics for proof, show a lunch receipt and have mandatory rides to do and then whoever finishes all first either meets back at the hotel or at the castle or something like that. My husband and I love coming up with Disney word games to get ourselves excited for our trip and this would be amazing to do sometime!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726378298 Andrea Fuller

    Unless you are out to break records, this run sounds like suicide. I prefer enjoying things not running thru the parks. sorry not my speed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.geiblightner Melissa Geib-Lightner

    I am so doing this on my next trip (if I can afford it)! I’m going for a convention in the summer and I’m only getting maybe 24 hours in the parks. However, I’m going to have to split it between two days. I’m getting in in the afternoon one day and festivities begin the next evening. I’m thinking I’ll challenge myself to do two parks per day and try to do Downtown Disney also. Planning on at least one attraction (ride, character meet, show, etc.) and a food and/or beverage at each location, winding up with a nice table service dinner to end my parks time. I didn’t even realize there was such a challenge.

  • http://www.facebook.com/terry.jo.hartman Terry Hartman

    My BFF and I actually did this in thirteen and a half hours. We got on the first bus at 8:08 am. We started off with a Character Breakfast at Tusker House. In HS, TSM was not there yet. We made sure to ride three major rides. I also got a Photo Pass Picture in each park and did a pin trade as well. We finished in MK at 9:34 pm. Then off to eat and then back to the resort to collapse!!

  • Missy Smith

    We took on the Challenge a few years ago! What a day! We did EMH in the AM at AK, went on to DHS (where we even had lunch at Sci-Fi), then went to MK, then finished off the night at Epcot, which had EMH in the PM. Phew! What a day! My feet were so numb, I had to take the elevator back to our room on the 2nd floor of BC! We just wish Disney had a trading pin to commemorate our day. It was a blast to do, but I’m not sure if we’d do it again ;)

  • Douglas

    Almost exactly what I was going to say.

  • Ang

    At first the mere idea sounded stressful, rushed and painful. But after reading your plan, it sounded fun and made me long to be able to do it TODAY! (Alas, having just gone in Dec, I won’t be back until Nov 2013…). Unfortunately I agree with the other comment that you won’t get a successful TSM fast pass unless you go to HS first instead of DAK. And I don’t think Soarin’ fast pass will work out in your time frame, either. But I know you’re gonna have a blast anyway – good luck! I’m jealous! Have fun!

  • Anjie

    If you want to do TSM, I’d switch around DHS and AK. Hit Toy Story first thing, being finished by 9:00 opening as they let you in the park about 15 minutes early then do Rockin’ Rollercoaster. You’d be out of there before 9:30 easily (though I’d have to do Tower of Terror too!) and on your way to AK. Grab a FP for Safari if you are wanting to do that, ride Kali, single rider for EE and back to Safari and lunch at Flame Tree. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rantrilli Renee Houser Antrilli

    Now THAT is a plan! We usually do this on our last day- hitting everyone’s favorites.

  • E-ticket-lizabeth

    I think you’re going to find the FPs for Toy Story Mania will not fit into your schedule–that ride is VERY popular still! If I were doing this and insisted on TSM, I would go to the Studios first and do it first thing at rope drop. Just my opinion, of course, but even Soarin’ still has FPs going 4-5 hours later on some days. We were at Epcot yesterday, not a busy day, rode Soarin’ at about 11:00, got off and looked at FPs to go again–they were for 4:25! If I were going to hit all 4 parks, I think I’d have to decide to go on less popular rides that still give you the best feel for their parks–Great Movie Ride at Studios, Kilimanjaro Safaris at AK, and so on. What an interesting idea! I wonder how my kids would feel about such an adventure!