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There is an unofficial challenge among Disney World veterans: 4 parks in 1 day. The rules vary slightly depending on who you ask, but basically you visit all four of the Disney World parks in one day. This is not a challenge to tackle on your first trip. It is more important for you, as a rookie, to spend time in each park and focus on experiencing the attractions that each one offers. But if you have been before and are looking for something fun to do, this challenge may be right up your alley. We completed this challenge for the first time a few years ago. My son is the one who wanted to do it, and he is the one who did all the planning of our day. Here is how we did the 4 parks in 1 day challenge.
Park #1: Animal Kingdom
We spent the most time at Animal Kingdom, which was our first park of the day. After breakfast at Port Orleans French Quarter, we headed to the park. Due to morning Extra Magic Hours, the park opened at 8 am. We got there around 7:30. As soon as it opened, my son and I went and rode Primeval Whirl while my husband went to ride Expedition Everest. My son doesn’t like Expedition Everest and my husband isn’t crazy about Primeval Whirl’s spinning, so this was a great time for us to divide and conquer. When my husband was finished, he met us in Dinoland USA. I took some pictures, while my husband and son rode Triceratop Spin.
At that point, we headed to Africa and rode Kilimanjaro Safaris with a fastpass. After our tour through the savannah, we hopped on the Wildlife Express train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. After we watched one of the Animal Kingdom vets put a frog under anesthesia for a check-up, we checked out the petting zoo and looked at reptiles on display. My son bought a stuffed okapi, and then we headed back to Harambe on the train.
After using a fastpass for a second spin on Primeval Whirl, it was for lunch at our favorite counter service place on property: Flame Tree BBQ. After lunch, we watched Finding Nemo: the Musical using our third fastpass of the day. When the show was over, we headed back to the hotel for a nap.
After a nice break, we took the bus to Epcot. When we arrived, we went straight to Mexico and rode Gran Fiesta Tour. After the ride, it was time for our dinner reservation at La Hacienda de San Angel, which was conveniently right across the promenade from Gran Fiesta Tour. This is one of our favorite restaurants at Epcot. We were quickly seated and served. Dinner was very good, as expected. After dinner, we walked to Hollywood Studios for park #3 of the day.
A lot of people don’t realize that Epcot and Hollywood Studios are close enough that you can actually walk from one to the other. If you leave through the International Gateway, located between France and the United Kingdom, in Epcot, you can take the pathway to Hollywood Studios. It will take about 10 minutes or so.
After dinner, we strolled over to Hollywood Studios. While at dinner, we booked a fastpass for Toy Story Mania. We arrived just in time to use our fastpass. We love riding Toy Story Mania. It is such a fun ride. After our friendly competition with the toys, we headed over to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater and grabbed a great seat for Fantasmic! As soon as the show was over, we made a bee line to the bus stop. We jumped right on a Magic Kingdom bus, but had to wait for about 10-15 minutes. We watched part of the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks from the bus while waiting.
We got to the Magic Kingdom just as the fireworks were starting. We watched them while navigating our way through the crowd down Main Street USA. Eventually, we made our way into Tomorrowland. We rode Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin with a fastpass. We then rode the Tomorrowland Speedway race cars. After our thrilling race, we took a spin on the Mad Tea Party teacups. I don’t know any kid that doesn’t like the teacups! Such a classic! We then made our way to Storybook Circus and rode Barnstormer twice. By that point, it was about 11:30 pm. My husband and I finally convinced our son to call it a day. We headed back to Port Orleans and went to bed.
Helpful Tips for Doing this Challenge
To make your attempt at completing the 4 parks in 1 day challenge, use some of these helpful tips.
- Use the operating hours of the parks to your advantage. We would not be able to do this if the Magic Kingdom wasn’t open until midnight on this particular night. You can find them on Disney’s website.
- Plan at least one meal in the parks. This will give you another thing to do in a park, while you take the time to eat.
- You need to have a good understanding of the Disney transportation system and how long it will take to get from one park to the other.
- Know what attractions to hit and which ones to avoid. This will help you to maximize your time in each park.
- Use your fastpasses and the My Magic Experience app strategically to minimize waits.
- Obviously, a park hopper ticket is a must!
- You will not be able to do a lot of things in each park. However, you should have plenty of time to do 2 or more things at each park without feeling like you are in a race.
On our 4 Parks in 1 Day Challenge, we were able to ride at least 1 ride and do at least one other thing in each of the 4 parks. We started at 8:00 am and finished at about 11:30 pm. We also took time to take a nap in the middle of the day, which I highly recommend, especially if you are under taking the challenge with a child. It was a fun day and I’m glad that we were able to accomplish this challenge. However, it was a very tiring day!
If you are looking to attempt this challenge, I hope our experience and tips help you conquer it! For more ideas on what to do on your next trip, see our magical must-do’s for kids, in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot’s World Showcase, and Future World. Happy travels!