Visiting 4 Disney parks in one day is a “bucket list” item for may Walt Disney World fans. We have done it ourselves when my daughter and I took our Mommy and Me trip last year. It was so fun, and looking back, we really accomplished quite a bit in that day! But what is the most effective way to visit 4 Disney parks in one day? Let me share some tips with you!
The ultimate goal of visiting 4 Disney parks in one day is to say you did it, right? You aren’t looking for a day where you see all the shows, eat a sit down meal, enjoy a fantastic fireworks show, and still have time to meet all your favorite characters. However, using Extra Magic Hours, Fastpass Plus, and having a reasonable schedule will accomplish your Disney bucket list goal of hitting all 4 in one day! If I can do it with a 7 year old by my side, I am sure you can accomplish it as well!
First, check the park hours and plan to start at the park with the Early Extra Magic Hours and end at the one that is opened the latest. If none of the parks have early hours that day, start at the park closest to your resort. We stayed at Caribbean Beach, and started at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I wanted to start our day with a short ride on the Disney motorcoaches. You can easily lose a lot of time on transportation, so anywhere we could cut out time on buses, we did.
Second, book your Fastpasses for the 1st or 2nd park of the day. I like booking them early in this case, so you can book more as you hop from park to park. Frozen Ever After was an absolute MUST DO for us, so we hit Epcot second on our plan and had our Frozen Ever After Fastpasses. Planning your Fastpasses well is key, so you don’t lose valuable time standing in line.
Third, pack your park bag lightly-or go without one. Since I was with my daughter, I didn’t have a choice but to take a bag. However, I was prepared when we arrived to go through security at the parks. I had a small backpack, I had it off my back and unzipped BEFORE we got to the security checkpoint. These can already have long lines, so the more prepared you are, the better off you will be.
Fourth, have a good understanding of the parks and how they are laid out. Accomplishing 4 parks in one day is not for the first time visitor. You need to have a plan, and stick to it. This isn’t the day to wander World Showcase, sample something from each country, and sip some wine in Italy. Everyone else who is at Disney has a plan, and you need one as well. I don’t love to do Disney on a tight schedule, but in this case, it’s a must.
Next, allow yourself about 2 hours or so at each park, and then about an hour of transportation time. During these times, we were able to see several characters we had not met before, eat something at each park, get a picture in front of each icon, and do one or two attractions or shows that are new to us. That was our “list” as we embarked on our day. Maybe your list is different-meet a Mickey at each park, have a snack at each park, ride a headliner attraction at each….the list can go on! Having your ideas of what you want to accomplish at each is part of the fun.
Sixth, plan a sit down meal at your 2nd or 3rd park. I know, you are on a time crunch. But, you have to eat. Since we were in Epcot over the lunch hour, we booked Via Napoli for lunch. I booked this purposefully because there are no characters, and character dining can be time consuming. I also knew it was food we both loved, and we’d get a good meal in before heading to Animal Kingdom as our 3rd park.
Seventh, take time to rest…but be productive. For us, that meant seeing Finding Nemo-the Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. This accomplished two things-do something we had never done at Animal Kingdom, and have a little rest. We also made up for some time at AK since we just saw the Nemo show and met Disney Pals at the outpost. Animal Kingdom is not our favorite park, but if I was doing 4 Disney parks in one day, I had to go there, right? Those were both “new to us” experiences, and they served the purpose of seeing Animal Kingdom-even if it was just for a short time.
Eight, don’t give up! Truthfully, when we were on the bus to Magic Kingdom from Animal Kingdom, we were tired. But we just kept going! Once you arrive at your last park, take a deep breath, and go with it. Maybe you just want to grab dinner and see the night show. Or, ride your favorite low key attraction over and over again. We took a spin on Dumbo, saw Talking Mickey at Town Square, had dinner at Pinnochio’s, and called it a night.
Can you do 4 parks in one day? Sure! It just calls for having realistic expectations, keeping your plan solid-yet realisitic-and enjoying yourself. In the end, all that matters is that you stepped foot in each park that day, and took a picture to prove it!
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