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This post comes to us from TouringPlans.com subscriber and WDW Today listener Fred Butler. He brings us the story of his own Ultimate Touring Plan….
After having listened to Episode 411: Four Parks in One Day of the WDW Today podcast too many times to count, my wife and I decided it was finally time to undertake the four parks in one day adventure for ourselves. We had a free day from the conference we were attending at the Boardwalk Inn in January 2012, giving us the perfect opportunity. Since we hadn’t rented a car during this visit, we had no choice but to meet the challenge using exclusively Disney transportation. What follows is a diary of our four parks in one day adventure.
6:00 AM – We woke up, ate a quick breakfast, and headed out to the bus stop. We only waited around 10 minutes for a bus from to Animal Kingdom, and we were on our way.
7:00 AM – We entered Animal Kingdom with a crowd of maybe 100 or 150 people on this 40 degree Extra Magic Hour morning. I’ve never seen a park this empty in my life! Kilimanjaro Safaris didn’t open until 8:00, so first we rode Expedition Everest. We got into the queue corals at the front of the line, and noticed they were only running one train! We waited about 5 minutes before riding, but the people behind us probably waited much longer unless they added more trains. Next we rode DINOSAUR (also a walk-on), then queued up for the safari (which wasn’t quite open yet). We waited a few minutes, then were loaded into the first safari vehicle of the day. After waiting in the vehicle for a while (with our outstanding safari guide stalling us with lots of corny jokes), we were off on our safari. We had a great time – it was our first time riding the safari early in the morning. The animals were very active, and we even saw the lions up and about. After getting some coffee at the Royal Anandupur Tea Company, we went out to the bus stop for Hollywood Studios. This was the part of the day I was the most worried about. I wondered how many people would be travelling from Animal Kingdom to the Studios this early in the morning. I feared Disney would only be running this bus every hour. But my fears were unfounded – a bus showed up in 10 minutes and we were off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios (almost in time for rope drop!).
9:10 AM – We arrived at the Studios and made a beeline for Toy Story Mania! The sign said the wait was 65 minutes, but we only waited around 30 minutes. The best part of the day: I beat my wife’s score on this ride for the first time ever. Then we got Fastpasses for the Tower of Terror, rode Star Tours (around a 10 minute wait) and grabbed a snack at Starring Rolls Café while waiting for our 10:45 AM Tower of Terror Fastpasses. After a delightful ride of the Tower of Terror, we headed to Epcot via the walkway connecting the two parks. By this time of the day, the temperature had warmed up to a beautiful 60 degrees.
11:45 AM – We arrived in Epcot, and I headed straight for the Land Pavilion to get Soarin’ Fastpasses. Unfortunately the Fastpass distribution times were for 6:20, which would interfere with our dinner plans at Kona Cafe (I should have checked the Tip Board). So we got Test Track Fastpasses instead (good for a more convenient 4:15), then decided to have a spur of the moment lunch at the San Angel Inn. I love the atmosphere and food at this restaurant – I just wish the prices were a little lower! After lunch, we hopped on Maelstrom (which had a 5 minute wait), then walked back to the Boardwalk.
2:00 PM – We hung out at the Boardwalk, getting some much needed afternoon rest.
3:45 PM – We walked back to Epcot. First we rode Spaceship Earth, then Test Track using our Fastpasses. We had some extra time, so we rode Living with the Land because he hadn’t done it in a while. Finishing up with Epcot, we were off to the Magic Kingdom area.
5:15 PM – We rode the monorail to the Ticket and Transportation Center, and then walked to the Polynesian. We had made a 6:30 reservation at Kona Café, but showed up closer to 5:30 and were seated right away. After dinner, we walked to the resort monorail stop at the Polynesian, then headed for our final park of the day: the Magic Kingdom.
7:00 PM – We arrived at the Magic Kingdom. Our plan had been to Fastpass Splash Mountain right away, but when we got to Splash there was literally no one waiting in line. It must have had something to do with the 45 degree evening weather. I’d never seen the queue so empty; it was kind of eerie. We rode Splash Mountain in the front seat (which may have been a mistake since we got a little wet). After that we went on the The Haunted Mansion (walk-on), then saw Mickey’s Philharmagic (the best 3D movie at WDW, and possibly the best attraction at the Magic Kingdom). At that point it was parade time, so we got on The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with only a 15 minute wait. We debated whether to stay longer, but decided to leave during the fireworks to beat the crowds. We waited 10 minutes for a bus back to the Boardwalk, then we were on our way home.
9:45 PM – Back in our hotel room, exhausted, we watched television and then went to bed.
All in all we had a great time doing four parks in one day. We did three attractions in each of Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and four attractions in each of Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. The biggest surprise: Disney transportation was reliable and efficient throughout the entire day. We could have easily done more if we were willing to forgo the afternoon break or to stay later at the Magic Kingdom. We were using a 10 day no expiration park hopper ticket; four parks in one day is an excellent way to get the most out of this type of ticket.
Have you ever done four parks in one day? How did it go?
Fred first visited Walt Disney World in 1977 at age one. After a 29 year drought, he rekindled his love of the Disney parks with a trip to Disneyland in 2006. Now he visits Walt Disney World whenever he can. Depending on the day, his favorite ride is Soarin’, Expedition Everest, or the Tower of Terror.