Do you have limited time in Orlando, Florida? Here's how to enjoy Walt Disney World in one day!
Huge thanks to Walt Disney World for sponsoring this post. I was provided with two one day park hopper tickets for the purpose of this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!
Last month my husband, Zack and I booked our vacation to sunny central Florida. This was our third trip to Orlando in the past year. During our first trip to Orlando together we made a spur of the moment decision to visit Magic Kingdom and spent the entire day wandering around The Most Magical Place on Earth. For our second trip out we spent six incredible days at Walt Disney World Resort. From those experiences, we learned our way around the parks, which rides we enjoy most, and our top food and drink picks.
When Zack and I decided to do Walt Disney World in one day, we knew we had to put some sort of plan together. Since we were staying off-site we had to wait until 30 days prior to book our FastPass+. After checking out the available options, we decided to book them in our second park of the day. There weren't great options in the first park and we didn't want to book the passes too late in the day. Choosing our FP+ helped decide which parks we would visit throughout the day. Here's how we spent 14 hours in the parks, rode 19 rides, and indulged in our favorite snacks!
Park One: Hollywood Studios
Since Toy Story Land opened a few months after our last visit, we decided to make Andy's Backyard a priority! After waking up at 6:00 am, having a quick power bar breakfast and tea, we took Lyft to the park at arrived at 8:00 am. I picked up our tickets at guest relations and we were in line before 8:30 am. The park was scheduled to open at 9:00 am but they actually let us in at 8:35 am.
Tip: Get to the park for rope drop, or before the park actually opens. People begin lining up before an hour to the park opening. It may be early, but it's worth it! In our case, you'll see how arriving early really played to our advantage.
Once we were through the gates, we walked as fast as possible over to Toy Story Land. When we got over to Slink Dog Dash the estimated wait time was 75 minutes. Not the best, but we were committed. The line ended up only being 12 minutes long!! I loved the queue line and all the detail Disney sprinkled throughout the area.
Next up was Alien Swirling Saucers, with only a 10-minute wait, we had to do it! It was fun but went by so fast. I'm glad we were able to experience it though. Since we were able to play Toy Story Mania the last time we visited, that would be the ride to get cut, if needed. Fortunately, we had enough time and were able to check out the new queue and play one round. The new line was full of fun details like UNO cards holding the doors open, oversized crayons to really make you feel like a small toy, and a few of your favorite Toy Story characters. After absorbing as much of Toy Story Land as we could, we left Andy's Backyard at 9:45 am. Not bad, considering the park officially opened at 9:00 am and we rode all three rides in that section.
Zack and I both enjoy the two extreme rides at Hollywood Studios but also love Star Wars. Since we weren't sure how long Toy Story Land would take, we didn't have a plan for the rest of our time in the first park. Our three FP+ rides were scheduled for the second park, so we knew we needed to head out before noon.
Tip: Download the My Disney Experience Mobile App! You can access your FP+, wait times, park maps, and more. We were able to check the wait times and decide we could try to squeeze three more rides in.
We made our way down Hollywood Boulevard, had a 23-minute wait at Tower of Terror, then hopped over to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Since the single rider line was open, we made our way through the queue and waited just over 20 minutes. We got lucky by getting to ride in the same "super-stretch limo" but unlucky when the ride was stalled for 7 minutes just as we were pulling up to the exit.
Tip: If you have already had the chance to experience the full queue line or that isn't a priority for you, breeze through the single rider line.
Even with the delay, we were able to squeeze Star Tours in with just a 25-minute wait. As we were heading for the busses, we strolled quickly through some shops. I made sure to get a happy birthday button, then we said goodbye to our first park. We got to the bus stop at 11:45 am, waited 15 minutes, then took the 11-minute bus ride to our second park.
Park Two: Animal Kingdom
No trip to Animal Kingdom is complete without a stop at Satuli Canteen. Even though we were a little crunched for time, it was worth it to have a sit-down lunch and scarf down our bowls. We weren't able to explore Pandora too much, but since we had visited before we weren't too concerned. We left Pandora at 12:55 pm and made it over to Dinosaur for our FP+ at 1:03 pm. After the quick 15-minute wait, we went on the ride, then headed to our second FP+ of the day.
We scanned our cards in at Expedition Everest at 1:23 pm, waited 4 minutes and went on Animal Kingdom's thrill ride. After Expedition, we checked Flight of Passage wait time via the app. Unfortunately, the 95-minute wait was just too high for our one day visit and wasn't a priority for us during this trip. Since we had some extra time, we decided to head back to DinoLand USA and ride Primeval Whirl. After riding the swirling coaster, we made our way over to Africa.
We hopped in line right at the start of our FP+ window at 2:15 pm for Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is one of the longer rides, as we got off the safari bus at 2:48 pm. When we were waiting in line, I was able to access available FP+ for our next parks. I snagged us Soarin' from 3:35 pm - 4:35 pm. That gave us just a few extra minutes to spend in one of our favorite parks! We were in need of something cold and sugary – hello Dole Whip!
Park Three: Epcot
As we finished our delicious treat, we headed for the busses. We left Animal Kingdom at 3:15 pm, after waiting about 20 minutes for a bus, then took the 15-minute ride to our third park. Cutting it a little close to our next FP+!
Tip: If you're taking the busses from park to park, factor in plenty of time. Walking, waiting, and travel takes times!
Before going into Epcot, we stopped at Joffrey's Coffee for a pumpkin creme brulee cold brew with almond milk. Sipping it, as we headed to Soarin', we got in line at 4:15 pm and the ride lasted about 5.5 minutes. To be honest, we didn't really have a plan in place for Epcot but knew we wanted to grab a few snacks and drinks. And I wanted to ride Frozen Ever After! During this downtime, we reapplied sunscreen and checked wait times. Living With The Land was posted at 15 minutes, so we made our way back in that direction, waited only 7 minutes and were out after about 16 minutes.
It was snack time!! Since Epcot's International Food & Wine Festival was going on, we had so many unique options to choose from. I sipped on the St. Germaine Sparkling Kir from France, we shared the Hummus Fries and Kefta Pocket from Morroco, and Zack a Frozen Kirin from Japan.
By the time we finished enjoying our tasty treats, it was 6:30 pm. Frozen Ever After had a wait time of 65 minutes... Instead of moving along, we actually waited for one of my favorite rides knowing it would cut into our fourth park time. This is where remaining flexible and having ride priorities come into play!
Tip: If Frozen After Ever is a ride priority, snag a FP+! The FP+ line merges at the very end of the regular line, right before the ride, making the FP+ line drastically shorter.
We were able to get a FP+ for The Seas with Nemo and Friends for 8:00 pm. Before we left the World Pavillion, we stopped by Mexico. Before our trip, I found out about a "hidden" ride inside the pyramid. The Three Caballeros had a 5-minute wait-time and 6-minute ride time. It was super cute and I'm glad we were able to squeeze it in.
We scanned our FP+ in at The Seas at 8:30 pm for the adorable 5-minute ride and then browsed around the aquarium. This was our first time riding The Seas, so we didn't even know about the aquarium inside. If we would have known, we would have spent more time looking around. On our way towards the front of the park, we stopped to try the Loaded Greek Nachos at the popup Greece stand. They were vegan and so incredibly delicious, definitely my favorite snack of the day at Epcot! We conquered all the Epcot snacks, wine, and rides that we set out for.
Park Four: Magic Kingdom
Since we were heading to Magic Kingdom from Epcot, we had to take their monorail instead of a bus. After switching monorail lines at the Transportation and Ticket Center, we made it to Magic Kingdom around 9:00 pm. That left us with two hours to roam around! We got into line at Under the Sea with Ariel at 9:30 pm and I jumped on my phone to check available FP+. I was able to get us one for Pirates of the Carribean starting at 9:50 pm. We waited in line at Ariel's for 5 minutes, took the 6-minute ride, then left in search for Storybook Treats.
Even though we had Dole Whip a few hours earlier at Animal Kingdom, I wanted to try the key lime flavored float with added lemon-lime soda. I highly recommend this delicious treat, perfect for those hot days or nights when you need an extra jolt of energy. We arrived at Pirates at 10:10 pm for our FP+ and were out about 15 minutes after.
I really didn't think we would be able to squeeze Big Thunder Moutain Railroad into our day, or any of the popular rides for that matter. Thinking this would be our last ride, we got in line at Big Thunder at 10:27 pm. The queue line took just under 20 minutes to get through and the ride was about 5 minutes long. We only had a few minutes until the park closed for the night! The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an iconic Fantasyland ride, and we were only there for one day, so we sped walked like crazy to jump in line before 11:00 pm. Somehow we managed to make it by 10:57 pm, saw the wait time posted at 35 minutes, waited for 21 minutes, and rode the 5-minute long ride.
Tip: If you're in line as the park closes, you can continue to wait and ride. You can use this to your advantage for rides with high wait times if you don't mind being in the park after it officially closes.
14 hours and 19 rides later, we did it! All 4 Disney parks in just 1 day. Where's my celebration pin for that?! It was exhilarating and exhausting, but so worth it. If you plan ahead, choose which rides and snacks have priority over others, and remain flexible, doing Walt Disney World in one day is totally possible.
For a quick reference, here's a breakdown of the different rides we went on. These times were taken on September 22, 2018. The times referenced are in minutes.
Would you like to see additional Disney World tips? Let me know in the comments below!