We visited all four parks of Walt Disney World in one day. It was my first time at Disney World.
I’m not sure I’d recommend this if you have kids. We were all adults and exhausted by 3pm but we pushed through!
We were with someone who worked there so we just followed her lead. She had all of the Fast Passes planned, she knew exactly which rides and attractions to take us to. The best part: it was all free entry.
It was an incredible day, but we had to be very selective which rides we went on. This was before Pandora, Toy Story Land or Star Wars Rise of the Resistance opened so there’s a lot more to see now.
We got to Epcot before rope drop, went on four rides here:
What a great way to start the day! We rushed to Soarin’ at rope drop to beat the queue. This ride is a 4D theatre designed to give you the feeling of soaring around the world in a hang glider all from the comfort of your seat. It is a friendly ride for all ages but you will be elevated off the ground in your seat.
I found this ride pretty intense and felt queasy for a while after. There are two options, a green mission that takes you into orbit around the Earth, and a more intense, orange mission that takes you to Mars. We went on the orange mission this time around. If you don’t deal well with motion sickness then go for the green mission. You are also in a pretty small cockpit, so you may want to give this a miss if you don’t deal well with enclosed spaces.
You’ll get to design your own car and then race it around a track. This one is a lot of fun for the kids. You will need your ticket or wrist band as the car you create saves to your profile then comes up as you touch on for the ride. Our car looked very cool but did not perform so well in testing unfortunately.
This one is for the younger kids, and the young at heart. In this section of Epcot, you’ll find an aquarium, see dolphins and get to meet Crush. You sit in a small theatre and young members of the audience can interact with Crush on a screen as he answers their questions. From here we went on to the Finding Nemo ride. You sit in these shells on a kind of conveyor and follow along with Nemo’s adventure.
We also had a quick tour of the international pavilions. We sampled the free soft drinks from around the world at Club Cool (the Thai Melon flavor is the best!). I don’t believe that Club Cool is there anymore unfortunately.
From here we caught a bus to Hollywood Studios, but now you can ride the new Disney Skyliner which will probably get you there faster.
Hollywood Studios was a quick stopover for us. We rode Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. This was my first ever rollercoaster so it seemed pretty intense. I was told to make sure my head was against the headrest as the take off is pretty intense. I sat down and pulled the strap down tight. The rollercoaster moved around the corner then stopped, and I thought to myself, well that was pretty tame. But before I could finish my thought the coaster shot off and my had was pushed back into the headrest. It was a lot of fun!
Next, we took some pics with Star Wars Characters before heading to the next park. Since this first visit, Toy Story Land and Rise of the Resistance have opened at the park, so I’d definitely recommend checking out those rides too, along with the Indiana Jones show.
At Magic Kingdom we took some time to take photos in front of Cinderella’s Palace.
We then went over to catch our Jungle Cruise. This is a boat ride that takes you on a cruise down a river through a jungle. Initially I was expecting to see real animals on here, but when you get to the mischievous gorillas or the cannibals, you are quite glad that it is just animatronics. You’ll also get a decent dose of corny humour from your tour guide to round off the experience.
Photos with Mickey
You can’t go to Disney without meeting the mouse himself. We had a Fast Pass for photo time with Mickey so we rushed back to the Town Square Theater near the gate of Magic Kingdom. This was when Mickey still talked, and was our first time meeting him, so my wife and I were both a bit star struck. I think we may have embarrassed ourselves, stumbling over our words and acting awkward. I’m sure Mickey is used to it and didn’t seem too fussed.
Pirates of the Carribbean
Next, it was off to the high seas and the dank backwaters of the Caribbean with Jack Sparrow. Another boat ride, this one takes places underground in the dark. You’ll follow the exploits of Jack Sparrow and have to dodge some cannon balls along the way. There is a slight dip on this ride with a bit of a splash but you should be able to remain mostly dry! I particularly like this ride for getting out of the Florida heat!
Space Mountain is an indoor rollercoaster type ride which takes place in the dark. You’ll see flashes and glow in the dark elements but the terrifying thing is you don’t really know what else is coming next. I personally really enjoy the thrill of it, but you do get jolted around a bit.
From Magic Kingdom, we caught the bus across to Animal Kingdom.
The Festival of The Lion King
I had always been told about the rides at Disney World but I didn’t really know about the shows. The Festival of the Lion King is an incredible musical and acrobatic performance that is sure to get you singing along for the rest of the day. Featuring Simba, Pumba and the rest of the cast fresh from the savanna, we got front row seats. This is definitely a performance that you have to make sure you fit into any visit to Animal Kingdom.
The Kilimanjaro Safari
From a show featuring animals from the savanna, we boarded a safari to see the real thing. The Kilimanjaro Safari will see you boarding a safari vehicle and take you on a journey through African wilderness where you’ll see crocodiles, hippos, giraffes, elephants and even lions. This is a great way to see animals in a near natural habitat.
From Africa to the heights of Asia, our next stop was Expedition Everest. This ride is a rollercoaster, and I think my favourite from the day. You will clime to the top of Everest before realising that a Yeti has been on the loose and ruined the railing. This ride can be terrifying but beautiful, especially in the evening when you look out over the entire park and see the lights.
Magic Kingdom Fireworks
We ended up back at Magic Kingdom in the evening for the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor and and then watched fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle. It was a spectacular show which was followed up by a light parade featuring bright, flashing floats.
We did this on a weekday when the park is quieter. To help us get through everything, we stayed at Art of Animation resort which meant we got into the park an hour earlier as well. We were all adults so we could move quickly. While it was a great way to see all the parks as we only had one day, I do prefer to dedicate a whole day to each park.
I wouldn’t even try it on a weekend. Have you ever done Disney World in one day?
UPDATE: At the moment you can’t get a park hopper at Disney World due to COVID-19. If you want to see all of Disney World in one day you might have to wait for now.