This post has been sponsored by Walt Disney World, all opinions are mine alone.
20 tips for visiting four Disney World parks in one day using Disney park hopper tickets.
Last weekend was a whirlwind of fun & an adventure in Disney World!
This was our 2nd trip to Disney World this year & this time we decided to visit all 4 Disney World parks in 1 day.
We arrived in Animal Kingdom 45 minutes before the park opened, then travel through Epcot, Magic Kingdom, & ended our magical day at Hollywood Studios.
In about 11 hours time we went on 19 rides (using 11 FastPasses), walked the World Showcase, met 1 princess (& saw two others which you can see here), had a relaxed sit-down lunch, 5 snacks/drinks/desserts, & a quick service dinner.
Can you guess our thoughts by the end of the day?
We wanted more!
One day is plenty of time to visit all 4 parks riding your favorite rides, eating your favorite food, & having a grand old time. But 1 day, no, 1 hour in any of the parks is enough to make you crave more!
So while we had a wonderful adventure exploring all 4 parks in 1 day, we are already dreaming of our next Disney World vacation!
And in case you are dreaming of visiting Disney (I’m guessing you are since you are reading this post) I’ve got something extra special for you to help you plan your trip.
Before our first trip to Disney World as a couple many years ago, we ordered a FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning Videos to help us plan our trip & get us all pumped up for the fun to come. We loved it!
So if you want to have a FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning Video sent to you be sure to click here to get your own copy for FREE!
1. Choosing a Season
Technically you can easily visit all four parks during any season or day of the year, but you will be able to enjoy more rides & attractions with a lighter crowd if you choose to avoid peak season & seek off season & weekdays.
Also, be sure to check the Disney schedule because sometimes they will have big events during the offseason (like the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February) that will draw a big crowd for a day, weekend, or even a week.
For this trip we choose to go the Friday after Labor Day, we figured that most everyone would be back in school by this time & there were no special events taking place on this date. Even though it was hot, the crowds were light most of the day!
2. Buying Tickets Ahead of Time
This is a big must!
Waiting in line the day of to get your tickets are going to waste valuable time that you will wish you were using to be the first on popular rides (those that normally have an hour+ wait time) right when the park opens.
Also, by purchasing your tickets well ahead of time you can start reserving FastPass+ 30 days before your visit, & up to 60 days if you are staying at a Disney resort.
3. Extra Magic Hours – Where You Stay Effects Where You Go
If you are staying at a Disney resort you will want to use those extra magic hours because they allow you to have extra time in the park beyond the general hours. The park & times vary from day to day, so you want to make sure you know exactly what park has extra magic hours prior to booking your stay to help you plan your trip.
If you are NOT staying at a Disney resort, I highly recommend knowing which park has extra magic hours & avoiding it right around the time the extra magic hours being.
For example, if extra magic hours are in Magic Kingdom in the morning, you won’t want to go to Magic Kingdom first because the park will already be full of people with long lines. Instead, choose to go to this park 2nd or 3rd & use FastPass+ to skip the long lines.
4. Choose the Order of Parks
Once you have your tickets & know where you are staying it’s time to choose the order of the parks you plan to visit.
Using the tips mentioned in #3 you can easily choose the order of parks you want to visit while in Disney World.
5. Decide Your Top Attractions at Each Park
You probably already realize this, but I should note that unless you had all 4 parks completely to yourself there is no way you can ride every ride, watch every show, & get a picture with every princess in all four parks in one day.
So it’s important to maximize your day in Disney World by knowing exactly what attractions you want to visit at each park.
Make a list with your family or travel companions & make sure everyone has their top 1-2 places listed & ranked. This will really help you when it comes to planning your trip in tip #9.
Extra Tip: Be sure that your top rides will be available on your date & aren’t under construction/refurbishment during your stay.
6. Set Up FastPass+ & Restaurant Reservations
Now that you have an order of the parks you plan to visit, know where you are staying, & know what your top attractions are you will be able to set up FastPass+ & make restaurant reservations. Just remember that FastPass+ opens for those staying at the resort 60 days prior to their stay & 30 days prior for the general public.
Some people prefer to bring their own snacks/lunches & only eat at quick service restaurants when attempting four parks in one day, but Roger & I love to eat & we love the pizza in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot & always make time for it when we visit Disney World.
If you love trying new food & eating is a highlight of any trip you take then don’t be afraid to count it as one of your top attractions (tip #5) & be sure to include it in your Disney World plans (tip #9).
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Set FastPass+ for the Second Park
This one may seem scary to some, but if you are going during a busier time of year and all the FastPasses are booked at your first park don’t be afraid to set FastPass+ for your second park.
It’s better to have FastPasses set up in your second park than to not set up any FastPasses at all.
During our last trip to Disney World, we chose Epcot first & we went on 5 rides (In order: Sourin’, Spaceship Earth, Nemo, Living with the Land, & Test Track.
Plus we took some extra time to test the Coke products, which we had never done, before heading to World Showcase) in 2 & 1/2 hours during spring break with no FastPass+ & all waits were under 25 minutes. Also, Living with the Land was the one that had the longest wait time.
I should also note that this was a last minute trip & we didn’t have months to plan. Crazy right?
8. Download the App
This is a major MUST!
From the Disney app, you can check wait times for rides, see when the princesses will be available for pictures, make food reservations, see your Disney pictures, & much more!
Get the app, you’ll need it!
Oh, & be sure to get the app a few weeks before your trip so that you can start keeping an eye on wait times to get an idea of what they will be like for the time of day you plan on being in each of the parks.
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9. Make a Plan & Map it Out
We plan out our Disney World trips on a note in my phone (copied to Roger’s phone just in case) so that we always have it on us & can use it to remind us of when & where we are heading next.
The first thing you will want to decide on when making your plan is to figure out how you will travel from park to park, & there are so many options!
You can use their bus system, your car, the monorail, or the ferry (to Magic Kingdom).
Normally we drive from park to park since once you pay for parking in one park you can use that pass in any of the parks for that day.
We did make the mistake of leaving ourselves dependent on the bus system for our last park of the day & it did not go as well as you can see here.
If parades are on your list of attractions than be sure to arrive early for a good view.
If parades are NOT on your list be sure to use this time to go on rides that normally have a long wait time as the wait times will be a little shorter during the parades. Just make sure to get to the ride before the streets close down. You don’t want to be stuck on the wrong side of the street far away from your planned rides.
Plan Your Top Rides
Once you know the order of parks you plan to go to & have your FastPass+ & restaurant reservations set up you can work on figuring out an approximate time that you plan to arrive & leave each park in order to make it to all 4 parks in one day.
Also, I highly recommend looking at a map to plan out your top rides in each park. No need to waste energy & kill your feet even more if you can make a plan to start at the back of the park & work your way forward or do a complete circle of the whole park, rather than running from one ride to another back & forth across a park.
All the Eats
By having a schedule for each park & a rough plan for what you will be doing in each park you will know what restaurants are in the general area around each of your top rides.
If you don’t have any definite food plans & just want to grab snacks here & there as you get hungry you may want to research online the best eats around each of your top attractions & then make a note of them by each planned ride.
This way you don’t have to stop & look at a map, figure out where you are, what is around you, & what they have to eat as you are going from one ride to the next.
This is especially helpful if you have any dietry restrictions.
If you want to take pictures, I highly recommend you take them as you are leaving the park, or snap a quick one here & there as you are going from ride to ride.
Stopping to take a picture when you arrive at the first park of the day is a huge time waster unless taking pictures is your TOP attraction at Disney World.
Then, by all means, snap away & have a great time!
However, in order to make #7 work, you will want to quickly (& respectfully) hurry to the biggest rides at your first park.
You may be a bit hot & sweaty when you take pictures later in the day, but you are attempting 4 parks in one day, it’s bound to happen.
I always just plan to take pictures when there is a mini-lull or once we have finished everything in a park & are leaving to go to the next park.
Having a plan doesn’t mean you are bound to it, but it helps give you direction & stay on track.
Too often I see people get off a ride (even ones where they probably stood in line for 30+ minutes) & they huddle outside the ride trying to figure out what they want to see or do next.
We just slip around them & by the time they finally figure out what they are doing, we are probably on our next ride, thanks to the FastPass+.
10. Go to the Park with What You Need
Having a go-bag packed & ready to go for your Disney day is a great way to not only be prepared but also saves you time the morning of your day of fun.
You don’t want to be running around looking for things to pack in your bag the morning of because chances are you will forget something or end up running behind causing you to get to the parks after they open.
Here are my top 20 Things to Buy Before Your Disney Vacation.
11. Dress Appropriately
Disney is hot almost all year.
I have been to Disney between the months of November & February & worn long sleeves, but for the most part, you can pretty much plan on it being hot.
Before you leave for your trip make sure you pack according to the forecast for the day/week.
And make sure you wear good shoes! It’s a must when attempting 4 Disney parks in one day!
If you plan on going on any water rides or there is a potential for an afternoon storm be sure to bring a rain jacket or poncho. Oh & make sure it isn’t a cheap dollar poncho, those things last a minute before they begin to fall apart.
One time I decided I didn’t want to lug them around so I bought ponchos from the dollar store & we were wishing we had brought our real rain jackets.
Dressing comfortably is a must, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be cute!
You’ll see a lot of people wearing exercise shorts & a t-shirt & if that is what you like than perfect!
I like dresses, like A LOT!
So I like to swap a t-shirt for a cute dress & I wear exercise shorts underneath (I usually do this when wearing shorter dresses anyway).
Yay for cute, comfortable, & fun dresses in Disney!
12. Arrive Early
I mentioned this above in tip #7, but it really is key to get your 4 day Disney park adventure off on the right foot.
Arriving early doesn’t just mean driving into Disney World a few minutes before the park opens because there are still so many steps to get you from seeing the Disney sign to being in the park.
In order to hit the ground running (figuratively) you will want to be parked, through security, checked in (Magic Band or with tickets), & be waiting 10-15 minutes before the park opens to ensure you get to your top ride(s) first.
However, if your first ride is a new ride (or one that is still relatively new up to 1 year old) you will want to arrive much earlier.
The last two times we visited Disney World we hadn’t made it to Avatar Flight of Passage, so this was our top attraction for the whole trip.
So we planned to visit Animal Kingdom first & be there well before the park opened.
We were through security & in the park, 30 minutes before the park actually opened & you won’t believe the line that had already formed. It was insane!!
I can’t even describe it, you will just have to see it for yourself here.
13. The Refresh FastPass+ App Trick
This is one of my favorite uses for the Disney app!
Once you have used all 3 of your FastPass+ you are able to pick one at a time throughout the rest of your day.
Our trick is to check into our FastPass+ & as we are walking through the maze of ropes to the ride Roger opens up the app to choose our next ride.
Depending on the season & the day you could potentially spend the rest of your day just using FastPass+ to go from one ride to the next while never standing in line!
You would think everyone would do this, but believe it or not, there are people who don’t use FastPass+ because they feel it restricts what they can do at any given time of the day.
Hey, that just means more FastPass+ options for the rest of us!!
14. Avoid Common Mistakes
There are all sorts of common mistakes to make at Disney World & I have a whole list of Disney World mistakes here.
In regards to mistakes while trying to visit 4 parks in one day…
- Not arriving early to your first park.
- Not using FastPass+.
- Not eating or drinking enough.
- Trying to do too much at each park.
- Not having a plan.
15. Be Flexible
If you are going to make it to all 4 Disney parks in one day you are going to need to be flexible as you are not the only ones in Disney.
Long lines, temporary ride closures, food/drink/bathroom breaks, etc.
Life happens, even at Disney World, so just plan to be flexible & you’ll be good to go!
16. Choose Single Rider
Unless the lines are crazy short, if there is a single rider option, take it!
You still get to stand in line together & since most rides are only a few minutes long it’s not like you’ll be apart from each other that long.
And if you or your friend is a loud screamer, chances are you will still hear them from where you are sitting!
17. Pace Yourself & Be Realistic
Have a plan/schedule helps you to be more realistic & see in a quantitative timely manner what is possible to do in one day at all 4 parks.
Be sure to pace yourself & don’t try to race from one ride or park to the next.
You’ll get exhausted really quickly & may end up cutting your day short because of it.
18. Stay Hydrated & Well Fed
In order to pace yourself & have the energy to make it to all 4 parks in one day in the heat of Orlando, you are going to want to stay well hydrated (cups of water are free in all Disney parks!!) & eat plenty of food & snacks.
You may also want to stick to lighter fare, or eating heavier foods in small amounts, in order to avoid a food coma & the need for a mid-day nap.
19. Know Your Limitations
Your limitations will be dependent on the time of year, the number of people, strollers, etc. & it’s good to be aware of what they are so that you can plan around them in order to still make it to all 4 parks in one day.
Honestly, I don’t know if I would ever attempt this with kids, or at least young kids.
And unless you have a tried & true group of friends/family you travel with, you may want to just stick to you & one other person whose travel style is compatible with your own, because the more people you have the more interests, personalities, & opinions you will have to wade through to come to a decision.
So being aware of what could be potential limitations will help you better prepare for them when they come your way.
20. Plan to Have a Good Time No Matter What
Simply, have a positive attitude.
If your goal is to visit all four parks & take the best Instagram pictures in each of them then you don’t have to worry about lines, although you may want to research & make a list of the best places in each park.
If your goal is to visit all four parks & ride the top 3 rides at each park you will definitely want to make a plan & use FastPass+ to your advantage.
If your goal is to visit all four parks & eat the best food in each you will want to research all of the restaurants ahead of time & make a list of the top 5-10 in each park.
No matter what your goal is it’s important to remember that you are not the only ones in the park, there are others who have been dreaming of this day for weeks, months, & years. People who have been saving to make this the most magical experience for their family.
Whatever your goal is be sure to remember to respect others & be kind.
Disney World is the best when your ultimate goal is to have fun, be positive, & make good memories with the ones you love.
I hope you enjoyed these 20 tips!
And if you have any favorite Disney tips you want to share I would love to hear from you & I know we would all love to learn from you!
Be sure to comment below with your favorite tips!
Also, if you are planning a trip to Disney World, or just want to start dreaming of the magical experiences that await, be sure to click here to get your FREE Disney Parks Vacation Planning Video sent to you in the mail!
What are your favorite Disney World tips, tricks, & hacks?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giusti