Growing up, many Disney goers were happy to spend the day at the Magic Kingdom and call it a magical day. As Walt Disney World expanded, you were able to possibly do 2 parks if you stayed in a hotel on campus or close-by. Now, we are privileged to live in a world that has ticket packages allowing entrances to all parks on the property in the same calendar day. But is it possible to accomplish such a feat? We wouldn’t have written an article if not!
Remember our buddy, Kyle Holland? The Pin Trading King? Yup, that’s him. In case you haven’t picked up on it, Kyle and his family love Disney. And how much more can you love Disney than to visit all 4 of the WDW parks in one day? But is it possible for a Disney novice to do it? After his most recent conquest this month, Kyle sat down with us to share the secrets and tips he has accumulated over the years.
The Set Up
You’re a maniac, Kyle! How many times have you done this? I’ve done 4 parks in one day twice; Once on October 1, 2017 (Magic Kingdom’s Anniversary, EPCOT’s 35th Anniversary, and my wife and I’s 6th Anniversary), and once in December of 2018.
Love how the wife gets involved to make it a team effort. How far back did you book it? We had booked both trips almost a year in advance, but didn’t really settle on doing 4P1D until the 60 day out mark when we booked our FP+.
How do you and wife decide which to go to when? The key is the park hours. The best way to pull it off is to have a morning extra magic hours at one park, and ideally a park open fairly late. The first time we did it, we actually didn’t have the benefit of a late night, so we had completed the day by 8 pm. The second time, we were able to take it slower during the day and end up with a later night at Magic Kingdom. I imagine a world without the non-magic hour attempt is like a super-triathlon or mega-mararthon. Where do you stay the night before? Always on property of course! All Star Sports one time and Caribbean Beach the second.
Do you have a plan regarding what time you have to enter and leave by to accomplish the feat? Definitely! You have to plan to arrive at your first park MINIMUM 30 minutes prior to rope drop. From there, we keep it generally flexible moving park to park. Fast Pass scheduling in advance is a key element to help along the way. For our first 4P1D, we scheduled our FP+ at our first stop, Hollywood Studios. We had an extra magic hour to start the day, but I got our Toy Story Mania FP for 9:10 to get us kicked off. Our second 4P1D adventure, I mixed it up a little bit. Since Toy Story Mania is our all time favorite, I opted to use our FP here again, but this time I set it for 10:30a, since we would be starting the day at AK and hopping over later.
Prior to the First Park
Speaking of planning, what do you pack to prepare for the day? Pretty much a standard day at Disney prep which is nothing special…other than your custom 4P1D tshirts!!! Seriously, this is a must if you’re going to do it. Both times we got SO many comments from Cast Members and guests alike, asking if we had done it before, if we were doing it today, how many parks we had gotten so far, etc. It’s a great conversation starter and ultimately a nice bragging tool.
What time do you get up and what time do you hit the first park? With Extra magic hours and an 8 am park opening, we are generally up around 6, with the intention of being down at the bus line by 7, to make sure we are on a bus by 7:15 at the latest. The first time we did 4P1D, we started at Hollywood Studios for extra magic hours and an 8am rope drop. Since we were overly excited to be tackling the daunting 4P1D, I think we ended up getting to the park a bit earlier than we normally would. We were probably in line close to 7am, and were at the front of one of the turnstiles.
And we’re off. So what’s first? This ended up leading to one of the greatest bragging rights events we may have ever had at Disney. As is typical, when the cattle flood through the turnstiles shortly before 8 am only to be held up halfway down Hollywood Boulevard, we were told to start gathering in different groups depending on which ride we were going to be heading too. Since we were close to the front, we happened to be lined up right in front of the Toy Story Mania Cast Member. As is typical in my family, we struck up casual conversation with said Cast Member and became best buddies. When the rope dropped and our fearless leader began the walk towards Toy Story Mania, he calmly kept the masses under control (with us close by his side of course). He reeled back in the occasional families who tried to take an alternate route around him to beat us to the ride, and called in reinforcements when he needed other Cast Member assistance to do his duty. By the time we got to the Toy Story line, we were of course the FIRST GUESTS IN THE LINE TO RIDE TOY STORY!!!! Seriously one of the coolest things ever to be walking through the EMPTY cue RIGHT BEHIND THE CAST MEMBER for your favorite ride! Ok, that story rocks but this is about 4P1D, so we need to focus. Anyway as we were nerding out about our amazing luck, we turned our focus to scoring high points on TSM, and how we would proceed through our day. We ended up riding TSM 4 times in the first hour and half the park was open, 3 via standby and one FP+. By that time our cannon string pulling arms were too tired to be useful, so we headed out to hit our next park in our journey.
I’m exhausted already but you have 3 more to go. So why Epcot next? We could’ve hopped on a bus, but decided to be a bit different and use the boats to EPCOT. When we got to the International Gateway and walked into EPCOT, we noticed right away that we would be adjusting our plans here because of the crowds. We knew it was the 35th Anniversary of EPCOT (my wife and I share our Anniversary with EPCOT and MK), so our main goal here was to get some piece of commemorative something or other to mark the day. We quickly abandoned that plan when we saw the line at Mouse
Gear (and general lack of anything cool remaining in supply) and opted for single rider Test Track and of course a visit to our good friend Ellen and the Universe of Energy.
But you haven’t eaten yet? Since it was our Anniversary, we had made reservations at Narcoossees for brunch/lunch (totally awesome if you’ve never done it, quite expensive but highly recommend it for a special occasion), so we took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian. After brunch we knocked out our rd park of the day when we got to Magic Kingdom.
Were you getting tired at all at this point? I’ll be honest, looking back that day is a blur by this point, so I don’t remember exactly which rides we rode at MK, but I know we snuck in a few FP+ and a standby or two before heading out.
Home Stretch now! How do the Holland’s bring it home? We were running out of daylight (and park hours), so we skipped dinner to try and cram as much as we could into our hour and half at AK. We saw the Tree of Life Awakening right as we got to the park, and rode Everest a couple times and Dinosaur before they kicked us out of the park.
Success! And what does a post-championship meal consist of?
Starving, we finished our evening with a delicious pizza in the All Star Sports Food Court before crashing hard. It was a glorious day!
How did you feel physically, emotionally, mentally accomplishing this? Physically, it was honestly not terrible. Don’t get me wrong, it was still much different than a normal Disney day (by our standards at least!) Emotionally, proud and excited to have pulled it off! Especially with photographic proof from each park and awesome shirts that people commented on all day! Mentally, drained from all the excitement, and keeping the mindset all day to get it done.
What time did you get back to the hotel? We wrapped at AK around 8, so we were back at the hotel by 8:30 or so.
Will you do it again? Absolutely, any chance I get where I have a park day schedule/hours to allow it.
Is it something kids could do or mostly adults? I think kids could definitely do it, but not sure what age. Since I have yet to take my kids I’m probably not the best judge for that!
What is the biggest piece of advice to anyone planning this? If you want to try it, do it. Its not nearly as daunting a task as it sounds when people talk about it. And it is totally up to you HOW you want to do it. Our first time was more about getting rides in at each park, but our second time we added in the element of resort hopping, so it was less time in each park, but more time transitioning between parks that made it a different dynamic.
Final Question and it’s the most important – Did you pin trade as you went? Is that a real question? OF COURSE WE DID!!! That was probably the best part about the second time we did it, with all the resorts we hit in between parks we were able to get in some serious pin trading along the way!
Again, you’re the man Kyle.
Now I’m exhausted but what a wonderful journey! Have you ever thought about 4 Parks in 1 Day? Something to strive for on your next trip. Until then, thanks for reading and remember there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!