Melyssa's Summer Adventures: Four Parks, One Day
While many of you know that I now live locally and can visit the parks most days and weekends, there’s always the question of do you get bored with the parks? Thankfully, I have not yet become bored with this despite living within driving distance for over a year now. But, going to the parks now takes on a different meaning and doing something crazy, such as all 4 parks in one day, is slightly more feasible and possibly enjoyable now that I don’t have to take an entire vacation day to attempt this. So, I’m going to lay out my day, point by point, and give you some tips on how to try this, no matter if you’re a local or just coming by on vacation.
Unfortunately, I had recently just returned from my aunt's funeral and I was not in a happy mindset. Heading out on this adventure definitely took a mental push, but I was wearing her necklace all day so I felt like I was bringing her along with me on my adventure. So, this whole adventure was definitely a last minute choice. Luckily, it shows that this can be done with little to no planning.
Considering the limitations of FastPass with having to use 3 in one park before making any additional ones, I didn’t make any FastPasses- my focus was going to be on gathering Magic Shots from the PhotoPass photographers and, of course, eating. The food was my main focus on planning out my day- I knew Hollywood Studios didn’t have the best selection of food for me, so I planned on doing this some time between lunch and dinner and maybe just grabbing a snack or adult beverage from this park. Epcot and Animal Kingdom are my 2 favorite parks for food, so these were going to be my lunch/dinner options. Since I was starting at Magic Kingdom, I figured breakfast would be there and then Epcot due to ease of traveling between the two parks. It was also the last weekend in August so the weather was hot and humid, so I knew that I would need lots of water and might melt mid-way through the day, so I had to plan accordingly.
So, I set off to start my day with Magic Kingdom. Admittedly, I wanted to be there for park open so I could see the stage show but I decided sleep was a little more important and didn’t get into the park until after 9am (since I would be commuting from my house and was not as close as I could have been if I was staying on property, the idea of waking up before 8am on a weekend was not exciting to me at all). I also started off with Magic Kingdom because, unless you’re staying on property and taking the bus or monorail from one of the resorts on the monorail line, this park takes the longest to get into. The changes that have been made to security, though, have certainly helped ease the congestion directly in front of the park and make getting into the “turnstiles” much smoother. I watched the Magic Kingdom Trolley Show on Main Street featuring a lovely rendition from “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted, and then moved on to get some Magic Shots in front of the castle. For me, the best PhotoPass photographer is right at the end of Main Street, before you enter the hub and get too close to the Partner’s Statue. After getting my Tinkerbell shot, I decided the best place to get a substantial quickserve breakfast was at Sleepy Hollow.
Sleepy Hollow is one of the few quickserves that offer something other than Starbucks for breakfast, which is something that I would love to see changed in the parks. I ordered the Fresh Fruit Waffle with chocolate hazelnut spread (aka Nutella) ($7.99) and a bottle of water ($3.00) because it was already hot. I sat and ate while planning out if I was to go on any attractions. The wait times were pretty decent, particularly since it was a Saturday at Magic Kingdom, so I made it my point to just make sure I walked around the entire park looking for picture opportunities and PhotoPass photographers. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any more photographers, so, after walking around for about 2 hours, I decided to head out. Luckily, on my way out, I was able to take a picture with the Mayor!
My next stop was going to be Epcot. I decided to leave early since I knew travel was going to be lengthy. I took the monorail from Magic Kingdom back to the Ticket & Transportation Center and then went to the other monorail over to Epcot. Upon entering Epcot, I was trying to plan out lunch, but the sun decided to make its appearance and so my Spaceship Earth shots had to be done with sunglasses. I got Tink and Figment Magic Shots, which I really love, particularly as this was during the one time of year when there was no festival going on to hide Spaceship Earth. Heading over to Future World, I decided the back of Spaceship Earth was also photogenic, so I found another PhotoPass photographer and she had the butterfly shot, which goes perfectly with the flowers behind me.
I walked around World Showcase, taking my time and popping into as many stores as possible to hide from the sun and relax in the air condition. I decided trying to watch any of the shows might waste too much time or make me tired, so I stuck with shops. The greatest discovery for me was the shop in Germany since I had never really explored this pavilion- so many adorable teddy bears!
I was not feeling hungry, unfortunately, so I settled on getting an adult drink from somewhere I had never been before- Les Vins des Chefs de France, the little kiosk opposite of the restaurant Chefs de France. I got the orange crush, which was Grand Marnier, Rum, Grey Goose Orange, and orange juice ($9.86), in order to refresh myself and give me some fortitude to continue. It was getting quite hot at this point, so I decided to head back to the TTC, grab my car and head to Hollywood Studios.
Now, while I took my car from TTC over to Hollywood Studios, there was the option to take the boat launch from Epcot, over by International Gateway, and head to Hollywood Studios that way. If you don’t have a car that you need to get back to, this is a great option to travel between parks. At Hollywood Studios, I focused on getting the most photos as there is just not that much to do in this park. I was also able to grab a little bit of food as I was getting hungry at this point. I was sort of disappointed since I had really wanted to eat in Epcot, but I had a trick up my sleeve. I went to Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner and nabbed the kids nachos, which were covered with cheese and a cup of chili was on the side ($6.49). I also got apple slices on the side, so I didn’t feel too terrible about eating this- thankfully they make sure that at least the kids eat healthy.
Since I was super hot and needed to rest, I took advantage of the one thing Hollywood Studios definitely has, shows. I made a FastPass for Voyage of the Little Mermaid and went in to relax in the air condition! It was glorious, and I also really enjoy this show. The effects are still really good, though I would say they should do a bit more with live actors. I also visited the empty Great Movie Ride where they had not one but two PhotoPass photographers standing around- though this fisheye lens was pretty cool. Now that I had eaten a little and spent some time in the air condition, I figured it was time to head to my last park.
I drove to Animal Kingdom, which is the only park that you can’t take other transportation to besides the buses. I wanted to end with this park as it is my favorite and I knew exactly where I wanted to eat.
I got some great photos in front of the park, though the butterfly was a duplicate, and in front of the tree, again with Tink, but also- Pascal! I think he was one of my favorite ones.
Then I made my way over to Everest as the single rider line would be my friend. I managed to get some more photos on my way here- including Iago and a frosty Everest shot, which is also a video on the app. After a thrilling ride on Everest, I walked over through the Maharajah Jungle Trek hoping to see the tigers. There was a cast member who showed the video of the baby tiger cubs from a couple of weeks prior. Then I headed over to Africa, but it began to rain.
I knew the rain was going to get worse, so I decided it was dinner time. On my way over to Pandora, I ordered my food from Satu'li Canteen via the mobile ordering in the My Disney Experience app, which helped as sometimes they close off Satu’li Canteen to anyone not eating (which they did in this case while I was inside). Here I totally pigged out because I was running low on fuel- I got a beef bowl with quinoa and vegetable base and chimichurri sauce ($12.99), as well as the kids cheeseburger pod ($7.49- not pictured here as this was originally posted on Instagram- ha!). I relaxed inside, enjoying my amazing food and the beautiful music while it down poured outside. Once I was done and had spent as much time inside as I could without feeling bad that I was just sitting inside, I decided it was time to call it a day. The rain had not let up, and I was honestly too tired to just stand in line for Flight of Passage, so I made my way out of the park. It was about 7:15 pm, so I figured that 10 hours out and about was a good way to spend my Saturday, but now it was time for a shower and sleep.
Overall, I felt wonderfully accomplished in having done all the parks in less than 12 hours. I walked over 25,000 steps and more than 7.5 miles (which was based on my phone and not a fitbit or anything on my wrist that may have been more accurate). While I didn’t take advantage of many attractions, the entire day was an attraction for me. I’m not sure how this would have been if I wasn’t solo, but that’s a challenge for another time. Also- just a side note- I went through my photos after I had downloaded them and messed around with coloring and such, so I wanted to make sure you knew the PhotoPass photographers don't take black and white photos or anything. Until my next adventure- thanks for coming along!