It doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are, Disney World is a magical place for everyone to experience. I hadn’t been to Disney World since I was about 5-years-old, but I was excited to go back and experience it again — while also squeezing in as much as possible into one day.
Believe it or not, we actually made it to three of the parks on a Sunday! Of course you can’t see everything, but you can narrow down the highlights in order to cram as much in as you can.
You can still have a magical and nostalgic experience in just one visit!
We decided to begin our day at Magical Kingdom, getting there as the park opened around 9am ET. It was a Sunday in March during spring break season and, although you know going in that it may be crowded, we really weren’t overwhelmed by the amount of people there.
The key, though, is utilizing Disney’s “FastPass+” system. We had to figure it out on the fly, but my advice would be to download the Disney World app ahead of time and look at which rides you MUST do.
The FastPass+ is free and you begin by choosing up to three rides you’d like to use the FastPass+ on first. The FastPass+ allows you to bypass the “stand-by” or normal line and walk pretty much right up to the front of the ride/experience.
To use it, you may make your choices at a FastPass+ kiosk or easily on the Disney World app on your phone (my recommendation). They are automatically applied to your ticket, which is a plastic card with a QR code that you scan around the park.
Once you use your first three FastPasses, then you may reserve one FastPass+ at a time. We used all three of our FastPasses at Magic Kingdom to ensure that we got through the park easily. We never waited in line longer than 45 minutes and sometimes as little as 5 minutes, when we didn’t use our FastPass+ (reminder: this was during spring break season).
Other Magic Kingdom must sees: Space Mountain (my favorite thrilling roller coaster of the day) and the Haunted House
We went to Hollywood Studios next, because we wanted to ensure that we got to the new Star Wars experience and the Tower of Terror. The Star Wars experience was one of my favorite moments of the day. I do love the franchise but am not an EXTREME Star Wars nerd, therefore it appeals to all levels of interest. (Plus meeting Chewbacca was definitely a highlight for me!)
Our last stop was Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We weren’t aware that the park closed at 6:30pm, so we had to rush through it in about an hour. It did work to our advantage, as there were hardly any lines — but we didn’t see everything we wanted to. We made a point to do the Expedition Everest roller coaster, which was awesome and do the Kilimanjaro Safari — which ended up delivering an incredible “Real” Lion King moment.
If I wouldn’t have had to work the next morning and we wouldn’t have lost an hour of sleep due to the time change, we may have been ambitious enough to stay for the 9-10pm fireworks at Cinderella’s Castle. But we got fireworks of our own to conclude our day and the safari.
It was a perfect scenario (especially for those like me, who consider Lion King to be the best Disney movie of all time): the sun was setting as we drove around the curve of the rock, the male lion walked up to the top of the rock as one of the females perched on an adjacent rock. I could almost hear it…
So in case you didn’t get the hint, we had a great time!
A photo posted by terynschaefer (@terynschaefer) on
BONUS: 10 Disney Park Secrets