The Walt Disney World Grand Slam: Four Theme Parks, One Dayby Michelle Clark, PassPorter Message Board Guide (Moderator)
Last modified 11/15/2007
A question often asked on the PassPorter message boards is "Is it possible do all four parks in one day?" On our trip to Walt Disney World over Labor Day weekend, this feat became a necessary one as we had only one day to visit all of our favorite attractions. Our party consisted of three families totaling 13 people in all, ranging in ages from 5 to 40-something (we'll never tell). Thrill rides were a top priority for us. Could we manage to enjoy the highlights of all four parks plus a character meal in only one day? Could we hit a Disney "Grand Slam?"
Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World Railroad
One of the beautiful steam trains that runs on the Walt Disney World Railroad. This photo was selected as Photo of the Day on 2/22/11.
8:30 am - Our group boarded the Walt Disney World transportation bus that brought us to Disney's Animal Kingdom. We arrived at the park before the 9:00 am opening. As we entered the park, you could see the masses parting in front of the Tree of Life, going left toward Kilimanjaro Safaris or right toward Expedition Everest. We had a date with a Yeti!
9:05 am - First stop: Expedition Everest. We waited only 10 minutes to encounter the Yeti himself! After riding we got FastPasses and entered the regular line again. The braver souls tried the single riders line which is a great option if you are short on time and don't mind your party being split up. We encountered a small snag in our commando plans as Expedition Everest suddenly experienced technical difficulties and was shut down -- with three of our group on the trains! After retrieving our Everest trekkers, we headed to Dinoland U.S.A.
10:15 am - Arrived at Dinosaur which had minimal waits. After returning from the Cretaceous period, some of our group stopped by Primeval Whirl while others checked on the status of Everest.
11:00 am - Expedition Everest was up and running, so we utilized our FastPasses for one last ride. 11:30 am - On the road again and we took the bus to the Disney-MGM Studios.
11:45 am - Arrived at the Studios to see the High School Musical float on Hollywood Boulevard. Our top destination was Sunset Boulevard, home to two big thrill attractions! First stop was Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to get FastPasses.
12:00 pm - By this time we were ready for a much-needed Mickey bar break outside the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The Tower had a short wait which we took advantage of several times!
1:10 pm - We had lunch at the ABC Commissary which had plenty of air-conditioned seating for our large group.
2:00 pm - The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular had seating available. This 30-minute show would finish just in time for us to utilize our FastPasses at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
2:40 pm - We arrived at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster to see a long line in the FastPass lane. Our group split up, some used their FastPasses while the rest tried the single rider line. The FastPass group won, and we learned a lesson: if the single rider line is outside the building, the FastPass line will probably be quicker. No worries though, we caught our "limo" to Aerosmith's show several times before we left the Studios.
4:50 pm - We hopped a bus and arrived at our third park: Epcot. We checked the electronic tip board for attraction wait times. Test Track and Soarin' had no FastPasses available for the day, and the wait time for Soarin' was 75 minutes. Mission:Space seemed to be the best option.
5:10 pm - We got FastPasses for Mission:Space before entering the stand-by line. Mission: Space is a good choice in the evenings as the crowds lighten up considerably by this time.
5:30 pm - Since our return time on our Mission:Space FastPasses wasn't until 6:18 pm, we jumped in line for Test Track and waited about 30 minutes to become crash dummies!
6:20 pm - We took a quick snack break and munched on hot pretzels. Back to Mission:Space to visit Mars one more time before we soared over California!
7:00 pm - The queue line at Soarin' gave us plenty of time to experience the new interactive games on the large overhead screens, and I do mean plenty of time! The wait was well over an hour.
9:00 pm - Time for our Advance Dining Reservation at Chef Mickey's. We took the monorail to the Ticket & Transportation Center and then the other monorail to the Contemporary. We were ready to re-fuel, as we still had one park to go to complete our grand slam: the Magic Kingdom. Luckily for us, it was open until 1:00 am during Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort guests.
11:00 pm - From the Contemporary Resort, we walked to the Magic Kingdom and received our Extra Magic Hour bracelets. Our first stop was Frontierland. Part of our group decided to ride Splash Mountain. Those not interested in late night splashes went to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which is a popular and beautiful ride at night!
12:00 am - Space Mountain was a must-do, so we walked to Tomorrowland. The 60-minute posted wait time was discouraging, so we hopped on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority for a relaxing late night ride through Tomorrowland.
12:35 am - We got in line for Space Mountain, hoping that we would have enough time to ride and get in line again before closing.
1:00 am - A bit of Disney magic happened and we were the last persons to enter the Space Mountain line that night!
1:15 am - We began the trek to the park exit and the resort buses. After a short wait, we boarded the bus to Port Orleans.
2:00 am - Home again -- 17 1/2 hours later! We hit a Disney grand slam ... and lived to tell about it!
In one day of a holiday weekend we managed to experience three attractions at each of the four theme parks. Most attractions we did multiple times, utilizing FastPass, single rider lines, and Extra Magic Hours. The convenience of Disney transportation was beneficial in visiting multiple parks. While not the ideal way to tour, it is definitely possible. Just wear comfortable shoes and plan to sleep in the next day!
About the Author: Michelle Clark is a confessed theme park junkie and the mother of three teens who share in her thrill ride obsession. She visits the Great Smoky Mountains annually, and her family is currently planning their 11th trip to Walt Disney World. She is also a Co-Guide for the Library, Universal Studios, and Behind the Scenes forums on the PassPorter Message Boards.
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Updated 11/15/2007 - Article #213
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