Theme park “pioneers” have described whirlwind visits to all of Walt Disney’s Orlando theme parks in just one day.
Yes, that’s right.
Just one day.
Theme parks are not the only places that discourage that type of instant activity. They do it by offering multi-day passes.
But virtually every expert on the subject says even a single theme park is a multi-day experience. Or at least should be.
Could you do it?
Would you even want to do it?
How to do it
Leaving aside the later question, you could do it.
We don’t claim to be able to tell you everything you need to know to do this. There are too many options. But we can give you a start with some suggestions.
Many of the things we are suggesting here also apply to theme parks in general -- no matter if you are staying one or ten days there.
First of all, to keep your sanity during your one-day visit, you might want to just visit a single park.
Let’s use the example of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Here (briefly) is how it could be done.
First, save time right away by buying your tickets ahead of time. No waiting in lines.
Good advice anytime, but particularly now.
But even before that, you will need to plan your trip.
Yes, that may be alien, but good planning pays off -- even if you are not making your visit for just a single day.
You always want to visit on days that are the least crowded. And with the shortest lines. That’s especially true when you are only going to be around for one day.
You also want the longest operating times you can get.
The longest day
So why not make your day sometime in October? Crowds are not always the lowest but they are below average at this time of year. Your comfort level will also be higher at this time.
That’s because it is not nearly as hot as July or even September. This is even more true if you wait till late October. Your best time is the last week of the month.
Expect also to make your visit a long day.
You will want to start when the park opens. Be the first people there. But there are dates in October when the Magic Kingdom is open well past 7 p.m. It is open at times until 9 o’clock. So its obvious that you want to be here during those extended opening times.
There’s another way to extend your one-day here.
Walt Disney World Resort hotels offer Extra Magic Hours or what they call EMH benefits. Each day, one theme park stays open an hour early or stays open two hours extra after regular park hours. So assuming you can afford it, pay the extra price for these guest benefits (that come with no added charges other than room rates).
Know your lines
Here’s a tip when you immediately get to the park early: Avoid the temptation to shop on Main Street after entering the park.
Yes, it’s tempting and there are many shops there. But they stay open for two hours after the rest of the park closes for the evening. Save that visit for later.
Another tip not often realized: when you encounter lines, always choose the left one.
The Magic Kingdom is laid out in a circle. Most guests go to the right. It’s human nature.
Going to the right takes you to Tomorrowland.
Instead, take the left to Adventureland. Lines are often shorter there early in the morning.
Of course, lines are less of a problem because you have bought FASTPASS tickets. These will come in handy for certain rides such as Splash Mountain.
What to ride
As for the ride question, this should be decided before you arrive.
If you are a couple, you probably know what rides you want to make a priority. But with kids, the best plan is simply let them each select one or more.
If you determine this by the most popular rides at, say, the Magic Kingdom, you likely will end up choosing roller coasters such as Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, Peter Pan, the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
While you are going to these rides, you might want to skip the parades to take advantage of rides where the FASTPASS is not applied. If a family member insists on seeing one parade or another, simply exit in the last few minutes and head for another ride.
So it goes…on your single day at Disney.
Now if you can spare another day or two or three…but that’s another story. ###