I don’t think an entire lifetime would be enough to really experience everything at Disney World. I’ve been to Disney World (in Florida) at least six times, plus CA once, and Paris once, and there’s still so much that I haven’t done. BUT, if you only have four days, I’m convinced it’s possible to see every park and get a lot of the major stuff in during one trip. Of course it takes some major-OCD planning, dining reservations at exactly your 180 days, constant attachment to the My Disney Experience App kind of obsessiveness, but that’s what a well thought out Disney trips requires.
Since we knew we’d be in the south this summer, and we knew Disney was a mere 12 hours from New Orleans, hubby asked if we could tack on a few days so he could experience Disney for the first time ever. I always said we needed to do Disney before children, and I obviously wasn’t going to say no to a Disney request, so, after a few days in New Orleans, we headed to Florida for a jam-packed long weekend of Disney fun!
Hollywood Studios (day 1)
I know not everyone is a fan of Hollywood Studios since it’s smaller and kind of “a half day park”, but I always end up wishing I had more time than I planned for. I like the old California feel, the restaurants are interesting, and they’re expanding to add Star Wars Land. Next time we go will be for little one’s first Disney Trip, and it won’t be for a few years (but yes, I am already planning it), so I’m excited that this expansion will be finished by then!
Fast Passes: Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours
Dining: lunch at Brown Derby Lounge (outdoors, no reservations, cocktails and quick bites)
Other Highlights: The Great Movie Ride, Star Wars Show (multiple times throughout the day), Indiana Jones: The Epic Stunt Spectacular
We ended up heading to the Boardwalk Resort Area for dinner on our first night to meet up with some family we have in Florida. Usually, I stay at the Boardwalk, but for this trip we weren’t able to get a room. It was nice to show hubby my favorite Disney area and enjoy some good food and street entertainment. I also always love watching the Epcot fireworks from the bridge!
Epcot (day 2)
Epcot is without a doubt my favorite park. I really do think you need two days here, but one is doable if you try real hard!
Fast Passes: Soarin’, Mission Space, and Spaceship Earth
Dining: hubby’s goal for Epcot was to try a food or a drink at every country…but it turned into basically a food AND a drink in every country. Some of my faves were breakfast at France’s bakery, quick service at Morocco – try the falafel, lunch at Le Celier, Scandinavian beer and pastries in Norway, obviously beer in Germany and the candy shop, and green tea ice cream in China…I really could just eat at Epcot all day long!
Other Highlights: Test Track (ride single rider to save on wait time), Living with the Land, Seas with Nemo and Friends, watching the fireworks from right outside Japan’s hibachi restaurant, the shopping in Mexico, Oh Canada (the 360 movie)
We didn’t get to experience Frozen Ever After. I’m honestly really bummed that they even took the original Maelstrom ride out because I love my Scandinavian heritage and it makes me sad that the whole pavilion is a giant cartoon now, BUT, next trip I’d like to at least try it. It just wasn’t worth the fast pass for us this trip and the lines were over 2 hours!
If you do MK right, you can get most, if not all, of the major rides in during one trip. We ended up missing one or two because we left early, but I’m absolutely convinced this park is possible in a day with the right planning. Extra Magic Hours in the morning got us on Thunder Mountain, It’s a Small World, and Pirates of the Caribbean before the park even opened.
Fast Passes: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion
Dining: Jungle Navigation Co. Skipper’s Canteen, Dole Whips,
Other Highlights: obviously a picture in front of the castle, the Rainy Day Parade (if you catch a rainy day), the scavenger hunts in Adventureland (gets you fast passes for Pirates if you do all 4!), too many rides to name, and a million characters.
Animal Kingdom (day 4)
This was actually my first time at Animal Kingdom. I know, so surprising!! I’m definitely not an expert here, but I felt like we had a pretty good handle on planning everything and seeing everything we could during our last (half) day!
Fast Passes: Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids, Kilimanjaro Safaris
Dining: Flame Tree Barbecue – share the sample platter, Harambe Marker – curry corn dog (sounds weird, but SO GOOD!)
Other Highlights: taking the time to experience all of the animal exhibits. AK is NOT a zoo…you have to actively search out the animals to feel like you saw a lot of them, but they’re there if you look! We also didn’t get to do the nighttime show, but it’s something on our list for the next trip.
Some other thoughts. It was a mistake to start driving home right after spending all day in a park, especially Animal Kingdom, which is SO HOT! Also, I don’t know how my husband dealt with me obsessively planning this entire trip, even while we were on this trip, but he was such a good sport and I think he should take this post as my formal apology for going a bit overboard. I will say, though, that my OCD came in handy since we obviously got almost everything done in 4 days. Lastly, I seriously CANNOT WAIT until out little boy is old enough to go to Disney and actually go on rides with us and experience all of the magic! I’m already planning it. Is that insane?
Please share your Disney with a family tips with me…I feel like a newbie!!