4 Parks, 1 Day

Monday, June 15, 2020

Among the hardcore Walt Disney World fans, there is a challenge at the parks that looms large in the back of our minds: visiting all 4 parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) in one day.

In 2018, at the spur of the moment, I decided to complete this challenge.

Now it's not enough to just actually go into to the parks. Anyone can do that. You have to set parameters.

For me, I decided that I needed to accomplish the following:

  • Have a photo taken in each park, either in front of a recognizable icon or with a character
  • Experience an attraction (ride or show)
  • Have a snack in each park

Originally, this was just supposed to be an Epcot day for me. We were there around my birthday, and I had wanted to take the World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered tour. However, they ended up not offering it on our free day, and it wasn't worth losing our Fastpass+ and advanced dining reservations to shuffle the schedule around to accommodate it. However, since I love Epcot and never get to enjoy the World Showcase as much as I would like, I had planned on just spending the whole day there doing whatever I wanted while Tom and the boys hung out at the resort. However, I suddenly got it into my head that it was the perfect opportunity to try the 4 parks challenge (I had an annual pass, so there wasn't really anything holding me back).

***If you want to see my real time videos from this day, they're on my Instagram page under the "travel" highlight***

I drove to Epcot and parked there, but instead of entering the park, I jumped on the monorail and headed to Magic Kingdom. As I rode over, I checked the Fastpass+ availability and grabbed one for Mickey's PhilharMagic (which I one of my favorites anyway). The ferry was heading back to the TTC, and there was no Magic Kingdom monorail in sight, so I took the ferry over (I've always loved a good boat!). Once inside, I swallowed my pride and jumped in line to have my picture taken in front of the castle. I used my fastpass and decided to try something I'd never had -- a Citrus Swirl. I made my way over to Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland, and ordered one.


I have always been a HUGE fan of Dole Whips, but this put the Dole Whip to shame. SO GOOD.

I did a little people watching while I ate, and I got the chance to chat with a cast member who was sweeping the area. His name was also Alex. We chatted about the Disney College Program, what I was doing, and the Citrus Swirl.

After I finished, it was on to the next park! I decided to take the monorail back to Epcot. I once again checked for fastpass availability, and I was able to snag one for Soarin'! Soarin' is one of my favorite rides, and this was my first opportunity to experience it since they had switched the film from California to the world. The lines to take a photo in front of Spaceship Earth were ridiculous, so I just took a selfie. I had some time to kill before my fastpass window, so I stopped by Club Cool for a shot of Beverly (yes, I actually like Beverly) and some Inca Kola, and rode Journey Into Imagination because the wait was short. 

After Soarin', I wandered over to World Showcase, because there's no better place to grab a snack. I grabbed my FAVORITE, school bread, in Norway, but wanted to try the brioche ice cream sandwich in France (you pick your ice cream, and they press it in a brioche roll). It's not something I'll probably order again (the bread and the ice cream just didn't mesh well together for me), but it was an interesting experience.

I wanted to linger in World Showcase longer (with antsy kids, we don't spend as much time there as I'd like), but it was time to hop a boat to Hollywood Studios! Unfortunately,  I was unaware that the friendship boats weren't actually running between parks that day, just the resorts. Now I could have just walked from the Swan/Dolphin (we've done the walk before to get to our breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, and it's not that bad), but I'd already done a lot of walking and still had a lot to do, so I took the lazy route and waited for a bus at the BoardWalk.

I wasn't really hungry bu the time I reached the Studios, but I was crazy thirsty, so I stopped by the Trolley Car Cafe (the Starbucks location at DHS) and grabbed a passion tea (not the most inventive way to take advantage of a snack stop, but again, I just wanted something refreshing to drink). I stopped and took a picture by the film strips near the the cafe. There hadn't been any really good fastpasses available, so I decided to do Star Wars: Path of the Jedi since I hadn't experienced it yet. It was a fun diversion, but not really something I'd normally go out of my way for (but at least it was nice and cool in the theater!). 

I had one more park to go, so I grabbed a bus to Animal Kingdom. There was a fastpass available for DINOSAUR, which I had never ridden (my best friend had told me how much she hated it, and it didn't sound like anything Tom or Jeffery would like). I FREAKING LOVED IT. It's one of my absolute favorite rides. And on our last trip, Tom and the boys decided to try it, and they liked it too! After DINOSAUR, I pushed down my anxiety and met a character without my kids present. As a lifelong Ducktales fan, I couldn't NOT take a picture with Launchpad McQuack ;) I made my way over to Pandora to grab a cheeseburger pod at Satu'li Canteen, and with that, I officially completed my adventure!

It was a total blast, and it will be a memory that I'll always carry with me. I'm not sure if I'll ever do it again, but I'm so glad that I took the plunge. If you ever get the chance to try this crazy challenge, DO IT!

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