We were staying for the weekend in Daytona Beach, Florida as a result of winning a contest ran by their tourism board. Since Orlando was about an hour away, we decided to drive up to Disney World early Saturday morning and visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When we got there, our plan took a different turn.
Excited to finally visit at least one of the Disney theme parks we walked up to the ticket booth to buy a pair of tickets for the Animal Kingdom. That’s when we found out about the same day Park Hopper option. “Wait a minute? So we can visit four parks all in the same day?” my husband asked. “That’s right,” said the ticket clerk. My husband and I stepped aside to discuss our options and made the decision to visit Animal Kingdom, Epcot and then Magic Kingdom last. Disney’s Hollywood Studios wasn’t really on my Disney bucket list; some other time I guess.
It was 9am, everything closed at 10pm and we only had one day.
I don’t recommend doing this option if you are A) A Disney fanatic B) Have a kid – unless they’re cool with zipping around theme parks in a day or C) Enjoy slow travel or D) Want to ride every rollercoaster you come across. We did not have our son at the time because we went a couple of years before he was born.
We bought our passes and got maps of the other parks from the ticket booth. We circled on each map key attractions we really wanted to see/do and hit the Animal Kingdom trail.
This was by far my most favorite park out of the three we visited. We started with the Kilimanjaro Safari which was so exciting! We had never been to Africa let alone a safari but I’m sure this was the next best thing. There were animals spotted on the safari such as lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus, ostrich and the list goes on. Each adventurous turn on the rugged terrain allowed us to see something new.
We aren’t big fans of roller coasters and crazy rides, but we did go on the Dinosaur ride and enjoy the 3D interactive film, It’s Tough to Be a Bug. We walked the Discovery Island Trails, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Oasis Exhibit and took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. We even got a photo op with Rafiki!
We were ready for lunch so we headed to Epcot! We ate at Liberty Inn because it was one of the few quick and “cheap” places to eat. Disney World is super expensive when it comes to food! The first attraction we did was Spaceship Earth. It was so cool to finally go inside the iconic geosphere and get on this ride! At the end of the ride we did this interactive travel game and checked out Project Tomorrow.
I regret not visiting Mission: Space and spending more time in World Showcase. We did however get to see Michael Jackson’s Captain EO which I’ve always wanted to see since I heard about it as a kid. It sadly had its final showing on December 6, 2015.
We were really impressed with World Showcase, the replicas of the Eiffel Tower and Venice canals were awesome! My husband loved Phineas and Ferb because he apparently watched all of the episodes. Innoventions was another cool attraction, it was very informative. Epcot is definitely something we would return to in the future.
The monorail is a time-saving way to get around park to park. We hopped on the monorail and rode our way to the heart of it all – The Magic Kingdom! After we were dropped off we had to take a ferry across the Seven Seas Lagoon to get to the main entrance at Main Street, USA. I was excited to see, yet at the same time disappointed that Cinderella’s castle wasn’t as big as it looks on television.
We started at Adventureland because of the obvious, pirates! I am a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean it’s one of my favorite movie series next to Harry Potter of course. There was a little wait for Pirates of the Caribbean so we rode the hilariously entertaining Jungle Cruise, then went back to the POTC ride.
Next, we climbed the super cute Swiss Family Treehouse which I would love to have in our backyard. Luckily when we went to Disney World it was in July so there was plenty of daylight and the park stayed open longer. We walked around the park popping in and out of shops and exhibits. I believe we grabbed a quick bite to eat but I can’t remember where and what we ate.
As night began to fall we were told by other visitors to check out the Disney Parade. It was quite the light show and so were the fireworks at Cinderella’s Castle!
Before we left Magic Kingdom we watched the interactive show Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor. It was a great end to our day. Can you tell we aren’t into adventurous rides?
The park was closing so we hopped on the monorail to get back to our car at Epcot and drove back to our hotel in Daytona Beach. Would we do three Disney parks in one day again? No, but I’m glad we did.
Tip: If you’re bold enough and want to do this, feel free to print this post and use it as a guide. Just remember to get plenty of sleep the night before, don’t skip meals, stay hydrated and arrive before opening at the first park. It also helps to purchase your pass online. We also had the FastPass on our ticket so that is how we avoided long waits in line, it’s a time saver!