This is a post I’ve wanted to do for quite a long time, nearly 4 years to be exact ever since I went to Disneyland in California back in 2015. So here I am with my first bit of Disney content on the blog and I am so excited to be sharing my tips and tricks for successfully doing a Disney Park in a day.
Now a lot of people will probably look at me funny when I say this but you can do a Disney Park in a day. There are many things that can help you cram in as much as you can but none of that will help unless you yourself take the time to research and plan.
1. Things to think about when booking your trip.
Your biggest question when booking is when do you want to go. This will largely effect how much time you have in the parks due to different seasons having longer or shorter opening times but also what special events are going on. Yea sure going in the summer would allow you more time to squeeze everything in but maybe its the Halloween or Christmas shows you want to see more. However if you’re not fussed about those I would strongly suggest picking a summer month purely just for guaranteed decent weather and of course more time in the parks due to those longer hours and preferably if you can on a weekday and before the kids are off school. This will mean less crowds and less time wasted waiting in lines.
2. Do your research.
The main question to answer when doing your research is ‘Is this your first time in this park?’ Probably yes. If its not then you probably won’t need most of the information in this post. But the real question is ‘Is this your first time in a Disney Park ever?’ If you are the latter I will address you first.
First of all if this is your first time going to a Disney Park be prepared you won’t be able to do everything that’s there. Now I know this is a post about how you can do a Disney Park in a day but to be able to do everything in one day is impossible, unless you are super rich and pay to close the park for you, but you can still get a lot done in a day. There will always be ride closures or refurbishments and you’ll never be able to eat at every restaurant so actually taking on a theme park in a day let alone a week is a tall ask which is why you need to plan and prioritise.
First thing I advise to do is check the website. Find out your opening hours so you can be there from park opening to close. What rides are forecast to be closed and which rides are speciality rides for that park you won’t find at any other Disney resort as you’ll want to prioritise those experiences. Are there any special events or shows you’d like to see or specific character meets to schedule throughout your day. Find out which attractions have Fast Passes so you can minimise those waits. These are going to be your biggest helpers when planning out your day. Maybe watch some YouTube videos to help you decide and also get you excited for your trip.
3. Plan your day.
Make every second count. Create a timeline for the day the starts at park opening. Are there Fast Passes available for that big ticket ride with the longest queue? Make sure to grab them at the beginning of the day (unless your in Disney World then you’ll have your fast passes in advance booked in to base your day on). Pencil in the times for those shows you want to see so you know how much time you have left for rides and I know I keep saying it but prioritise those rides you really want to do. Now you by no means have to stick to this plan on the day as things change, queues happen and you will never be able to get everything done exactly but you’ll surely still tick a lot off your bucket list.
Other helpful tips.
-If you can stay locally the day before to minimise travel time cutting into your day, do it. Not only will this allow you the possibility of extra magic hours that allow you in early to the park if you stay on site but allow you access to the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs/Disney Village areas the day before to do any shopping you may want on the trip so you have those Minnie Ears before instead of taking time out to chose and buy the perfect pair on the day.
-When one Fast Pass runs out, you can get another. Don’t spend time waiting in lines when you can get a fast pass. I once over heard a couple on a plane complain about not having enough time to do other stuff in the park because they spent too long waiting for Big Thunder instead of getting a fast pass. They are free with your ticket and as soon as you are inside the time slot of the one you already have you can get another.
-Although it’s nice to have a meal in that signature restaurant they call it quick service for a reason.
-Always be on the lookout. You don’t know when a magic moment or random character meet and greet may show up.
-Dress appropriately. Wear those trainers and check the weather to see if you need a coat. You’ll be walking around all day outside so do like Scar and “be prepared” or you might get caught wasting time hanging about in a shop waiting for the rain to stop.
-Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and just have fun. Don’t let things stress you out. Just roll with it and as long as you’ve done enough research to prepare you, you’ll be able to bounce back and have a good time regardless of what happens.
So those are my tips for doing a Disney Park in a day. If you found this helpful and would like more posts like this in the future, let me know in the comments and if you’d like to actually see how I did a theme park in a day head over to my YouTube channel to see my videos from my California trip back in 2015.
If you have any other Disney questions I’d love to answer them or if you can think of any tips I’ve left out, don’t be afraid to leave them in the comments below. Happy Disney travels.