We tried to ride every attraction across all 4 Disney World parks in 1 day for a good cause – here’s what happened
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It can be tough enjoying all that a single Disney World theme park has to offer in one day. It doesn’t take a Disney expert to know that the idea of riding every ride across Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios in just one day is insane.
But we like attempting otherwise insane things sometimes – especially when those things benefit charity – so we set out to do the impossible and ride everything at Disney World in a day.
According to an official count, there are currently 52 moving attractions at Walt Disney World. This ranges from big-named rides such as Space Mountain and Expedition Everest to the lesser-known hits such as the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Vehicles and the boats to Tom Sawyer’s Island.
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We embarked on this adventure not only because we love Disney, are only questionably sane and wanted to push the limits of what is possible, but also to raise money for one of our favorite charities, Give Kids the World (GKTW).
GKTW is located in the Orlando area, and just in case you haven’t heard of it, yet, it is where the majority of Make a Wish kids stay during their trip to Orlando. GKTW is a special place that puts thought into every aspect of the stay so that these special kids and their families can celebrate a year of celebrations in one day, enjoy accessible rides on-site and be within easy access to all the major area theme parks.
To raise money for this great organization, not only did The Points Guy pledge $150 per ride we could complete in a day, but some other very generous readers and supporters also did the same.
With that incentive driving our insanity, we set out on our mission.
Rules of the game
Of course, there are rules for any challenge. Just like the first time we tried this in 2018, we largely followed the Parkeology challenge rules which stipulate no special access of any kind, including no buying your way onto a private VIP tour or otherwise doing something that any other guest couldn’t replicate.
You can, however, use the early and late park hours that are available to resort guests and make use of the new paid FastPass replacement system, Genie+, which we did to the absolute max.
Also, each unique ride only counts as one, so no riding teacups all day long just to up the scorecard – thank goodness.
Our attempt to ride all the Disney rides
The morning of the big day, Colby from the TPG social team and I were joined by Richard Kerr of Bilt Rewards (formerly with TPG), Ed Pizza from PizzaInMotion.com (a regular TPG contributor) and Jeanne Hoffman from Le Chic Geek.
We were all staying at Disney resorts, so we were eligible to start riding attractions at 8:30 a.m. — 30 minutes before the official 9 a.m. start. To be at the front of the (large) pack that gathers for that 8:30 a.m. start, we were in place as soon as the park started letting people in at 7:30 a.m. We’d be back in that same park until 11 p.m. that night.
Here’s how the ensuring 20 miles worked out … and how many rides we were able to pull off.
- 7:30 a.m.: Allowed off the monorail at the Magic Kingdom stop (before that, I was asked to continue circling on the loop).
- 7:50 a.m.: Allowed to scan into the Magic Kingdom with my Magic Band with a preloaded ticket.
- 7:57 a.m.: Official line-up in the front of the holding area near Tea Cups in Fantasyland to be as close as we could get to our first goal: Peter Pan. (See what it was like at the front of the crowd vs. the eventual crowd that formed in the photos below.)
- 8:30 a.m.: Disney cast members led the early group through Fantasyland (no running) where we then speed-walked to our first attraction and were the first riders of the day.
- 8:34 a.m. Ride 1: Peter Pan’s Flight (the wait for this one is almost always high, so grab it first if you can).
- 8:51 a.m. Ride 2: Astro Orbiter (this one took a while to get on even though it was very early).
- 8:58 a.m. Ride 3: Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.
- 9:14 a.m. Ride 4: Big Thunder Mountain.
- 9:24 a.m. Ride 5: Splash Mountain.
- 9:48 a.m. Ride 6: Pirates of the Caribbean (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 10:12 a.m. Ride 7: Barnstormer.
- 10:26 a.m. Ride 8: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Purchased individual Lightning Lane).
- 10:35 a.m. Ride 9: Tea Cups.
- 10:46 a.m. Ride 10: Tomorrowland People Mover.
- 11:20 a.m. Ride 11: Haunted Mansion (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- Lunch: Columbia Harbour House (Mobile ordered in the Disney app and hit the “we are here” button while still on Haunted Mansion).
- 12:03 p.m. Ride 12: Winnie the Pooh (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 12:18 p.m. Ride 13: Tom Sawyer Island.
- 12:30 p.m. Ride 14: Liberty Square River Boat.
- 1:12 p.m. Ride 15: Dumbo (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
Then, we park hopped to Animal Kingdom.
- 2:07 p.m. Ride 16: Expedition Everest.
- 2:18 p.m. Ride 17: TriceraTop Spin.
- 2:36 p.m. Ride 18: Dinosaur (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 2:48 p.m. Ride 19: Wildlife Express Train.
- 3:07 p.m. Ride 20: Kilimanjaro Safaris (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 3:43 p.m. Ride 21: Na’vi River Journey (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
Next, we park hopped over to Hollywood Studios
- 4:25 p.m. Ride 22: Alien Swirling Saucers (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 4:41 p.m. Ride 23: Star Tours.
- 5:02 p.m. Ride 24: Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run (Single rider line).
- 5:24 p.m. Ride 25: Toy Story Mania (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 6:01 p.m. Ride 26: Slinky Dog Dash (Waited only 30 minutes — which was great for Slinky).
Epcot was the next park on our list.
- 6:43 p.m. Ride 27: Journey into Imagination with Figment.
- 7:05 p.m. Ride 28: Soarin’ (Genie+ Lightning Lane).
- 7:23 p.m. Ride 29: Living with the Land.
- 7:48 p.m. Ride 30: The Seas with Nemo & Friends.
- 8:16 p.m. Ride 31: Mission: Space.
- 8:27 p.m. Ride 32: Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.
- Dinner: Regal Eagle (Mobile ordered and hit “we are here” button as soon as we left the Mexico Pavillion)
- 9:17 p.m. Ride 33: Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure (Purchased individual Lightning Lane).
Finally, we returned to Magic Kingdom to end out the night. The park was open two extra hours from 9 p.m. until 11 p.m. for guests staying at deluxe resorts, so we were able to squeeze in a few more rides.
- 10:20 p.m. Ride 34: Tomorrowland Speedway.
- 10:32 p.m. Ride 35: Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid.
- 10:34 p.m. Ride 36: Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
- 10:51 p.m. Ride 37: Magic Carpets of Aladdin.
- 10:57 p.m. Ride 38: It’s a Small World After All.
- 12:20 a.m.: Round of celebratory drinks at the Swan Reserve.
If that sounds like an insane day at Disney World, you aren’t wrong. To document the rides, we took selfies throughout the day that sort of … deteriorated as the hours, miles and rides dragged by.
Lessons learned after trying all the Disney rides
We knew going in we couldn’t actually ride all 52 rides in one day. No one has completed this challenge at Disney World, as far as we know, since the parks reopened after the pandemic closure with new rules.
For one, park hopping isn’t currently allowed until 2 p.m., leaving you three parks to go with the day two-thirds of the way over for some operating hours. An extra challenge is that Disney keeps building and opening new rides – so while it was technically possible to pull off this feat a few years ago, it might now be impossible with additions such as Rise of the Resistance, Remy and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which are all quite popular.
Additionally, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. isn’t going to be enough hours to get it done even under the best of circumstances. While Genie+ allowed us to do more than we otherwise could have, it’s still new and quirky to use. Our true goal was to ride as many rides as humanly possible, and 38 rides across four parks – with a late-night hop back to Magic Kingdom – may have been darn near that limit while still following the rules.
With all that said, here are some tips if you want to ride as many Disney World rides as possible in just one day.
- Have Genie+ purchased ahead of time: Booking that first Lightning Lane at 7 a.m. vs. 7:01 a.m. can have dramatically different results for popular rides such as Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan, Slinky Dog Dash, etc.
- Stay on property and rope drop strategically: You can pick up at least one to two true walk-on attractions first thing in the morning if you are at the front of the pack for a park’s rope drop opening. But know that an 8:30 a.m. start for resort guests means you need to be there no later than 7:45 a.m. to be at the front of the pack. If you get there at 8:20 a.m. for an 8:30 a.m. opening, you’ll face a 20–30 minute wait already amassed for that first popular ride, wiping out your early-morning advantage.
- Look for evenings with extra hours for deluxe resort guests: On select Monday and Wednesday evenings, the Magic Kingdom and Epcot alternate being open an extra two hours in the evening for Disney deluxe resort guests, which makes it possible to squeeze in more rides. In our cases, a late-evening hop back to Magic Kingdom added five more rides to our total we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
- Buy the two individual Lightning Lanes carefully: To truly maximize rides, you’ll want to not only purchase Genie+ but also the two additional cost Lightning Lanes. However, some are more valuable than others. Everest and Space Mountain, for example, often have a much lower wait than Mine Train and Rise of the Resistance, so if you are park hopping, be strategic about which ones will save you the most time.
- Lightning Lanes become available constantly, so keep searching: It will get harder by late morning to snag great, close-in Lightning Lanes on the first try. Unfortunately, you can’t modify them once you have them, though you can cancel. If you spend two to three minutes refreshing the app page constantly over and over again you will probably see something you want pop up – and can grab it quickly.
- Drive yourself and find a way to park near the Magic Kingdom: Whether you stay at the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary (closest to Magic Kingdom), or have a dining reservation there, etc. you’ll save valuable minutes parking there and walking from the Magic Kingdom to your car to then drive on to the next park on your list. Once you hit a certain time in the day, attendants will usually let you start parking closer to the entrances of the other parks as folks are leaving.
- Pre-order your meals and hit “I’m here” before you’re really there: We didn’t lose a single minute waiting for lunch or dinner because we ordered in the app and clicked to signal “I’m here” at least 10–15 minutes before we actually were, which guaranteed our tray of food was ready to grab. The trade-off is the food may already be a few minutes old when you get it, but that was a small price to pay. On a related note, keep a cooler in your car and refresh waters and snacks in your bag between each park.
- Your shoes matter – a lot: A normal Disney park day can easily be 10 miles of walking, but something like this can be double that. Maybe you are already a marathon runner, but if you aren’t, this can be a lot of strain on your body. Our 16-hour park day racked up 20 miles — a lot of concrete pounding for your feet. The ones in our group that fared the best were wearing new (but broken-in) running shoes. Those of us who didn’t paid for it dearly.
- Those early and late hours are the time to really hustle and do lots of rides: The first and last 60 – 90 minutes of the park day are where you can do a whole lot with a little time as long as you are ready to hustle between rides. Use that time wisely and remember you can get on the last ride up until the minute the clock strikes closing. In our case, we got on a 20-minute ride with 3 minutes to spare, which was a solid way to squeeze Small World into the day without sucking up too much time.
Our final stats were 38 rides completed, 20 miles walked (or, sometimes jogged), over 16 park hours logged and, most importantly, over $20,000 raised for Give Kids the World Village. We didn’t ride everything offered by Disney World in one day – but all things considered, we got pretty close.
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