East Coast, USA, Family Travel, Forida, Orlando Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World 2023- Four Parks in One Day Challenge



The Itinerary

There are multiple versions of the 4-parks-in-one-day challenge; some people choose to try to ride the most popular attraction at each park; others put more emphasis on photo ops and snacks. My goal in May of 2023 was to use the App and Disney Genie+ to focus on my favorite rides and activities. A few things to note about my visit:

  • The parks were relatively slow on the first Friday in May; only Magic Kingdom (during the fireworks) felt especially crowded.
  • Magic Kingdom closed at 11pm, making it easy to do a lot with it as my last park of the day.
  • Disney Genie+ likely had more options because I was looking for a spot for a single rider.
  • The weather was perfect; on a hotter day with fewer clouds exhaustion would have set in sooner.

BE WARNED: This self-indulgent day meant lots of “selfies” and cheesy Memory Maker photos

Epcot 8:30am-2pm

Park Arrival- Extra Time for Resort Guests
The morning started with a bus ride to Epcot from Port Orleans Riverside. I arrived before rope drop, and resort guests were permitted to gather near the Guardians of the Galaxy entrance for the 8:30am early park guest admission. At Epcot, this extra 1/2 hour makes it possible to ride one of the Genie+ major attractions (including Ratatouille, Frozen Ever After, and Test Track) without having to use a Lightning Lane (LL). 

Lightning Lanes
I had chosen a 10:20am Frozen Ever After for my first LL, so I went straight to Test Track at rope drop. From there, I was able to use standby at many rides with very little wait. The park wasn’t busy in most sections, with the exception of the Mexico Pavilion, where guests were celebrating Cinco de Mayo. The morning Virtual Queue for Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind was full before I got to it; but thankfully it wasn’t a priority because I had used a purchased Lighting Lane for the attraction earlier in the week.


  • 8:30am- Test Track. The line took about 10 minutes, but there was an additional 10 minute delay for a broken car. This caused the wait to climb to 45 minutes by the 9am full park opening.

  • 9:00am- Journey into Imagination with Figment (no wait)

  • 9:15am- Soarin’ Around the World (10-minute wait)

  • 9:40am- The Seas with Nemo & Friends, plus 10 minutes checking out The Seas animal tanks

  • 10:20am- Frozen Ever After Lighting Lane (LL) standby would have been 40 minutes

  • 10:40am- Spaceship Earth LL- (standby would have been 15 minutes)

  • 11:00am- Club Cool- This is one of the “worst kept secret” free activities at Epcot, but strangely I had never done it. There were multiple sets of 8 flavors of carbonated drinks from around the world and I used a small paper cups to sample each one. The Italian ‘Beverly’ soda is infamous for its weird indescribable taste. Other international flavors ranged from a BBQ sauce-like Chinese drink to an uber-sweet soda.

  • 11:15am- Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros ride in the Mexico Pavilion (5-minute wait) & a walk through the Flower & Garden Festival’s adjacent tropical and orchid garden. 

  • 11:30am- Reflections of China in the Pavilion Pagoda. This was one of the few World Showcase shows I had yet to see; the 360 degree theater showcased the diversity of China’s landscapes and cultures.

  • 12pm-1:30pm- Dining, drinking, & shows at World Showcase Pavilions. I continued my World Showcase tour by checking off the following required stops:

    * Potato Pancakes with homemade applesauce in the Germany Pavilion from the IF&GF Festival Bauernmarkt: Farmer’s Market

    * Ravioli Pomodoro from the Italy Pavilion from the IF&GF Primavera Kitchen

    * Louisiana brewed Ghost in the Machine Double IPA in the America Pavilion from the IF&GF Magnolia Terrace Kitchen

    * Caught the end of the Matsuriza drum show in the Japan Pavilion

    * Mediterranean Olives from the snack cart in the Morocco Pavilion

    * Savignion from the Les Vins des Chefs de France in the France Pavilion

    * “Chips” from the Yorkshire County Chips kiosk in the UK Pavilion

    * Garden Maple Whisky Cake in the Canada Pavilion from the IF&GF Northern Bloom Kitchen

  • 2:00pm- Left via the Epcot World Showcase gate to take the Skyliner.

Hollywood Studios 2:30pm-5:00pm

  • 2:30pm- Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway LL (Standby would have been 50 minutes)

  • 3:00pm- Toy Story Mania LL (Standby would have been 40 minutes)

  • 3:30pm- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance LL (Standby would have been 50 minutes)- The line was surprisingly short for this attraction even for those without a Lighting Lane and crowds at Hollywood Studios were relatively low. Most Star Wars fans had packed the park the previous day (May the Fourth).

Animal Kingdom 5:00pm-6:30pm

Kilamanjaro Safari



Pandora: The World of Avatar

  • 5:00pm- Expedition Everest Single Rider lane (Standby would have been 15 minutes)

  • 5:15pm- Kali River Rapids LL (Standby would have been 15 minutes)

  • 5:45pm- Kilamanjaro Safari standby. There was strangely no wait for the last hour before this normally popular attraction closed. Trucks were moving across the Savanna, so many of the animals were more active than other times we have visited. The highlight was in the wetland section, where the one-year old hippo was fully out of the water on the island in his enclosure.

  • 6:30pm- Navi River Journey (Standby would have been 40 minutes)

Magic Kingdom 7:30pm-11:30pm

  • 7:30pm- TRON LL (Standby is not currently offered; I was happy that I had paid for LL; the virtual queue was closed by the time I arrived at MK.

  • 8pm- Space Mountain LL (Standby would have been 35 minutes)

  • 8:30pm Dinner and a drink (okay 2 drinks) at Jungle Navigation Co.– I got a last minute reservation early in the day. Normally I wouldn’t want to cut it this close, but I wasn’t too worried about seeing the very beginning of the show or seeing the projections. I ordered as soon as my server came to the table and asked for my check when dinner arrived. I heard the first fireworks as I was finishing  Perkins Thai noodles with Tofu.

  • 9:05pm- Happily Ever After- Unlike the other three parks that day, Magic Kingdom was extremely crowded, with many people arriving after 7pm. The show was underway when I left the restaurant, and the only option to access Main Street was via a backstage road that was open from near Crystal Palace. This actually worked out well for me; there was plenty of space for one person along the sidewalk, and I had a great view of the pyrotechnics. I was thrilled, like most other MK enthusiasts, with the return of Happily Ever After. The show had been on hiatus while the Wishes show celebrated the 50-year Park anniversary.

  • 9:35pm- Haunted Mansion LL (Standby would have been 30 minutes)

  • 9:50 pm- Big Thunder Mountain LL (Standby would have been 25 minutes)

  • 10:10 pm- Magic Carpets of Aladdin (no wait)

  • 10:30 pm- Mad Hatter’s Teacups (no wait)

  • 10:40 pm- Adventures of Winnie the Pooh LL (Standby would have been 25 minutes)

  • 10:55 pm- Astro Orbiter (15 minute wait)

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