Is a Disney Park Hopper ticket really worth the price? Can you see everything at Disney World in one day? I’m going to share how my family maximizes our park hopper tickets to see everything we want to see in one day!
Can You See it All in One Day?
Can you see everything you want to see at Walt Disney World in only one day? The short answer is no, and yes. Disney World in Orlando, Florida is a huge park that spans over 30,000 acres of land. There are four distinct theme parks within Disney World (Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) and two large water parks, not to mention all the resort hotels and other attractions located on property. With a combined total of almost 50 rides, there is no way you could actually see and do everything in one day, but a park hopper ticket will get you close!
When is One Day Enough?
If you can’t actually see everything in one day, is going for one day really enough? Under what circumstance would a one-day trip to Disney World be practical? I’m going to share when and why you would want to pack all of Disney World into one day and how to do it!
1. When More Than One Day Sounds Too Exhausting
I’ve shared before about my opinion on multiple day tickets to Disney World with young kids. One day at any Disney park is a magical, wonderful, fun-fill day of happiness, but it’s also super tiring! When our kids were tiny, I can’t imagine having gone back in to a park without having at least one day in between to rest. To save money and sanity, we normally buy a regular base ticket and pick ONE park to visit per trip to Florida.
2. When You’re an Experienced Park-Goer on a Tight Schedule
When time is limited and a quick trip to Disney World is all you need, one day is better than no days! Now that our kids are a little older and we all know exactly what we really want to see, we have bought park hopper tickets and seen everything we want at 3 out of the 4 parks in ONE DAY. We have done all 4 parks in a day, but usually 3 out of 4 is more manageable.
3. When You’re on a Small Budget
I’ve written a lot of tips over the years for traveling to Disney World on a small budget. We’ve been there. Early in our marriage, after the birth of our first child, we were living on 30K a year and always looking for creative ways to save on a Disney trip. If you’re looking to keep your trip as cheap as possible, there is no arguing the fact that one day is still your cheapest bet.
Maximize Your One Day Park Hopper Ticket
You’ve decided that for whatever reason, you have one day to spend at Disney World. Now, here’s the big one-day dilemma: how can you choose between a picture in front of Cinderella’s castle or piloting the Millennium Falcon at Hollywood Studios? You just can’t. It’s super hard. So, if you don’t want to take multiple days at Disney, a park hopper is the way to go! Here’s what to do:
- Buy a One Day Park Hopper ticket for everyone in your group.
- Make a list of the shows, attractions, rides, restaurants, and characters that you absolutely have to see at each park! Now, narrow it down to an “absolutely can’t miss” list and a “if we have time” list.
- Get fastpasses ahead of time for the big rides at the very first park you will hit. TIP: Get them as early in the day as possible, once they are used up you can get more! You can only book Fastpasses for one park at a time.
- Be ready to start the day early! Be prepared and be at your first park before they open.
- Drive if you can, you’ll spend less time waiting on shuttles and buses to arrive and won’t have to make unnecessary stops. You will only pay for parking once.
- Go with a couple meal options or make reservations if you have a specific place in mind.
- You’ll have time for all 4 parks if you walk fast and stay focused. You’ll have more flex time and breathing room if you eliminate one park. Base this on the attractions your family really wants to see.
- Go in order of park times for the day you are there. Hit the park first that opens first and leave the one that is open latest for last. Remember, if you’re staying at a Disney Resort you have access to extra magic hours in the morning or evening at one of the parks.
Perks to Staying at a Disney Resort
Anywhere you stay on Disney property will open the door to all kinds of short cuts and transportation options. You will be a whole lot closer to the magic and wont have as long of a commute. We love camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, which is right across the lake from the Magic Kingdom and accessible by boat.
- Extra Magic Hours: Each day of the week, a specific park will let resort guests into the park earlier and stay later than the general public. This gives you extra time to spare when trying to fit everything into one day!
- Resort transportation. Though this is not always the quickest rout, we found the boat ride back to our campsite from the Magic Kingdom to be an enjoyable ending to our day.
- Concierge service that is extremely helpful for making last minute dining reservations and getting Fastpasses.
What We Did
I’m going to base this example on one of the last times we did Disney in a day. We chose to skip the Animal Kingdom on this particular trip to give us more breathing room. We bought park hopper tickets and started the day at Hollywood Studios.
STOP 1: We drove to Hollywood Studios and got there before the general public (with our extra magic hour) and booked it straight back to get in line to meet Kylo Ren. We then hit the couple other spots on our map, took some pictures and left. Driving saved us time and you only have to pay for parking once per day. UPDATE: Since writing this, Galaxy’s Edge has opened at Hollywood Studios and would now be our very first stop of the day.
STOP 2: We drove to Epcot and parked (no parking fee this time). We hit the couple things we wanted to see and ate lunch in Mexico, then left.
STOP 3: We headed back to our campsite and parked our car. There, we grabbed our sweatshirts for later, fresh bottles of water, had a snack, changed from Star Wars outfits into pirates and princesses and Papa took a nap. We then hopped on the boat from Fort Wilderness Campground over to the Magic Kingdom.
STOP 4: We saved the majority of our time for the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom was open later than any other park that day, so it made since for it to be our last stop.
Make sure you have linked all your reservations to your account in the My Disney Experience app. Utilize this app throughout the day for getting Fastpasses and checking wait times! Book your first 3 Fastpasses as early as possible in the morning at the park you will visit first.
If you have a ride you really want to do but it is only available for later in the day, snatch up that time slot while you can! Once you have booked your time slot for later in the day, go into the reservation and modify it. Once you’re in the app, click on the specific ride and change the time. Keep refreshing the page and you will be amazed at how many times “magically” appear that weren’t there before!
I once grabbed a Fastpass for my daughter and I on Flight of Passage (the hardest Fastpass to get), at 5:00 in the afternoon. Once I had booked it, I clicked on it to modify the time and kept refreshing, grabbing earlier and earlier times until I finally had one for 8am!
What About You?
Have you ever used a one day park hopper ticket at Disney World and lived to tell about it? I’d love to hear!!