How to Maximize Your 1 Day Hopper (Even with Kiddos!)

I know, I know, this sounds like crazy talk – but doing “4 Parks in 1 Day” is doable…even if you have only 1 day to do it, versus multiple park days.  It’s giving brief attention to each park, for what you absolutely want to do…all while understanding that there will be a lot of travel, both on foot and between the parks.

Let’s set you up for success, with realistic expectations, and a time frame.  

  1. REMINDER: There is no guarantee you will get to do everything in every park.  Choose those must do’s (2-3 attractions, characters, or shows) in each park.
  2. Pre-planning is key. Look at park hours. Do you want to do early morning magic hours?  Would you rather do late night?  Would you rather not do either, and hit those ‘magic hour’ parks midday instead?  Find what works for you.  Put each park in order.
  3. Book your Fast Passes for the park in which you want to do the MOST.  This will maximize your time in that park, and move you through quicker!  
  4. If it coordinates, make the park you made the Fast Passes in be the first park you visit in the day. That way you can utilize extra Fast Passes later in the day.
  5. Whichever park you pick first, be there at park opening/rope drop (or as early as you are able).  You can accomplish a lot at that early time, even without your Fast Passes.  
  6. Remember that you can adjust Fast Passes for other experiences if your choices end up being shorter waits than anticipated!
  7. Don’t focus on table service meals. Quick service, and ‘walkable’ foods/drinks, will help you get through the parks faster.
  8. Utilize in-park transportation.  It is much quicker than your own. (water taxi’s may delay your time frame, so plan accordingly)
  9. If you get side-tracked, or something keeps you from your set plan – be flexible enough to modify your plans on the fly if necessary.
  10. Finally, realize that you will spend every bit of 12-14 hours in the parks that day – especially if you have utilized Extra Magic Hours.  Wear comfortable shoes and clothing!

Now, what if you have elementary aged kiddos?  You know your kids better than anyone – and the list above can be adapted for kids as well.  

  • Add their list of ‘must-do’s’ in the mix – can they be achieved in a timely manner too? Or will you compromise for a little of each?
  • Are your kiddos early risers or night owls?  Do they need naps, etc?  This must go into your pre-planning as well.  
  • If you don’t want to go back to the hotel for naps – perhaps longer, air conditioned, attractions (i.e Spaceship Earth, a 3D show, etc) may be a good alternative ‘down time’ – and should be figured into your schedule.
  • Figure in ‘melt down’ times. It will happen. We know, and understand.  Just plan for it 🙂
  • And realize, at the end of the night, you may be carrying them out, sleeping in your arms!

Kiddos in strollers?  Well, while it is doable to do all 4 in a day with a stroller aged kiddo – It may be better to plan for 4 parks, but to stop when it’s appropriate for your family.  If they can sleep through anything, bring the stroller along!  

On our last trip, we squeezed 3 of the 4 parks into our day.  A table service meal, and a longer line to see Mickey than anticipated bogged us down.  Had we only done quick service, and utilized a Fast Pass for Mickey – we could have gotten to all 4.  Lesson learned!

Want to plan a jam packed day? Contact your Me and The Mouse Travel Specialist today!

Amy Sowinski

Travel Specialist

 

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Amy Sowinski
Contact Amy when you are ready to start planning your next dream Disney vacation, and receive her complimentary concierge services!

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