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4 Parks in One Day at Disney, is it Worth the Stress?

4 Parks in One Day at Disney, is it Worth the Stress? 4-parks-1-day-wdw

Back in the day, when there wasn’t a “rule” regarding park hopping, accomplishing four parks in one day was less stressful. Now there’s a pesky no park hoping before 2 p.m. rule that throws a wrench into the planning process. I enjoy seamless days in the parks that require minimal planning and stress.

While planning this adventure, I reminded myself of that. I knew I wasn’t going to do what others do on these types of days. Like ride at least one ride, eat a food item, meet a character, then move to the park. That is just too much for me to handle. Let me break down how I planned this fun-filled day.

Park Order

The first step in planning this day is to figure out how you’ll start and end your day. Personally, I think the best way to do it is to head over to the park that opens the earliest. That would be Animal Kingdom. Disclaimer, I did not get there at park open. Next is to see which park is open the latest, which is Magic Kingdom. Once you know those two things, you can plan the middle section.

I am a work smarter, not harder type of person, so I figure out this next part by distance and logistics. Hollywood Studios is close to Animal Kingdom. If I were to go to EPCOT followed by Magic Kingdom, it would make sense to park at TTC (Magic Kingdom parking) and grab the monorail to EPCOT, which would make traveling to the park and exiting it easier.

So here’s the breakdown, start at Animal Kingdom, make your way to your car at 1 p.m., and trek over to Hollywood Studios. This way, you’d arrive at the park close to 2 p.m. and have enough time to accomplish things on your to-do list; after that, I suggest leaving by 4 p.m. to park at TTC and arrive at EPCOT in a timely manner. As 7 p.m. rolls around, the next step would be to hop on a monorail and make your way to Magic Kingdom.

The To-do List

Everyone’s to-do list is going to look different, as it should. My to-do list was to meet one character or more at each park and obtain their autographs. I may or may not have picked up snacks along the way and did some shopping. I wasn’t alone in this; I had my wife with me since this was how she wanted to celebrate her birthday. She loves Winne the Pooh, so to end our character-filled day, we made a reservation at Crystal Palace, where we obviously got several autographs. It was a dream come true for her and a great way to complete our to-do list.

We planned what would be on our list several weeks prior to the adventure, hence why we could score a dining reservation. If attractions are a significant part of your day, I suggest buying Disney Genie+ to try o ride as many rides as possible and not get held back by long lines. Now, if eating and drinking are on your list, my biggest advice would be to invest in gift cards to manage the money spent and make the paying process easier.

How to Make it Work in a Group Setting

I don’t recommend doing this with a large group because it could get messy unless you start the planning process early. I would hold a group meeting over zoom, facetime, or maybe even dinner and begin to have a conversation. I would have each person write down things they want to do at each park and drop them in a bowl. One park at a time, of course. Assign one person to pull two pieces of paper for each park. This allows there to be a sense of fairness and will help the entire group plan easier.

I instead do this experience with one other person or four people at most. It’s essential to keep communication open when traveling with a group and while planning a day like this to avoid miscommunication. There are plenty of ways to make this work and to eliminate stress while planning with a group.

Is it Worth it?

Yes. It is 100% worth it. We had a blast jumping from park to park and being able to say we completed our mission. It was fun, stress-free, and we made so many memories together. As I mentioned, earlier, meeting characters was our primary focus, so here are all the characters we met.

Animal Kingdom

  • Mickey and Minnie – Adventurers Outpost
  • Donald Duck – DinoLand U.S.A.
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale – DinoLand U.S.A.
4 Parks in One Day at Disney, is it Worth the Stress? 4-parks-1-day-wdw 1

Outside of characters, we each got something to eat. My wife got baked macaroni and cheese at Eight Cafe, and it is her new favorite food item at the park. I got tacos nearby at The Smiling Crocodile, some of the best Disney tacos I’ve ever had.

Hollywood Studios

  • Mickey and Minnie – Red Carpet Dream (special outfits)
  • Edna Mode – Sighting on Hollywood
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Here we also made a stop at Baseline Tap House for a drink and snacks. It was a great spot to rest our feet and catch some air conditioning.


  • Anna and Elsa – Norway Pavillion
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By the time, we got to EPCOT, many of the characters were already gone for the day except Anna and Elsa. Before meeting them, we stopped at the Odyssey and grabbed drinks, and we finally caved and bought the Figment Popcorn Bucket. After meeting our favorite queens, we rode the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros, and of course, we grabbed a margarita after.

Magic Kingdom

  • Winne the Pooh – Crystal Palace
  • Tigger – Crystal Palace
  • Eyore – Crystal Palace
  • Piglet – Crystal Palace
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We enjoyed a lovely dinner at Crystal Palace while meeting some of our favorite characters. After our meal, we rode the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and then enjoyed a stroll around the Emporium.

This was just such a perfect day, and I already miss it. I highly suggest planning a four parks in one day adventure with people you love. It was such a great experience, and through it all, I felt the Disney magic. It was worth the planning, it was worth the driving around property, and it was worth all the walking.

Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.


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