Opening Two Disney Parks in One Day

| August 14, 2013 | 6 Replies

We’ve heard and read some of the wild antics around visiting Disney theme parks; 4 parks in one day, 6 parks in one day (Disney World to Disneyland), etc, etc.  Well, meet the newest accomplishment – opening two Disney parks in one morning.

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Why would any family want to be at the park opening for two different theme parks?  For some it may seem obvious, but for others not so obvious.  With the summer crowds in full swing this past July getting onto E and D ticket attractions can be a difficult proposition.  Wait times can exceed 90 minutes for the most popular attractions later in the day and Fastpasses are usually gone by lunch time.  The veteran Walt Disney World guest knows the best way to beat wait times is to arrive at the parks early and walk-on as many popular attractions as possible.  Of course, this strategy only lasts for an hour or so.  Before you know it hoards of crowds are invading the theme parks and lines build very quickly.

During peak times throughout the year Disney will extend their park hours to accommodate crowd levels.  This past July was no different.  Reviewing the park hours during our week-long vacation I noticed the Animal Kingdom opened at 8:00AM with a morning Extra Magic Hour for resort guests.  This meant the park would open at 7:00AM.  That specific day was to be our Magic Kingdom day.  We decided to set our alarm for 5:00AM so we had time to get ready, grab a breakfast snack, and take Disney transportation to the Animal Kingdom.  You heard me right….We were relying on Disney transportation to get us to both parks.

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We arrived at the Saratoga Springs (Springs section) bus depot around 6:15AM.  After about a 15 minute wait our Animal Kingdom bus arrived.  We were whisked away and made it to the front gate of the Animal Kingdom by 6:50AM.  Cast Members had just started letting guests into the front entrance.  We opted to avoid picking up Fastpasses at any of the attractions since we knew we’d be leaving the park by 8:15AM.  After 2 spins on Expedition Everest, a ride on Dinosaur, Primeval Whirl, and Kali River Rapids it was time to make our way to the exit of the park.

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While making our way to the Animal Kingdom bus depot I realized park-to-park buses were probably not running since it was still very early in the morning.  We’d have to take a bus from AK to a nearby Magic Kingdom resort hotel and hop the monorail to the park.  We’d have to do this in 40 minutes to make it in time to the opening of the Magic Kingdom at 9:00AM; maybe even earlier if we wanted to catch the opening ceremony at the park entrance.

We decided to take the Grand Floridian/Wilderness Lodge bus to the Magic Kingdom resort area.  Once at the Grand Floridian, we’d take the resort monorail since it was only 1 stop away from the theme park.  Not a bad plan, right?  Well, unfortunately that bus had to stop at the Wilderness Lodge first.  As we pulled up to the Wilderness Lodge bus depot we noticed a Magic Kingdom bus waiting.  We raced off the bus and wouldn’t you know it, the Magic Kingdom bus pulled away just before we could get there……Harrumph!

At this point we had another decision to make: get back on the bus that would take us to the Grand Floridian or wait for the next Magic Kingdom bus to arrive at the Wilderness Lodge.  We decided to wait at the Wilderness lodge for the next bus.  After a 10 minute wait an MK bus arrived.  We still had time to make it, but we needed to get moving.  After a few traffic delays we pulled into the Magic Kingdom bus depot.  With a few minutes to spare before the opening ceremony, we stepped off the bus and quickly made our way to the front gate.  We watched the opening ceremony from the Magic Kingdom bag check.  Once through the new RFID turnstiles it was through the train station and into the park right at 9:00AM.

Our plan at park opening was to go right to ‘Enchanted Tales with Belle’ which always has a long wait time later in the day.  This was a 15 to 20 minute experience.  Afterwards we rode Ariel’s Journey of the Little Mermaid, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean.  All of these attractions were walk-on with no wait times.  At 10:45 we went to the Be Our Guest Restaurant where we walked-in, ordered lunch, and enjoyed our time in the ballroom.

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This was a great morning and one of the highlights of our vacation.  Having the ability to walk-on attractions during peak season and enjoy a great lunch in the Be Our Guest restaurant was something we won’t soon forget.  Was it a bit rushed?  Yes.  Were there moments of uncertainty?  Yes.  But, in the end we made it and had a great time along the way.

If you’re looking to beat the crowds and limit your wait time on popular attractions this is a great way to do it if the opportunity presents itself.  You just have to be an early riser on vacation in order to accomplish it.  You might also want to consider renting a car for this plan.  It will give you much more control to accomplish it and take away some of the stress of waiting for Disney transportation.  We are all looking for as stress-free of a Disney vacation as possible.  This includes attraction wait times.  If you have the chance, give this plan a try.  Not only is it something different, but it will give you the chance to experience two theme parks with no attraction wait times.

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Category: Disney World

About the Author ()

Originally from Northeast Ohio and currently living in Central Indiana, Aaron DelPrince (ADP) is a 20 year theme park veteran who often visits the Central Florida attractions with his beautiful wife and daughter Kim & Anna. From dining, attractions, special events, and even runDisney races Aaron covers all aspects of the theme park and resort experience. In his free time Aaron enjoys working out and spending time with his family. You can follow along by friending Aaron on Facebook or reading more articles on our blog. I hope to see you in the parks!
  • skier_pete

    We did DHS rope drop for EMH @ 8 AM and a spin on TSMM and then followed it with rope drop at Typhoon Lagoon @ 10 AM. Does that count? It was really stressful. We were on a super-short trip in which we had only had a few hours at DHS early in the trip, so this was our plan to get on TSMM. We got to the park, and was just about first in line for TSMM, and the ride was DOWN! We debated about doing something else, but instead decided just to stand there. We only waited about 10 minutes, and we got to ride! We then went and had breakfast at Starring Rolls.
    We needed to get to the water park, so we took the Friendship boats to the Swan & Dolphin, and from there transferred to Typhoon Lagoon. We got there with about 15 minutes to spare!
    Thinking of that, I know the water parks are often dismissed as not actual parks – but I wonder has anyone done all SIX WDW parks in a single day? Certainly it could be done, but that would be a LOT of bus time!

    • Tina McNeil

      Even if you had a car, it would be hard!

  • Anna Sayre

    From AK I would have bussed to AKL and taken a MK bus from there, or tried for a Contemporary or Poly bus. At the Poly, you have the boat and the TTC in range in case the monorail is down. From the Contemporary, you can just walk. Great plan! I would totally do this if I could get the family on board.

    • Tina McNeil

      Yes, that’s what I was thinking. The AK to AKL bus ride is only 10-15 minutes long, or walking from the Contemporary is no more than a 10 minute walk.

  • momeja

    Love this idea! Although when we’re there, the early EMH is usually only 1 hr. before regular opening, which prevents this fun. I’ll keep looking out for it. We’re big fans of late EMH
    fun, particularly Friday night Epcot EMH. We finish at MK then head
    over to Epcot for some late evening fun on Spaceship Earth and Soarin. We’ve done this twice. Since we often leave on Saturday, it’s a great way to finish the trip.

  • Brett Hancock

    I like this plan, but I’m curious how soaked you were from Kali as you left for Magic Kingdom?