Only One Day at Walt Disney World? Which Park You Should Choose

One day at Walt Disney World

If you’ve been doing your research, you’ve probably read that it’s impossible to visit Walt Disney World in a day and see everything. Heck, it’s pretty much impossible to see everything in only one of its parks. Having written that, there are times when you only have a single day to spend at Walt Disney World. I totally get it. The tougher problem is picking a theme park to spend your day in. Need help narrowing it down? Here’s the story on each park, what there is to do and see (and ride!), and how to maximize your time with only one day at Walt Disney World.

Have only 1 day at Walt Disney World and not sure which theme park to choose? We'll help you decide!

Magic Kingdom

Rope Drop at Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom was named that for a reason. The second you walk through those famous gates you’re completely immersed in the magic of Disney.

With four separately-themed lands and attractions that fit the look and feel of each, you’ll find yourself humming along to the ambient music and watching shows and parades from rope drop to the Cinderella Castle nighttime show. Magic Kingdom is quintessential Disney in a nutshell.

Best for: First Timers to Walt Disney World, families with children that love WDW characters, parade and live show lovers. There’s plenty of character meets and greets, too.

Tips for visiting Magic Kingdom:

  • Hit Magic Kingdom at Rope Drop (park opening). The crowds are at their lowest for the day and you can get a whole lot more done in the first two hours.
  • Enjoy your meals at non-peak times like when the restaurants first open or when everyone else has eaten.

 

  • Grab a park guide when you hit the park, look it over, and make a plan. you can also check the My Disney Experience app for current wait times.
  • Want to do see as much as you can? Ride the popular rides first thing in the morning (Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Magic Flight) while the crowds are low.

 

  • You’re going to give your body and feet a workout (we’ve walked as many as 14 miles in one day!) so wear comfy shoes and keep hydrated.
  • If you’re all about shopping, ask the service counter to hold your bags at the Chamber of Commerce in Town Square. They’ll be there at the end of the day so you don’t have to drag them around the park. You can also rent a locker at the front of the park to stash food and extras.

 

  • You won’t be able to “run” for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride at rope drop: Disney castmembers will leisurely walk you to the attraction so there isn’t a stampede.
  • All Disney parks allow guests to bring in meals – it’s a great way to save some serious cash.

Epcot

Epcot monorail

The “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow”, Epcot is always a good choice if only spending one day at Walt Disney World. The acronym was given by Walt himself and is all about beauty, advancements, and of course, highlighting countries all over the world in World Showcase.

Depending on when you visit, you’ll see everything from backwards waterfalls to ornate details.

You can also sample food from around the world in both restaurants and kiosks. If the kids love Frozen, Norway Pavilion will give them their fill with Anna & Elsa meet and greets and the Frozen Ever After Ride.

Best for: Folks that love culture and learning about other countries, foodies, fans of Frozen.

Tips for visiting Epcot:

  • Rope drop is your best friend. Make sure you make FastPass+ selections as soon as you have your tickets for the best chance of riding the popular rides (Soarin’, Test track, and Frozen Ever After). If you didn’t get the chance to make them, you’ll have to make a tough decision on what to ride with the lowest wait time.
  • You’ll only be able to make a FastPass+ selection for one of the three tops rides initially (Soarin’, Test track, and Frozen Ever After) in the top tier so you’ll need to make sure you have FP+ for the one you want to ride most. My advice is to make that selection for mid-morning, hit one of the other two rides at rope drop, head to the other ride next (if you have the before your FP+ selection is permitted), then hit your selection.

 

  • If the kids really want to ride Frozen Ever After, your best bet is to hit the ride first.
  • World Showcase opens up at 11am (apart from Frozen Ever After and Akershus advance dining reservations in Norway Pavilion) so see as much as you can in Future World and work your way back to World Showcase.

 

  • All Disney parks allow guests to bring in meals – it’s a great way to save some serious cash.
  • If you’re all about shopping, ask the service counter to hold your bags at The Gift Stop in Future World or World Traveler in World Showcase. They’ll be there at the end of the day so you don’t have to drag them around the park. You can also rent a locker at the front of the park to stash food and extras.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Terror of Tower at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) is a tribute to all things cinematic. At DHS you’ll find the cinematic salute everywhere – from the live shoes to the attractions and restaurants. In the process of a major overhaul, the park will have additional spots to get your fill. With the resurgence of Star Wars, there’s plenty of places to check out including Launch Bay where you can meet Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, themed live shows, and even nightly fireworks (Star Wars: Galactic Nights).

Don’t fret if you’re not a massive fan, there’s plenty of character meets and greets, indoor shows for preschoolers and younger children, and a must-see salute to Walt himself.

Best For: younger children that love Disney Junior, Star Wars fans, fans of Disney movies

Tips for Visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Hit the park at rope drop. You’ll accomplish the most during the first two hours of park opening.
  • Make sure to grab FastPass+ selections as soon as you have your park tickets locked down and the time frame allows.

 

  • Toy Story Midway Mania is THE ride to hit in DHS. If you couldn’t score a FP+ for it, make this ride your top priority at rope drop.
  • There are FP+ tiers for DHS. Once you have your top priority attraction locked down, make the other top tier attractions your morning tour plans.

 

  • There’s plenty of restaurants, from counter service to sit-down style, to choose from. If you don’t want to wait in line, make sure to queue up at non-peak dining times: at restaurant opening or after the rush.
  • If you’re all about shopping, ask the service counter to hold your bags at Oscar’s Super Service on Hollywood Boulevard. They’ll be there at the end of the day so you don’t have to drag them around the park. You can also rent a locker at the front of the park to stash food and extras.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Make sure to check out a live show or two at Disney's Hollywood studios

Disney’s Animal Kingdom (AK) is all about animals. Animal conservation, animal-themed rides and attractions, and the countries where you can find exotic animals. Think of it as a glorified zoo but on steroids. Just like the other three WDW theme parks, you’ll find themed areas (here it’s based on countries including Africa & Asia). Each of the areas is filled with beauty and attention to detail.

There’s rides and attractions for everyone’s taste and the park, while massive, is doable in a day. Rivers of Light is officially up and running which will give folks that love visiting at night a new attraction. With the opening date of PANDORA: The World of Avatar announced for May 27, 2017, you can bet the once docile park will be much more crowed. 

Best for: Families with young kids, zoo lovers, folks that like to turn in early, Pandora fans

Tips for Visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • There’s plenty of restaurants, from counter service to sit-down style, to choose from. If you don’t want to wait in line, make sure to queue up at non-peak dining times: at restaurant opening or after the rush.
  • If you’re all about shopping, ask the service counter to hold your bags at Garden Gate Gifts near the park’s main entrance. They’ll be there at the end of the day so you don’t have to drag them around the park. You can also rent a locker at the front of the park to stash food and extras.

 

  • Right now, Rivers of Light, Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris are the lead attractions to score FastPass+ selections for. If given the choice of all three, choose Rivers of Light preferred seating as your selection. While AK has no FP+ tiers, Rivers of Light will go fast.
  • The animals are most active in the morning and after dark (many are nocturnal). If you want to see them not asleep, jump on Kilimanjaro Safaris  when the sun goes down.
  • There are no parades at AK but there are plenty of live shows. Take advantage of the indoor ones when it gets super hot mid-afternoon.

Have only 1 day at Walt Disney World and not sure which theme park to choose? We'll help you decide!

 

Spread the love

Related posts

One Thought to “Only One Day at Walt Disney World? Which Park You Should Choose”

  1. […] you’re staying on property at a Walt Disney World resort, you can begin making FastPass+ selections at 60 days out from your first vacation day plus […]

Leave a Comment