We were recently given the opportunity to take our boys to Disney World. I don’t know about you, but planning a trip to Disney is daunting in itself. Add in the fact that we had a one day ticket at Disney World and our stress levels were sky-high. We had so many questions that demanded answers. Which park should we go to? Should we park hop? What time should we get there? Where should we park? Is it possible to get it all in one day?
One Day Ticket At Disney World – The Answers
The first question we needed to answer was which park to visit. We definitely used a lifeline here and polled the audience. Our family belongs to a big network of full-timing RV families called Fulltime Families. We also happened to be at one of the busiest RV parks for families in Florida — Thousand Trails Orlando. We asked around and the answer was almost unanimous – Magic Kingdom.
One Day At Disney – Magic Kingdom
So, why did everyone say Magic Kingdom was the way to go? For one, it is iconic. Cinderella’s castle is the epitome of Disney. It is also where you’ll find a lot of the characters we have all grown to love. Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and friends waltz around the place like they own it. Our kids, especially our young ones, were in awe. It also has a great mix of rides and attractions for all ages. Our two oldest loved Big Thunder Mountain, while our youngest really enjoyed the overall park itself.
Should you park hop?
Absolutely…..NOT. I can not stress this enough. If you have one day at Disney, use that day to take in one park. This was the advice given to us and I wholeheartedly agree. With a one day ticket at Disney World, you simply can not see everything even at one park. If you subtract the hour or so it takes to go to another park, you definitely will not see it all. Remember, the rides generally have long wait times — more on this later — so a lot of your time is eaten up standing in line. It just does not make sense to waste more time traveling to another park. You won’t run out of things to do and see so take it all in!
What time should we get there?
You should plan to arrive no less than 30 minutes prior to the park opening, preferably closer to 45 minutes prior to it opening. We arrived at 8:15am. Magic Kingdom opened at 9:00am. We made it fully into the park around 9:10am, but we had to stop for a stroller rental. We had no down time and did not have to wait for the gate to open. It takes time to get from your parking space to the main gate. You will also have to take a mode of transportation, which is free, to get there. Your options will be the monorail or a ferry. We chose the ferry to get to the park and the monorail to get back from the park. I would say the ferry was a tad faster but not by much.
Parking At Magic Kingdom
As far as parking goes, I highly suggest splurging for Preferred Parking. Preferred parking ranges from $45-50 while standard parking is $25-30. The additional cost will be well worth it at the end of the day. Standard parking is a HIKE from the park and not fun with tired kiddos. Trust me on this, we hate paying for parking but are very happy we went with the closer lot.
Tips for your one day ticket at Disney World
One day at Disney World is an amazing experience. We actually agreed that it was enough of an experience to almost dread doing it in consecutive days. Here are a couple tips we came up with that we felt really saved us:
- Download and use the Disney World app to check ride wait times. The wait times listed are super accurate (we actually noticed they were accurate to the minute while we were there). If you’re near a ride and it says the wait time is under 25 minutes, get in line!
- Pack a lunch and plan to eat dinner there. We packed a lunch (peanut butter & jelly sandwiches) and lots of snacks. This helped us save time because we didn’t have to wait for food to be prepared or find a place to eat. We simply pulled over near a bench and refueled. Planning to eat dinner at the park is ideal because you will all want a break at that point. We used the Disney World app, once again, to pre-order food. As we walked towards the restaurant, we pressed the “we are here” button and our food was ready by the time we got there.
- String your stroller with battery operated Christmas Lights. If you happen to be going during the holiday season, your stroller will look festive. For all other times, this will help you find your stroller very quickly once the park gets dark. It’s all about saving time and nothing is more frustrating than trying to identify your stroller in a sea of 100 identical strollers.
- If you have small children, plan to leave right before the fireworks but at least stay to see the castle lit up. There’s two thoughts around this. The crowds leaving the park right after the fireworks is overhwelming. The other fact is your kids will likely be so tired they will “crash” during the time you wait for the fireworks to begin. If you want to watch the fireworks, that’s fine, but I would suggest watching them closer to the entrance of the park. You will see them and you might be able to outrun the mass exodus. If you happen to stay for the fireworks, I would plan on sitting in the parking lot traffic for an hour or so.
- Bring Ponchos! If you’ve heard anything about Florida weather, you’ll know it rains — often unexpectedly. It may not be on the forecast, but there’s a good chance you’ll encounter at least a passing shower in the humid climate at Disney World. Buy ponchos ahead of time — we liked these — and prepare yourself so you don’t have to pay amusmenet park prices for them!
One Day Ticket at Disney World – Wrapping it Up
The biggest takeaway from this post should be that you can definitely manage one day at Disney World. You need to choose your park, make a plan, and avoid wasted time. It does not need to be rushed or feel rushed, to see a lot of the park in one day. Regardless of how you plan your day, it will be a magical day full of memories!
Looking to find out how we plan our routes? Check out this post here!