I know the dream is to spend a week in Disney, spreading your time out between the parks with plenty of time to relax and swim. Then you would have time to meet all the characters and catch all the fireworks. But not everyone is that lucky. Sometimes you have only one day in Disney World, and you want to make the most of it. Both last year and this year, I had just one day to get as much as I could out of a visit to Disney. Those experiences taught me a few things about efficiency and maximizing your time in the parks. I’ve put together these tips to help you and hopefully there will be a thing or two you haven’t thought of yet.
#1. Stay on property
If you really want to make the most of one day in Disney, you should consider splurging and staying at an on-site hotel (this podcast episode will help you decide which is right for you.) Staying on-site gives you two huge advantages:
- Extra Magic Hours — Guests of select Disney resort get an extra hour to spend in one of the four parks.
- Early booking of FastPass+ — resort guests can book their FastPass+ reservations 60 days in advance of the first day of their stay for up to a seven-day stay, whereas other guests can only book them 30 days in advance.
#2. Purchase a Park Hopper ticket.
A Park Hopper option gives you the ability to visit all or any of the four theme parks in a single day. This means you don’t need to dedicate all your time to one park, you can spread it out and get to see the highlights (or your favorites) from each. Just keep in mind that moving from park to park takes time and is tiring so it is really hard to fit in more than three parks in one day.
#3. Plan ahead.
The Disney website and My Disney Experience app are great resources for planning your one day in Disney. You can look up what attractions, shows and character meetings are available and then add them to your wishlist or itinerary. That way, you don’t waste time wandering around trying to figure out what to do next.
You can also book your FastPass+ reservations. Just keep in mind that if you are booking in advance, they need to all be booked in the same park, so it makes sense to book them at the first park you will be visiting. Also note that in same parks, you can only book one FastPass per “tier” — for example, you can’t book Soarin’ and Test Track in Epcot, but just one or the other and then the other two from the lower tier of attractions.
#4. Keep booking additional FastPasses.
Once you have used your three FastPasses, you can book another one at a time either at one of the kiosks or using the My Disney Experience app. If you are there at a busy time, some of the top attractions may not be available but it is worth a shot to reduce the time you spend waiting in lines.
#5.Take a VIP Tour
If you really want to make the most of one day in Disney, then you might want to splurge on a Disney VIP tour. They are pricey but your guide will plan your day to hit all of your favorite attractions. They will provide backstage transportation to get you in and out with minimal time wasted walking through the parks. With a VIP tour, you also get FastPass+ lane access to every ride. You don’t skip the line, but it is like having an unlimited FastPasses. This is really the number one way to maximize your 1 day in Disney.
Note: We were provided two Park Hopper media tickets for our one day in Disney. All opinions are my own.