So you’ve planned your Walt Disney World vacation and are ready to dive into the chaos. But what if you want something different? What if you’re bringing your grandmother and know an 8 am- 1 am day isn’t going to work? Or maybe you’re committed to riding those rides from when you were a kid? Perhaps you’re ready to tackle the parks to fit in as many rides as possible? What if you really just need awesome snacks and lots of coffee? We’ve got some ideas to help you craft your day at Disney World.
Choosing your own Disney Adventure
Every Disney vacation looks different, but believe it or not you get to decide how to spend it! Here’s your choose your own adventure Disney Day schedule for each mood. While racing through all four parks at Walt Disney World isn’t impossible, it’s by no means fun. So, we’ll simply concentrate on One Day at Disney World and what that could look like based on how you are feeling. Of course, you can tackle one park per day if you’re not buying the park hopper ticket. Either way, we hope this gets you inspired to make some amazing plans.
A Luxurious Day at Disney World
If you’re ready to just give yourself everything you’ve ever wanted, this is what we recommend for one day at Disney World. Stay at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. While this deluxe resort is slightly classier than we like our Disney vacations, if you’re ready to go crazy and blow some money, the Grand Floridian is where you can get away with it. Need a new look? Head over to the Ivy Trellis Salon for a new hairstyle, or head to Senses for maybe a facial or massage. Grab a new outfit at Summer Lace downstairs. Here you’ll find jewelry, Dooney and Bourke, and lovely clothes by Lily Pulitzer, perfect for your indulgent day out.
Morning at EPCOT Park
After your easy morning, hop on the monorail and head to EPCOT. We love Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie for espresso, macaroons, cappuccino and croissants. Spend the morning strolling through Epcot and the Disney Boardwalk. Be sure to meander through the shop in Norway to smell our favorite perfume, Laila. Or head over to the UK to pick up some special teas, visit Italy for a great new handbag, and Canada for cozy pajamas. Tackle rides if you like or lounge on the beach at the Beach Club. We like lunch best at Monsieur Paul’s in France at Epcot, pricey yes, but absolutely the best food around.
Afternoon at Magic Kingdom
After lunch Magic Kingdom is next on your list. Apart from the great shopping, you can enjoy treats from The Confectionery- we like the red velvet cake pop best. Snow whites mine ride, Ariel’s under the sea adventure, and meeting Gaston are on every girl’s to-do list so head to the back of the park to Fantasyland. For dinner, we recommend California Grill at the Contemporary Resort for a late 8:30 reservation so you can watch the fireworks over Magic Kingdom or catch the monorail back to the Walt Disney World Dolphin for some high-end eating at Todd English bluezoo.
A Relaxing Day at Disney World
Managing to relax while on a Disney vacation may seem like an insurmountable feat, but it is possible. For us, it’s all about planning out the day ahead of time. Instead of rushing out the resort door with the kids/boyfriend/friends, you can spend this morning meandering over to hang out at the resort pool, walking to the food court to get a cup of coffee, or browsing your resort. If you’re lucky enough to be at a resort with surrey bikes, this may be a nice way to ease into the day.
Morning at Animal Kingdom
By 11 am there are fewer people venturing into the parks so the buses will be less crowded. And Animal Kingdom is usually the most relaxing Disney park by design. If you’re only going to get one relaxing day on your trip, plan it for a Tuesday or Wednesday so you see the fewest crowds. Be sure to ride Kilamanjaro Safari to scope out the savanna and be sure to meander through the multitude of trails throughout the park.
Magic Kingdom in the Evening
As home to the most rides of any Walt Disney World park, Magic Kingdom has some of the calmest and slow-moving rides around. Our favorite relaxing rides are the People Mover, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Winnie the Pooh, Ariel’s Under the Sea Adventure, and Haunted Mansion. These slower-moving rides are all in air conditioning and allow you to just sit back and relax. We also love Mickey’s Philharmagic for the movie-like atmosphere and cute show. If staying out a little later you can book a 4 pm tea at the Garden View Tea Room, or head to an earlier dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Dining off-site will be the best way to limit craziness.
Head to the Resort for an Early Night
No matter which park you’ve chosen for your relaxing day try to head out before the crowds and catch the bus early. Our favorite part of getting back to the resort for an early night is filling our mugs up with cocoa or tea at the resort restaurant and heading out for the nightly movie on the lawn. At some resorts, you can get s’mores as a bonus. Check out our Disney Resort Reviews to see which Disney Resorts may be the best for your family.
Walt Disney World in One Day
If you’ve read through our Best Stuff to Do at Walt Disney World post you already know all the things we recommend in each park. Here are a few extra tips for how to make the most of your Disney Vacation.
Magic Kingdom in One Day
If you’re trying to fit your Magic Kingdom Vacation into one day, then you’ll need the Magic Kingdom Bucket List for a full lineup of everything you can fit into your day. But, if you’re looking for the highest priority things to do then consider these options. Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain are the thrill rides to tackle at our favorite kid-centric park. Classic rides to add to your list are Peter Pan’s Flight, Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World, Also be sure to try the signature treats; Dole Whip at Aloha Isle, Lefou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern, and the Kitchen Sink Ice Cream Sundae at The Plaza can help make this day feel extra epic. We also like the Enchantment Fireworks Show if you’re staying late.
Animal Kingdom in One Day
Animal Kingdom is a giant park that has limited hours, usually closing in the early evenings. Meaning you need to fit almost everything into your day before 5 pm. You can find everything to do in the park on our Animal Kingdom Bucket List. But if you’re only spending one day at Animal Kingdom, then here are our favorite things to do. If you’re into thrill rides, Expedition Everest, Avatar Flight of Passage, and Kali River Rapids are your go-to rides for the day. Animal Kingdom is filled with mini-adventures, so if you’re looking for more be sure to hop on the Kilimanjaro Safari or Dinosaur. Animal Kingdom Snacks to add to your day are the Colossal Cinnamon Roll at Kusafiri Bakery, and the Ocarina pink flamingo drink available in Harambe Market. If you’re looking for something extra special, you can snag a Dole Whip with rum. And if you can get your hands on it our favorite drink of all time, POG.
EPCOT Park in One Day
While Epcot may not be the most thrill-seeking park you’ll have plenty to mark off your EPCOT Bucket List in one day at EPCOT Park. Not hard to navigate EPCOT is broken up into four areas; 3 spaces at the front fo the part, and 11 World Showcase countries that surround the lagoon. Head to Spaceship Earth in World Celebration, Soarin’ in World Nature, and Test Track in World Discovery. Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is located in World Showcase France and is great for families. We also love the Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros in Mexico and Frozen Ever After in Norway. Be sure to head to Club Cool for soda pop from around the world and stay to see the Harmonious Nighttime Spectacular. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting during one of the EPCOT annual festivals then you’ll have even more to do on your day at EPCOT.
Hollywood Studios in One Day
Hollywood Studios includes classic rides like Tower of Terror and Star Tours, but the addition of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land offers up even more things to do. Check out the Hollywood Studios Bucket List for everything you can do in this park. If you’re tackling one day at Hollywood Studios these are the things we most recommend to include. Be sure to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, it’s Walt Disney World’s only Mickey-focused ride. We also love the Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, Rise of the Resistance, and Slinky Dog Dash. If you’re in need of a break just head to MuppetVision 3D or the Mickey Shorts Theater for relaxation and a show!
No matter what you do during your day at Disney World, know that you won’t get to it all. And that’s OK! Whatever adventure you choose, be sure to have fun! It’s easy to get caught up in the planning and then wonder where the day went. Check out the things we shared here and Just have fun!