Seeing the best of Disney World in a single day

Walt Disney World best attractions

If you’ve only got one day at Disney, you may be tempted to just stay at one park and see what you can. This isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Each park has a lot to offer, and taking your time can be a much less stressful experience, especially if you haven’t been to Disney World before. But Disney World also offers park hopper passes that allow guests to visit all four of their theme parks in the same day, so if you’re up for the challenge, you can follow our recommendations for the best of what each park has to offer:

Magic Kingdom best attractions

Magic Kingdom

You’ve gotta make a visit to Magic Kingdom, which is Disney’s staple park. Magic Kingdom offers something for everyone and for all ages. Our favorites include:

Magic Kingdom rides: Big Thunder Mountain railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and one of the newest attractions, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Magic Kingdom entertainment: Mickey’s Philhar Magic, Wishes (the evening fireworks at Cinderella Castle)

Magic Kingdom dining: Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest Restaurant (reservations recommended)

Epcot Disney World best attractions

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Visit the entire world in one day with a visit to Epcot, which is easily accessible via monorail from the Magic Kingdom. Our favorites include:

Epcot rides: Mission: SPACE, Spaceship Earth, Soarin’ (which has been recently updated), Test Track, and the latest addition, Frozen Ever After

Epcot entertainment: Innoventions, IllumiNations

Epcot dining: Tokyo Dining, Restaurant Marrakesh (reservations recommended)

Disney's Hollywood Studios best attractions

Hollywood Studios

Experience some of your favorite Disney films through the rides and attractions at Hollywood Studios, formerly known as MGM Studios. Our favorites include:

Hollywood Studios rides: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, Toy Story Mania, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

Hollywood Studios entertainment: Fantasmic, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

Hollywood Studios dining: Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Tune-In Lounge

Disney's Animal Kingdom best attractions

Animal Kingdom

Take a walk on the wild side and visit Disney’s newer theme park, Animal Kingdom, which is way more than your typical zoo. Our favorites include:

Animal Kingdom rides: Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Kali River Rapids

Animal Kingdom entertainment: Festival of the Lion King, Flights of Wonder

Animal Kingdom dining: Rainforest Café, Flame Tree Barbecue, Nomad Lounge

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Other Tips for Seeing More at Disney in One Day:

Don’t forget about fast pass, which allows you to return back during a specific time window and skip the line. You only get so many fast passes per day, so use them wisely.

Buy your tickets online and ahead of time, because you can make some of your fast pass reservations in advance.

Consider staying at a Disney property the night before so that you can take advantage of the magic hour and get into the park before other guests can.

Also consider avoiding summertime and holidays, and even weekends if you can. Going during the offseason and on a weekday will mean very few crowds and much shorter lines, making it easier to see a lot more.

What’s your #1 tip for optimizing your time in Disney?