My Perfect Four-Park Challenge Day at Walt Disney World

four parks disney world
Credit: Disney Parks

There are several versions of the four-park challenge. It’s something that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I live just a few minutes from Walt Disney World, and I admit that I haven’t done a four-park challenge in quite a while. For the virtual version of the challenge that I’ve been dreaming of, it would include one ride or show, one character picture, and one thing to eat in each park. What would your perfect four-park day include? We would love to hear your ideas on Facebook.


1. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

My day begins at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We (my adult daughter is with me) arrive early enough to get through security before opening. Once it’s the official opening time, we grab a Boarding Pass for Rise of the Resistance. Since this is a “perfect” day we get a fairly low number. We then get in the standby line for Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. It’s a fun ride, and we know that the standby line will quickly grow, so we are glad that we got in it early.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway (Photo: Disney)

After we leave the cartoon world it is getting close to our Boarding Pass time, so we head over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. We still have a few minutes, and we haven’t had breakfast yet, so we head to the Milk Stand. We haven’t had a chance to try the breakfast options there yet, I order the Green Milk Bread Pudding while my daughter tries the Wamba Yogurt Cup. After eating we notice that Kylo Ren is walking around, so we get close enough to snap a picture. We then head over to Rise of the Resistance and save our little corner of the galaxy; or something like that.

AT-AT Walkers, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (Photo: Disney)

We then leave Batuu to head to EPCOT, but before leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios we realize that the quick picture with Kylo Ren doesn’t count as the character picture. That means a stop at Celebrity Spotlight. The line for Olaf is usually reasonable, and who couldn’t use a warm hug?

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Then we go to EPCOT. We leave the car at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and walk. We take that path fairly often and we’re fast walkers, so we’re at the International Gateway Entrance in about 15 to 20 minutes. That’s faster than taking a Friendship or driving.

Once at EPCOT, we go immediately to Test Track. If the day really is perfect the Wait Time will be short, but more likely we just get in the Single Rider Line. Next we walk over to The Seas and ride Nemo and Friends. That usually has a short wait. We then turn around and head back to World Showcase. We stop in Mexico for a picture with Donald.

World Showcase – Mexico

Our goal is to leave EPCOT the same way that we came in, but we stop in Japan on the way. It’s a hot day, and some Kakigori will really hit the spot! The servings at Kabuki Cafe are huge, and the Rainbow shaved ice is refreshing. We eat as we walk, and we finish up right about the same time as we leave the park.

Kabuki Cafe

We check the time, and since it is a perfect day we are right on schedule. We get on the Disney Skyliner. We take it to Disney’s Riviera Resort. After we get off of the Skyliner we take a moment to appreciate the theming of the tunnel between the station and the resort. It’s such a serene spot. We then walk to the front of the resort, where we catch a bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Skyliner Tunnel at Riviera Resort

3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom

We have FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage (this is a perfect day, after all) so that’s where we go immediately after entering. That ride never grows old! Since we’re in Pandora, we have lunch at Satu’li Canteen. We both get the Chili-Spice Crispy Tofu Bowl. I don’t tolerate spicy food very well, but this is one dish that I will make an exception for.

Avatar Flight of Passage

Our second FastPass+ is for Expedition Everest. Time to face the Yeti! We have a little bit of time before our third selection, so we walk to DinoLand U.S.A. and get a picture with Chip ‘n’ Dale. They are always such a great meet and greet, you never know what they are going to do! Depending on the time we might get another picture or two while celebrating Donald’s Dino-Bash. We stay in the area because our third FastPass+ is for DINOSAUR. After we’ve scanned our MagicBands we check to see what we might be able to get a reservation for at the Magic Kingdom. We love having the ability to make a fourth reservation!


After DINOSAUR we catch the bus back to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We want to have the car available immediately at the end of the night, we know that we’re going to be tired. We drive to the Transportation & Ticket Center and park. We plan to spend the rest of our perfect day at the Magic Kingdom.

4. Magic Kingdom

Our first stop at the Magic Kingdom is Town Square Hall. The fourth FastPass+ that we got is to meet Mickey. Somehow a perfect four-park day should include meeting the boss at least once. While in line we notice that FastPass+ has become available for Space Mountain. If you’re the one who gave it up, thank you! We have our pictures taken, then we head to the Adventureland side of the park. We ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise. Neither Wait Time was too bad.

Mickey Mouse at Town Hall Square

Since we aren’t far away we decide on Pecos Bill for dinner. My daughter gets the Southwest Cheeseburger, while I order the Fajita Platter. It feels good to sit down inside for a while. We check the My Disney Experience App for Wait Times. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has a 90 minute wait, but that line usually moves pretty quickly. We realize that will take us pretty close to our FastPass+ time for Space Mountain. We throw away our trash, then head to the back of the park.


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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Since we’re local and Annual Passholders, we usually skip rides that have a long wait. We instead just keep trying to get FastPass+ for them for a different day. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is an exception. On our perfect four-park day we don’t mind the wait. We’ve been going nonstop for hours, it’s nice to slow down the pace a bit. We end up in the last car, which is our favorite. The ride is a blast, like always.

We of course get off of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the exact time that we can head to Space Mountain for our FastPass+. As we walk towards the ride we check our steps for the day and realize that we’re going to hit 30,000 at some point. We ride Space Mountain, and check the My Disney Experience App one more time. All the FastPass+ selections for the day are gone, but that’s okay. We decide to ride It’s a Small World, the Wait Time is only five minutes.

It’s getting late, so we grab a Mickey Pretzel and head towards Main Street, U.S.A. We like to watch Happily Ever After on the Tomorrowland side, for no reason in particular. As the sky lights up above us, we realize that Happily Ever After is the perfect way to end a perfect four-park day.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.