Doing 2 Disney Parks in 24-Hours

If you’re a fan of Disney then you know that they recently celebrated the 50th Anniversary at Disney World in Orlando, FL.  To me, the highlight of the celebration was the over-the-top beautifully decorated Cinderella’s Castle.  The last day that the park would be decorated was March 31, 2023.  I was hell-bent on making it to the park to see and experience the celebration before it went away.  I do realize I had 18 months to make that trip however life happened and I just never set aside the time or found anyone to join me on this adventure.   As part of my 2023 goals, I decided I wanted to travel and have as many amazing experiences as possible even if it meant going solo.  So I booked the trip!  It was originally planned for 3 days but I had to cut it short to just 1 full day and it was so worth it!

One other thing I should note is that I also decided I wanted to visit two parks instead of one.  I had never been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I spent the first half of my day (and most of my time) at Animal Kingdom as from what I had researched that was a good time to catch the animals being very active.  I was not disappointed! To make this trip even more memorable I booked a photoshoot with their Memory Maker team and let me tell you, that was worth every penny! I’ll share more about that experience in a different post.

In this post I’ll break down my trip, roughly how much I spent and my recommendations.

Traveling by air:

If you are traveling by air, I recommend flying into Orlando International Airport (MCO). From there, you can take a taxi or an Uber/Lyft to your hotel or directly to the Disney parks.

Here’s a chart with the cost analysis of a 24-hour trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, assuming you are traveling by air & car:

Flight (Delta)$255
Rental Car + Gas (Small SUV)$260
Hotel (1 night)$160
Meals (4x)$140
Parking at Disney Parks (Preferred Parking Recommended)$50
1-Day Disney Park Hopper Pass$250
Disney’s Genie+ Service$30
Disney 1-Day Memory Maker Package$70

Please note that the cost of air, hotel and meals can vary depending on your choices and preferences. Additionally, the admission cost can vary depending on the time of year and whether you purchase tickets in advance or at the gate.

Here is a possible itinerary for someone visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the Magic Kingdom in 1 Day with a 2 Park Pass:

8:00 AM: Arrive at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park and go through security and entrance procedures.

8:15 AM: Head straight to the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction to avoid the long lines later in the day. This is an amazing experience where you can see exotic animals like lions, elephants, and giraffes up close. (Plus the animals are more active early in the day)

9:00 AM: Walk over to the Expedition Everest roller coaster and enjoy the thrilling ride.

10:00 AM: Visit the Pandora – The World of Avatar area and ride the Flight of Passage attraction. This is a must-do attraction that simulates flying on the back of a banshee through the stunningly beautiful world of Pandora. (The line backups pretty quickly so make sure this is done early as well)

11:00 AM: Take a break and grab a snack or drink at one of the park’s many food options.

11:30 AM: Visit the Maharajah Jungle Trek and see the tigers, bats, and other exotic animals.

12:30 PM: Visit the Festival of the Lion King show. This is an incredible performance that features acrobatics, singing, and dancing.

1:30 PM: Take a lunch break at one of the park’s many restaurants.

2:00 PM: Head towards the exit and drive over to Magic Kingdom!

2:15 PM: Visit Tomorrowland and ride Space Mountain, a thrilling roller coaster through outer space.

3:30 PM: Take a break and watch the afternoon parade, which typically takes place around this time.

4:30 PM: Visit Main Street, U.S.A. and explore the shops and get some souvenirs to remember your trip.

5:00 PM: Head back to the airport and return the rental car.

As for visiting both parks in 24 hours, it may be a bit challenging as both parks are quite large and have a lot to offer.  Make sure you start with the park that you are most interested in that way you’re able to spend the most time there.  Of course if your schedule is flexible you could even fly in early the same morning and fly out the next morning giving you the most time to maximize at both parks with a full half day at each.  I recommend utilizing the Disney App so that you can reserve your time in lines, view wait times, and utilize the interactive map.  You will need to plan your time carefully and prioritize the attractions that are most important to you.  No matter what, plan to arrive early to make the most of your day. 

Happy traveling friends and if you have any questions drop me a note! Cheers!

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