Home » If you can do this Ultimate Disney Parks Challenge, you’re officially the biggest Disney fan on earth

If you can do this Ultimate Disney Parks Challenge, you’re officially the biggest Disney fan on earth

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World or Disneyland so many times, you’ve lost count, it can be tempting to add some spice to your next vacation. For some, that can mean staying at a new resort. For others, that can mean splurging on a fireworks cruise or a backstage tour.

But for a select few, the method by which they choose to heighten their next vacation is a challenge. A literal challenge.

There are all kinds of Disney Parks challenges — from the “Every Attraction in a Day” challenge to the “Four Parks in One Day” challenge. Today, we’re introducing a new one to that canon:

The Ultimate North American Disney Parks Challenge

What is this new challenge? Well, read on … 

The Challenge

Image: Disney

What if you could experience all the best attractions in the North American Disney Parks all in one day? How would you pull that off? What attractions would you pick?  

This is the basis of our challenge: Experience one attraction in each land at both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park in one 24-hour span. 

That can seem pretty overwhelming, I know. But we don’t call it the Ultimate North American Disney Parks challenge for nothing! It’s supposed to be hard. 

As with all challenges, though, there are some rules we need to set first.

The Rules
Peter Pan's Flight sign

If the goal of this challenge is truly to experience everything Disney Parks have to offer, then we have to set some ground rules.  

Rule No. 1: Main Street USA is a free space

While both Main Street USAs are iconic and wonderful places, they don’t have enough attractions between them to make this a worthwhile stop.

Rule No. 2: No repeat attractions

If you ride Space Mountain at Walt Disney World, it’s off the table for Disneyland. If you ride Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, it’s off the table for Walt Disney World. Even if the attraction has a slightly different name (For example, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin vs. Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters).

Rule No. 3: If a regular guest can use a perk, so can you

Fastpass+, MaxPass, Extra Magic Hours — you name it. If it’s a normal guest perk, you are allowed to use it. VIP tours, however, are not allowed.

Rule No. 4: While midnight-to-midnight is encouraged, you can set your own hours

As long as your challenge takes place in a 24-hour span, it counts. But if you pull it off on a midnight-to-midnight schedule? You achieve true Disney Parks immortality.

The Required Attractions

There is, of course, one more rule that is a bit special: You can’t just pick whichever attractions you want. There are certain requirements you must fulfill for your challenge attempt to count.

At each park, you must experience one attraction within each themed land, and they must include the following attractions: One “mountain,” one omnimover, one boat ride, one show, and one roller coaster.

For example, if you’re planning your Magic Kingdom trip, but you didn’t include Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, or Splash Mountain, then you haven’t met the requirements. Although, attractions can count for more than one category — so, for example, Space Mountain would count as both a Mountain and a roller coaster.

Note: All boat rides count — so whether it’s Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, the Mark Twain, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc., your boat ride counts. We won’t be picky about the type of vessel. 

Make sense? 

The Sample Itinerary

Image (c) Disney

Image: Disney

Of course, the easiest way to understand how this all works is with a sample itinerary. So, here we go. We’ll pick a day that has ample Extra Magic Hours to aide in our quest. And, considering the time zones, it probably makes the most sensee to start in Walt Disney World — that way, our flight to Los Angeles can make up some lost time.

According to TouringPlans’ crowd calendar, Friday, Sept. 21 has both Morning Extra Magic Hours and is a 3/10 crowd day at Magic Kingdom. So, we’ll go with that. We’ll also assume we booked our Fastpass+ reservations right at the start of our window and got our perfect options. 

So, let’s go!

Walt Disney World

We arrive in Orlando Thursday evening right at midnight and stay on-property at the Contemporary Resort — putting us close to the Magic Kingdom. We hit the hay and wake up around 6:30 AM to get dressed and have breakfast, walking over to the park around 7:30 to make sure we’re in place for the 8:00 AM Extra Magic Hours start time.

We check out of the resort as we leave, bringing our bags with us and store them in lockers at the front gate. As you’ll see later, this is crucial.

Once the park opens, we’ll head straight for Splash Mountain. It’s about a 6-10 minute walk from the front gate to Splash Mountain, so assuming no road blocks, we should be off the ride around 8:30. From there, we’ll head straight to Haunted Mansion and enjoy that wonderful attraction. Assuming a minimal line at that time, and allowing for a bathroom break if need be, we should be off Haunted Mansion around 9:00 AM at the latest. 

Now that the park is full open to guests, our FastPass+ reservations come in handy. 

We walk on to Jungle Cruise and laugh our way through that classic Disney attraction. Between the walk to Adventureland and the eight-minute attraction, we should be finished with Jungle Cruise around 9:25 at the latest. We rush over to Mickey’s Philharmagic to catch the next show with our second FastPass + reservation, and barely make it — leaving that theater around 9:50. 

At that point, we’re making great time — after all, this is the easy part of the day. It’s time for our final Magic Kingdom attraction: Space Mountain. Allowing 10 minutes to walk over, a short bathroom break, and then using our final FastPass+ reservation, we should be finished with our Magic Kingdom attractions at 10:20 AM. 

Now comes the hard part.


Image: Disney

It usually takes about 40 minutes to get to the airport from Walt Disney World. That means — if we allow 15 minutes to walk to the front of the park, grab our bags from the locker, and call a Minnie Van — we should get to Orlando International Airport around 11:30. 

Because we have PreCheck expedited security, we barely make our flight — an 11:38 direct flight to LAX on American Airlines. 

Then, we get some rest.

We land at LAX at 1:50 PM local time. We scramble off the plane and hop in an Uber/Lyft and head straight to Disneyland Resort.

Disneyland has yet to release their hours for Sept. 21, but we can assume they’ll remain open until 9:00 PM.

Similarly, it takes about 40 minutes to drive from LAX to Disneyland, which means — if it takes us 20 minutes to deplane and get in our car, we’ll arrive just before 3:00 PM at Disneyland. That should give us 6 hours to ride 7 attractions. It’s gonna be close.

The first thing we do is use MaxPass to book a FastPass reservation on Pirates of the Caribbean and get in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Assuming an hour wait, we should get off the attraction right around 4:10 PM. 

From there, we need a bit of calm respite from the hectic energy of transcontinental travel, so we head to Adventureland and enjoy the Enchanted Tiki Room. 

That brief show gives us time to snack on a Dole Whip and relax, and we’re out of there right at 4:30 — perfect timing for our Pirates of the Caribbean Fastpass. 

A short walk and a gloriously long attraction later, and it’s 5:00. We still have four attractions and lands left: Critter Country, Mickey’s Toontown, Tomorrowland, and Fantasyland. And, we have four hours to complete them. So, we decide to tackle them in that order. We grab a FastPass for Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters and walk over to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to enjoy the modern classic.

With a 10 minute wait and a 10 minute walk, we don’t finish that attraction until 5:30 — at which point our FastPass for Buzz Lightyear still hasn’t reached its window. So, with some time to kill, we take a long walk to Mickey’s Toontown and board Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. With a very minimal wait, we’re out of there around 5:55. 

The Final Stretch

“it’s a small world” gate at Disneyland

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

Our Buzz Lightyear Fastpass starts at 6:00, so we walk over to Tomorrowland and board that attraction. Getting off the ride at 6:35, we make our way to our final attraction of the day: It’s a Small World. We intentionally wanted to finish with a World’s Fair classic, and everything worked out just so.

With a slightly longer wait that most other attractions, we don’t make it on to the ride until 7:00, but then enjoy our glorious boat ride — feeling triumphant. 

With some extra time to kill, we mosey over to Main Street USA to scope out spots for the cherry on top of the sundae: Paint the Night and fireworks. 

That’s just a sample though — try it for yourself … if you think you’ve got what it takes.

And if you’re curious, here’s how this sample trip broke down by land:


Magic Kingdom

Tomorrowland – Space Mountain (Mountain and Roller Coaster)

Fantasyland – Mickey’s Philharmagic (Show)

Liberty Square – Haunted Mansion (Omnimover)

Frontierland – Splash Mountain (Boat)

Adventureland – Jungle Cruise



Adventureland – Enchanted Tiki Room (Show)

Frontierland – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Mountain and Roller Coaster)

New Orleans Square – Pirates of the Caribbean (Boat)

Critter Country – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Fantasyland – it’s a small world

Mickey’s Toontown – Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin

Tomorrowland – Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Omnimover)