A Day at Disneyland… At Walt Disney World

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I’ll be real honest here: I miss Disneyland. I miss the sights, the sounds, the smells, and just the whole energy of the place. There’s something about walking down Main Street U.S.A. with that super-charming castle drawing me in that’s good for the soul, and knowing that it’s not even an option right now kinda stings.

With that in mind, it got me to thinking: there IS another Disney resort that IS open, and it’s got a lot of the same attractions. Also, we’re all about creating touring plans here at TouringPlans, so why not try to take a day and approximate a day at Disneyland by doing all of the Disneyland attractions that exist in some form at Walt Disney World? Would it serve as a reasonable substitute for the real thing while we wait for Disneyland to reopen? And would it be possible to do everything in one day? Let’s find out!

First and foremost, an acknowledgement: The attractions at Walt Disney World that also exist at Disneyland are spread across three parks in Orlando (all of the parks except for Animal Kingdom have an attraction that you can find at one of the two Disneyland Resort parks), and as we all know, park hopping is currently not permitted. There are 17 Disneyland attractions at Magic Kingdom, however, and considering the very low crowds we’re seeing these days, you can very easily knock them out in a day. Here’s a public custom plan I’ve created that identifies the attractions and shows how it will play out — and it still leaves ample time to experience other Disneyland staples, like grabbing a corn dog, or taking in a show by the Dapper Dans.

Rise of the Resistance
©Rikki Niblett

With that said, we embrace challenge here, so we’re going to take a look at this as if park hopping was still a thing and see if it’s possible to knock them all out under current operating hours and conditions. Again, most of the attractions we need to hit are at Magic Kingdom, and that park opens an hour earlier at 9 a.m., but a few of the biggies are at Hollywood Studios, including the toughest get of them all, Rise of the Resistance. Moreover, a boarding group is required to do Rise, and they are only available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so we need to physically be at Studios at one of those times for this to work. I’ve run the plans in several different ways, and the reality is that starting at Magic Kingdom and doing everything there first puts you at Hollywood Studios too late in the day to get a boarding pass. On the other hand, if you use the later start at Hollywood Studios and begin your day there, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get done in time to get back to Magic Kingdom and do what you need to do there before the 7 p.m. close.

With that in mind, I’m going to suggest something that seems to be the opposite of the efficiency we strive for here at Touring Plans, and that is doing a lot of park hopping to try to make this happen. We’re going to start at Magic Kingdom, do as much as we can before hopping over to Hollywood Studios to get a 2 pm boarding pass for Rise, popping over to Epcot to check the Soarin’ box when we can, and then scrambling back to Magic Kingdom to round out the day. Even then, it’s going to be tough, but this isn’t a leisurely day at the park–it’s a fantastical attempt to recreate the Disneyland experience in Orlando in a day, and we’re going to have to do some gymnastics to even have a chance. It’s going to be a challenge regardless — albeit a fun challenge — but this gives us our best shot.

So, here’s the plan: we’ll be at Magic Kingdom for park opening, and will take advantage of the early part of the day to knock out as many attractions as possible before about 1 p.m.-ish. Here’s how our software shows the morning playing out:

touring plan

touring plan

For a little bonus injection of Disneyland, make sure you take note of Mr. Toad passing the deed to Owl when you’re on Winnie the Pooh!

Anyway, this has us wrapping up the first leg right around 1, because it’s absolutely critical that we have time to make our way over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios by 2 p.m. to grab a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. The boarding group thing is obviously a huge wildcard here, but we’re going to assume for the purposes of this exercise that we get one within a couple of hours and can squeeze it in before 4 and then work the other attractions around it — the wait times noted below shouldn’t dramatically change during this window.

dhs touring plan

At some point during the afternoon, we’re going to need to make our way to Epcot to experience Soarin’. Ideally, we’ll be able to get a boarding group and knock out the things at Studios seriatim and then bounce to Epcot to knock that out en route back to the Magic Kingdom. If, however, things really go sideways with the boarding group — for example, you get one after 4 p.m. — it might be necessary to immediately go to Epcot to experience Soarin’ first (expected wait — 16-23 minutes) and then circle back to the Studios. The goal is to wrap up the four Studios attractions, plus Soarin’, in three and a half hours, returning to Magic Kingdom by 5:30.  This leaves us 90 minutes to finish the last 4 attractions, 3 of which are headliners. Given the crowds we’re seeing right now, however, it should be doable.

touring plan

So, like most completist challenges, this Disneyland-in-a-day at Walt Disney World challenge isn’t going to be easy, especially on account of the shortened hours, and a little bit of bad luck could scuttle the effort, but it’s completely doable. And I know, I know, some of the Disneyland versions of these attractions are different (or, ahem, clearly better) so it’s not exactly the “same,” but I would 100% love to give it a try right now. There are far worse ways to spend a day.

What do you think? What do you think would be the most noticeable difference? Do you think it would feel enough like a Disneyland trip to scratch that itch? Let us know in the comments!

 

James Rosemergy

When not planning for or traveling to Walt Disney World with his beautiful wife and impossibly adorable daughter, James practices law in St. Louis. He also really likes cheese -- and loathes kale. He can be found on twitter at @jrtoastyman.

5 thoughts on “A Day at Disneyland… At Walt Disney World

  • August 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm
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    Interesting plan, and one I would like to try to complete someday!

    I fear that it may be rough to get a boarding pass at that time, though. I can’t imagine that some BPs received in the morning don’t bleed over until after 2:00: I suppose if your group is called a little past 3:00, it could still be done by knocking out MF:SR and TSMM prior to RotR.

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  • August 14, 2020 at 6:52 am
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    Did I miss something. I’m confused. I thought you couldn’t park hop.

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  • August 14, 2020 at 11:23 am
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    Yes, TwoBits, that is definitely the trickiest part of trying to make this happen, and trying to get one then is far from assured. With that said, I didn’t feel like there was another option. With the Studios’ later start, even if you could very quickly knock everything out there, it simply wouldn’t leave enough time to get to Epcot and MK to do everything before 7.

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  • August 14, 2020 at 11:25 am
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    You are right, Linda, this is intended to be a “just for fun, would this be possible” demonstration. With that said, it you wanted to do just the Disneyland attractions that exist at MK (which is most of them), there is a public TouringPlan linked in the article to try. 🙂

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  • August 16, 2020 at 4:22 pm
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    This is so fun and a challenge I would definitely be willing to try when circumstances allow!! Curious if you considered adding Dinosaur, since it is essentially the same ride as IJ with different theming. I know it adds another park to the mix, but hopefully once the virus situation is under control and park hopping is allowed again, they will also extend park hours enough to accomplish it.

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