Do you think Disney World is just for families with little children? Think again… there are plenty of “older” people who enjoy the parks. If you’re young at heart, you can hop on a plane and experience Disney in just 48 hours.
Special thanks to Disney for offering me two hopper passes to experience Disney in 48 hours. Here’s how I did it and what I did. Below I also offer tips and strategies on the best ways to navigate the parks.
The first park that I wanted to go to was Hollywood Studios so that I could experience the Star Wars, Rise of the Resistance ride.
5:57 am – My son, Derek, who has an annual pass, and I headed from his apartment in Orlando to Hollywood Studios. Tip: When entering the park by car, make sure to go all the way to the right.
6:20 am – We parked the car and walked to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. We checked in, had our magic bands scanned and bags checked and we waited.
6:59 am – We were on our phones ready to get into the virtual queue. (If you want to get on this ride, there are no fast passes. You need to be in the park before 7 am to get in the virtual queue.)
7:00 am – Derek got the first grouping of The Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s hottest new ride. We walked over to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and asked one of the rangers where to go. Mikael, the ranger, took us through the crowd and set us in a spot where we would be first on line. Within 5 minutes, were on the ride!
7:45 am – Millennium Falcom: Smugglers Run – This line was over an hour wait but they have a singles line. We got on within 10 minutes. We had a blast! (And, I would have to say that literally!) Tip: If there is a singles line, get on it. Chances are, you will ride with your partner.
8:05 am – We walked around the Star Wars area. It was amazing. There were markets, restaurants and more.
8:40 am – By this point, I was starving! We go to Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo and have a quick Bright Sun Breakfast of an egg drop, purple potatoes, and sausage. I was grateful there was coffee!!!
9:00 am – We walked into Toy Story Land and headed over to Toy Story Mania ride. We had a fast pass, which we scheduled nearly a week before. The ride was awesome. We were shooting at targets in 3D. Tip: Make sure to download the My Disney Experience to schedule Fast Passes ahead of time.
9:15 am – We walked through the other parts of Hollywood Studios, saw a few performers on Main Street and walked to the transportation.
10 am – My son and I left the park and decided to do a quick ride on the skyline. We took it to Carribean Beach and then turned around and came back. This is Disney’s newest mode of transportation and it is fantastic! Tip: You can take the bus, the skyline, boat or the monorail. The transportation to and from the parks is exceptional!
10:30 am – We were on our way to the Animal Kingdom. The lines were incredible to get in but we made our way and spent the rest of the day at the park. Tip: When you see long lines to get into the park, go either to the far right or far left. These lines generally go faster!
11:30 am – When we entered the park, we were greeted by park rangers who provided us with a passport book. We were told to meet with rangers with orange bags and get educated on the area. We met with a representative from India who told us about his culture and he even wrote our names in Hindi!
12 pm – We stopped off at the Harumbai Market and got a small bite to eat at one of the local restaurants in Africa.
12:30 pm – After that, we walked and walked and walked and saw multiple trails and met with lots of rangers with orange bags. Out of the 30 or so stickers, we only collected 15 but we were told our books never change and to keep coming back to collect all of the stickers from the various lands.
1:30 pm – Derek and I went on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. We had a fast pass and got right on. It was amazing to see so many animals in one place. They changed the tour from the last time I was there to a more educational tour as opposed to letting us find the poachers. It was enjoyable and my feet appreciated it!
2:00 pm – We went on the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and then soon thereafter, we went through Asia on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and saw some beautiful tigers off in the distance.
3:00 pm – Na’vi River Journey was our next stop before dinner. The line was 105 minutes long. Neither Derek or I had been in the Pandora area since Disney opened the section in May 2017, so we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into! The line was long, very long! We waited and waited and waited. My legs and my feet were burning. When we were almost halfway, there was a stand where you could buy water and snacks. We continued to wait. Then finally after 90 minutes or so, we were seated on the boat that took us down the Na’vi River. It was lovely. The colors were beautiful and the music was relaxing.
4:50 pm – Tiffen Restaurant – We made a reservation a week earlier on the My Disney Experience app and this was the only reservation we could find. I was glad we went there! The food was wonderful. It was prepared African style. I had the filet mignon and my son had the chicken. We both shared a half bottle of wine because our legs at that point were shot! It was a nice relaxing dinner but it wasn’t cheap. The wait staff was excellent.
After dinner, we thought for a moment about standing on the 3-hour line for Avatar Flight of Passage, but we were just too tired. So, we left the park.
We walked for 9 miles. Tip: Make sure to wear good walking shoes. You will walk a lot in Disney!
10 am – We arrived late because the day before was exhausting. We parked in the Transportation Center and took a boat to Epcot.
Since we both had been to the Epcot before and had done Future World, we decided to walk into the World Showcase. Lucky for us, Epcot was holding their Festival of the Arts. I went to this last year and really enjoyed it. The Festival of the Arts had similar food and drink to the Wine and Dine, but there were also lots of art vendors.
We walked around each pavilion and stopped at the food kiosks. In a subsequent blog, I show photos of all the food and drink I ate there! You can find the blog post here – https://www.nylifestyleblog.com/2020/02/top-picks-at-the-disney-festival-of-the-arts/
12 noon – We got on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
12:30 pm – We walked through Main Street and saw Cinderella’s Castle. I’m always so moved when I see the castle. I’m not sure if it reminds me of my childhood but whatever the reason, it always makes me feel somewhat emotional and magical.
1:00 pm – We headed over to the Tomorrowland and stood on a short line to sit on the People Mover. After that, the time became a blur and we immediately went to the Jungle Cruise where we had a fast pass. I loved this ride. It was so much fun and the tour guide was hysterical!
2:00 pm – We stood on line for the Pirates of the Carribean. It was a 90-minute wait. That was tough, but not as tough as the day before.
3:00 pm – We had another fast pass for the Haunted Mansion. Again, the fast pass went quickly and we were on and off the ride within 15 minutes.
3:15 pm – We headed over to the Swiss Family Tree House where we walked up and down a small staircase in a tree. (It was good aerobic exercise but at that point, we really didn’t need it.) After that, we went to see the Country Bear Jamboree. That’s always a fun show. The animated figures sang country songs as the audience clapped and sang along. It was just as I remembered as a child. (But, even a little more fun.)
3:45 pm – The Hall of Presidents was our next stop. I wanted to see it since I hadn’t been to the show since the 1980s. Although the figures didn’t really look like their true-life counterparts, it was still interesting to see. I didn’t realize how important this show was to Walt Disney.
5:00 pm – We had our last fast pass for the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. We laser shot at various moving targets and once again, my son doubled my score.
6:00 pm – Our last “ride” of the day was Carousel of Progress. I always loved that ride. I guess everyone in the audience did too because once the song started at the turn of the century, the whole audience sang along as we moved from one decade to the next. As we got to the current century, my son was a little perplexed when they mentioned laser disks. (I think this ride may need a little revamping.) I remember seeing that last room and thinking wow, will that happen. Now, we are more advanced than that. It was interesting to see how we have made so much technological progress in 100 years.
7:20 – Our last stop of the evening was dinner at Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. We walked through the mess hall and was seated in a secluded area of the “Canteen.” The menu had bold flavors from South America, Africa, and Asia. My son ordered Lamb Chops and I had a mixture of different fish and shellfish. It all tasted great. The lamb chops were very rare and although I ordered my dish without octopus, the waiter and the manager felt terrible. They gave us 20% off our bill for waiting for the right food to be prepared. They even gave us another fast pass but we were unfortunately not able to use it. The wait staff was so gracious and the food really was very good. We left the restaurant with a big smile excited to see the laser show.
8:45 pm – The laser show was spectacular, as you would imagine. Disney projected images of Disney characters onto Cinderella’s Castle. It was amazing! There were some fireworks, but the “real fireworks” were held at 8 pm while we were eating dinner. Tip: If you want to see the fireworks, make sure to have dinner at 6 pm at the Magic Kingdom.
This was truly a magical 48 hours and although you may think it can’t get done, it certainly can. It’s a perfect getaway for a quick weekend at Disney!