It’s safe to say Disney super fans know a lot about the parks. They’re well-versed in these tips to optimize their Disney vacation and know the best ways to save money on their trip. But not every fan knows how to hit as many rides as possible on their Disney trip…nevermind every ride in the park.
But two Disney fans managed to accomplish this. In 2013, Shane Lindsay and Ted Tamburo, founders of the Disney parks blog, Parkeology, decided to try riding every ride at Walt Disney World in a single day as part of what’s now known as the “Parkeology Challenge.” The two failed their first attempt at the challenge due to inclement weather but managed to master it the following year in 2014.
Whether or not people can hit every ride in a single day depends on a lot of factors, the pair says. The hours of the park vary day-to-day, from 15 to 17 hours of operation. The number of rides open can vary as well as Disney places certain ones under refurbishment. On any given day, anywhere from 45 to 50 rides could be in operation (with a ride counting as anything when you’re riding a vehicle and is listed on the official Disney website). And the effort to do so is not for the faint of heart…the pair says they’ve had hundreds of people sign up to complete the challenge with only about 8 percent succeeding.
With those factors in mind, Lindsay and Tamburo say most people who complete the challenge finish in at least 17 hours. Many, if they try, can hit every ride in 18. The average time is about the same to finish all the rides at Disneyland. This is with the use of Disney’s FastPasses, but not with any other perk not available to the average park guest—though there’s a secret way to skip lines at Disney without a FastPass.
Looking to try the challenge or simply ride as many rides as possible during your Disney vacation? Lindsay and Tamburo have some tips.
- Plan ahead. “You have to strategize wisely,” Lindsay says. This includes scheduling FastPasses ahead of time and big rides that otherwise would suck up most of your time.
- Know the times for the rides. “They have to be aware of when rides open and close,” Lindsay advises.” The Main Street vehicles only open for a couple hours in the morning. That defines a lot of your plans.”
- Split the parks. It may seem intuitive to tackle each park at once, but going back and forth between parks will actually help you minimize wait times and catch rides only open certain hours.
- Show up early –– really early. “Disney will often unofficially open parks even earlier than stated times,” says Tamburo. “If you get there really, really early before opening time, there’s a good chance Disney will open the park early and you’ll be able to get on and off those rides before the theme park even opens.”
Other than that, focus on your strategy. That’s what the two men say people enjoy doing the most when taking on this challenge. If you’re trying out every ride too, make sure to consider these attractions coming to Disney this year.