I have heard a legend about people riding Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest, and Test Track in Walt Disney World and then riding Space Mountain and Tower of Terror in Disneyland on the same day! The planning that went into that had to be intense and amazing. This story was inspiring too. Why couldn’t I visit attractions in both Orlando and Anaheim on the same day? I decided to give it a try. This is my story.
I live in Orange County, California, about a 15 minute drive from Disneyland. My family and I were headed to Walt Disney World at Christmastime. I heard about the legend and thought this trip would be my opportunity. I asked my family if they would be interested in attempting this endeavor. I got a yes from my son and a no from my wife. I was willing to try it alone, but that wouldn’t have been as much fun. So I looked at the logistics of the trip. Our return flight home was scheduled to leave around 3:00 pm and we were to arrive in Los Angeles at 9:15 pm. This wouldn’t be easy. We were flying on December 30th, one of the busiest times of the year for airlines and Disney. If I was really going to do this I would have to determine my purpose and develop a plan. My purpose was to say that I did it. Nothing more. Nothing less. There are few people who have the opportunity to even try it, so I figured there was no reason not to give it an attempt. Also, I wanted a better response to the question, “What is something interesting about you?”
I knew there was no way I could go on all of the e-ticket rides at all six parks, but I could go on at least one big ride in both locations. Because Magic Kingdom and Disneyland share similar attractions, we decided to ride the same attraction at both parks. Space Mountain was out of the question. I could ride it in Orlando no problem if I got there at rope drop, but I would be pushing my luck trying to ride it at Disneyland that night. Everything would have to go perfectly in terms of my travel plans anyway, so Space Mountain was out of the question. After much discussion with my family, we decided to go for Big Thunder Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and the Railroads. In a worst case scenario I could at least hit one of these rides.
As my wife was slumbering pleasantly in the Walt Disney World Dolphin Heavenly Bed, my son and I woke up bright and early, bundled up (we live in Southern California and 40 degrees is freezing to us) and headed downstairs to the bus. It was a extra magic hour morning (7 am), but the rides we wanted to go on didn’t open until 8 am. We arrived at 7:30, grabbed a little something at Main Street Bakery so I could have a receipt for my planned shadow box, took some pictures, and headed off toward Big Thunder Mountain. We rode Big Thunder, Haunted Mansion, and the WDW Railroad. We checked in on Facebook and Gowalla for evidence, got a few Fastpasses and “I’m Celebrating” buttons for souvenirs, and headed back to the hotel and the airport.
Other than the normal holiday crowds, our departure from Orlando International went off without a hitch. We landed in San Antonio and saw that our flight would be delayed an extra hour, making our layover 2 hours long. Our Coast to Coast Disney accomplishment was still possible, but in doubt. While in the airport, I read online that Disneyland had closed earlier in the day due to crowds. I also checked wait times which added further doubt.
By the time we landed in LA, got our bags, and were driving back to my in-laws house, it was around 9:45. Luckily, Disneyland wouldn’t close until midnight, but after driving to Downey it was now 10:15. The original plan was to drop my wife off at home before heading to Disneyland, but the flight delay ended that idea. She would have to join us to finish this quest.
We got to the Downtown Disney parking lot at 10:40 and arrived at the front gates a little before 11 pm. We did it! We were there, when earlier that morning we were at the Magic Kingdom! We took pictures, and headed straight to Big Thunder hoping to get a Fastpass for a souvenir. We missed getting a souvenir Fastpass by literally one minute, as the machines were being shut down an hour before park closing. We explained to the cast members what we were doing and he told us to ask the cast member collecting Fastpasses to give us a “used” one. I showed him our WDW Fastpass from earlier that day and he happily obliged.
Then we headed to Haunted Mansion and the Railroad. We had accomplished our goal! There was only one thing left to do: go to City Hall and get two Disneyland “I’m Celebrating” buttons. Tired and haggard, we got them. It was time to go home. Our epic Disney journey was complete. Why did I do it? Because I could. Why did I want to do it? So I could say that I did. Would I do it again? Definitely! What is something interesting about me? My son and I rode the same rides at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom on the same day.