Walt Disney World 46 Challenge #WDW46
– By Erick Summers from Summers at Disney
In February of 2015, a friend of the family sent my wife an article about the WDW46 challenge created by the boys at Parkeology. We were really intrigued and read the articles and watched the videos of their successful completion.
How it all got started
We are definitely a Disney family and we take at least one trip per year. Now that our kids are older, pulling them out of school is no longer an option. For this particular year, we had a trip planned for our spring break which started the weekend of Easter. Having traveled to Walt Disney World during spring break before, we knew how crowded it would be, but the parks are also open longer hours.
I was interested in attempting this crazy thing but needed at least one of my boys to join the madness. My older son (14 at the time) doesn’t like coasters and couldn’t imagine a non-stop 18 hour day. My twelve year old had already watched the Parkeology video two dozen times and would quote them around the house. He was game.
We had roughly two months to plan. I subscribed to touringplans.com and immediately looked at the crowd calendar. Our only hope was our last full day at the resort, April 15.
My son helped me plan for six weeks… we tweaked things here and there, but we knew we had the following constraints:
- Where our fastpasses would be in the afternoon
- We had to start and end at Magic Kingdom as it had early open and late close.
- Other than Magic Kingdom, we could not afford to visit a park twice.
- Hollywood Studios was going to be a problem, since Toy Story mania lines were the longest after opening.
- We had to get to Epcot before 7 pm when Ellen closed, but Epcot also had nighttime EMH so we wanted to be on Soarin’ during Illuminations and then leave.
It all boiled down to Splash Mountain breaking down at least twice that day. We had planned on riding in the morning before we left for DHS. We chose to ride thunder (shorter ride time) around 8:15 and then splash, but after exiting the coaster, we saw no water coming down the hill. We changed the plan knowing we’d get it in the evening.
The challenge requires participants to tweet photos from the ride. This is used to help verify your attempt. Check out @SummersAtDisney on twitter for a time-stamped play by play.
That night we had just enough time to finish. The wait time was fairly long so we knew we would wait until near midnight to ride. With 45 minutes left and three rides to go (splash, pan, dwarfs) we were in good shape. We got in the splash line and five minutes later found out it broke down again. We were able to get the other two done and finished with 45/46.
As far as planning advice to others, there aren’t that many times during the year that this is possible. Probably 75% of the time there is at least one attraction under refurbishment (Mission: Space during our next trip, for example), and many other times the operating day just isn’t long enough to make this tour. On the days when it is possible, you generally are battling the crowds. Most attempts have been around holidays and in the summer (longer hours and fewer refurbs).
When attempting this, touringplans is your best friend as it has refurbishment schedules and crowd calendars. During the run, having a person responsible for checking ride times and looking for fastpass availability is important. Note that during our run, you had to go to a kiosk to get FP+ after your first three, so we only did that once.
With the imminent closing of Great Movie Ride and the Energy ride, the challenge will go back to 47 rides. This also removes an hour of valuable ride time, so I suspect that even with the popularity of Pandora, there will be successful runs this year.
We hit the McDonalds for breakfast sandwiches on our way to TTC. We had a cooler packed with drinks and sandwiches in the car that we ate during our park transitions. We bought several bottles of water and soft pretzels while in the parks. There really wasn’t time to stop otherwise.
We drove to TTC in the morning, and used our car for all transitions up to Epcot. When we left Epcot, we took a cab to the Contemporary and ran to the Magic Kingdom entrance.
The time between our photo at the start of Soarin (9:26) and our photo on Teacups (10:04) was 38 minutes. So, ride soarin (6 minutes), out the park to the taxi stand, taxi to contemporary, run to Magic Kingdom (parade at 10 by the way), over to teacups in under forty minutes.
Wear ponchos on Kali. We’ve ridden that ride more than two dozen times and never got as wet as during this run. We were drenched and unprepared for that situation. I had to buy a towel at a gift shop. We had to undress in the parking lot to try to get our shorts dry!!!! Ah, the memories!!!
For Official rules, check out Parkeology here
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