Park Sitting: 12 Hours in Epcot

A full day in one Park can feel like an endurance test–or a wild ride.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what the opposite of ‘park-hopping’ would be; thus, I shall call it ‘park sitting.’  Though, to be fair, it involves very little actual sitting. But then again, unless you are Tigger, park hopping involves very little actual hopping.

Maybe you didn’t buy a park hopper pass. Maybe you really, really like one particular park. Maybe you want to see both rope drop and fireworks. Whatever your reason, spending a full day–and I mean a full day–at one single park does present some challenges. But it also provides some amazing opportunities. Thus, I bring to you my tip-filled guide to spending an entire day–sunrise to beyond sunset–in one single Disney park.

The back story: one day in mid-September, I was visiting Epcot. A die-hard rope drop person–and hopeless morning person–I arrived so early I found myself something like seventh in line for the turnstiles.  However, I had plans to meet a friend much later that day–six hours later, in fact. I knew I’d be there for the long haul. Here’s what I learned…

Tips for Full-Day Park Visits

Walk, don’t run.  This is a long-distance event. If you start out your day at a full-on sprint–running from one big ticket attraction to the next–you will tire yourself out before lunch.

Don’t neglect the Fast Pass.  Just because you have lots of time doesn’t mean you should spend it standing in line. I rode Soarin’ three times during my 12 hours in Epcot, and not once did I wait in the stand-by line.

Plan for sit-down meals.  I’ve recently rethought my whole position on WDW counter service locations. They are quick, fun, and relatively inexpensive. But when you’re spending a whole day in one park, you’re going to want to sit down. And while you are sitting down, it might be nice to have someone bring the food to your table at least once during that day. Be sure to make at least one ADR per full-day visit. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Consider visiting nearby resorts.  This works best if your full-day park is either the Magic Kingdom or Epcot, as the surrounding resorts are more easily accessible. A quick monorail resort break to visit the Polynesian or a walk around Crescent Lake to check out the Beach Club is not the same as a mid-afternoon nap–but it’s darn close.

Learn how to spend in-park down time.  Explore quiet corners of the park. Take some detail photos. People watch from a park bench.

I suppose my last bit of advice should be ‘know when to say uncle‘; I’ve attempted park opening to park closing many times, and have only made it once or twice.  But it can be done.  Have you done it?  Share your experience in the comments section.

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