So about three years ago I was planning my sixth Walt Disney World vacation. Just like for most other vacationers, I had to book flights to and from Orlando. In my case, that required coast-to-coast travel from San Francisco. Unable to find non-stop flights from the Bay Area, I had to choose flights that would have connections, requiring aircraft changes in other cities.
My connection options were Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. I thought for a moment how cool it would be to turn my connecting flight into an overnight stay, and visit Disneyland either on the way to, or on the way home from Walt Disney World. I thought experiencing Disney's theme parks on both coasts, during the same vacation would be a "bucket list" item for sure.
Rather than take the side trip to Disneyland during that vacation, I decided to extend my Walt Disney World trip by a couple of days. In hindsight, I believe I made the right choice. But the thought of visiting both resorts on the same trip stayed with me. I had to find the right time to pull something like this off, and to do it in a unique way.
Earlier this year a San Diego couple celebrated Valentine's Day by completing a bucket list item of their own, when they visited Disney parks in three time zones, all in the same day. They started the day in Japan, where they visited Tokyo Disneyland. From there, they hopped a plane, and flew to Los Angeles, where they made a mad dash to Disneyland in Anaheim. They were in and out of the park, and headed to Orange County airport, where they caught a flight to Orlando, and made it to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World twenty minutes before midnight.
This is a great accomplishment, and it fulfilled a magical dream for this couple. But to be fair, it took them twenty-eight hours to do this. If this was a baseball record, it would forever have an asterisk by it. The other thing that bothers me is that they were only in each park long enough to take a photo in front of the park's iconic castle. They didn't go on any rides. My understanding is the Tokyo and Florida portions were extended vacations. And they live in San Diego, which means they didn't need to spend any extended time at Disneyland because they can go there any time they want to.
I started thinking about attempting my own multi-park Disney Bucket list late in 2014. While my plan doesn't involve two continents, I believe it is a little more ambitious than the couple who lives a couple hours south of me. July 17, 2015 is the 60th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. I was in the park on that day in 1995, 2005, and last year.
This year I will visit all six U.S. Disney theme parks on July 17. I will start the day at Walt Disney World, where I will visit Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom. From there, I will fly back to California, where I will visit Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in the evening.
While in each park, I will take photos and/or video, documenting my journey. I will also experience at least one iconic attraction in all six theme parks. And I will accomplish all of this in about eighteen hours on July 17. By doing this on such an important day in Disney history, I will celebrate Disneyland's 60th anniversary by visiting one park for each decade that Walt Disney's original park has been open.
I hope you will follow my updates prior to this event, and throughout my day of Disney, this July. I will begin reporting from Walt Disney World via twitter (@jvptravels) and Facebook (Magical Vacation Planner - Jerry Vargas) beginning July 7, and through July 17, when I will document my cross-country Disney journey throughout the day.