WDW47 Post Mortem

Just what did happen on Sunday?

How did two guys who had never met in person before manage to work together in an attempt to do the impossible: See all 47 rides at Walt Disney World in a single operating day, in the sweltering June heat of peak tourist season?

And above all, did we really do it?

It’s one of those weird moments in life. It’s still kind of a blur. Judging by the amazing reaction from all the followers we picked up throughout the day, we felt like we were the first moonwalkers. One small step for man and all that. Trust me, by the end of the day, the steps were excruciatingly small.

I guess technically we lost. 45 of 47 completed. We spent the last half hour of the day repeating rides, hoping the Speedway and the Astro Orbiters would come back online after being shut down due to lighting and deluge rains for all of the Extra Magic Hours. 48 total rides, but only 45 unique. We had the time. We had the energy. We were in the right place. We just ran out of luck.

So we lost. Fair and square. But looking at the outpouring of support from everyone on Twitter, it didn’t feel that way. You guys were awesome. We were keeping track even while posting our updates, and it is still surreal to me that so many of you were watching all day long and cheering us on. In the end, it felt like we had made history. It’s like the first Rocky movie. How many people remember that he lost that fight?

I’m sure at some point this will be attempted again, and it will be successful. It probably won’t be us. Those people will deserve their place as the first to complete WDW47. What I’m proud of is that we proved it can be done. If not for an ill-timed thunderstorm in the last hour of the day, it would have been ours. It’s true what all those sports cliches say. You have to get lucky to win this thing (and we had our share of luck along the way). And sometimes you get the wrong kind.

Teevtee and I each decided to do our own write-ups, since we came in with different perspectives. Teev’s will come later. As strange as it is to contemplate, he is actually still on vacation, touring WDW with his family (and probably hating life, if he’s as sore as I am).

I don’t know what most people want to hear about. Do you want the play-by-play? The highs and the lows? Emotionally, I don’t think there was ever any major high or major low for me. I was too busy thinking about the next step. People kept asking on Twitter if we were enjoying the rides. Frankly no, we weren’t. I was barely cognizant of the rides going on around us. During some of the exhausting parts, I mainly just welcomed the chance to rest. During the tense parts, I was just hoping they’d hurry up and finish.

If I had to pick one low, it was sitting on Kiliminjaro Safari watching rhino after rhino lazily amble across the road. No joke, there were FIVE white rhinos that held up the whole ride by refusing to get out of the way. I didn’t even know there were five white rhinos in all of Florida, but they were all congregating for a rhino convention on the afternoon of WDW47. Safari is supposed to be a 20 minute trip. It went 40 because of that, making it the longest ride of the day (beating out Ellen’s Energy Adventure). All we could think of were precious seconds draining away. Nevermind the fact that if this had happened during any other Safari, it would have been one of the best Safaris ever.

The high? Getting some of that luck back only hours later. We stumbled into Hollywood Studios with seemingly impossible odds: Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania (via FP), and Star Tours in an hour, with a park hop on foot to Epcot to hit Soarin’ before the window closed on its FastPass. But the rain had just passed through, and as we sprinted through a posted 20-minute queue for Tower of Terror, we found there was not a single person in front of us. We stopped only long enough for them to open the doors to the library. An hour later, we entered Soarin’s FP queue at exactly the last possible minute.

Here’s the real thing that gives me happiness though. Putting together this plan and having it work. I won’t deny a lucky break here and there (just as I won’t blame a bad break at the very end). But proving out the plan was a source of enormous fun for me. Watching the bits and pieces of it fall into place.

I’m going to write more about the plan later, but for tonight, I just wanted to say thanks again to everybody who cheered us on. Special thanks to Teevtee’s wife and daughter who caught the first ride of the day with us and let me borrow their husband/father for a mere 16 hours or so during vacation. An enormous, incredible shout of thanks to my wife and son who spotted us at Hollywood Studios and later rode Triceratops Spin with us (my wife has to be the most supportive person in history to let me try this, though I think my son mainly was just happy to use the resort pool). Massive thanks to my parents, sisters, brother, and his girlfriend who staged a cheering section outside TSM, and then later tailed us around MK in the pouring rain providing moral support. There were two people cheering us at the exit to Imagination who put a nice spring in our step (thanks guys!) and amazing Cast Members everywhere who made us feel important. Huge thanks of course to my partner in crime here at Parkeology, Teevtee, who proved himself a man among men as a Chicagoan gutting out the Florida heat and cataloging every ride on video for posterity. And of course all the incredible comments, tweets, posts, etc. from everyone following on Twitter, Facebook, and the like. I think we picked up nearly 300 twitter followers during the course of the event. Not bad for a little blog from the sticks. I feel like I should now try to sell you insurance or something (hey! buy my book! The Raiders of Castillo del Mar). Lastly I need to thank God for not only helping me not to die from heat exhaustion, but just for giving me the kind of life that lets me do crazy things like this.

Seriously, it was one of the absolute most enjoyable (and exhausting) days I’ve ever had at Disney World, and for those of you who expressed a desire to try it, I encourage you to go for it. Also, start training way in advance. Like, right now. And don’t cram down 3 or 4 beignets from the Port Orleans bakery the day before. Trust me on that one.


Comments (17)

  1. Great job, guys! We Liners (people who chat on the lines app) call this an “ultimate” tour! Look on the touring plans website for info on submitting your ultimate to be added to the list. Did you train at all for the running? (Run Disney addict here!) as I was reading your accounts of WDW47 I just kept thinking that if you had running gear (hydration belts, gatorade, good moisture wicking socks, body glide on feet to prevent blisters, etc) your day might have been a little easier!

    • If you read a little bit more of our recaps, you’ll see that we really didn’t train from a physical standpoint, although I have done several Run Disney events myself and Ted is a former Mr. Universe. Our real training was in coming up with the strategy and plan. There are definitely training things and equipment we would have done differently, if we had understood just how brutal the physical part would be.

      • Remember though that we had a no bags policy. Shane, who by the way is a former Miss Indiana third runner up juniors division, and I agreed that bags would slow us down.

        So along those lines camel backs and so forth would not fly. We don’t want to explain to every bag check security guard what it is.

        I will say however that we and especially myself needed MUCH more hydration. That killed me at the second EPCOT leg. I really needed to figure out a better way to keep hydrated for sure.

  2. The missus and I have done all the rides in 3/4 parks in one day before and I don’t know why we haven’t tried for all four before. We will definitely be trying this at some point in the fall and now we have a blueprint to follow!

    We are running the Disneyland half marathon in August and I’m starting to maybe plan a DL55 if I can convince the missus and our friend who will also be there to do it. (I think there are 55 but I could have counted wrong)

    Great job on the planning and execution!!!!!

  3. I’m still in awe that you guys were able to do this. I know you technically missed it by two rides, but having experienced that storm first hand (we were just sitting down for the 10:30 Fantasmic! when the heavens opened up) I don’t think that can be held against you.

    We narrowly missed you guys in DHS (I’m guessing you were two groups behind us on the Backlot Tour), but we were following your progress all day and cheering you on. Huge congratulations for taking this on and (mostly) succeeding; it was pretty neat being there that day.

    • That’s amazing that we were in the parks together! Thanks for following us on Twitter. I can’t reiterate enough just how fun that was for us, seeing the online cheering section. Did the rain shutdown Fantasmic?

      • Oh yeah. They said it would be “delayed,” but we weren’t terribly interested in sticking around to see if the rain would pass. I’m pretty confident that’s the wettest I’ve ever been (fully clothed, that is).

        There was almost zero warning for that storm too. There were a few stray drops rain before, suddenly, walls of water descended from the sky. The gods had truly been angered by all the WDW47 celebrating.

  4. You guys did awesome! You’re adventure has inspired me to complete WDW47 one day. I’m looking at next year (when it’ll be WDW48). However, as a fun test run, my best friend and I want to complete MK24 when we’re there in September. I don’t think we’ll have any trouble doing it, and would actually do WDW47 then, but we already have dining reservations for every day we’re there that will get in the way. Anyway, from your live tweeting on Sunday I pulled the order in which you did WDW47, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for MK24? Would you go in the same order, just without all of the rides from other parks in between? I want to do it so badly, but I want to do it as efficiently as possible. I don’t want to take an entire day to complete the challenge, especially in September when it should be slower. I’d (we’d) really appreciate any strategy suggestions!!

    • My wife and daughter did MK24 by following our early morning schedule and then playing it by ear. They even had time to head to the pool mid day for several hours.

      MK24 is fun, but it will not prepare you for WDW47. The park hops and intensity that you must keep up all day is hard to overstate. Be prepared to flat out run pretty much all day, in some cases for over a mile per stretch.

      But back to MK24: just make sure you hit the Main Street vehicles before they close… If you do that the rest is cake. Use common sense to eliminate as much cross park back stepping as possible.

      Also see if Shane’s family are available to come cheer you own because that really helps!

  5. Have you both considered this as an event to be recorded in the Guiness Book of World records? I feel like that it would have to be witnessed or recorded by someone from the records thought. Either way if it could be done, I think you should go for it.

    • I don’t think they do theme parks for some reason.

  6. Seriously- this was just AMAZING to those of us at home. In all manner of ways. I call this a success. You wanted to prove it *could* be done- and you certainly did just that! The plan was sound- and I can’t wait to hear more about it (if y’all choose to share the details) I love the family support as well. <3

    Thanks for being AWESOME. Enjoy the rest of your vacation, Teevtee!

  7. I LOVED following you on Twitter Sunday, it was a blast. Thank YOU so much for sharing this experience with us. I am in awe of Team Parkeology! I would love to see you FASTPASS strategy. Really you guys are awesome, thanks for the ride.

    • Julie, can you believe we only used TWO FastPasses throughout the day? We actually held 3 at one point (TSM, Soarin’, Safari), but ended up just waiting in the Safari line to avoid having to backtrack later.

  8. I’ve known Shane for a long time. 18 or so years gives you time to understand who a person is. We are very, very similar in many way and yet very, very different in others, I think that’s why we like each other.

    Having not met in person I was afraid at some point that it would be wierd or uncomfortable or odd. Instead it was natural, fun and the perfect event to finally get a chance to meet face to face.

    I have actually never been in the parks with someone who knows them as well as I do. Shane matches or maybe even surpasses me and that was awesome. We joked about things no one else would understand so much find funny. We crisis crossed the parks taking every short cut and more than anything we had fun doing something we did not know anyone would care about.

    Turns out that you guys did care and so that makes a great time with a great friend that much sweeter!

  9. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shane. I think you two were successful. The question was, would a person have time to ride every ride at WDW in a single operating day? You were forced to double up on a few, but I think you proved that it could indeed be done. Some might argue that Astro-orbiter and Autopia have some of the slowest load times in MK, but I think that had the weather cooperated, you would have been able to ride both in the time you had. Your plan was meticulously constructed and artfully executed, and you should be proud as you did accomplish what you set out to do.

    I would be interested in hearing what methods you used to park hop (I remember a cab being mentioned at least once), how your experience was gettin on the MK transport as ride #1 (was anyone else running straight for that ride?), and what you did right after you were done (eat? sleep? get out of those wet clothes?) Thanks for bringing all of us along for the ride!

    • I can tell you as a rock solid fact that had they been open we had plenty of time to see them.

      In fact the plan went so flawlessly well that we would have had time to spare. We were planning on queuing for Space Mountain at the very end if the night, meaning getting there by 1:00 am. At midnight we only had Space Mountain and the two closed rides to go. At midnight there is zero wait for those when they are operating. This means we had a full hour for a 3 minute ride and a 10 minute ride and a stroll to the entry if Space Mountain.

      It was beyond our wildest dreams that we would be that ahead if schedule.

      I knew if we could get to MK anywhere close to our 10:00 projection that we had it in the bag, we got in at 9:30!

      As for what we did when it was done? Well let’s just say gas station food at 2:00 am never tasted so good!

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