I apologize now for how lengthy this is. Several Liners have asked me to do a write-up about my experiences during the Every Ride Challenge. I will try to cover the questions that were asked and then I will follow up and answer any other questions you all may have. First, I want to thank everyone who followed me through Twitter and Lines Chat room. I truly appreciated the support and periodically checked in to get some encouragement along the way.
I was constantly watching wait times and crowd levels throughout October and was very discouraged by how busy the Parks were, especially MK on non-Halloween Party nights. November crowds seemed to settle and my family already planned on spending 8 days over Thanksgiving in the World. December Park hours were updated in mid-November and the operating hours for 12/6 stuck out as a favorable day. AK opened at 8AM and MK had EMH from 11-1. That left a total operating day of 17 hours. Now, if I could only convince my wife to support this idea without trading off too much during the negotiations . She was happy to comply and it definitely helped that I was able to get a round trip flight on Southwest for $66 and used AP discount at All-Star Sports for $79 a night.
This challenge was officially attempted 124 times (4 times previously by me) prior to 12/6/2017, but the longer operational hours and low crowds were favorable and 15 teams signed up for the same day. I had met at least 4 of the teams prior, so it was cool to reunite with them. This truly isn’t a race against each other, it is a race against the clock and we all are very supportive of each other.
My day began with a 5 AM wake up call and I was amped and ready to go, which was surprising since I got less than 4 hours sleep due to the Cheer and Pop Warner kids. I drove my personal car to AK and was at bag check at 6:18. Here is a list of supplies:
• In Car- Cooler with Dinner, Change of Clothes and dry sneakers, Deodorant, 8 Bottles of Water.
• In Back Pack-Spare Phone, 2 Fuel Rods, 6 Bottles of Water, Lunch, 2 Listings of the rides, 2 Magic Bands, 4 pens, Sun Screen, and Poncho
I held three advance FPs: Space Mountain 9-10, Splash Mountain 10-11, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad 11:15-12:15. I knew my first two rides were going to be Flight of Passage and Navi River Journey but after that it was anyone’s guess. The tough thing about starting at AK is that you have to make sure you make the Main Street Vehicles in MK. They run for a short time at opening 9-9:15 but then stop running for the Trolley Show and the Move It Shake It Parade that starts at 10AM. One thing some people don’t know is that the Trolley counts as a MSV and it provides rides up Main Street about 10 minutes prior to a Trolley show. There was a 10:40 Trolley show that day so I knew I had to be at Main St. by 10:25.
AK opened a little early and off we went. I was the very first person on 1. FoP and then went directly to Navi. Both rides were completed by 8:15. I faced my first decision after 2. Navi, Uber to Contemporary Resort or hit up Dino Land. I felt many others would be getting Ubers and had tons of energy so I ran across the Park to and rode 3. Primeval Whirl, 4. Triceratops, and 5. Dinosaur. It was now 8:45 and I used the Uber app to get a ride from AK to MK.
I booked it to the Main Entrance and here I faced my first dilemma and test of patience. I was waiting for my Uber who went to the Bus Pick up part of AK and not the taxi stand. I sat there and watched 3 other teams get picked up before me, even though my Uber arrived first. The rules state that you cannot share an Uber with anyone else unless you are running with them on a team. I saw two solo teams hop in an Uber together and encouraged me to hop in it. I never thought twice about declining and I impatiently waited for my driver. About 10 minutes after the Driver arrived, we were off to Contemporary.
I arrived at MK at about 9:30 and there were no MSVs so I headed to Tomorrowland. 6. Astro Orbiter’s line builds fast and no FPs are available so I rode that next and then used my FP for 7. Space Mountain. I was done with Space at 10:05 and knew I had to get in one more ride before heading to Main Street for the Vehicles. I quickly switched my Splash FP for 8. Speedway. I rushed to the front of the park and me and 5 other teams hopped on the 9. Trolley. It was now 10:40 and this was the first moment of relief I felt all day. Now off to Adventureland where hitting the early closers are a must. 10. Tom Sawyer Rafts (first rafts of the day), 11. Liberty Riverboat.
Liberty Riverboat was refreshing because it gave me time to recalculate my plans and charge my phone. FYI-as soon as you enter the boat there is a garbage can to your right and behind that is an outlet where you can recharge your electronics for 16 minutes. 12. BTMRR via FP #3, while in line for BTMRR I snagged a FP for ride 13. Splash, 14. WDW Railroad (picked up FP for TSMM) to Fantasyland and walk with purpose to 15. Peoplemover. In hindsight, Peoplemover was one of my better moves because the line gets so long at night and it allowed me to make a move later in the night that I probably wouldn’t have made if I didn’t ride this earlier. I scarfed down my lunch on Peoplemover because I was going to need that extra fuel for the run back to Contemporary for my Uber. It took exactly 45 minutes to get off Peoplemover and on to 16. TSMM. We often use the phrase “tapped and picked up” which refers to picking up a FP as soon as you tap the turnstile of your previous ride. I tapped and picked up a FP for ride 17. Star Tours, tapped and picked up for 18. ToT, and rounded out DHS with a tap and picked up for 19. RNRC.
I was in and out of DHS in just under 1.5 hours (2:30 PM).
Now I needed to Uber to AK to make sure that I ride the Wildlife Express before it stops operating at 4:30. Notice that I didn’t mention any pit stops, that’s because I didn’t make any yet. I took my first around 3PM at the main entrance of AK. I didn’t want to stop but figured it was best since 20. Kali River via FP was up next (tapped and picked up FP for Safar), 21. EE Single Rider, 22. Wildlife Express. I wanted to use the FP for Safari first because that would give me 35 solid minutes to look for my next FP (FEA) but the train was already loading when I past it and I jumped on. 23. Safari and started searching for a FEA FP. I found several FP for Frozen but none earlier than 7:05 so I took the best available FP for Soarin and I was off to Epcot via the rental car I left there that morning.
Got to Epcot and 24, Spaceship Earth had a posted 5 minute wait so I rode via SB line instead of rushing to Soarin. This gave me a ton of time to strategize and I am glad I did because my next thought was to ride Soarin before it expired but knowing Test Track was more likely to break, I pushed back my FP for Soarin and opted for 25, Single Rider TT. After TT it was on to 26. MS Green (thank goodness Orange didn’t have a shorter posted wait). I didn’t know it at the time but me modifying Soarin totally paid off becaue I went to modify it again and I saw a FP for FEA for 6PM. There are two attractions that close at 7PM and I had to make sure I got 27. Living with that Land and 28. Journey Into Imagination. Now on to WS where I hit up 29. FEA and 30. Gran Fiesta Tour. I was way ahead of schedule so I stopped for a Margarita, which has kind of become a tradition when I make these runs. I rounded out EP with 31. Soarin (bathroom break 2 at the bathrooms near Soarin) and 32. Nemo. I finished all of Epcot in under 3 hours including my 3rd bathroom break at Epcot’s entrance (that damn Margarita).
Up until now my day really went perfect. I didn’t experience any ride closures with the exception of Peter Pan (no huge deal) all day, so luck was really on my side. I drove my vehicle (ate dinner on the way) and valeted at MK and I was back on Main St around 8:20 (70 minutes under my goal time). I had a FP for 33, Buzz so headed there first and was on around 8:40. The crowds on Main Street were crazy since the fireworks were going to start at 9. Everywhere was packed so I decided to do 34, Carousel of Progress and avoid some crowds. I was done with COP around 9:10 and was going to do Mad Tea Cups but got a crazy idea to do SDMT. This was a risky move because I felt like I still had time to complete all the rides and get in line for SDMT by 1AM. I saw the posted wait on MDE drop down to 10 minutes then up to 20 and then up to 90. I thought there is no way it could be 90 minutes, Disney was inflating this for when the fireworks were over. I dashed to 35. SDMT and was on within 11 minutes. This was the proudest moment of the night and no one has ever attempted to do SDMT without a FP unless it was at RD or last ride of the night. This was the first time I really thought that I was really going to finish.
Next was: 36. Pooh with FP, 37. Carousel, 38. Pirates with FP, 39 Jingle Cruise was the longest line I waited in all day (35 minutes), 40. Carpets with FP. So far everything was going great but then Pan went down. No biggie, I had 2 hrs for 7 rides I thought. I headed to Haunted Mansion and that was down as well. Ride 41. It’s a Small World was one long ride and I couldn’t get off my phone to see if the rides came back up. Both Pan and HM were operating so I got off and ran to HM just to find out it was offline again. I wasn’t very pleased and couldn’t believe this was happening but off I went and tackled 42. Under the Sea, 43. Barnstormer, 44. Dumbo, 45. Tea Cups. I had one hour left and just needed to be in line by 1 to complete this. I jumped in line for PP because HM was still down. After 3 minutes in line HM came back online and I left PP queue to do ride 46. HM, Finally, I got in line for 47. PP at 12:18 (I honestly wanted to be in line by 12 because only two ppl have ever been in line for the last ride within 16 hrs but I will take it).
Finally I completed this freaking challenge that has been driving me nuts over the last 7 months. It was my 5th try but finally. I was the second team of 4 (jenny is a fellow liner too) to finish and it was 4 minutes after Kenny White (KtP). I joke and told him it really was only 2 minutes behind him because I was texting my wife prior to posting to twitter, It really was a tie if I didn’t stop for that margarita . In all honesty, you are only racing against the clock and I am happy I accomplished this the same day as Kenny. He is a great guy and his Character Locator helped me just as much as Touring Plans has.
I really don’t think there was much I would change throughout the day. I kept pretty even keel up until the last hour and a half but looking back a lot could’ve gone wrong if I got on Haunted Mansion the first time. One team got stuck on there for 20 minutes. The best advice I can give anyone trying this is to go into it with a plan but be willing to adapt at a moments notice. Use FPs early and often. If you plan too much for later in the day, you are wasting valuable time early on. A couple minutes here and there mean so much towards the end of the night. A lot of people ask why I was successful and others were not and I give two answers, adaptability and luck. The other teams all had a plan, some stuck to their plan too closely, others were simply unlucky. One team had an hour left to complete Peoplemover and Carousel of Progress but didn’t realize that they closed at 11 on EMH evenings.
Some people ask why would I do this and the answer is simple, I enjoy challenging myself physically and mentally and I love Disney. What better way to get your fix then a challenge like this. I do not wear a FItBit or stepper but the one time I tracked, I logged 22.5 miles. I learned to try to do less walking during these so I suspect I ran/walked 18-20 miles this day. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll be happy to answer.