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What's your dream theme park travel checklist?

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Published: October 28, 2013 at 5:59 PM

The Guardian last week offered a feature on "checklist travel" — profiling 10 people who've come up with to-do lists of goals they're trying to accomplish in their travels or spare time.

The checklists included tasks such as "Walking every street in New York City" and "Visiting every Northern Rail station in the UK." For Theme Park Insiders, of course, theme park-related checklists should spring to mind. What theme park checklists would you like to accomplish in your life?

Riding at Dineyland

Here are a few we've completed:

Riding all the rides at Disneyland in one day: It took the latest One More Disney Day promotion to pull off this task, which required nearly 15 hours with the park only lightly attended for most of the day. Disneyland has nearly four dozen attractions, though some might be closed for refurbishment on any given day. On days when crowds are light, limited hours often prevent visitors from getting to every ride and show. And on days with extended hours, large crowds manage to prevent the task.

Tokyo's Pirates of the Caribbean

Riding every version of Pirates of the Caribbean on Earth: This required visits to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, and Disneyland Paris in France. As of now, there's no Pirates yet at Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disneyland's still under construction. For what it's worth, the Tokyo version is the same as Disneyland's except for a Magic Kingdom-style exit, taking you off the ride after the collapsing room scene, which allows you to skip the ride up the chain lift back to the loading station. Disneyland Paris offers the Inception of Pirates rides, with a scrambled narrative relative to the classic Disneyland and abridged Magic Kingdom versions.

Here are three more "Riding every _____ on Earth" checklists, from your editor's personal travels:

  • Riding every Haunted Mansion on Earth: Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris for Phantom Manor. Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor doesn't count, as it shares no name, characters, scenes or ride systems with the other Haunted Mansion rides.
  • Visiting every Tom Sawyer Island on Earth: Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Tokyo Disneyland
  • Riding every Revenge of the Mummy on Earth: Universal Studios Florida, Hollywood, and Singapore. (Let's not restrict this to Disney!)

Revenge of the Mummy in Singapore

One doesn't need to be a global traveler to get in on the fun. How about these other candidates for theme park checklists?

  • Drinking around the world: Consume one alcoholic beverage at each Epcot World Showcase pavilion that serves alcohol, in one visit to the park.
  • Visiting all the Orlando theme parks in one day: The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios Florida, and Universal's Islands of Adventure
  • Getting every character's autograph: This is easy to do in parks with fewer characters, but how about in a Disney theme park? And how about trying to do every meet and greet in a single day?

Roller coaster fans long have pursued their own checklists. The most popular model of roller coaster among Theme Park Insider readers is the Bolliger & Mabillard hyper. How about a checklist to ride all 12 B&M hypers around the world? (Your editor has a mere three, so far.)

The ultimate checklist might appear to be to visit all 11 Disney theme park around the world, a list that will grow to 12 with the opening of Shanghai Disneyland in a few years. But more than a few people have accomplished that lofty goal. Let's make it tougher, then: What about a checklist to go on every Disney attraction around the world?

Of course, finishing that checklist would require riding every ride and watching every show at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, a task that might be too cruel to ask of even the most annoying troll on the site. So let's leave this to you: What theme park checklists would you most want to attempt? Which ones have you finished, or come close to completing? And which theme park checklists would most impress you?

Readers' Opinions

From 96.243.193.234 on October 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM
In regards to doing every ride at Disneyland in a day. I recently posted a similar post on my facebook page wanting to visit a theme park at Walt Disney World and do every attraction on the park's map in numerical order and without using the fastpass option and see how long it takes. I'd still want to spend a full day in the park regardless if I'd finish everything on the map prior to the park's closing because I'd want to do every attraction and that includes seeing the parade and more importantly seeing the fireworks show, but its cool you posted this because I was feeling the same way.
From Manny Barron on October 28, 2013 at 6:36 PM
My dream theme park checklist, is a 5 week-long celebration of my favorite theme parks. I'm a big fan of Universal, Disney, and Sea World parks so I would love to visit all 19 world wide theme parks in a month or so. Start in Europe and finish in Southeast Asia.

Days 1-6: Flight from El Paso,TX to Disneyland Paris Resort
Days 7-15: Fly from Paris to Orlando,do all 7 Orlando parks
Days 16-17: Orlando to San Antonio,TX for Sea World
Days 18-23: San Antonio to SoCal for Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood, Sea World San Diego
Days 24-29: LA to Tokyo/Osaka for Disney and Universal
Days 30-33: Japan to Hong Kong for Disneyland
Days 34-36: Hong Kong to Singapore for Universal Studios

I got to make this happen!

From Tracy Bates on October 28, 2013 at 7:36 PM
My wife and I did a theme park tour of California hitting 8 parks in 10 days back in 2011. (And the Monterey Bay aquarium). Parts of it are still a blur. Had as blast, though.

I've had season passes to every park in Florida at the same time. (other than legoland, I still do). And I live in South Carolina.

From M. Ryan Traylor on October 28, 2013 at 9:04 PM
WDW E-Ticket attractions in one day. Yes, try and do the e-tickets at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, DHS and Animal Kingdom.

Do the Florida and SoCal similar attractions in one day.

From 98.85.131.87 on October 28, 2013 at 9:58 PM
I have done all 4 Disney parks in one day and all the E tickets at each. I have also done every attraction at both IOA and Universal in one day. Going to both Disney water parks in one day is more tiring then doing 4 parks.

The hardest challenge is only eating and drinking theme park food. Lemon-aide slushy, turkey legs and churros etc will really slow you down.

From AJ Hummel on October 28, 2013 at 11:31 PM
I've got three main theme park travel checklists:

1. Visit every major amusement park in the world (if it appears on TPI or in the Golden Ticket awards, it qualifies along with a few other select parks)

2. Ride every significant coaster in the United States (basically every non-kiddie, non-family, non-clone coaster)

3. Do every non-kiddie ride at the multi-park resorts (currently, all the Disney resorts except Hong Kong plus Universal Orlando) in a single day (one day for each resort, and this includes rides only)

As far as my current progress on these, I've been to most of the non-Florida major parks in the US, but few internationally. I've been on over 250 coasters, but probably a third (or more) at not major. Finally, I've gotten close to completing every ride at the Disneyland Resort in one day (I've gotten into the upper 30s out of 50 or so), but never quite made it.

From Annette Forrest on October 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM
I actually have been thinking about starting a journal and writing about the restaurants I eat in. I was inspired by Amanda Jenkins and the wonderful Disney food reviews she does for TPI. I'd like to eat at every restaurant in WDW and write a review of it. It will probably take me many years to do this, but I want to do it "Amanda Jenkins Style" and take pictures and do a nice write up on each restaurant.
From 68.7.200.203 on October 29, 2013 at 12:31 AM
One of my dreams is to video tape every cue and ride in the Disneyland resort. I think it'll be great for when I miss the park and also because you never know when a great attraction will be replaced.
From Tad Daily on October 29, 2013 at 4:13 AM
Annette beat me to it... :) Amanda announced hers in her last column -- eating at every sit-down resturant in the Magic Kingdom. I'm sure the same kind of list could be made for each of the parks - especially EPCOT!!!! But to make it a little more reasonable...I'd like to do - the top ten theme park resturants (world wide) in one year...as voted by TPI subscribers of course! :)

I also have a list of riding a roller coaster - a real top level coaster, "family" and kiddie coasters - and anything with "mouse" in the title, wouldn't count - in different countries around the world...to modify, in the 50 states (if there are any in say Alaska...).

And finally...taking insperation from a blogger a couple of years ago...to take a three month driving tour across the country to visit (every?) major theme park I can map out...it only counts if I go on at least nine attractions at the park. Similiar to a golfing trip that visits more than one course during a tour.

From Anon Mouse on October 29, 2013 at 9:13 AM
It is quite limited to focus on Disney, but perhaps the theme park enthusiast should focus on a few cultural trends outside of the U.S.

My wife is a superfan of all things Hello Kitty. In Asia, EVA Airlines has a Hello Kitty airplane and some dedicated wait areas and playgrounds at the airport terminals. In south Japan, a Hello Kitty theme park exists. Make a point of visiting Hello Kitty and the various stores and landmarks.

Visit Legoland theme parks around the world. Unfortunately, some places require a kid for gaining entrance. Do this with a open eye that you might not gain entrance at some places without a kid. Nonetheless, Legolands are expanding at a rapid rate and are gaining in popularity. Legoland has a Merlin pass that allows you to visit other Merlin attractions. This is an excellent deal.

No Disney trip is incomplete with character photos. Try to take as many character photos as possible. Line up at every meet and greet on the street or dedicated venues or character meals. Get the Photo Pass. Try to get as many photos as possible and then create this huge photo book. When I went on the Disney cruise a few months ago, my family decided to take photos with every single character. We did the Princess line-up twice. It was terrific.

From Eric G on October 29, 2013 at 3:15 PM
No one should ever recommend that anyone visit LEGOLAND unless they've got a child between the ages of 4 and 9. LEGOLAND might be expanding, but for teens and adults the parks offer very little of interest!
From TH Creative on October 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM
Attend the D23 Expo in 2014

A trip on the Lilly Belle at Disneyland

Take the "Walk In Walt's Footsteps" Tour

Late lunch at Club 33

VIP seats for California adventure's 'World of Color.'

Evening Drinks at Trader Sam's

Repose to the Adventureland Suite at the Disneyland Hotel

From 70.226.128.141 on October 29, 2013 at 3:55 PM
Since I can't really assume great wealth in today's economy and even if I had the money I don't know if I could justify spending large amounts just for a theme park bucket list checklist -- I will keep mine somewhat simple.

1. Take a picture with at least 1 cast member from the home country of the 11 Epcot counrtry pavillions.

2. Ride all the major (e ticket) disney rides in one vacation -- presmable over 4-6 days.

3. Ride every ride and see every show in one day at one disney park.

Ok, I do have one far-fetched goal: I would like to design an ultimate disney ride that would be the best disney ride ever; it would have to include the following:

1. Be a very long ride like 30+ minutes
2. It would have to be a family ride -- no roller coasters
3. It would have to have 100's of audio-animontonic characters
4. It would have multiple faceted ride elements to it -- say a tram, boat, glider effect, car type vechicle
5. So basically it would be a catch all ride to be the best disney ride ever.

From 199.48.120.146 on October 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM
My sister and I had the pleasure of visiting every US Disney park in the same day. We started off at WDW, rode a single ride in each park, they proceeded to hop on a plane and arrive in Anaheim where we rode one ride in each of the two parks. It was an exhausting day to say the least!
From Andrew Swanson on October 29, 2013 at 4:10 PM
I have two trips that come to mind:

1. I've always wanted to try to visit more than one Disney Resort in the same day. Ideally, I'd start the morning in Tokyo, go on a few rides then fly from Narita to LAX. Crossing the international dateline would allow me to arrive in Anaheim around the same time of day as when I left Tokyo. I'd love to get a Fastpass in Tokyo and visit the Anaheim version at the proper time and see if they'll honor the fastpass.
2. Take a trip (or multiple trips) around the world and visit the real-world sites that inspired the World Showcase pavilions. I.E. Tori gate in Japan, Mayan pyramid in Mexico, etc

From Robert Niles on October 29, 2013 at 9:56 PM
It's very possible to visit Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland in Anaheim in the same day. In fact, you could spend most of the day at TDL, board an evening flight from Narita and arrive at LAX that same morning. (Yay, time machine!) That would give you the rest of the day at DL in Anaheim.

I don't think I posted enough photos of myself that anyone noticed, but if you saw my entire photo folder from my Asia trip in 2011, you might notice that I'm wearing the same clothes at Universal Studios Singapore and Tokyo Disneyland. That's because I spent the day at USS, took a cab from Sentosa to Changi, flew a red-eye from Singapore to Tokyo, then took a bus directly from Narita to TDL. That's the closest I've come to an Amazing Race-like moment visiting theme parks. But a TDS/TDL/DL/DCA day would top that by far. The four best Disney parks in the world on one day? Thankyouverymuch!

From Sky T on October 30, 2013 at 3:54 PM
I've been to Disneyland Paris a few times in the past year, and feel the need to say that I've enjoyed the majority of the rides/shows I've been on/seen in Walt Disney Studios - e.g. Cinemagique, Rock and Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and Crush's Coaster. So it may not be as dire to have to ride every ride and watch every show at WDS! That being said - although I think the rides/shows are decent, I do think that WDS could do with a lot more work in general to bring it up to the standards of the other Disney parks (landscape, theming, etc)...

Back to the topic though - my current checklist is to visit all the Disney parks in the world - currently at 10/11 parks!

Checklists I have completed: all Big Thunder Mountains, all It's A Small Worlds...

From Tim Hillman on October 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM
I've always wanted to spend a week at the Grand Floridian during the Christmas holidays with my family. The lobby of the Grand Floridian has that quintessential Christmas atmosphere, and I can't think of a better place to spend the holidays.
From 205.188.117.19 on October 31, 2013 at 1:24 PM
Drinking around the world: Consume one alcoholic beverage at each Epcot World Showcase pavilion that serves alcohol, in one visit to the park.

An excuse to get drunk at EPCOT? Why, exactly??

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