One Day, Two Magic Kingdoms
by John Delmont

John Delmont isn’t the first person to visit Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disneyland—Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom—on the same day. However, he’s the first to do so and to write an entertaining article about it for Yesterland.

This article is a departure from the usual Yesterland content, but I think you will enjoy it.

Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland, August 12, 2011

John Delmont at Cinderella Castle

John Delmont at Magic Kingdom

One Day, Two Magic Kingdoms
by John Delmont

A couple of years ago a good friend of mine went to Orlando on business. As many people do, he stayed a few extra days to visit the Disney parks. While there, he came up with the crazy idea of going to Walt Disney World in the morning, flying back to California, and then going to Disneyland that night. Both parks, one day. Theoretically, it could be done because of the three-hour time difference and the miracle of modern jet travel. For one reason or another, he did not attempt this coast-to-coast challenge.

The idea stuck in my head, however, and recently I was scheduled to go to a business convention in Orlando. I decided to pick up the gauntlet and see if I could visit Walt Disney World and Disneyland on the same day. I had no idea what I was about to get myself into.

When the convention wrapped up, my daughter Lauren flew out to visit the parks with me. On the first day, we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. We loved both parks. Lauren had a slight disagreement with the American Idol Experience people about her vocal talents. They gave her a souvenir button and that seemed to smooth things over.

Lauren Delmont at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater

Lauren Delmont at the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater

Later, we had lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, a restaurant that gives you the feeling of eating at an old drive-in movie. The unique atmosphere made up for the food which was okay, but not exactly out-of-this-world.

After lunch, we strolled through the backlot area.

Dancing Man at Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream

Dancing Man display at Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream

One of the highlights for us was Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream, a mini-museum dedicated to Walt Disney and his accomplishments. Some amazing artifacts are displayed there, including Walt’s office, the special Academy Award for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and the Buddy Epsen mechanical dancing man. Walt built the miniature stage himself, and the details are incredible.

Finally we decided it was time to go to Epcot. On the way out, we asked a Cast Member for directions. She said, “Well, it depends... Do you want to take a bus or a boat?”

A boat ride seemed like the cool way to go on a hot day, so we headed to the dock.

Friendship Boat on Crescent Lake

Friendship Boat from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the International Gateway at Epcot

The views from the boat were calming, and the ride put us on the back side of Epcot near the United Kingdom pavilion.

Lauren really enjoyed Epcot because it combined her two favorite things: visiting exotic lands and shopping. She even coined the term—Epshop. We had a great time visiting the various lands.

Lauren Delmont at Epcot China Pavilion

Lauren visiting China at Epcot’ World Showcase

Lauren treated me to a very nice dinner at the Japanese teppan restaurant. After that, we watched the fireworks and yawned our way back to our off-site hotel.

The next morning we woke up early, checked out, and lined up for the hotel’s shuttle bus to the Magic Kingdom. We decided that it would be best to bring our bags along so we could spend as much time as possible at the park, and then go straight to the airport.

John Delmont with bag

John Delmont and the bag he took to Magic Kingdom

For some reason my garment bag had expanded to about twice its normal size. Maybe due to the Florida humidity, maybe because of the mystery of physics where dirty clothes take up more space than clean clothes. I worried, “Would they turn us away at the gate or would they let us in only to discover the lockers were too small?”

The driver dropped us off, and we boarded the Monorail without incident. That’s when I remembered because of 9/11 our bags would need to be checked. My bag had about eight pockets, with dirty underwear in one of them. The security personnel asked me to open every pocket (which I fully understood). I told myself, “Do not look at the people behind you in line. Just open up the pockets as fast as you can.” Then I did it... I looked back.

The people behind me were not happy. They had to be thinking, Is this guy here for the day or is he moving in?

We finally made it through security and found the lockers. As we had expected, my bag was too big. My heart sank as I envisioned myself carrying a giant piece of luggage down Main Street. Then a nice Englishman, David, who worked at the lockers, stepped in. I’ve always been impressed with the quality of Disney’s Cast Members, and David truly shined. “It won’t be a problem, sir. We have an electrical closet that I can keep your bag in.” He charged us the normal $7 locker fee and smiling, carried off my albatross.

Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World

PeopleMover and Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress in Tomorrowland

Free to roam the park unburdened, Lauren got a muffin on Main Street while I charted our course. Our plan was to ride the attractions we didn’t have at Disneyland or that had some unique differences. We hit pay dirt at our first stop; Tomorrowland. It was like Yesterland come to life. There were attractions I had not seen since I was a kid: the PeopleMover, the Carousel of Progress, and the Astro Orbiter high above the PeopleMover station.

Astro Orbiter at Walt Disney World

Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland

The Astro Orbiter reminded me of the Rocket Jets of my youth. We took the short elevator ride to the launch pad and climbed aboard our rockets. The extra height afforded us a great view of Tomorrowland and brought back some nostalgia as well as a slight sense of terror. To this day, I still run into people that tell me the old Disneyland Rocket Jets were the scariest ride in the park. We finished off Tomorrowland and explored the rest of the park.

John Delmont on Astro Orbiter

Flying high above the PeopleMover station

While standing in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Lauren pointed out that my time was running out. We each had different flights to take (I was flying back to John Wayne Airport and she was flying to Los Angeles). My shuttle pick-up time was 2:00 which gave us just enough time to enjoy a few more rides and have lunch together in Liberty Square.

John Delmont at Hall of Presidents

Hall of Presidents

After a satisfying meal of fish and chips, I sadly told Lauren she’d have to roam the rest of the park without me. We said our goodbyes and I went back to claim my bag.

At the front gate, I made my first mistake. At Disneyland I’m used to walking out of the gates when leaving. So that’s what I did. Then I mistakenly thought the Monorail I needed to take was inside the gates. I dreaded the thought of taking my bag back through security.

I took the ramp to the Resort Monorail, thinking this was the only way to avoid going back into the park—without realizing that the Express Monorail ramp was nearby. My error proved to be a “happy accident.” Not only would the Monorail take me to Ticket & Transportation Center for my airport shuttle, but I could stop at the Contemporary Resort to visit the Mary Blair murals on the way. Because the Blair murals at Disneyland were either destroyed of covered up during various Tomorrowland makeovers, this was definitely something on my “must see” list.

Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

I exited the Monorail and was amazed at what I saw. There were several massive tile murals throughout the lobby. The colors of the tiles were vibrant and playful. As I snapped pictures of the various murals, one of the Monorail operators told me to be sure to take a picture of the five-legged goat. I had heard about this mythical beast.

detail from Mary Blair mural at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

A few of Mary Blair’s goats—including one unusual one

At the top of one of the ninety-foot murals is a goat with five legs. The stories about why the goat has five legs vary from “It represents luck and prosperity” to “Mary Blair believed no piece of artwork should be perfect, so she made the mistake on purpose.” Whatever the reason, it was fun to find and photograph the goat.

I hopped on the next Monorail and made it to the parking lot with five minutes to spare. At the “Bus Information” booth I leaned forward to ask about my Mears airport shuttle and felt the cool AC blasting through the hole in the glass. Before I could say anything the four ladies inside shouted in unison, “Go past the gift shop on the right and down to the picnic tables.” I guess I wasn’t the first person to ask that question.

I sat down on a little, green picnic bench and called Lauren who was indulging in an ice cream cone and listening to the piano player on Main Street. I gave her the rundown on how to get to the parking area; that’s what dads do after all. I wished I were hanging out and having ice cream in the park, but I was about to start my journey toward Disneyland.

Mears shuttle driver

Mears shuttle driver

My shuttle driver arrived on time and informed me he had to swing by a hotel and pick up one more person. I told him, “As long as I’m on my plane by 4:45, it’s no problem.” When we got to the hotel, no one was waiting. The driver went inside to look...still nobody. He called his dispatcher; we were at the wrong hotel.

We eventually found the right hotel and picked up a girl from Washington. She was in town to be a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding. She asked what I was doing in Orlando. I told her about my convention and how I was able to squeeze in some quality time with my daughter at the Disney parks. “They have some Disney parks around here?” she asked (seriously, you can’t make this stuff up). The driver looked at me and rolled his eyes.

The good news—I made it to the airport on time. I felt sticky from the humidity and running around, so I groused through my bag for some clean clothes. The weather in California was going to be a lot cooler, and I might not have time to change on the way to Disneyland. A stall in the men’s room made an adequate changing room as I slipped into a clean shirt and jeans.

Orlando International Airport airside terminal 2

Airside terminal 2 at Orlando International Airport

Feeling refreshed, I decided to get something to drink. As I stood in line with a bottle of iced tea, a stranger asked, “Do you know how much those cost?” I shook my head, no. “Four dollars,” he said. “I can get a whole gallon of iced tea for one dollar back in Georgia. They can shove it.” He stared at me like I was supposed to join his protest and put my bottle back in the cooler, but I was thirsty and he was a nut. Besides, I had just spent two days at the Disney parks and four dollars for a beverage didn’t seem out of line.

Southwest Airlines jet at Orlando International Airport

Southwest Airlines at Orlando International Airport

On the way to Florida, I had sat next to a kid plugged into his headset the whole time. Now, on my way back, I sat beside an older gentleman who liked to talk. He talked about the money he had made, then lost, what stocks were good and bad, how the real estate in Florida really stinks right now. Before I knew it, we landed in Denver, and my talking-friend said goodbye.

There were just a handful of us left on the plane, and I noticed no one else was boarding. Not a good sign. Sure enough, a flight attendant announced that we had to change planes. I thought, “This unexpected switch might cost me my chance to go to Disneyland.”

While I waited to board the next plane, I bought some dried fruit at a gift shop. Quick travel advisory: don’t buy “dried” anything at an airport (that just means it’s been on the shelf a long time). I choked down a piece or two and saved the rest for my daughter’s pet rats. After a half-hour delay, we finally boarded our new flight.

rain at Denver International Airport

Rain at Denver International Airport

By now it was starting to rain, complete with a loud claps of thunder. The pilot informed us, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll need to wait about 15 minutes between lightning strikes before taking off; for the safety of the ground crew.” Then the rain really started to pour. Now we’d have to wait for the storm to pass.

Changing planes, bad weather... I was beginning to see why my friend abandoned his coast to coast challenge.

Soon the storm dissipated, and the ground crew rolled back our plane. I figured we were at least one hour late. The pilot announced that they’d try to make up some time in the air. In the meantime, I settled back in my chair and tried to enjoy the view.

We hit the normal turbulence going over the Rockies, but the pilot was good to his word and made up about 30 minutes. We arrived at around 9:30 and since Disneyland was open until 12:00; I was still in good shape.

I called my friend Jim to come and get me. On this particular Sunday night, the arrival pickup area was packed. Jim showed up at about 10:00 p.m., and I threw my bag into his car. “James, take me to Disneyland.” Because we are both passholders, we often go to the park, walk a big lap for exercise then relax at the bar at the Grand Californian Resort. The mix at the bar is very tasty and offsets the adverse health benefits of walking.

We parked in the Downtown Disney lot and took the Monorail into Disneyland. The minute the Monorail crossed over the berm into Tomorrowland, I knew I had made it. We were officially inside the park—challenge met. Jim asked me how it felt to go to both parks in one day. In all honesty, it had not really sunk in yet. Because of the tedious day of travel, Walt Disney World seemed like a distant memory. I wondered how Lauren was doing on her flight to LAX.

Astro Orbitor at Disneyland at night

The ground-level Astro Orbitor (with an “o” instead of an “e” at Disneyland

We got off the Disneyland Monorail in Tomorrowland. A band at the Tomorrowland Terrace played 1980s covers in various costumes (the guitarist dressed like Slash, the keyboard guy looked like Devo, and the drummer had a Flock of Seagulls hairdo). We listened to a few songs, and then, true to our normal routine, walked a big lap around the park. We ended up in front of the train station on Main Street. Jim thought it would be a good idea to take my picture for posterity. The park would be closing soon.

John Delmont at Disneyland Main Street Station

John Delmont and the clock at Main Street Station, Disneyland

I felt happy and exhausted at the same time. Happy because I had accomplished the challenge of going to both parks in one day; tired because the clock read 11:30 p.m., but my body was still on Florida time, which was 2:30 a.m. It was time to go home and get some sleep after a very long day.


About John Delmont, author of this article

John Delmont is one half of the father-daughter team that created The Secret Tour of Disneyland, an entertaining, feature-length DVD, filmed on location at Disneyland and other Southern California places with connections to Walt Disney. Hosted by John’s daughter Lauren, the tour presents fun facts about Disneyland and the park’s history. (See the Yesterland review of The Secret Tour of Disneyland, 2nd Edition.)

John Delmont works in the video business installing production systems and editing suites. He lives in Westminster, California.

Lauren Delmont graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a major in Theater Arts, and now lives and works in Santa Barbara.

The two are currently working on ideas for a second project. In the meantime, you can purchase The Secret Tour of Disneyland from


Walt Disney Stamp of 1968
Bud Hurlbut (1918-2011)

© 2011 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated December 2, 2011.

Photo of John Delmont at Cinderella Castle: 2011 by Lauren Delmont.
Photo of Lauren Delmont at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of Dancing Man at Walt Disney, One Man’s Dream: 2009 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Friendship Boat on Crescent Lake: 2006 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Lauren Delmont at Epcot China Pavilion: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of John Delmont with bag: 2011 by Lauren Delmont.
Photo of Carousel of Progress at Walt Disney World: 2008 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Astro Orbiter at Walt Disney World: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of John Delmont on Astro Orbiter: 2011 by Lauren Delmont.
Photo of John Delmont at Hall of Presidents: 2011 by Lauren Delmont.
Photo of Grand Canyon Concourse at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 2009 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of detail from Mary Blair mural at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of Mears shuttle driver: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of Orlando International Airport airside terminal 2: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of Southwest Airlines jet at Orlando International Airport: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of rain at Denver International Airport: 2011 by John Delmont.
Photo of Astro Orbitor at Disneyland at night: 2010 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of John Delmont at Disneyland Main Street Station: 2011 by John Delmont’s friend Jim.