Let’s be honest! I have a hard time getting to one or two parks in a day. I can’t imagine gong to all of these parks on BOTH coasts in a single day! The OCR has more about Rene Herrera and his feat!
An epic coast-to-coast trip from Florida to California took Rene Herrera to every Disney and Universal theme park in the United States during a marathon journey that lasted 22 hours.
“If anything had gone wrong or been delayed I would have not made it,” Herrera said in a phone interview with the Southern California News Group.
Herrera dubbed his cross-country journey on Friday, Oct. 4, the Edge to Edge trip, with plans to start his day at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida and end his trek at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at the Disneyland resort in California.
The goal: Ride at least one attraction, make one purchase and take a photo at each of the nine parks on his trip.
The 43-year-old insurance sales representative from El Paso, Texas, and father of three recorded his entire solo trek and posted a 45-minute video of his day-long experience to YouTube.
“It was exhausting,” Herrera said by phone. “I didn’t sleep too much the night before.”
Herrera only had a couple weeks to plan his Edge to Edge trip, estimating his schedule down to the minute and figuring out the logistics of getting from park to park. He flew to Florida a week early and ran through his Disney World plan a few days before his cross-country trip. The trial run got him to the airport with one minute to spare. It was going to be tight. He’d have to stick to his schedule and avoid any unnecessary delays.
Herrera’s theme park marathon on Oct. 4 started with a 4:30 a.m. wake up call at Disney’s Pop Century Hotel at the Disney World resort in Florida. By 5:38 a.m. Eastern time Herrera was already worried that he was behind schedule because his Uber driver was running late.
Herrera made it to Disney’s Hollywood Studios by 6 a.m. for the Extra Extra Magic Hours morning rope drop and raced to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to be the first rider on the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run flight simulator.
“I got the cockpit all to myself,” Herrera said on the video. “This is a little bit ridiculous, but fun and cool.”
He downed a glass of Blue Milk in Batuu East and made his way by Lyft to Disney’s Animal Kingdom by 6:52 a.m.
“I might cover two parks before the sun comes up,” Herrera said on the video, sounding a little cocky.
Herrera rode the Avatar Flight of Passage flight simulator in the Pandora — World of Avatar themed land before hopping in Disney’s Minnie Van service over to the Magic Kingdom by 8:06 a.m. There was no line for Space Mountain and Herrera was walking out of his second theme park of the day 26 minutes later. Another Minnie Van ride got him to Epcot by 8:48 a.m.
“We’re right on schedule,” he said in the video, huffing and puffing as he speed-walked. “For now.”
He jumped on the slow-moving Spaceship Earth dark ride in Epcot and was on his way to Universal Orlando via Uber by 9:20 a.m.
Forty minutes later he was walking into Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park on his way to ride Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when he ran into his first obstacle: The new Hagrid’s roller coaster was temporarily out of service.
Herrera opted for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey motion-based dark ride instead and threw in a bonus trip on the Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster, tempting the hands of time and flaunting his relative good fortune.
The Hogwarts Express people mover train served as both a ride credit and transportation from Islands of Adventure to Universal Studios Florida. The dragon perched atop the Gringotts Bank breathed fire as Herrera headed for the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts indoor coaster at 11:20 a.m.
At each park along the way, he picked up souvenirs for his kids — small things like keychains and magnets that were easy to carry in his backpack.
Before leaving Universal Orlando, Herrera grabbed a glass of Butterbeer to wash down a stale churro before jumping in a Lyft to the Orlando International Airport for a 6-hour flight to California.
He arrived at the airport 45 minutes early for his 1:40 p.m. flight. That gave him just enough time for his only true meal of the day: A Big Mac, French fries and Diet Coke at the airport McDonald’s.
It was 7:32 p.m. Pacific time when Herrera arrived at Universal Studios Hollywood.
“The traffic here’s insane,” he said in the video.
The 6-mile Lyft ride from Hollywood Burbank Airport to Universal’s California theme park took an hour, putting Herrera behind schedule.
Monsters wielding chainsaws chased screaming visitors as Herrera headed into Universal Studios Hollywood during Halloween Horror Nights. He raced through The Walking Dead walk-through haunted attraction and headed for the exit.
Then Herrera ran into his biggest hurdle of his entire trip: Bumper-to-bumper California freeway traffic. It took him almost two hours by Lyft to make it to the Disneyland resort by 9:30 p.m.
“What a trek,” he said in the video. “That was kind of crazy, but we managed to do it.”
Herrera jumped on the Guardians of the Galaxy: Monsters After Dark indoor drop tower about 30 minutes before Disney California Adventure closed for the night.
Then Herrera almost made a costly mistake in the home stretch of his cross-country theme park journey. He took a deep breath and slowed down for a moment. Disneyland was just across the promenade and open until midnight — or so he thought. The finish line was in sight.
As Herrera walked into Disneyland at 10:30 p.m. he discovered the Anaheim theme park was closing at 11 p.m. — an hour earlier than he anticipated. That meant there would be no time for victory lap rides on Star Tours and Hyperspace Mountain as he had planned. He’d have to head straight for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to jump on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run — for the second time in a day, this time on the opposite coast.
“I got to open the Falcon and close it down,” he said in the video. “Not many people can say that.”
Herrera celebrated with a second glass of Blue Milk in Batuu West as he completed his bi-coastal Edge to Edge journey. He memorialized his feat with a selfie with Chewbacca.
Herrera believes he is the first person to accomplish the marathon feat of visiting every Disney and Universal theme park in the U.S. in a day that started and ended in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on different coasts.
Why embark on such a marathon journey? Herrera said he was inspired by a famous Walt Disney quote: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
The epic trip was a no-brainer for the lifelong Disney and Universal theme park fan who grew up watching “Star Wars” movies.
“I know people call me crazy,” Herrara said in the video. “That I am.”
In all, Herrara walked 19 miles and experienced 11 attractions during his 22-hour trip to nine theme parks on two coasts. The Edge to Edge trip would not have been possible if not for the Extra Extra Magic Hours that open Disney’s Hollywood Studios on select days at 6 a.m., Herrera said. Single rider lines and FastPasses also eased his wait times for attractions. TSA Precheck and traveling with only a backpack sped his trip at the airport.
Herrera estimates he spent about $400 on his Edge to Edge journey, mostly on hotels, ground transportation and souvenirs. He used airline points for his flight and has annual passes for the Disney and Universal theme parks on both coasts.