To park hop or not to park hop – that is the question. Park hopping will forever scare future guests of not being able to “rest and relax” while on vacation. We are not quite sure why there is a fear of park hopping. You CAN relax and rest at Walt Disney World and still park hop. Want to go to Magic Kingdom for breakfast, head to the pool for the afternoon and then enjoy a lovely Italian dinner in Epcot? Sounds restful and romantic right? Well, that can’t happen unless you have a Park Hopper ticket. Allow us to break it down for you.
What is a Park Hopper?
Disney offers multiple options for park tickets:
- Base Ticket: Allows you to enter one theme park in a single day (also known as a “Magic Your Way” ticket).
- Park Hopper Ticket: Allows you to enter multiple theme parks in a single day.
- Park Hopper Plus Ticket: A Park Hopper option that also provides access to Disney’s water parks, golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Center (Walt Disney World only).
A Park Hopper ticket for Walt Disney World will allow you to “hop” between Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and/or Animal Kingdom within a single day. A base ticket would only give you access to one of those parks each day.
At the Disneyland Resort, a Park Hopper ticket allows you to hop between Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.
What are the advantages of a Park Hopper ticket?
- You can spend the morning at one park and the afternoon at another.
- Have the flexibility to hop to parks that have morning or evening Extra Magic Hours while spending the rest of the day at another park.
- You can hop to a different park for a dining reservation. Did you finally get your hands on a Be Our Guest dinner reservation, but are spending the day at Epcot? No worries – hop on over via Disney Transportation.
- You can hop to a park to see a particular show or event like, Epcot’s Candlelight Processional or Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
- When the parks are too busy according to your personal preference, you can leave a park to hop to one that might be less crowded.
What are the disadvantages of a Park Hopper ticket?
- You can spend up to 60 minutes in travel time when hopping between parks, so you lose some park time.
- When traveling with small children, getting strollers loaded onto the buses or back into the car can be a hassle (as can moving your parking spot).
- At Walt Disney World you can only reserve FastPasses in advance for one park per day, which means you have to choose which park you want your first three FastPasses.
- Park Hopper options do cost a bit more than base tickets.
Not too many negatives right?
When should you use a Park Hopper ticket?
As with all your other Disney decisions, there is no set answer that works for every family. Weigh out the pros and cons and look at your park plans as a whole to determine which will be the best option for you.
That being said, here are a few times we would highly recommend the Park Hopper option:
- When you want to experience all four Walt Disney World theme parks in less than four days (or both Disneyland theme parks in less than two days).
- During the busy seasons – When traveling during summer, Christmas, or Spring Break it’s great to have the option of hopping.
- When you know you only want to spend half a day at a particular park or want to visit different parks in one day for dining purposes.
- When Magic Kingdom closes early for the Halloween and Christmas Parties, you can keep the fun going at a different park.
- For visits to Disneyland Resort – The two parks are walking distance from one another, so park hopping is easy.
One last tip: Don’t plan too much park hopping into your day. You want to feel relaxed, not rushed. Aim for a one park “hop” max and give yourself plenty of time to get where you want to be. Although it is always fun to try to do all four parks in one day!
Part of what we do as travel planners for is help you choose the right ticket options for your particular trip. We specialize in ALL Disney Destinations; and can magically assist with these types of decisions based our knowledge of the parks. The best part? When you book through us you will get all of our planning and concierge services at no additional cost.
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