When you start planning a vacation to Disney Parks, there is a myriad of decisions that need to be made. Once you’ve chosen which coast you will visit, Disneyland in California or Walt Disney World in central Florida, it’s time to start thinking about how you’d like to spend your days. (Psst! If you need help choosing between the two, read our Disney planning article on the subject here.) When looking at how many days you want to purchase tickets for, you will be presented with an option to add Park Hopper to your order. Today we will cover the what, why, and when of the Disney Park Hopper option.
What Is Disney’s Park Hopper Pass?
The Disney Park Hopper Pass is a special ticket option that allows you to leave one park and enter another in the same region on the same day. For example, if you want to spend the morning in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and then move on to Magic Kingdom for the afternoon and evening, you would need a Park Hopper Pass.
When Should I Add the Park Hopper Option?
Park Hopper is the perfect way to bring your Walt Disney World experience together in a limited amount of time. If you want to experience the best bits of each park or enjoy dining experiences in a different location than where you started your day, this feature can allow you to fit more into each day. Park Hopper is also a great option to keep up your sleeve if you are trying to accommodate a larger party of friends or family. Some can change parks along the way without too much hassle to ride that favorite attraction or enjoy a different experience. The bottom line is that the Park Hopper pass gives you the freedom to change your plans during the day.
When Should I Skip the Park Hopper Add-On?
If you have time to visit all of the parks in Walt Disney World, it’s unlikely that you will need to chop and change to the point where Park Hopper will be most valuable. Disneyland is a perfect example; if you have two days available, you can easily plan any dining experiences around the day you intend to be in each park, lessening the need to cut between the two. In Walt Disney World, with enough time to enjoy all four significant parks separately, you might find that the added expense of the pass isn’t worth the return with less reason to move between locations.
What Are the Downsides of Using Park Hopper?
Using the service in Disneyland is a simple 100-step walk from one gate to the other, making it the best way to enjoy the paid add-on feature. When enjoying Walt Disney World, the different parks are so widespread that you can spend more of the day in transit than in the actual theme parks if you don’t plan carefully.
How Do I Get the Most Out of Park Hopper?
Be smart about how your pair up the parks you want to visit. Looking at a map of Walt Disney World, use your Park Hopper between locations that give you the least amount of wasted time. For example, spending your morning in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and then moving over to EPCOT, a short boat ride or walk away, is a great way to spend an extra day and not waste too much time in between.
Are You Guaranteed Entry to Any Park?
The short answer is no. While it doesn’t often happen, sometimes, mainly around the holidays and special events, some parks can reach capacity where no more guests can enter. In cases like this, you will need to choose another park to enter with your pass.
Do I Need a Park Hopper?
Some people swear by the service, others have never used it. The truth is, no. It’s not necessary to enjoy any of the parks, and with some good planning, it is easy to accommodate your needs in other ways. If you are planning a last-minute visit or a trip that will have a minimal amount of time, this is when the benefits of Park Hopper really shine through.
We hope that has helped you learn more about the service and decide if using it will be best for your family. If you are a seasoned professional when it comes to vacationing in Disney, be sure to add your experiences and tips to the comments below to help out any first-timers that might be with us.
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.