Park hop until you drop! This is the slogan of those who just go all out when they head to Disney World. No really, there is even a shirt for this! If you want to go to multiple parks within one day at Disney World you will need to purchase a Park Hopper option when you get your ticket. If you are a Disney World Annual Passholder this feature is already built into your ticket.
I know what you are thinking why does Disney have to go and make buying tickets even more complicated? Well, they are giving you options and flexibility. Our vacations almost always included the option to park hop because committing to one park for a whole day is a lot. Sometimes we found we could beat the crowds by starting one place in the morning and switch to a different park for the evening. However, skipping adding on this extra expense is a common way we recommend saving moving. So let’s take a look at how to make the most out of a Park Hopper Ticket at Disney World.
The Tiers of Disney World Park Hoppers
The Park Hopper Option is the same as park tickets and available from one to ten days. You do not have to use the tickets on consecutive days, but you do have to use them within a certain number of days after you first use your ticket. Please note that if you want the park hopper option, you have to purchase it for all the days of your tickets. Plan on spending around $85 extra for a four day hopper option per person. The Park Hopper Plus Option will cost approximately $107 extra for four days per person over the one park per day ticket. You can use the Walt Disney World website to price the exact amount based on the calendar of when you want to travel. You can customize the dates, and number of days that you want to purchase.
Park Hopper Option
With the Park Hopper option, you can visit multiple theme parks on the same day for each day of your ticket. We have 4 exciting theme parks to explore:
- Magic Kingdom Park
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Park Hopper Plus Option
Get all the benefits of the Park Hopper option, plus enjoy a certain number of visits to a water park or other Walt Disney World fun! Visits can be used at:
- Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
- Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course
- Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course
The Negatives of Using a Park Hopper at Disney World
Time to Get Between Parks
Disney World is a massive sprawling resort and it’s not exactly the quickest to get between places especially at the busier times of day. Epcot and Magic Kingdom are connected by monorail. However, you have to make a stop at the Ticket and Transportation Center and switch monorails along the way. Disney Bus time is usually not more than a twenty minute wait time for the bus to arrive, but then you have to add the drive time to the next park.
That quote from the beginning, park hop until you drop. It’s a real thing! The second you change parks you are adding lots of extra travel and walking to your day. This can really have you worn out at the end of the day. Good news though you will sleep like a baby. This is also why we recommend when you are bringing your little ones that you stick to one park a day.
You Can Wear Yourself Out
It is possible to park hop when you shouldn’t. Sometimes you can poorly judge the crowds at the next park and end up with a park that is twice as crowded as the place you just left. There is also a time factor to be considered. At best it will take you 30 minutes to get from one park to the next by bus. If you have a car that can help speed things up, but you will then have to add the time to get from the parking lot to the actual park. Don’t forget that you will have to go through security at the second park and the entrance gate, both which will likely have lines. I would factor in an hour to do a change over from one park to the next to be safe. This is important to keep in mind when booking your dining reservations and Fastpasses.
Tips for Maximizing your Disney World Park Hopper Option
Getting the Best out of Extra Magic Hours
It’s no secret that on a day that a park is hosting Extra Magic Hours whether morning or evening it will be extra busy because resort guests that don’t purchase the park hopper option will have to stay at that park all day. So it’s best to come in and enjoy the extra special hours you get as a resort guest and then bounce onto the next park. Of course, if it’s the evening extra magic hours odds are all the parks will be closed by the time you get out but you can spend the first part of your day at a different park and arrive at the evening park for the extra magic. Make sure you arrive before the extra magic starts, as you cannot enter the park after the regular hours, even if you are a resort guest.
Chase the Best Fastpass Options
Start your morning and use up your Fastpasses by lunchtime? Well, now you have the chance to book more! Sometimes one park can pretty much book up all the Fastpasses or leave you with just late-night options when it is still before noon. Another park may have better Fastpass options earlier, with a park hopper this would let you take advantage of the Fastpass options at another Disney World park. I like to start at a park without Morning Extra Magic hours and be there about a half an hour before scheduled park open. I ride the most popular rides before the wait times get over an hour, once that happens, usually by 11:00 am, I head to the park with my 3 Fastpass picks ready to use. I try to book them starting at 11:00 am, noon, and 1:00 pm, remember you have an entire hour to use them. After they have been used, I check to see availability in that park and if nothing is left, I check the other parks and hop again!
Warning, this strategy requires planning and quick reaction to availability. You will have to navigate to additional parks and if you are a first time visitor, you will also have to find the attractions, so I recommend this strategy only if you have the personality to deal with these decisions and do the proper prior planning to handle the navigation. Also consider your partner and children’s personalities when using this strategy.
Short Trip, No Worries
There are four parks at Disney World. What happens when you stay for less than four days? Well without a park hopper you would have to choose to put one park on the chopping block. If you want to be really adventurous you can every take on the four parks one day challenge!
On a whole, we think if you have the cash you should add on the park hopper option. It gives you so much more flexibility when planning out your park days at Disney World.
I have been visiting the parks annually since my parents first brought me at just a year old. Recently I was able to fulfill my life long dream of being a Florida local and moved from the wintery Northeast to the sunshine and fun of central Florida. Now I am hoping to share my Disney knowledge with you so you can have the best vacation possible!
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