To Park Hop or not to Park Hop? That is the question. No, that isn’t an old Walt Disney quote that Shakespeare stole, paraphrased, and made a bit more famous. However, it still is a conundrum for many when planning their Disney trip. With a base ticket, you may enter and reenter the same park all day long, as many times as you’d like. Park hopping is about starting at one park and then going to another, or multiple parks, later in the day. There is an expense to adding the Park Hopper option so it shouldn’t be decided without a little consideration. There can be some pretty sweet advantages and adventures to be had by adding the option. Here we have 7 tips, or considerations, for making the most of the add-on and Park Hopping at Walt Disney World:
7. Make It Worth The Cost!
If you’re going to spend the money, we want to make sure you get value out of it. This should become part of your planning both dining and FastPass+. Or maybe you’d like to take the challenge of hitting all 4 major parks in a single day. Only once have I done that and it was an amazing experience. I made it a whirlwind day with my son and it is an unforgettable experience that now, 4 years later, he still loves to talk about. You don’t necessarily have to define it in your plan, although that is ok too. We like to set a plan for the morning and then see where the day takes us. The flexibility to enjoy the evening wherever we like is a very nice perk.
6. Know The Best Routes
There is a cost to the Park Hopping, beyond the price, and that is time. You’ll want to take a few moments and familiarize yourself with the best travel options. To the uninitiated, Disney Transportation can be a little confusing at times. For example, if you’re at Hollywood Studios or Epcot you have the option of walking, taking a boat, or the new Skyliner from the International Gateway. The Magic Kingdom to Epcot means that monorail with a switch at the TTC and possibly the ferry too. Or perhaps you’d like to go to Animal Kingdom from Epcot… it might be faster to walk to Beach Club if you’re near the International Gateway and bus to Animal Kingdom from there rather than walk to the bus terminal in front of Epcot and wait on a park-to-park bus (which depending on the time of year may not be running). All I’m saying is that there are options. It’s best to have some ideas, rather than just jumping into it. We’re always here to help with any suggestions too.
5. Hop For Something Special
It may be that the fireworks at Epcot are your favorite, but you want to spend the day at another park. Park Hopper means that you don’t have to spend your day at the park to enjoy the nighttime show! You can even step that up a notch further and plan to enjoy one of the dessert parties. Spend your day at Epcot, then take a beautiful boat ride to Hollywood Studios for the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular dessert party. Again, so many fun options are almost limitless.
4. Planning Your Disney FastPasses
Park hopping can make this a little more difficult than if you’re staying at one park. But, that’s what we’re here for! ???? It may seem as though you’d be at a disadvantage since your first 3 advanced selections have to be at the same park. However, there are ways to still maximize that system. Perhaps we front-load them, get 3 really early passes and then your afternoon/evening you go wherever else you can find some. Or flip that. Plan on rope dropping a park to hit the popular ride(s) knowing you have FastPasses for a few other must-do attractions somewhere else that evening. Flexibility is key and that is just what the Park Hopper option gives you!
3. Plan Your Disney Dining
With the Park Hopper options, just like with the fireworks, you’re no longer tied to a park because of where you want to eat. Personally, I love eating at all of the different countries around Epcot’s World showcase. That certainly doesn’t mean that I want to spend every day at that park. This way I get to enjoy Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Hollywood Tower of Terror during the day and still get by bratwurst, spaetzle, and oom-pah band on at the German Biergarten in the evening. Or, if you are having trouble getting a tough reservation like Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table on your designated Magic Kingdom day you have some flexibility to make it on another day because you can travel between parks. Check out our dining guide for more details in this area.
2. A Convenient Location
Park Hopping becomes much easier when your resort is near a park. Fortunately, with the addition of the Skyliner, even more, resorts are connected to a park now. When guests are staying in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot area, I’m more likely to suggest adding the Park Hopper option. With proximity to the parks from these resorts is easy to want to spend an evening at a park rather than your room. Say you were at Animal Kingdom for the day and you’re staying at Beach Club. Might as well peruse the My Disney Experience app during your bus ride and see if you can’t snag a late Soarin or Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster FastPass that evening. Go enjoy a late attraction and some fireworks before calling it a night. It’s totally up to you!
1. Don’t Forget To Take A Break!
There is a temptation to go all out on your Disney vacation. This is typically a quick and surefire way to wear yourself out and your family. Not that it can’t be done, but it is certainly a more advanced/veteran way of ‘doing Disney’. We’ve found that adding hopping makes it easier to go back to the resort and take a nice afternoon break. You can start the day early, take a break, and finish late without everyone immediately becoming exhausted. There are early magic hours and late magic hours every day and they’re never at the same park. This can also simplify your transportation considerations because there are always buses from the resort to the park and vice-versa. There are not always park-to-park busses running and only a few of the parks are directly connected by other means. The parks quickly lose some luster and fun if everyone is tired and doing their best “Grumpy imitations.”
Feeling Overwhelmed? Let Us Help YOU!
Heyday Travel Company can plan a Disney vacation that’s perfect for you. We are a free Disney travel planner with expert knowledge of the entire Disney catalog and Universal Parks destinations. No matter where you want to go, our experienced team is excited to help you make it happen. We provide our service at no charge, so you’ll only have to pay for the vacation itself. If you want help planning a Disney trip that’ll make your dreams come true while also fitting your budget, let’s talk!