Disney World: To park hop or not to park hop – THAT is the question!

Park hopping at Disney World

It’s an age old argument among Disney veterans, should your family park hop when visiting Disney World? Generally, my answer is yes! I think it gives you a lot more flexibility in planning, extra time in your favorite theme park(s), and opens up additional options for dining and FastPass. Let’s break it down!

Planning 180+ from your arrival

If you’re planning beyond the 180 day mark, you can first see how easy it is to make your preferred dining reservations. At time, a day you were hoping to be in Epcot is the only day Be Our Guest has availability for dinner or Cinderella’s Table has that pre-park opening for breakfast. It’s a good time to consider park hoppers here! Then you can start your day with Cindy at breakfast end end in Epcot, or spend most of your day in Epcot before heading to Magic Kingdom for Be Our Guest for dinner.

How many dining reservations do you want?Tips and Tricks for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Do you have 3 different dining requests in Epcot and none for Animal Kingdom? Sounds like a PERFECT case to park hop!

Length of stay.

Planning on less than 5 days of theme park tickets? Then most definitely park hop! This gives you the opportunity to spend more than just 1 day in Magic Kingdom. I think it takes 3 full days to get through most of the magic (I still maintain it’s impossible to do everything in one trip – there are still things we haven’t done there). It also lets you combine a 1/2 day in Animal Kingdom with a 1/2 day in another park since currently it’s still a park that closes around sundown.

Time of year.

Traveling during a more peak travel season? Park hopping is a way to maximize your time. You can start your day in a park with extra magic hours in the morning and get out of dodge as it starts to fill up mid-day. Have a swim break, take a nap, or just relax and then hop to another park for the afternoon/evening and to use your FastPasses.

If you are planning on traveling in fall during the Halloween or Christmas party season, you also may want to park hop. It gives you time in Magic Kingdom to enjoy a morning in the park and head somewhere else when the parties start. Typically, these are not incredibly crowded days because those with base tickets do no want to “waste” a Magic Kingdom day without the opportunity of fireworks!

Hoping for dining cancellations. 

So let’s be real. This fall has been difficult to say the least to get the big ticket dining reservations. I’ve never had so much trouble finding the big ticket items for guest stays. When park hoppers are involved, it does make the process a little bit easier to find the high value items like Cinderella’s Table because it gives me the opportunity to look at multiple days instead of just a single day and hoping that the stars align. You don’t necessarily need to start with park hoppers, just be open to the option of them and be flexible. It’s also deciding of an additional $50-$60 per person is worth the cost of getting that high value dining reservation as that’s the general cost of park hopper tickets.


The only complaint I get from park hopping is that you lose time. I won’t argue that point. It takes a little bit longer to get everywhere in Disney without a car. Going from park to park – plan on about a 60 minute trip while you wait for your mode of transportation to arrive. With a car, things definitely move a little more efficiently, but still can take 30-45 minutes going from one destination to another. Disney property is HUGE after all!

So as a quick wrap up, park hopper tickets definitely give guests a lot more flexibility during their stay as well as opens up some doors to enjoy more time in the theme parks. The additional cost is often worth the expense. Remember, park hopper tickets are good for your length of stay whether you use them or not. Don’t feel like you have to park hop every day to get you money’s worth. 1-2 uses will still make them worth their while! In our last 10 stays, we’ve done park hoppers for 9 of them. The time we did not, we had 7 days of theme park tickets over a 10 day trip which makes it easier to stretch things out with an extended period of time!

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

A free gift for your Disney vacation! The amazing and exciting Minnie Box! (subject to minimum vacation package)

Ready to get started planning your 2015 or 2016 Disney World vacation? Please contact me at any time for a free quote. We can talk about the best park tickets, resorts, and package inclusions for you! The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation with itinerary planning which can help save you hours of standing in line each day. Plus you won’t have to watch for available discounts, research resorts, wake up early for dining reservations, or stay up late for FastPasses. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!)It’s also a worry free cruise opportunity. I’ll walk through through all of the steps to the process with a few little insider tips along the way! If you already have your vacation planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!

One thought on “Disney World: To park hop or not to park hop – THAT is the question!

  1. Pingback: 101 Tips to Make for a Magical Disney World vacation – UPDATED for 2016! | A Little WDW Magic

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