Planning Tip: Adding the Park Hopper Option

When Disney switched to the Magic Your Way ticket system in 2005, the ability to Park Hop became a much more conscious decision on the part of the visitor.  Prior to 2005, the Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus were the standard choice of most guests.  Today, you have the option of adding Park Hopping to your ticket. But is it the right choice for you?

Park Hopper Basics

Disney’s Magic Your Way tickets are priced so that the first few days of your trip are more expensive than the last several days. For example: a 1-day ticket is approximately $100 and a 4-day ticket is approximately $300.  After 4 days, it is only $10 for each additional day; so a 10-day pass is approximately $360. These prices DO NOT include park hopping.

Adding the ability to Park Hop – that is, visit multiple parks on a single day – costs $59 per ticket.  It is a flat fee, so it is the same $59 whether you are there 2 days or 10 days. (The only exception is a 1-day park hopper, which costs slightly less as an add-on option.)

This means the park hopper option is costing you $30 per day if you are there for a weekend, but only $6 per day if you are there for a 10-day trip.

Is it worth it?

This is a topic of some debate.  For longer trips, it’s hard to argue against $6 per day; that’s a drop in the bucket when compared to other vacation costs.

Many feel, however, that park hoppers are much more valuable for shorter trips; this makes sense.  If you are only there for 3-4 days, you may need the park hopper to try to see as many of your must-do’s as possible.  For longer trips, you have the luxury of time in each park.  Park hopping is a nice option to have, but it takes time to do it and by the time you get to your second park, the crowds (and lines) may already be building up.  With a week-long vacation, it may be better for your itinerary to simply include one park per day.  But, again, it’s hard to argue against $6 per day.

“We’re only here for breakfast. We’re heading to Magic Kingdom after this!”

Here’s some fine print

You can not use more than 1 “day” on your ticket on a single day.  So, if you bought a 5 day ticket because it only costs $10 more than a 4-day ticket, but you are only going to be on vacation for 4 days, you can’t use your 5th “day” ticket on your 4th day to enter a second park. Thought you were slick, didn’t you?

Most people have a pretty clear itinerary before they go on vacation.  They know what park they will visit each day and when and where they are eating.  You should be able to make a pretty informed decision before you leave about whether or not you’ll need to hop.  But NEEDING to hop is different than WANTING to hop.  There are a lot of fun scenarios that are only available to those who hop. Here are a few:

  • Watching IllumiNations at 9:00 in Epcot, running to the monorail afterwards and making it to the Magic Kingdom in time for the 10:00 Wishes!
  • Participating in an unofficial Disney fan challenge: 4 parks in one day.
  • Broadening your dining options: Don’t like what Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios is offering at dinner, but there are more Epcot restaurants you want to try? Hop over to Epcot for dinner, then hop back to your original park for some nighttime entertainment.

Here is some advice that we offer to clients who aren’t sure whether the park hopper is right for them: Don’t buy it as part of your package.  You can add it to your tickets when you are in Disney World, so if you decide to hop while you are on vacation, simply go to a guest relations office and have them add it.  It will cost you the same $59, so why not wait?

Happy Hopping!

One comment

  1. We know we are going to park hop before we go primarily because of our Dining ressies. We don’t like many of the dining options in MK so we usually will go to another resort or park for dinner. Occasionally, we will do it for fireworks or illuminations but we do lots of dining ressies so that we can view them from different perspectives.

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