One of the questions we get a lot is “Do I need a park hopper?” The answer is, well, it depends. Normally, we don’t recommend park hoppers for first timers, especially first timers traveling with younger children, however there are a lot of reasons a guest might want to override that recommendation. Let’s explore the pros and cons of park-hopping.
For newer guests, park hopping allows you to “hop” from park to park each day instead of staying in one park, the way you would with a “base” ticket. The price of the hopper is the same whether or not you hop for two days or for ten, so you won’t save money by “hopping” for one or two days of a seven day trip. If you have a hopper, you can literally do all four parks in one day. With a base ticket, you can only visit one park and you can’t use additional days on your ticket to hop; you park day is officially when the first park opens and when the last park closes.
Here are some pros of park hopping.
- Flexibility: Hit rope drop at one park, eat lunch in another, see a nighttime show in another park later that day.
- Easier to plan. Could only get a fastpass for Slinky Dog in Hollywood Studios on the same day you’re eating at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom? Just hop between the two parks.
- See more, do more.
- If a park is busy, you can hop to a less crowded park.
That sounds great, but there are some real downsides to park hopping:
- Disney World is huge! You could spend 90 minutes just getting from one park to the other, wasting valuable touring time.
- Little ones don’t travel as well between parks. All that gear, strollers . . . it can be exhausting.
- At around $75 per ticket, the price of convenience that comes from hopping can really add up.
Many times, unless you’re sure you’ll want to hop, we recommend waiting. It’s easy to add a park hopper to your ticket once you get to Disney World as long as you have one full day left on your tickets. So if you don’t hit any challenges while coordinating Fastpasses before your visit, wait. Once you get there, add it if you find you need that additional flexibility. That way you won’t find yourself spending money before you know you need to do so.