Let me guess…you’re heading to Disney World (one of my favorite places, by the way!) and need to figure out which park ticket type you should purchase. I mean, that’s a HUGE part of the budget, and you may have already noticed that purchasing a park hopper pass adds to that budget even more.
So, let’s tackle a common question: Is park hopper worth it at Disney World?
Now, I’ve personally used every ticket type currently offered through Disney World, so I’ve gotten to see all the pros and cons over the years. I know which type of theme park ticket is my favorite, but we’re here to figure out what’s best for you.
So, in this guide to Disney World ticket types, we’ll check out the options, take a closer look at the park hopper, and figure out if purchasing Disney park hopper passes is the right choice for your visit.
What is Disney Park Hopper?
To understand what a park hopper is and what the difference is between a park hopper vs regular park ticket, let’s briefly go over the Disney World ticket types, from least expensive to most expensive.
Standard Theme Park Ticket
The Standard Theme Park Ticket is also known as the 1 Park Per Day ticket. You may leave the park and re-enter the same park later that day. But you cannot enter a different theme park that day with this ticket type.
1 Park Per Day with Water and Sports Option
With this ticket type, you’ll be able to go to one theme park per day AND you’ll be able to enjoy a certain number of visits to enjoy other fun activities.
The number of extra visits you receive will depend on the number of theme park days purchased. A one-day theme park ticket allows one visit to one of the extras listed below, a two-day ticket allows 2 visits, and so on. These visits will be in addition to your theme park tickets, so you can choose to use them on the same day you go to a theme park or a different day.
For each visit, you can choose one of the following:
- 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 Oak Trail Golf Course – FootGolf
- Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4 PM)
- Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4 PM)
Park Hopper Option
Ok! The reason you’re here!
You can add on the Park Hopper Option to your Standard Theme Park Ticket. A Disney Park Hopper will allow you to visit more than one theme park on the same day.
Park Hopper Plus Option
The Park Hopper Plus Option is almost identical to the 1 Park Per Day with Water and Sports Option. But instead of only being able to visit one theme park per day, you will be able to visit more than one park on the same day.
Annual Passes cover your park admission for an entire year. There are different types of Annual Pass options at Disney World, so make sure you read the details of each pass before purchasing. But every Annual Pass includes park hopping.
How much is a Disney Park Hopper?
The cost of a Disney Park Hopper depends on a few factors like the time of year and whether it’s a one-day or multi-day ticket. But a one-day Park Hopper ticket typically ranges from $60 to $80 more than a standard one park per day ticket. For multi-day options, the price difference is less per day.
Keep in mind that Disney regularly updates its pricing, so it’s a good idea to check Disney’s website for the most current rates.
What You Need to Know About Disney Theme Park Ticket Pricing
The more days you spend at the parks, the less you’ll pay per day for your park tickets.
Because of this, it’s best to choose just one ticket type for your entire trip. Pricewise, it doesn’t make sense to get 1 Park Per Day tickets for part of your trip and Park Hopper tickets for part of your trip.
You’ll pay more doing that than just purchasing Park Hopper tickets for your entire trip since you get a discount on tickets the more days you buy.
Ticket prices vary by day.
Some days will cost more to enter the park than others. When purchasing tickets, you’ll choose the date on which you will use your very first ticket for the trip. And your total ticket price for the entire trip will change based on the first day you select.
If your total trip is longer than the number of days you will be visiting the parks, you can save money by being flexible regarding which day you first go to a park during your vacation.
Ticket prices for kids are different than for adults.
When going through the process of purchasing your theme park tickets, the final selection you will make will be how many tickets you will need for people aged 10+ and how many tickets you will need for people aged 3-9. Kids aged 3-9 get a slight discount on park tickets.
Kids under 3 are free! They will not need a theme park ticket to enter a park during your trip, which is a huge perk of going to Disney World with a little one.
There are ways to purchase discounted Disney World park tickets.
There are discounted ticket options for Florida residents and members of the U.S. Military. Check Disney’s website if you fall into one of those categories.
There are also websites like Undercover Tourist that sell park tickets at discounted rates. And every so often, Disney World itself will have specific deals related to park tickets and vacation packages.
My workplace even offers discount Disney World tickets through a program I can enroll in, so it’s always good to explore our options.
Park Reservations and the Hopper Pass at Disney World
Beginning January 9, 2024, you will no longer need a park reservation to enter the Disney World theme parks if you purchased a date-based ticket (AKA you had to choose a start date for your ticket when you purchased it). This is the most common option. And if that’s the type of ticket you have, you can skip over this section!
If you have a different ticket type that’s not date-based (such as an Annual Pass, military ticket, conference ticket, etc), you will still be required to make a park reservation for each day you visit.
With that being said, how do you make park reservations if you have a Disney hopper pass?
You will only need to make a park reservation using Disney’s park reservation system for the very first park you plan to visit that day. You will not need a park reservation for any other park that day.
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How to Park Hop at Disney World
All-day park hopping returns on January 9, 2024! This is exciting news because, if you’re visiting Disney World on January 9, 2024, or after, you’ll be able to hop to the next park of your choosing whenever you’d like.
If you visit before January 9, 2024, you need to wait until 2:00 PM to hop to the second park of the day.
Going back to the park reservation thing we talked about a second ago…if you purchase park hopper tickets that are not date-based, you will need to visit the park in which you have a park reservation before you’ll be allowed to park hop to your second park of the day.
Park Hopping Between Parks at Disney World
Let’s break down how you’ll get from one park to the other (if you’re going directly from park to park).
I’ll go over how to use the free transportation provided by Disney to get to each park. But know that there’s always an option to hire a Minnie Van (through your My Disney Experience app) or rideshare service for a fee if you want. The paid services will likely be your fastest option.
How to Park Hop from Magic Kingdom
To Epcot: Take the Monorail or Ferry to the Transportation and Ticket Center, then take the Monorail to Epcot.
To Hollywood Studios: Take the bus from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios.
To Animal Kingdom: Take the bus from Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom.
How to Park Hop from Hollywood Studios
To Epcot: Take the Skyliner from Hollywood Studios to Epcot (you will have to get out to transfer lines once during the trip). – OR – Take a boat from Hollywood Studios to Epcot. – OR – Walk along the walking path that connects the two.
*These options will take you to the International Gateway entrance to Epcot, which is at the back of the park (not the front entrance).
To Magic Kingdom: Take the bus from Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom.
To Animal Kingdom: Take the bus from Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom.
How to Park Hop from Epcot
To Magic Kingdom: Take the Monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center, then take the Monorail or Ferry to Magic Kingdom.
To Hollywood Studios: Take the Skyliner from Epcot to Hollywood Studios (you will have to get out to transfer lines once during the trip). – OR – Take a boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios. – OR – Walk along the walking path that connects the two.
*It’s good to note that to hop from Epcot to Hollywood Studios, you will exit the park at the International Gateway in the World Showcase at the back of the park (not the front entrance).
To Animal Kingdom: Take the bus from Epcot to Animal Kingdom.
How to Park Hop from Animal Kingdom
To Epcot: Take the bus from Animal Kingdom to Epcot.
To Hollywood Studios: Take the bus from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios.
To Magic Kingdom: Take the bus from Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom.
Is Park Hopper Worth It at Disney World?
Purchasing park hopper passes add quite a bit to the cost of a Disney World vacation, so the big question is: Is Park Hopper worth it?
Well, there can be huge benefits to not being tied to one single park each day. But it’s definitely not for everyone. Here’s some guidance on when I think a park hopper pass is worth it…and when it’s not.
Purchasing a park hopper pass at Disney World might be worth it if…
You want alllll the flexibility.
I personally think flexibility is the biggest benefit of purchasing a park hopper pass at Disney World.
If you want to return to a park to do an attraction you loved or missed, you can do it. If you find yourself lucky with low wait times and get through all of your priorities and more, you can go spend time at another park. You get the idea.
You want the ability to visit all four theme parks even if your total vacation time doesn’t allow for four park days.
This is another biggie. Sometimes your vacation just won’t allow for four park days. If getting to every park is a priority for you, the park hopper ticket will be the way to go.
You plan to take a midday break each day.
If you’re taking a midday break each day, you’ll be taking transportation to/from your resort anyway. So, you can easily switch parks after your break.
Planning a day at the Disney World parks can be overwhelming! But it doesn’t need to be.
Check out my FREE daily Disney World park planner to help prioritize and organize your day, so you can have the vacation you’re dreaming of.
You’re staying at a resort that is super close to a park.
The Magic Kingdom and Epcot area resorts are SO close to the parks, making it very easy to hop over to a park at the end of your day.
We love staying at the Boardwalk, and one of my favorite things to do at Disney is begin our day at one theme park, then walk over to Epcot at the end of the day to grab a drink, let the kids play at one of the playgrounds, and maybe even watch the fireworks if we’re up for staying out late. A nice relaxing end to a Disney park day!
You want to be able to watch a fireworks show at the park of your choice no matter where you started your day.
Speaking of fireworks, Magic Kingdom and Epcot have fireworks shows nightly. Hollywood Studios also has a nighttime show (that includes some fireworks but I wouldn’t say it’s a fireworks show).
On a recent trip to Disney World, we wanted to end with a bang (literally, I guess!), so we hopped over to Magic Kingdom to end our trip with a firework dessert party. It was the perfect end to our trip…Goofy even waved goodbye to us as we were leaving the park.
You can’t decide where to start and end your trip.
I’m so guilty of this. I can never decide if I want to start my trip at Magic Kingdom or end my trip at Magic Kingdom. The park hopper lets you do both!
Dining is a big priority for you.
In my opinion, not all of the theme parks have great dining options. So, if you have your heart set on certain dining spots, but you’re not sure you want to spend a whole day at that park specifically, a hopper would be a nice compromise.
You’re going to Disney World sometime between August and December.
Party season starts in mid-August at Disney World. First, the Magic Kingdom will host Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, then it will switch over to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
It’s extra important to check park hours if you’ll be visiting Disney World during those months because Magic Kingdom will close early (6 PM) any day it hosts a holiday party.
In that case, you may want to have a hopper pass so you can start your day at Magic Kingdom (when the crowds usually aren’t as bad since people usually don’t want to use their 1 Park Per Day ticket at a park with limited hours), then hop over to a park that stays open later on those days.
Purchasing a park hopper pass at Disney World might *not* be worth it if…
You have as many park days scheduled as the number of parks you want to visit.
Let’s say you want to go to all four theme parks AND you’re lucky enough to have four park days planned. You’ll have everything covered, so you might just want to save the money on the park tickets.
You don’t want to take the time out of your day to go from one park to the other.
I’d say it takes a good 45-60 minutes to get from one park to the other, get through security, scan into the park, etc. So, it’s a good chunk of time. If you want to make the most of every minute you have, it might be better to stay put in one park for the day.
You’d rather be immersed in one single park.
Each Disney World theme park is unique and truly feels like you stepped into a totally different world when entering each park. If you want to stick to one vibe at a time, a 1 Park Per Day ticket will be perfect for you.
You’re looking for the most budget-friendly option.
Like we’ve talked about throughout this article, it’s quite a bit more expensive to purchase a Disney World park hopper ticket compared to a standard ticket.
If you’re trying to be budget-conscious or you’d rather just spend the money you’re budgeting elsewhere during your Disney vacation, you might want to opt out of adding on the Park Hopper Option.
You’re overwhelmed by the planning process.
If this is your first trip to Disney World (or first time in a long time…or first time with a big group…whatever the case may be), the planning process can be pretty overwhelming. There are so. many. decisions.
Choosing a 1 Park Per Day ticket will help streamline your decision-making and allow you to really focus all of your attention on one specific park at a time.
Don’t miss my guide for Disney World first timers if you fall into this category.
FAQs: Disney World Park Hopper Tickets
How does parking work with a park hopper?
If you drive to the Disney World theme parks, your daily parking pass includes parking for all theme parks. So, you will only pay for parking once even if you hop between parks. If you’re a guest at a resort on Disney World property, parking will be free during your stay.
How does Genie+ work with a park hopper ticket?
There are two ways you can use Genie+ with a park hopper. You can purchase the multi-park option for Genie+ and book a Lightning Lane located in any park throughout the day. Or you can choose to purchase Genie+ for a specific park and only book Lightning Lanes in the park you choose, even if you spend time in other parks throughout the day.
Can you upgrade to park hopper anytime?
Yes, you can upgrade your park ticket to add on the park hopper option at any time. So, if you’re not quite sure if you want a park hopper or not, you can always purchase the 1 Park Per Day ticket and then modify it later to add the park hopper option once you make your final decision.
Can I upgrade my ticket to a park hopper halfway through my Disney vacation?
Technically, yes. You can upgrade your ticket to a park hopper halfway through your Disney vacation. BUT (and this is a big BUT), the upgrade will apply to your entire vacation. This means that you’ll even pay for an upgrade to the 1 Park Per Day tickets that you already used earlier in the vacation.
Can you buy a 1-day park hopper for Disney?
Yes! You can purchase a Disney one day hopper pass, which is a great way to maximize the one day you have in the parks.
Final Thoughts: Is Park Hopper Worth It?
Ok, my final answer! It depends. (Don’t you just love that answer?)
While I love having a park hopper at Disney World, it really isn’t for everyone. As you’re planning your trip, think about your priorities and what you’d like your park days to look like. Then base your decision on that.
No matter what you decide, the fact that you’re putting in the effort to plan now will make your trip that much better. Check out the Disney section of the blog to keep this planning rolling right along! And subscribe to my newsletter to get Disney World tips sent straight to your inbox.
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