One of the biggest questions you will always read about when talking about a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL is if the Park Hopper ticket is worth it. Many first timers and seasoned veterans have asked that question. Today we are going to answer it once and for all.
While everyone is different in how they like to tour the parks. We all have one thing in common. A love for Disney. But that doesn’t mean we all enjoy the same things about Disney.
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We are going to take a deep dive into the pros and cons of the Disney World Park Hopper and see if it’s right for you.
Now I believe there are many pros to having the park hopper option on your Walt Disney World ticket. If you are like most people you are planning your trip 9 months out or longer. My mom always likes to “complain” that she doesn’t know what she wants to eat tomorrow so how will she know 6 months from now.
I think that is something we can all relate to. But if you want that top dining reservation, you WILL NEED to be on the phone or computer 180 days out to hopefully secure Chef Mickeys or Cinderella’s Royal Table. Now you have to wait another 120 days till you can book your FastPass+ (learn more about that here) if you are staying on site.
Now if you are like me, you plan your park days around where you booked a reservation at. So if you were doing Chef Mickeys you would want to go to Magic Kingdom that day. All is good in the world till you find out Magic Kingdom is closed at 6 for the Not so Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
No problem if you have the park hopper. You can do Chef Mickeys for breakfast and head right to Magic Kingdom to do your 3 planned FastPass+. After your last FastPass+ you can either book another one in Magic Kingdom or HOP over to another park and catch a FastPass+ there and party till closing time.
If you didn’t have the park hopper you would be “stuck” (not a bad thing) at Magic Kingdom till they push you out around 6. It stinks cause that was your only Magic Kingdom day on your 5 day trip and you really wanted to catch the fireworks.
You may also find out on your first visit that your son or daughter or even yourself really enjoyed a certain ride. If you have the park hopper you could ride that ride every day and still visit the other parks.
One of my daughters favorite ride is Spaceship Earth at EPCOT. We will usually start our day with the planned park for that day. After we hit the hotel up in the afternoon to cool off (see here for tips on staying cool in the Summer Florida Heat), we will head over to EPCOT and hopefully we grabbed an additional FastPass+ for Soarin’ or Test Track and we can easily ride Spaceship Earth.
Again without the Park Hopper you are just “stuck” at that one park. If you are the kind of person who goes from rope drop to the Kiss Good Night you probably won’t need a Park Hopper. But if you take afternoon breaks the Park Hopper really makes sense.
You will see this on both Pro’s and Con’s. The Park Hopper Option at the time of this writing is $85.20 per person. The longer you stay the cheaper it comes out to per day. For a 4 day ticket with Park Hopper is $21.30 a day. A 7 day ticket with Park Hopper is $12.17 a day. And a 10 day ticket with Park Hopper is a whopping $8.52 a day.
If you are staying a week or longer, I say it is a no brainier on getting the park hopper with every ticket. Sure with a family of 4 it will run you an additional $340.80 on top of your tickets. But when you break it down into per person, per day it really is a great price.
Who wouldn’t love the chance to hit up 2 parks in one day for an additional $8.52 a day?
If you are going with a large group chances are you will be splitting up at some point in your trip. Maybe you have a big dinner planned at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. But the teenagers in the group want to hit up Hollywood Studios for all the thrill rides.
If you have the park hopper everyone can break up into separate groups and do what they want for the day and than meet up for dinner or fireworks. Can you really put a price on that kind of flexibility? You can and it is $85.20 per person.
While visiting with a large group be sure you have all packed good rain gear. Also don’t forget to check out this post on the other items you should have in your bag.
Having the park hopper option can give you great Freedom. Having freedom while visiting Disney World can mean you could do a little less planning and go with the flow. Maybe you find out they added EMH to the park you are planning on visiting and know the crowds will be a little heavier that day.
So go do the EMH in the morning and by 10 or 11 HOP on over to a less crowded park. You won’t need to plan out every hour of your trip. You will also be able to change your plans on the fly.
Maybe the night before it was raining and you didn’t catch the fireworks at Hollywood Studios. You don’t want to waste another whole day at the Studios so you continue your plan with going to EPCOT and HOP over to Hollywood Studios later that night to watch the fireworks. The park hopper gives you that freedom.
Like I said before this is a pro and con. If you are trying to save money the park hopper is an easy thing to cut out. At close to a $100 per person that can really add up for a big family. Even for a family of 4 that can still come out to 2 or 3 meals while in the park.
Every penny counts when you are on a budget and saving that little bit can really add up. You could do at least 2 character meals per person for the cost of the park hopper. You can even break it down like this. The cost of the park hopper could cover about 5 quick service meals or 3 table service meals.
If you didn’t get the dining plan (trying to save money) than the cost of the park hopper could cover some of your food cost.
You know the say “Time is money”. I don’t think a lot of people really factor in the amount of time it takes to go from one park to the other. Or from one park back to your resort for a little break than back to another park. You should give yourself at least an hour to get anywhere on Disney Property.
Time standing in line for the bus, is time your not standing in line for a ride. (Check out here for tips on avoiding lines at Disney) I’ll take the monorail you say. Well we all know that it has had issues from time to time. And we all know Murphy’s Law.
Even if you bring your own car and drive and park at the parks. You will still have to get back to your car and drive over to the other parking lot. Now since you are going much later in the day the parking lot at the other park will be much fuller. So now you are spending more time walking to the gates to enter.
Some people can see this as being a con. We all know that you can only schedule 3 FP in advance. Once you use those 3 than you can book more. However, the first 3 FP have to all be in the same park.
If you were planning on park hopping you would have to decide which park you wanted to schedule FastPasses for. It can make things more stressful for an already stressful vacation. Some people see this as a good reason to skip getting the park hopper.
So that’s what we have for the pros and cons.
I have always gotten the park hopper option when I go to Disney. The added cost when broken down into per day really isn’t that bad. Besides it gives me the added freedom and flexibility to do what I want based on the crowds or food I want to try. I also always find myself wanting to go back to a park to try a different quick service location out or grab that one snack I was to full to get earlier in my trip.
Are you for or against the park hopper? Did this article help change your mind one way or the other? Do you have any other pros or cons? Let us know in the comments below. Remember to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest at KozmoPhotos. It will help you stay up to date with all the latest post, news and photos.