We talk a lot about Genie+, Lightning Lanes, and crowd levels – and rightfully so! But sometimes, a good park strategy involves more of the basic know-how.
If you’re planning a Disney trip and are looking at what kind of park tickets to buy, chances are you’ve already wondered about buying regular park tickets or tickets with Park Hopper.
Figuring out whether or not to add Park Hopper to your park tickets seems pretty straightforward, but there are a few things to consider whenever you’re considering paying more for something on your (already expensive) Disney vacation.
Regular Park Tickets vs. Park Hopper Tickets
A standard park ticket at Disney offers admission to one of the four parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios) per day.
Park Hopper is an add-on ticket option that offers admission to more than one park per day.
It’s important to know that when you purchase your tickets with Park Hopper outright, Park Hopper must be added to the ENTIRE length of your ticket.
For example, if you’re buying a 7-day ticket, you can’t pick and choose which days to add Park Hopper because you have to buy Park Hopper for all 7 days.
Note: The only way to get around this would be to buy separate tickets, but then you’re losing out on the multi-day ticket savings and likely paying more than PH would have cost in the first place.
If you aren’t sure yet if Park Hopper is right for you and your travel group, keep reading!
Who Should Consider Park Hopper
Park Hopper is great for the flexibility it gives you in visiting multiple parks and getting the opportunity to do a little bit of everything, especially if you don’t have many days to devote to the parks.
Park Hopper is great for:
- Adult trips
- Groups with older kids and teens
- “Focused” trips (i.e., food-focused, thrill ride-focused, kiddie ride-focused, etc.)
- People with a limited number of park days
Who Should Consider Skipping Park Hopper
On the flip side, once you factor in mealtimes and commuting, Park Hopper can actually slow your day down.
It also requires some extra strategy when it comes to planning your day, especially if you’re using Genie+ and are navigating reserving Lightning Lanes for each park you’re visiting (reminder: our Genie+ Mastery Mini Course explains how to optimally do this and more).
We find Park Hopper isn’t always ideal for:
- First-time visitors
- Young families
- People who want to maximize their time and experience in each park
- Senior visitors
On the Fence?
There is no wrong answer, it just comes down to how you want to spend your time.
Would you like the flexibility of riding a few rides somewhere in the morning and then hopping somewhere else at midday? Hopping might be exactly what you need.
Do you like to go more at your own pace? Sometimes it can be easier to stick to a full-day itinerary or strategy when you focus on one park for the entire day.
But don’t forget! If you’re really not sure whether to add PH on, we recommend sticking with a standard (one park per day) ticket because you can always change your mind and add on Park Hopper.
Yes, even after you already purchased standard tickets. Even if you’re already 3 days into a 7-day ticket!
Note: Understanding these kinds of technical rules and deciding what kind of tickets to purchase is exactly the kind of thing a Disney Travel Agent is perfect for – and at no extra cost to you! Even seasoned pros like us use them all the time. We strongly recommend this group of experts so you can get back to the fun part: planning your snack game and strategizing your itinerary! 🙂
Our Favorite Park Hopping Combos
For those of you hopping, there are certain park combos we like best to make the most of our day. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend giving yourself at least one morning and evening at each park to cover the most ground.
- Magic Kingdom + EPCOT: There’s a monorail connecting the two parks, making transfers easy. We think it’s especially fun to hop to EPCOT in the evening for snacks and drinks around the World Showcase.
- EPCOT + Hollywood Studios: Our favorite combo because we love the Skyliner and BoardWalk, but it’s walkable if you really want to.
- Hollywood Studios + Animal Kingdom: Getting major headliners done in the AM or PM is very doable at AK, though we’d suggest starting early at AK and stacking Lightning Lanes for a smooth evening at HS!
Park Hopper offers more flexibility but is more of a drain on time and energy. While it requires a little more strategy to make worth the extra cost, it works well for those who have particular park goals in mind and don’t mind skipping out on the little things.
With a standard ticket, there is plenty to do in each park to qualify for a full day. This approach works well for those who want to spend time doing more in each park with a more easily managed itinerary.
If you’re here at Wish Upon A Planner, it’s likely because you have already discovered that Disney planning (at any stage) happens to be…well, a lot. We like to keep things simple around here, so we compiled all of our best strategies, tips, itineraries, and recommendations into one easy place: The Complete Parks Strategy Playbook to Walt Disney World. All we ask is for an air high-five when you nail those tricky dining reservations or your kid gets to ride Slinky Dog Dash for the first time with no wait. 😎