If you’re limited on time, park hopping is an excellent way to make sure you see some of every park in Disney World. That said, park hopping is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it can be quite exhausting and could easily lead to bad moods, wasted time, and a disappointing trip if not done properly. All that said, by making sure you know what you’re doing when you head into your park hopping adventure, it is possible to have an absolutely wonderful time and see all you want to see in a relatively short amount of time. Here are our tips for making sure you park hopping trip goes off without a hitch!
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Ticket
Before anything else, you’ll need to make sure you have the right kind of ticket to go park hopping. You see, the base-level Disney tickets don’t automatically come with this option, so you’ll need to pay to have the option added on. Do this before your trip begins to save time the day you arrive.
2. Use the Monorail
If you’ll be hopping from Magic Kingdom to Epcot or vice versa, the monorail is the quickest Disney transportation option. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know where the monorail is and how to put it to use before you get there.
3. Considering Bringing the Car
While the monorail is pretty fast, it does tend to break down from time to time, and it can’t get you to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. Therefore, it’s almost always a better idea to drive your own car if at all possible. This will save tons of travel time, something that’s super important when you want to do more than one park in a day. Note: You only have to pay to park once a day, so be sure to save your receipt!
4. Know Your Way Around
No matter how you plan to get around the resort property, knowing your way around and finding the best ways to get from point A to point B before your trip will save you lots of time, confusion, and frustration during your trip. Go ahead and download a map or two, make notes, and get really well acquainted with the roads and transportation options on property. Additionally, know how the parks are set up to avoid getting lost in the parks themselves. The more you know about the layout of each area, the better off you’ll be.
5. Wake up Early and Use Morning Extra Magic Hours
If you’re going to squeeze more than one park into a day, it’s super important that you’re up early. Arrive at your first park at least 30 minutes before opening in order to take advantage of those first few hours when crowds and wait times are low. Often, a park will offer morning Extra Magic Hours. If this is the case, go to that park first and use that extra time!
6. Be Prepared to Stay Late and Use Evening Extra Magic Hours
In addition to arriving early, you’ll also want to stay late. The late night hours tend to be a bit slower than the afternoon, meaning you’ll be able to get more things done during this time. Additionally, if a park offers evening Extra Magic Hours, you may be able to snag quite a bit more time. Check when these magic hours are so you can plan accordingly.
7. Take a Break
If you think arriving before opening and staying till close will be too much for your family, plan to take a break in the middle of the day. The afternoon is the most crowded and hot time, so missing out on park time midday is better than missing early morning or late night hours.
8. Have a FastPass Plan
FastPass is your best friend when you’re trying to save time. That said, using FastPass when park hopping is a little more complicated. Usually, it’s best to schedule your first three FastPasses for your second park. By doing this, you allow yourself to:
- Take advantage of the slow morning hours at your first park.
- Hop to the next park to use FastPasses.
- While you’re at the second park, schedule a fourth FastPass for the third park on your schedule before hopping over there to take advantage of the slow evening hours.
This accounts for seeing three parks in a day, but it would work just as well with four parks, and you can always try to add a fifth FastPass after the fourth one if any are still available. If you’re doing only two parks in one day, follow the same plan but schedule that fourth FastPass for the second park. Using this plan, it’s always best to put Magic Kingdom last because it has a huge number of FastPass attractions, meaning there will almost always be a pass available to something, even if you arrive in the evening.
9. Choose Your Resort Wisely
Picking a resort hotel that is close to your first park is super helpful for getting you out the door at the beginning of the day. For instance, if you’re starting with Hollywood Studios, you might want to stay at Boardwalk Inn, Beach Club, or Yacht Club. This will allow you to walk into the park first thing in the morning and get a quick start.
Finally, it’s important to realize that there is absolutely no way to see all of even one park in a single day, let alone multiple parks. Therefore, you will need to pick and choose what you want to see in each park. It’s highly recommended that you make these decisions before ever leaving for vacation and go in with a plan. This will ensure you don’t waste time meandering and can get right to the fun.