Park hopping can add some flexibility and freedom to your next Disney trip, however it does come with an added cost. Read on to discover the pros and cons of park hopping at Walt Disney World, to determine if you should go ahead and purchase park hoppers, or stick with the base tickets.
The best reason why I would suggest purchasing the park hopper option is because of the added flexibility it will give you during your trip. Being able to switch parks on a whim means that you can spend the day at Hollywood Studios and go over to Epcot for dinner and fireworks. This can be particularly helpful if you plan on dining at restaurants that basically require reservations months ahead of time, but you are unsure of which park you’ll actually want to be in during that day of the trip. It is also a good idea to have some flexibility in your ticket option if you simply feel like switching parks. For instance, if the Magic Kingdom is packed but you notice on the My Disney Experience app that Animal Kingdom appears to be pretty quiet, it might make sense to switch parks for a little while.
Depending on your budget, the added cost of the park hopper option might be out of reach for your next trip. If you’re paying for multiple family members, the extra cost for the park hopper option might be better spent on dinners at your favorite restaurants or souvenir shopping. The park hopper option does not necessarily buy you extra time in the parks, it just buys you the ability to switch between multiple parks in the same day—so depending on your budget, the cost might not be worth it if switching parks is not a priority during your trip.
Pro: Upgrades from Magic Your Way Base tickets
If you’re worried about the cost of a park hopper, especially if you are unsure of how often you’ll actually end up going to more than one park per day, you can always purchase a base ticket and upgrade later. If you purchase Magic Your Way Base tickets, and then realize that you think you’d rather be able to switch parks, you can visit a vacation planning kiosk outside of the park and upgrade the tickets. You’ll pay the same extra cost that you would have anyway for the park hoppers, but this can be good to know if you would have otherwise purchased park hoppers and not park hopped.
Con: Trip planning, especially with larger groups
When planning a trip for a group of any size, but especially larger ones, it can easily become quite complicated to factor in park hopping. If you’ve been elected leader of a family reunion trip to Disney, it will be much easier to plan on doing one park per day. This can also become tricky if you’ve prepaid for the park hopper option, as you’ll feel obligated to use it which can be difficult with a larger group.
Pro: Minimal advance planning
One of the complaints that some guests come up with in regards to MyMagic+ is that they feel like they need to plan their entire vacation too far in advance. Having the park hopper option on your tickets takes out some of this extra planning, as you won’t be limited to whatever park you go to first thing in the morning.
While choosing either a base ticket or a park hopper option does not necessarily give you less time in the parks either way, park hopping can cause you to lose some time depending on how long it takes you to switch between parks. I’ve never had any issues wasting time while park hopping, both with my own vehicle and by using Disney transportation, however if your trip in general is going to be short on time, and you know this in advance, you might prefer to spend what you do have for time staying in whichever park you arrive at in the morning. Time can also become an issue when you are planning on doing all four parks in one day, as many guests do not factor in things like travel time between the parks, lines for bag check, or at the turnstiles, etc…