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Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland Resort

by Leap on May 14, 2022 Los Angeles

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - PinterestPark hopping at Disneyland Resort is a frogtastic way to make the most of your theme park day! With Disneyland a quick walk across the esplanade from Disney California Adventure Park, it's easy to park hop. It's important to note that Disneyland now has a theme park reservation system, making it so guests have to reserve which park to visit first each day in advance. But guests with Park Hopper tickets can go back and forth as much as they want after a certain time of day (1 p.m.). Naturally, people have a lot of questions about park hopping at Disneyland. Luckily, we have the answers!

Overview of Park Hopping at Disneyland Resort

Keep in mind that park hopping is slightly different at Disneyland vs. Disney World, so if you are planning to visit Orlando, you’ll want to hop over to the correct post about hopping at Disney World.

At Disneyland, guests with Park Hopper tickets reserve the first park they want to visit up until 1 p.m. Starting at 1 p.m., guests with Park Hopper tickets are free to hop back and forth between the parks. Guests do not need a reservation for the second park. The two theme park entrances are just across from each other, making hopping a much quicker process on foot than at Disney World, where hoppers have to hop on a bus, boat, monorail or the Disney Skyliner to access another park.

If you're wondering if park hopping is worth it or if you should stick to a 1-Park Per Day Ticket, we will offer some advice in that department as well. Let’s go over the common questions about park hopping at Disneyland and cover everything you need to know (including how hopping affects dining reservations and people with disabilities).

How to Reserve a Park Hopper Ticket

Most ticket buyers can reserve up to 120 days in advance, and we recommend that you book early so you have the best selection of dates and the park you want. Holidays and weekends book up quickly, but so do Tuesdays and Wednesdays since they are the least expensive days to visit for single-day ticket buyers.

If you purchase directly through Disneyland, you have to choose your dates and starting park before you purchase (but you can always cancel and rebook if you need to). If you purchase discount Park Hopper tickets through Undercover Tourist, you will reserve them after you purchase. You can even purchase tickets before the 120-day window and then be prepared to make reservations once the reservation window opens up (plus if Disneyland ticket prices go up before your visit, you will have locked in the lowest rates!).

Our Disneyland park reservations post has all the steps and details for making or changing a reservation once you have tickets. But we want to offer a few tips:

  • Look at the park hours before you reserve. (These are only released about six weeks in advance, but our best time to visit Disneyland post and Crowd Calendar will alert you to any red flags.)
  • Check the availability calendar before you buy to make sure your dates and preferred starting park are available.
  • After purchasing tickets, link them to your Disneyland account (you'll need to create an account if don't have one).
  • At Disneyland.com, tap My Disneyland, then Ticket and Reservation Details and Make Park Reservations.
  • If you are staying on-site, be sure to tap Retrieve Hotel Reservation before reserving so you can open up a different pool of reservations for hotel guests.
  • Tap Book Theme Park Reservation and create your party by selecting each name and Continue. Select your date and the park where you wish to start your day and Continue. 
  • This next step is important. Scroll down to select the Terms and Conditions and Continue or the reservation will not be finalized.
  • You should be able to view the reservation and you can repeat the steps to reserve the next day of your trip and so on. You cannot change a reservation, but you can cancel and rebook it.
  • The reservation will say “All Day Disneyland Park” or "All Day Disney California Adventure Park,” but just know that if you have a Park Hopper ticket that means you can hop any time after 1 p.m. It might seem confusing, but don't worry about it. You're good to go!
  • Try to start in each park at least once if you can. We love to take advantage of short wait times and low crowds at park opening, and starting in each park at least once gives you the best of both worlds.
  • Consider where you are staying. If you are staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, the hotel has a theme park entrance directly into Disney California Adventure. If you want to take advantage of that in the morning, you’ll need to start your day at that park. But if you want to end your day using that quick exit to the hotel, you can start in either park when hopping. If you were hoping to take the monorail in from Downtown Disney in the morning, you should start in Disneyland, since that is the monorail's only theme park stop.

How to Use Park Hopper as a Strategy

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Sample 1 park per day availability

Use your Park Hopper tickets as a strategy to get the starting park you want when booking theme park reservations. At times, one park may not have any reservations left during your visit for 1-Park Per Day Tickets for one or either park. You might want to visit the other park but then you check the calendar for Park Hopper tickets and see more options. A Park Hopper may be the ticket you need to unlock those days. Park Hopper tickets usually have better availability than the 1-Park tickets. You can see the difference between 1 Park Per Day availability compared to the Park Hopper availability at the same time in May 2022. (These images, taken March 30, 2022, are for example only and do not reflect current availability.)

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Sample Park Hopping availability

Also, let’s say only Disneyland Park is available for even park hoppers to reserve as a starting park, but you want to experience Disney California Adventure too. If you have a Park Hopper ticket, you can still get into the other park, just after 1 p.m. So it really does open up your options!

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Sample hotel guest ticket availability

Once again, if you are staying on-site at one of the Disneyland Resort hotels, you’ll want to link your hotel reservation. It will unlock better theme park availability for you! You can book rooms directly with your froggy friends to get a discounted rate. Ribbit!

This hopful availability link shows you the current status for available reservations for guests with 1-Park tickets, guests with Park Hopper tickets and Disneyland Resort hotel guests for the next 120 days. Magic Key Holders have a different Magic Key Access Calendar.

Strategies for Starting at Disneyland Park

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Entrance to Pirates in morningThere are several strategies we follow when starting at Disneyland and later hopping to Disney California Adventure. We have a 1-Day Park Hopper touring plan that helps us get as much done as possible when starting at Disneyland. We enter the park early for rope drop to take advantage of the short morning lines. If we want to take the monorail from Downtown Disney (near Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel) in the morning, we start in Disneyland Park since the monorail does not stop in Disney California Adventure. We use Genie+ to book Lightning Lanes. At about 11 a.m. we start reserving our rides for after 1 p.m. at Disney California Adventure. At 1 p.m. we book our next Lighting Lane selection for Disney California Adventure. We watch World of Color at night, making sure we hit any important Pixar Pier attractions before they close early for the show.

Strategies for Starting at Disney California Adventure

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Single rider and Lightning Lane for RSR

When we start at Disney California Adventure we follow our 1-Day Park Hopper touring plan for starting at California Adventure. If we stay at Disney's Grand California Hotel, we like to use the hotel's theme park entrance. Again, we arrive for rope drop to maximize time and find the shortest morning lines. We like to hit Soarin', Guardians of the Galaxy and Toy Story Midway Mania as early as possible for the shortest waits. We use Single Rider for WEBSLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure and Radiator Springs Racers if our party is all over the age of 7. If we plan to ride Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance at Disneyland later, we either book an individual Lightning Lane or (to save money) we save it for the last hour of the ride's opening for the shortest wait. At about 11 a.m., we book our first Genie+ Lighting Lane for Disneyland Park and set an alarm to book the next one at 1 p.m. We eat dinner early so we are ready to hop in place for the nighttime entertainment such as parades, fireworks and Fantasmic!.

Frequently Asked Questions About Park Hopping at Disneyland Resort

Are Park Hopper Tickets Worth It?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Park Hopper Ticket in DCAYou definitely do not need a Park Hopper ticket at Disneyland, especially if this is your first visit and you are just getting to know and explore the parks. If you only have one or two days, you might want to spend a full day in each park. There is plenty to keep you busy in each park, especially Disneyland Park. Eliminating Park Hopper is one way to save some green on Disneyland tickets. That being said, adding Park Hopper to a multi-day ticket is less expensive per day than adding it to a 1-Day Ticket. Plus, it's really nice to have the option. It's toadally hopful if you are interested in seeing nighttime entertainment but the park hosting those must-see shows differs from where you want to spend your daytime hours.

One thing to note is that you need to make the decision of whether to hop or not hop before you purchase tickets. If you buy 1-Park Tickets and then decide to hop, it's not so easy to upgrade the tickets. You'll need to go to the ticket booth, and if you live far away that means going to the booth on your trip. At that point, you are not likely to find theme park reservation availability during your trip. So decide before you buy!

How Can I Save on a Park Hopper Ticket?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Mickey and Pluto wave in Disneyland Park

Multi-day tickets are the way to go when saving at Disneyland. So at Disneyland Resort, adding Park Hopper to any ticket costs the same $60 whether it’s a 1-Day Ticket or a 5-Day Ticket. So that means park hopping costs you $60 per day for one day or $12 per day for a 5-Day Ticket. If you have a longer trip, park hoppers may be worth the extra cost. You can purchase discount Disneyland Park Hopper tickets through Undercover Tourist (now with an option to include Genie+)!

Another way that buying multi-day tickets saves money over several single-day tickets is that multi-day tickets are not subject to tiered pricing. So a weekend or holiday visit may cost $224 for just one day with park hopping. But a 5-Day Park Hopper from Undercover Tourist is $415.10 total, which comes to $83.02 per day! And it can be used any five days with no blockouts as long as there are reservations available. That’s a savings of $140.98 per day over five separate weekend visits!

That being said, the Undercover Tourist 5-Day Base Ticket (1-Park per day) is $358.49 ($71.70 per day). So going without Park Hopper will save you right there if it’s not important to you.

When Can We Hop?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - People wait at closed park gate

At Disneyland, park hoppers can hop from 1 p.m. until park close. Starting before 1 p.m., park hoppers start lining up outside the park gates of the park they wish to hop to. Some lanes will remain open for people with reservations for that park to continue to enter while park hopper turnstiles remain closed until 1 p.m. At 1 p.m. they’ll start letting park hoppers in. Hop Tip: at that time, park hoppers can enter any turnstile. Hop over to a shorter line to get in. You don't have to use the park hopper lines. For the rest of the day, guests can hop back and forth as much as they like until park close. If you hoppen to arrive after 1 p.m., just go to any park you like!

What If a Park Hits Capacity?

If a park were to hit capacity, it could pause letting people hop into the park until more guests exit that park. This is very rare. We had not seen this hoppen since the parks reopened, even during New Year’s Eve and peak time, that is until April 22, 2022. That night was the return of the Main Street Electrical Parade and Disneyland Forever fireworks (and World of Color at Disney California Adventure). Disneyland had to temporarily pause letting people into the park that evening until the crowds dispersed. For the most part, it seems that enough people from each park hop to the other, balancing things out. We would not really worry about this unless it were a big opening or event. In that case, hop well before the event you want to catch.

How Does Park Hopping Work With Magic Key Passes?

Even the new Magic Key (annual pass) holders have questions about the new park hopping rules. All Magic Key passes have park hopping abilities, but Magic Key holders must also make a reservation for the first park they want to visit up until 1 p.m. The reservation will say “All Day Disneyland Park” or "All Day Disney California Adventure Park,” as well, which is confusing, but it really means until 1 p.m. After 1 p.m., Magic Key holders may visit either park. If arriving after 1 p.m., they can start in either park. They do not have to enter the park with the reservation first when arriving after 1 p.m.

How Quickly Can I Hop?

Do not enter a park and change your mind and hop too quickly. If you enter a park and decide to hop within about 20 to 30 minutes, you will get stopped at the other park and a lead will be called. They want to be sure that someone else did not use your ticket to enter the other park. They will confirm you are you and approve entry, but that delay is no fun.

Can I Make Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Reservations for My Second Park Before Hopping?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Lightning Lane at Soarin

Yes! This is a great strategy, actually. First of all, Genie+ is an especially good value when you park hop since you get more ride choices for your money. But it also helps you set up your hopping time nicely, especially if you'll arrive in the other park during midday peak line times.

Genie+ and individual Lightning Lane times are distributed as first available. BUT, if in the morning you reserve a Lightning Lane for the second park, it will automatically give you the first available time after 1 p.m. Of course, this works best if you actually plan to hop at 1 p.m. Otherwise, you will have to watch the distribution times and try to find one that fits your later hopping schedule. Our Disneyland Genie+ FAQ post has more on this and other Lightning Lane topics.

If you are sitting here wondering what Genie+ and Lightning Lane even are, they are new optional paid services that allow you to reserve a window to ride. They replaced the old FASTPASS and MaxPass systems. Hop over to our beginner guide to Disneyland Genie to learn more and get up to speed.

The value of Genie+ and individual Lightning Lanes is really maximized when park hopping for several reasons. You have more ride choices across two parks instead of one with Genie+ when you hop. It allows you to skip some lines and accomplish more. And it allows you to reserve rides before you hop. Having a Genie+ Lighting Lane or two lined up can send you straight to fun instead of a long line. We frogs are all about skipping the lines.

Why Is My Tip Board Only Displaying One Park?

In the Disneyland app, the Tip Board only shows you one park at a time (and not necessarily the park you are in!). It seems to default to Disneyland Park for us, but sometimes when we are in Disneyland park it shows us Disney California Adventure instead. At the top in tiny blue type, it says “Change Park.” Tap that to switch to the other park. Whew!

What About Dining and Other Reservations?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Minnie at Plaza Inn

You’ll want to plan your dining reservations around your park hopping or your park reservations based on when and where you are dining. Of course, the Minnie and Friends character dining breakfast at Plaza Inn at Disneyland won’t work if you have to start in Disney California Adventure. A dining reservation will not get you into the other park if you don’t have a theme park reservation before 1 p.m. When planning lunch or dinner, reservations after 1 p.m. are safe no matter where you start since you can always hop over in time.

If you make a reservation to build a Lightsaber at Savi's Workshop or to build a droid at Droid Depot in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, you'll need to have a valid theme park reservation for Disneyland Park, especially if you have a morning build time. If you have a park hopper ticket, you can access Disneyland in the afternoon, even if you start at Disney California Adventure park. So if you are not sure which park you are starting in or you make your building reservations before you have park reservations, choose a build time after 1:30 p.m. to be safe. Some people like to build near the end of the day so they can take night pics with their lightsaber in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge and not have to carry it around all day.

How Do I Use DAS When Park Hopping?

Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland - Guest Relations KioskA small number of guests use the Disneyland Disability Access Service (DAS). There have been changes made to how you acquire DAS. You can now reserve return times through the Disneyland app. Our Disneyland DAS post has all the deets. But park hopping does present a challenge as you may only be able to reserve rides for the park you are scanned into. You have to hop before you can make selections on your phone in the other park. If you are hopping soon and want to reserve a ride in the other park, you can always stop at a Guest Relations kiosk for assistance in reserving a ride return time in the other park before you hop.

Tips for Park Hopping at Disneyland Resort

Keep these tips in mind when park hopping:

  • Only purchase Park Hopper tickets for a multi-day ticket.
  • Hop if you have teens and older kids, and consider sticking to one park per day with babies and toddlers.
  • Make sure all members of your party have the same park reservation.
  • Use Genie+ strategically so you can reserve rides in the other park before you hop so you can head straight to attractions without a wait.
  • If you get a ride breakdown and receive a Multiple Experiences pass, you can tap it to see which rides are included. It allows you to use it for most rides in either park (for hoppers) any time before the park closes. You can select the park at the top to see which rides are included if park hopping to the other park. If we receive these in the morning, we usually save them to use in the second park since ride selections are more limited or the windows are further out in the afternoon, especially when hopping to Disney California Adventure.
  • Consider where you want to end your day. Is it at Disneyland for fireworks and Fantasmic! or at Disney California Adventure for World of Color? If where you want to end your day is different from where you want to start your day, a park hopper is worth it for the flexibility.
  • If you rent a stroller or wheelchair at Disneyland, you can just bring it with you when you hop.
  • Make sure other reservations you have (dining and building droids or lightsabers) fit into your theme park reservation schedule or fall into the afternoon or evening.
  • Hold onto your reservation confirmation email. We have never had to show ours, but we have heard stories of people being able to resolve a problem at the gate by pulling up the confirmation email to prove they have a reservation.

Looking for Park Hopper Disneyland tickets? You can get your 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-Day Park Hopper Tickets from Undercover Tourist to save some green. If you want to add Genie+ to all days of the ticket, you can purchase Park Hopper Tickets with Genie+. If you aren't sure, or you only plan to use Genie+ some of the days, you can save money by just purchasing just the Park Hopper tickets and then adding Genie+ onto your tickets through the Disneyland app each day once you have entered a theme park. 

Related: Tips to Maximize Time at Disneyland

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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