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Everything to Know About Park Hopping at Disneyland Resort

by Leap on December 2, 2023 13 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 being a quick walk across the esplanade from Disney California Adventure Park, it's easy to park hop. It's important to note that Disneyland 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 or Magic Key passes can go back and forth as much as they want after 11 a.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. The news you may be hearing about all-day hopping is hoppening at Disney World; not Disneyland. Disneyland has not announced any plans to change the reservation system or hopping.

At Disneyland, guests with Park Hopper tickets (or Magic Key passes) can reserve the first park they want to visit up until 11 a.m. Starting at 11 a.m., guests with Park Hopper tickets or Magic Key passes are free to hop back and forth between the parks. Guests do not need a reservation for the second park. People with park hopper tickets who arrive after 11 a.m. can enter either 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. We'll cover everything you need to know (including how hopping affects dining reservations and people with disabilities).

How to Reserve a Park Hopper Ticket

As of October 2023, most ticket buyers can reserve up to 180 days in advance. 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. So do Tuesdays and Wednesdays since they are usually 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 them. You can even purchase tickets before the 180-day window. 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 or Modify Park Reservations.
  • If you are staying on-site, 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 can now modify a reservation without having to cancel it.
  • 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 from May 2022. (These images are for example only.)

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

Also, let’s say only Disneyland Park is available for 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 11 a.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 of available reservations for guests with 1-Park tickets, guests with Park Hopper tickets and Disneyland Resort hotel guests for the next 180 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 park 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) in the morning, we start in Disneyland Park. (Since the monorail does not stop in Disney California Adventure.)

We use Genie+ to book priority Lightning Lanes that will disappear quickly throughout the day such as Space Mountain or Indiana Jones Adventure. Then we take advantage of short standby lines in the first two hours of the day. If we are hopping at 11 a.m. or even later, we make our  Lighting Lane selections for Disney California Adventure before we hop. The distribution window must be 11 a.m. or later to select the attraction. (If we cannot hop in time to ride, we modify to a later time rather than cancel because modifying does not change the start time of the possible two-hour waiting period.

We watch World of Color at night, making sure we hit any important Pixar Pier attractions before they close for the show. Sometimes Incredicoaster, Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind and Jumpin’ Jellyfish run during World of Color performances. It is not an official viewing area, but a few people choose this view. World of Color virtual queue opens at 12 p.m.

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 park 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) save it for the last hour of the ride's opening for the shortest wait. A few hours before we hop, we book our first Genie+ Lighting Lane for Disneyland Park and set an alarm to book the next ride two hours later. We can modify our time if we decide to hop later and that does not affect any two-hour eligibility windows. We eat dinner early so we are ready to hop in place for the nighttime entertainment such as parades, fireworks and Fantasmic!.

Keep in mind that if you want to purchase an individual Lightning Lane for the other park or make a Genie+ Lightning Lane selection in advance of your 11 a.m. hop, you can only select ride windows that start at 11 a.m. or later. The app no longer automatically assigns you the first available time after hop time starts. You have to keep an eye on the Tip Board and make your own selections once the ride windows start at 11 a.m.

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!

Because the park entrances are less than a minute's walk from each other, park hopping is much easier at Disneyland than at Disney World. It's much faster too!

How much is Park Hopping?

The price varies on the length of ticket and whether it is a promo ticket. Plus, don't froget you can save even more money on park hopper tickets through Undercover Tourist.

Here are Disneyland park hopping prices and how much you can save when you purchase through Undercover Tourist):

  • Add park hopping to a 1-day or 2-day ticket: $65 (Save up to an additional $9 with Undercover Tourist.)
  • To add park hopping to a 3-day or 4-day ticket: $70 (Save an additional $26 to $29 with Undercover Tourist.)
  • And to add parking hopping to a 5-day ticket: $75 (save an additional $31 with Undercover Tourist.)

Promo prices for Kids Tickets from Jan. 8 to March 10:

  • To add hopping to a promotional kids 1-day ticket: $35 (You do not save on 1-day tickets with Undercover Tourist, but all our Disney tickets are refundable!)
  • To add hopping to a promotional kids 2-day ticket: $65 (Save an additional $4.09 with Undercover Tourist.)
  • And to add hopping to a promotional kids 3-day ticket: $70 (Save an additional $12.45 with Undercover Tourist.)

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 multi-day ticket costs less per day than a 1-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 (with an option to include Genie+)! Genie+ is a better deal when park hopping because you can access more rides with Lightning Lanes across two parks. Plus, Undercover Tourist Park Hopper tickets offer additional savings on multi-day tickets. And they come with our 365-day from the date of purchase refund policy.

Another multi-day tickets saves money is that multi-day tickets are not subject to tiered pricing. So a weekend or holiday visit may cost $259 for just one day with park hopping. But a 5-Day Park Hopper from Undercover Tourist is $523.59 total, which comes to $104.72 per day! And it can be used any five days of your stay with no blackout dates as long as there are reservations available. That’s a savings of $771.41 over five separate weekend visits! (Prices are subject to change.)

That being said, the Undercover Tourist 5-Day Base Ticket (1-Park per day) is $452.83 ($90.56 per day). So going without Park Hopper will save you right there if it’s not important to you.

Save on Park Hopping with the Kids Ticket Promotion in Early 2024

If you are traveling between Jan. 8 and March 10, 2024, kids tickets are $50 every day! And kids tickets get a great deal on park hopping during that promotion. During the Kids Ticket promotion, kids can add park hopper to a 1-day ticket for $35 ($65 for a 2-day ticket and $70 for a 3-day ticket).

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 11 a.m. until park close. Starting before 11 a.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 11 a.m. At 11 a.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 11 a.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. This is very rare. We've only seen this once. It was because the front of the park was crowded for a new parade. The park had to wait until crowds dispersed around the park to let more people in. For the most part, it seems that 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 Magic Key (annual pass) holders have questions about the park hopping rules. All Magic Key passes have park hopping abilities. Magic Key holders must make a reservation for the first park they want to visit up until 11 a.m. After 11 a.m., Magic Key holders may visit either park. They do not have to enter the park with the reservation first when arriving after 11 a.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. If you enter Disney California Adventure from the Grand Californian theme park entrance and then quickly exit that park and hop to Disneyland, you may get flagged and have to explain why you hopped so quickly.

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 (although the times can jump around from later or earlier). If in the morning you want to reserve a Lightning Lane for the second park, you will have to wait until that ride shows a first-available time after 11 a.m. 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 11 a.m. When planning lunch or dinner, reservations after 11 a.m. are safe no matter where you start. 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. So if you are not sure which park you are starting in, choose a build time after 11:30 a.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. If you are staying at a Disneyland hotel, you can have your purchase shipped to the hotel gift shop for next-day pickup.

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. 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 want to reserve a ride in the other park, stop at a Guest Relations kiosk to ask for a 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, but consider sticking to one park per day with babies and toddlers.
  • Make sure all members of your party have the same park reservation and ticket type.
  • Use Genie+ strategically. 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 or excluded for either park. If we receive these in the morning, we usually save them to use in the second park. Ride selections are more limited the afternoon, especially when hopping to Disney California Adventure.
  • Consider where you want to end your day. Is it at Disneyland for fireworks 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 once had to show ours when the system went down.

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, here's how to save money. Purchase just the Park Hopper tickets and then add 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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Oct 7, 2023 at 2:53 p.m. David Villeneuve Says...

Hello

Saw you mention if you arrive after 11am you can start at either park due to the park hopper ticket. So just to clarify, this means if my ticket says I’m supposed to start at Disneyland on my 2nd day, if I don’t arrive at the parks until after 11am then I could start at DCA instead if I wanted or vice versa correct?

Thanks for any reply. :)

Reply
Oct 9, 2023 at 3:56 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi David,

That's correct - have a great trip!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Nov 18, 2023 at 6:20 p.m. Tom Pembridge Says...

Is this only true at Disneyland? At Disneyworld they were making us enter into the reserved park first (which was a pain). We had to enter our reserved Epcot park even though it was after 6PM and then drive to Magic Kingdom. Maybe it changed. this was a year ago.

Reply
Nov 21, 2023 at 7:42 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tom!

At Disney World, you still need to enter the park where you made your reservation before hopping. But starting Jan. 9, 2024, guests with date-based tickets will no longer have to make a reservation.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Oct 9, 2023 at 11:23 p.m. David Villeneuve Says...

Awesome!! Thanks for confirming. Trip will now be even better!! And I just wanted to say that Your site has been an invaluable piece of research and info in preparation for my trip next week! And I appreciate how you always reply to questions! Thank you and Keep up the awesome work! :)

Reply
Oct 10, 2023 at 8:15 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Thank you, David! We appreciate you hopping by! :)

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 3, 2023 at 8:20 p.m. Kaitlin Says...

Hello! Love your site!! It appears that your link to the 1 Day Park Hopper Plan starting at Disneyland may be broken. Is there a way to find that elsewhere?

Reply
May 3, 2023 at 3:31 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kaitlin!

Thanks for pointing that out! We fixed but you can also find park plans here.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
May 4, 2023 at 3:27 p.m. Kaitlin Says...

Thank you so much for the response! I think the problem is that the file is an .indd file. Google tells me we can only open that with the professional INDD software. Do you have any other tips?

Reply
May 5, 2023 at 3:51 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Oh no! Thanks Kaitlin — we will fix it. In the meantime, you can follow the "Web" version. It will take you to the "Things to Do" page, but click on the tab for "Park Plans." Then you can select which plan you want. Another option is to download our Orlando Planning App! We have our park plans in there and you can even customize them by adding/removing rides and attractions.

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 14, 2023 at 4:21 p.m. Rmoon Says...

You might want to update article to include the Paradise Pier special entracne for anyone staying at the Paradise Pier. Another cool little perk.

Reply
Aug 31, 2022 at 9:06 p.m. Kathy Says...

I am looking for a 1 day Disneyland park hopper ticket. I do not see it as an option on your website. Can I purchase this through you?

Reply
Sep 1, 2022 at 8:57 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Kathy!

Unfrogtunately, we don’t have any 1-Day tickets available — we only offer multi-day tickets!

Keep hopping!

Leap

Reply
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