When it comes to purchasing Walt Disney World tickets, it seems as if there are endless options. Should you stick to one park per day or get park hoppers? Do you want to add on water parks? The biggest question people have about Disney World tickets is whether they should hop or not. When we planned our first visit to the parks, we weren't sure which ones to choose. Now we do, and we're hoppy to help you!
By the way, here are more details about the major Disney ticket types, including the Disney Theme Park Base Ticket, the Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper and the Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper Plus Option. Undercover Tourist also offers Disney World Genie+ tickets!
What the Heck is a Disney Park Hopper and What Does It Include?
Let's start with some lingo. The Disney park hopper is the nickname for the Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper Option. While the formal name of this ticket type doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, it does allow you to park hop. Specifically, with this ticket type, you can visit one or more of the following parks each day for the length of your ticket:
So with the Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper Option, you could visit all four parks in one day if you wanted. (Heck, you could visit all four parks every day of your trip with it, but your frog legs would probably be pretty tired!) Visiting two parks in one day is the more popular option. Keep in mind that Park Pass reservations are only required for the first park you wish to visit; once you've tapped into your first park, you can hop to another beginning at 2 p.m.
Is the Disney Park Hopper Right for Me?
The park hopper offers more flexibility than the base ticket. You're not locked in to any one park per day, so it allows for more spontaneity. We're going to walk through all the scenarios that we think make the park hopper a good choice, but we also want to assure you that even if you buy a base ticket, you can always upgrade ... even when you get to the parks! Do note that you cannot upgrade to a park hopper for just one day. If you upgrade from a base ticket to a park hopper, you will need to do it for the length of the ticket.
- Your party includes adults or teenagers: Grownups and older kids can move through the parks much faster than families with young kids. Plus we all know teenagers can change their minds about where they want to go and what they want to do.
If you have younger tadpoles, visiting one park per day may be plenty!
- You have visited Disney before: There is so much to explore in each park. If you've never visited, you're more likely to need more time to see and do everything. If you’re a repeat visitor, you're more likely to pick and choose which rides and shows you want to see in each park, so you'll be ready to move onto the next park more quickly.
- You want the option to see a different nighttime spectacular or fireworks show every night: If you have the Disney Theme Park Ticket with Park Hopper Option, you can end your day watching whichever show you want, regardless of whatever park you visited earlier. For instance, you could spend your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, then hop over to EPCOT to see Harmonious that night.
- You are visiting when it's not super crowded: When the crowds are lower, you can move through the parks much faster, riding more and waiting less. Keep in mind, too, that the more people there are visiting, the more time it will take to get between the parks.
- You don’t want to commit to which park you want to visit: As mentioned above, the park hopper provides the most flexibility for the more spontaneous among us :)
If you don't hop, you really do have to pick your park and stick with it.
- You want maximum flexibility for ADRs: The most popular restaurants need to be booked as early as possible (up to 60 for Advance Dining Reservations), which means you are often committing to a specific park on a specific day months in advance of your trip. Park hoppers give you the flexibility to keep existing reservations, even if you decide to spend most of your day somewhere else.
We know there are a lot of decisions to make as you plan your Disney World trip, and the decision to hop or not is one of them. We hope this overview of when to purchase park hoppers has been hopful as you plan your trip. We frogs always hop through the parks, but we know that doesn't make sense for all families (especially those who aren't frogs). No matter which you choose, we've got a discount Disney ticket that's right for you! We've also got a ton of other resources in our Orlando planning guide. Short on time? Download our Disney World Quick-Start Guide.