One term that you will hear all the time when planning a Walt Disney World vacation is “Park Hopper”. It’s all too often assumed that everyone knows what the term means. If you have no idea what Park Hopper is all about, here’s the crash course.
Park Hopper is an add on for a Walt Disney World ticket. A basic ticket will allow you to visit one theme park per day of the ticket. If you start the day at the Magic Kingdom that is the only park that you can visit that day. If you want to head to Epcot you will have to wait until another day. If you have Park Hopper, that restriction has been taken from you. You can hop from park to park all that you want. You can even visit all four theme parks in one day if you would like. Park Hopper costs extra, but it allows you to keep more flexibility in your vacation. If you have an Annual Pass, Park Hopper is included at no extra fee. The exception to that is the Epcot After 4 Pass that Florida residents are eligible for.
One thing to remember if you decide to purchase Park Hopper is that it does not include admission to the Walt Disney World Water Parks. It is only for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If your vacation is to include time at the Disney Water Parks, you’ll want to add the Park Hopper Plus option.
One common misconception when it comes to Park Hopping has to do with driving. It is assumed by many who are staying off property that if they Park Hop and move their car that they will have to pay for parking at each lot. That is not true. Keep your receipt handy, and you will only have to pay for parking at the beginning of the day. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort or are an Annual Passholder you do not have to pay for parking.
What happens if you don’t have Park Hopper and you decide you want to change parks? Can you just use a second day off of your ticket? No, unfortunately you can’t do that. Without Park Hopper you can visit only one park per day, even if you have days left on your ticket. The good news is that you can add Park Hopper at any time during your vacation. If you didn’t buy it and decide you want it just head to any ticket window and the Cast Member will take care of it for you.
Some people swear by Park Hopper, while others think that it is an unnecessary extra expense. Only you can decide whether or not you want it for your time in Central Florida. What is nice about Park Hopper is that if the park you’re in is too crowded, or if you did everything that you wanted to do you can head somewhere else for a few hours. Then again, if you are spending all day in one park you might end up finding some hidden gems that you would have overlooked otherwise. There is no right or wrong answer for everyone on whether or not Park Hopper is needed. It all boils down to how much you feel like doing, and how much you are willing to spend.