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Everything is Different at WDW since it Reopened See these Posts to see what's different!
- Planning and Executing Your Walt Disney World Vacation During These Trying Times
- Our Return to Walt Disney World
- Our Second Trip Back to Walt Disney World
- Using the Walt Disney World Theme Park Reservation System
One of the ticket add-ons that Disney’s theme parks offer is the Park Hopper option. In this post we’ll discuss, what Park Hopping is, the tickets that offer it, how to do it, and why.
Starting 1 January 2021, limited Park Hopping returns to Disney World!!!
Today Disney announced the following:
As the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort continues, we are nearing another exciting milestone we know many guests have been looking forward to: the return of the Park Hopper option! Starting Jan. 1, 2021, guests who purchased a ticket, package or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits will be able to visit more than one park per day, with some new modifications as part of our ongoing focus on health and safety.
With the updated Park Hopper experience, Guests must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park they plan to visit (reservation requirements are subject to change) AND enter that first park prior to visiting another. Additionally, we will set specific Park Hopper® hours during which this option will be available. Park Hopper® hours will start at 2 p.m. each day and end at the park’s scheduled close time. Guests will soon be able to check DisneyWorld.com/ParkHours and the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date Park Hopper hours, as they could start earlier at a later date, depending on the day and park.
These modifications are designed to help us manage attendance responsibly to continue to foster physical distancing. Additionally, other enhanced health and safety measures remain in effect, including face coverings required for all guests ages two and up.
What is Park Hopping?
Basically Park Hopping is using one theme park ticket to visit two (or multiple) theme parks in one day.
For example with a ticket that has the Park Hopper option, at Walt Disney World you might go to the Magic Kingdom in the morning, then later in the day perhaps after a mid-day break go to Animal Kingdom. Perhaps you might even go to a third park for the end of day fireworks show. I’ve hit all 4 WDW parks in one day.
At the Disneyland Resort you might, start your day at the Disneyland Park, then later in the day go to California Adventure, and then maybe even go back to Disneyland.
You can go back to a park that you have already attended earlier in the day if you desire as well. This is true of all Disney tickets even those that do not have the Park Hopper option.
Tickets that allow Park Hopping
In order to Park Hop you need to have a ticket or pass that allows it.
There are quite a few ticket options that allow Park Hopping. For some this is included in their higher price, for others it is available as an add-on.
- Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets
- Regular Military Discounted Disney Tickets
- Shades of Green Stars and Stripes Passes
- Most Disney Park Annual Passes
Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets – All Disney Armed Forces Salute Tickets include the Park Hopping option in their price, These highly discounted tickets are usually the best deal for military families. The Salute tickets come with the Park Hopper Option, and at WDW the Hopper Plus Option. The Hopper allows Park Hopping, the Plus option allows access to all of the Plus options available at Walt Disney World. For each option you add the price of the ticket goes up.
Read more about the Plus Option
See our Disney Armed Forces Salute page for more details.
Regular Military Discounted Disney Tickets – These tickets are identical to the tickets sold to the general public that are slightly discounted by Base Ticket offices. These regular tickets come in Base (non-Hopper), Hopper, and at WDW Hopper Plus. The Base is a one park per day ticket, the Hopper allows Park Hopping, the Plus option allows access to all of the Plus options available at Walt Disney World. For each option you add the price of the ticket goes up.
See our Regular Military Discounted Disney Tickets post for more details
Shades of Green Stars and Stripes Passes – These special passes are only available from Shades of Green, the Armed Forces recreation Center located at Walt Disney World. They are a length of stay pass that is essentially equivalent to a regular WDW ticket with the Park Hopper Plus option added (minus the golf). These passes are sold only to those staying on WDW property (either at Shades of Green or other on property locations). Park Hopping is included with these passes.
See our Stars and Stripes Pass page for more details.
Most Disney Park Annual Passes – All Disney Annual/Seasonal Passes (except individual park passes such as the Epcot After 5 Pass) include Park Hopping.
How to Park Hop
Park Hopping couldn’t be easier!
Once you’ve accomplished what you’d like to do in the first park of the day, simply leave and head to the next park.
In year’s past you had to get a hand stamp when exiting the first park in order to reenter another. But this is long gone due to technology.
The Finer Points of Park Hopping
Transportation and Park Hopping
Now let’s talk about actually getting between the parks when you want to Park Hop. There are several ways to do this, in order of ease they are:
- Disney Transportation
- Taxi, uber, Lyft, or Minnie Van
- Walking (in one instance)
- A vehicle that you drive (POV or rental)
- And the worst option – Shades of Green Transportation (only for guests of Shades of Green)
There are 6 possible combinations of parks you would travel between when Park Hopping directly from Park to Park. These are:
- Magic Kingdom – Epcot
- Magic Kingdom – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Magic Kingdom –Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Epcot – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Epcot – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
2 of these offer the easiest commute they are:
- Epcot – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Magic Kingdom – Epcot
Note: You might decide to detour elsewhere between parks, for instance to your room for a mid-day break, Disney Springs for a meal, or somewhere else. Transport would then be direct from that location to the next park by the best means.
Disney Transpiration – Hopping between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the easiest! Just hop on the Water Taxi that runs between Hollywood Studios and Epcot’s International Gateway (with Stops at the Epcot Resort Hotels on the way).
Hopping between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot is next easiest. You’ll use the monorail system. There is a monorail line that runs between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom’s Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). You’ll also need to ride one of the 2 different monorail lines that run between the TTC and the Magic Kingdom. Note it is possible to also use the Disney bus route direct from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot thereby bypassing the stop at the TTC.
For all other transfers, you’ll use the Disney bus route between the 2 parks.
Taxi, uber, Lyft, or Minnie Van – These options will all of course cost you, but offer a quick transfer between parks. Often they will have shorter wait times than the Disney Bus System and fairly close pick up and drop off locations.
Uber – New accounts get a free ride up to $15 by signing up via this link (new accounts only, so get one for someone in your party without one). Or use the promo code steveb14703ue if the link doesn’t work.
Lyft and Minnie Van – $5 credit towards your first ride when you sign up for Lyft using this link. Or use this promo code MilDis. This is for your first ride only.
See our Minnie Van Post
Walking – If you are ambitious you can walk between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios along the same route the Water Taxis take. It is roughly a 1.3-mile walk along the waterway between Hollywood Studios and the Epcot Area Resorts, then the loop around the lagoon on the Boardwalk to Epcot’s International Gateway.
Driving Yourself – This involves initially parking a distance from the theme park in the morning, walking or taking the tram to the Park or TTC, then the reverse to get back to your car, traffic during the transfer to the next park and then doing it all over again.
If you do drive to your first park, you might consider leaving your car there and using one of the methods above to park hop. Much easier.
Shades of Green Transportation
This is the least palatable option! So much so, that it is not recommended at all!
- Shades of Green does not operate buses between the parks. You would need to return to Shades of Green and catch the bus to your next destination. (this is OK if you are returning to Shades for a mid-day break)
- 2 of Shades’ 3 bus lines (Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) have an hour wait between runs!
- Magic Kingdom and Epcot Share a line that drops and picks up at the TTC. Those going to Epcot then take the monorail. 20 minutes between runs on this line.
- Shades of Green bus stops at the parks have no queue lines as Disney’ s buses do. You may have been waiting for almost an hour, but when that bus pulls up those who have just arrived will swarm the bus front door with everyone else waiting and you might not even get on!
Shades of Green guests are welcome to use Disney’s transportation system for free, so do so!
Why Park Hop?
There are 2 reasons to Park Hop.
The first is to avoid crowds as part of your touring strategy. Morning Extra Magic Hours is the best example: Start at the Extra Magic Hours park when it opens and accomplish as much as you can while non-Disney Resort guests are not allowed in and many Disney Resort guests are still sleeping.
Many people come for the Morning EMH because that special time but then never leave (they might not have a Park Hopper Ticket). Add the regular daily attendance for that park on top of that and you have crowds, so it makes sense to hop to another, less busy park.
The second is to have certain experiences (attractions, dining, fireworks, etc.) on the same day.
FastPass Plus and Park Hopping
FastPass Plus or FastPass+ as Disney spells it is their system of making attraction reservations ahead of time. We have much more detail on FastPass Plus, see our Disney Technology Overview Page for more, but the short of it is:
- You may make 3 FastPasses ahead of time per day all at the same park
- Once you have used all three, you may make additional FastPasses one at a time (make one – use it, then make the next – use it, etc.) at any park
- Often by the time you are able to use the additional FastPasses after your initial 3, all of the best attractions have already sold out. Especially the later in the day that it gets.
So there are 2 schools of thought on Park Hopping:
- Make your FastPasses for the second park of the day. Then get to your first park very early (before opening is recommended) especially if it is the morning Extra Magic Park for that day and you are allowed to use that benefit. Do as much as you can without FastPasses then switch to your next park as attendance builds in the first.
- Make your FastPasses for the first park of the day, then when switching use the additional FastPasses at the next park.
Note the Moring Extra Magic Hour park of the day tends to have high attendance as EMH is a draw. Hopping to another park as attendance builds (with late arrivers) is always recommended.
Well, that’s about it for our primer on Park Hopping.
Over to You! Do you plan to Park Hop? Have you already tried it? Do you have any tips to share? Tell us in the comments section below!
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- Disney Veteran & Military Discount Eligibility Guide
- The Military Family’s Walt Disney World Comprehensive Vacation Planning and Preparation Guide
- Military Disney Tips Disney Packing Checklist
- Disney Military Tickets – Your Start to Finish Guide
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