To Park Hop or not to Park Hop, that is the question…

When traveling to Walt Disney World® Parks, there are several ticket options from which to choose. Two popular choices are the Magic Your Way Base Ticket and the Magic Your Way Base Ticket with Park Hopper® Option.

  •  The Magic Your Way Base Ticket is one in which you can only visit one park per day for the number of days you bought the ticket. For example, if you bought a three day ticket, you could visit one park each day for three days. If you tried to go to more than one park on any given day, you would not be able to enter.
  • The Magic Your Way Base Ticket with Park Hopper® Option allows you to visit multiple parks in one day. As you can imagine, this option costs a little more. However; the good news is the additional cost is a flat fee of $50 per ticket, regardless of the number of days purchased.

 If you were to ask ten people whether you should add the Hopper feature or not, you would likely get ten different answers. Some would say if it is off peak season, no. Others would say if you are traveling with older kids, no. But for flexibility, time management, and building rest into your trip, some would say yes.

With the Magic Your Way Base Ticket, hitting one park at 9 AM and leaving at the close of the day would exhaust you. And then you would have to turn around and do it at a different park the next day. Keep in mind though, with a base ticket, you can leave and return to the same park later in the day, which I would suggest for the big parks. For example, go to Epcot® when it opens and hit the big attractions early, then go back to your hotel and relax by the pool and return for dinner and the World Showcase fireworks at night.

There are many benefits to the Park Hopper feature; with the obvious being you can get more park visits into your vacation. Others include using crowd patterns to cut down on lines, making the trip a bit more leisurely, and returning to see some of your favorites at the end of your trip. By going to the Magic Kingdom® Park when it opens, you can hit the most popular attractions before the lines get too long. Then, you can take a mid-day break and head over to the Epcot® World Showcase for touring of the countries and dinner. The next day you could go to Epcot® in the morning for the popular attractions in Future World and then hit Disney’s Hollywood StudiosTM later in the day. Repeat this for four days and you would get to experience at least eight parks during your four day vacation. 

The key to maximizing the potential of the Hopper feature is crowd patterns and park hours. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World® Property, you have the added bonus of being able to enjoy the Extra Magic Hours Benefit. This is where Disney has added an extra park hour to a selected park either in the morning or at night.  Use these at the park it is being offered to cut down on lines. We have found the extra hours at night tend to draw large crowds, so this is not necessarily a benefit for riding the big attractions.  It can; however, be used for some of the shows and attractions you want to experience that do not draw huge crowds. Then on your last day, build time in to reflect on which park was your favorite or which had the most of your favorite attractions and go back to visit those. This way, you end your magical vacation feeling satisfied, rather than remorseful because you saw your favorites on the first day and did not get to see them again. The other benefit to this is if the crowds are unusually heavy at one park, you can move on to another park. If you have the base ticket, you would typically not know if a park has heavy crowds until you enter, therefore using your only day’s entrance at that park. Now you cannot move to another park. 

On a value side, let’s look at some numbers. A four day Magic Your Way Base Ticket will cost you $233.24 or $58.31 per park visit (4 days/4 parks). A four day Magic Your Way Base Ticket with Park Hopper® Option will cost you $286.49. If you visited eight parks during a four day stay (one in the morning and one later in the day) you would only be paying $35.81 per park visit. 

Whether or not you add the Park Hopper feature is a personal preference. Hopefully, you now you have more information to make a decision you and your traveling companions can feel comfortable with. Good news though, if you choose the Magic Your Way Base Ticket and decide during your trip you want to add the Park Hopper feature, you can!  Guest Relations in any park will be able to help you.

Discover the magic of Walt Disney World® Resorts and parks on a Walt Disney World® family vacation, and share the joy of Mickey Mouse and company with your kids. Let The Mouse Experts plan the perfect Disney trip for you and your loved ones. Contact us today at 1-877-80MOUSE. We look forward to sending you on the magical vacation of a lifetime.


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2 Responses to “To Park Hop or not to Park Hop, that is the question…”

  1. Bonnie says:

    Prior to 2009, Park Hopper passes included water park admission. As of 2009, water park admission is not included in Park Hoppers. We were surprised at the entrance of water park. When we called customer service, we were told they reviewed the parks included in Park Hopper when we made reservation. They did review the 4 main theme parks, but did not specifically tell us water parks were no longer included in Park Hopper. Also, when we made reservation, we were not offered $50 upgrade to include water park option to Park Hopper Passes. Lesson learned – don’t assume things are the same year to year.

    • Bonnie, I’m sorry to hear you had problems with your tickets. I’m sure that was a frustrating time for you. And yes, things often change, so double-checking before your trip is always recommended.
      Here is some more information on Disney tickets:
      New Magic Your Way tickets can be upgraded before your vacation begins or within the 14-day window you have to use the ticket after it’s first used. Upgrades include extending the ticket length (i.e., adding more days) or adding any combination of Options: the Park Hopper Option, the Water Park Fun & More Option*) and/or the No Expiration Option.

      For a list of the different ticket options available, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
      Thanks for your comment, Bonnie.

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