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One of the most frequent questions that new visitors to Disney World ask is: Should I buy park hopper tickets? Or, will my family be ok with the one-park-per-day tickets?
My family never buys park hopper tickets, and I recommend that most families skip them as well. Why?
Getting from one park to another park takes more time than you might think. Depending on where you are in the park, you have to walk all the way to the front gate and outside to the bus stops. Then, you could wait up to 20 minutes for a bus and be on the bus for another 15+ minutes. You still have to go through the bag check line at the new park. All in all, you could spend an hour going to the next park. That’s an hour you could easily spend on a ride instead! (Using Lyft might cut off some of that time, but it adds money).
Animal Kingdom is No Longer a Half-day Park
In the past, visitors considered Animal Kingdom a half-day park. It didn’t have many rides, and it closed early. So, folks liked to head to another park for the evening.
Now that the new Avatar section is open, the park has more rides and a nighttime show. The hours are longer than before, with current summer hours open until 8:30 p.m. The park is gorgeous at night!
Park Hoppers Have No FastPass+ Advantages
If you have park hoppers and plan to visit two theme parks in a day, you can still only reserve in advance three rides in one park that day. You can’t reserve three in each park. Once you use on your fast passes, you have to use the app to see what’s available in the second park.
Having the ability to hop from park-to-park in a single day comes at a price. If you have tickets for 4+ days, the cost is $85 per person. That’s an additional $425 for my family of five. I’d rather spend that on something else. If you’re planning on 5 or more days in the parks, the park hopper costs the same or more than an extra day at the parks.
You Can Always Add Them Later
If you get to Disney World and find that you really want to park hop on multiple days, you can always go to guest services and pay to have your tickets upgraded. You have to pay for the entire length of your ticket (i.e. even if you want to upgrade on your last day of a 4-day ticket, you still have to pay the $85).
On the other hand, if you buy park hopper tickets and find you’re too exhausted to park hop, you can’t get a refund on the extra cost of park hoppers.
Park hopper tickets just don’t fit my family’s touring style anymore. For our upcoming trip, we’re hitting each park once with a few break days. There is plenty to do and plenty of walking without trying to hit a second park the same day.
Do you skip park hopper tickets? Or, is park hopping an important part of your touring plan at Disney World?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.