Park Hop or Not to Hop? SheBuysTravel Decodes Disney’s Ticket Options

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disney park hopper tickets
Disney park hopper tickets are pricey but might be worth it for some families. Photo Credit: Breeze Leonard

Trying to decide whether Disney Park Hopper tickets are worth the splurge? Depending on the length of your trip, your family vacation style and how much you’ll “hop” around sometimes they’re not worth it. We break down the pros and cons of Park Hopper tickets and how to decide if the base ticket option is enough for your family. 

disney park hopper
Are Disney Park Hopper tickets worth the extra cost? Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

What is a Disney Park Hopper Ticket? 

Disney theme parks use the words “park hopper” to denote theme park tickets that allow guests to visit more than one Disney park on a single day. “Single-day” or “base tickets,” allow entry to one theme park. You may enter and exit the park where your ticket is valid as many times as you want on the same day. But just that one park.

With Park Hopper tickets you can hop from park to park. Park hopping at Disney World starts at 2 pm everyday. However, recently it was announced that parks might start earlier! Be sure to check the Disney calendar for park hopper availability to see if there’s room to bounce over early. Park hopping in Disneyland is available after 1 pm.

IMPORTANT: You must have Disney park pass reservations AND valid admission to enter any of Disney’s theme parks! Don’t forget to check availability in the reservation system before purchasing your ticket. Once you’ve purchased make your theme park reservation. With Park Hopper tickets you need to make a reservation for your first park of the day only.

Is Park Hopping Always Available?

From time to time Disney will reach park capacity and you will not be able to park hop to a second park. This is a rare occurrence. Capacity limitations most commonly occur during Spring Break and the holiday season. It is usually park specific meaning you might not be able to hop to Magic Kingdom but can get into Animal Kingdom. You can check the My Disney Experience app during your visit for capacity updates.

Because park hopping isn’t always available you want to be cautious when making dining reservations inside of parks that you don’t have reservations for. Something could fall through. Same with Genie+. You may be wasting money if you purchase an Individual Lightning Lane reservation for a park that you can’t get into.

Read More: Fastpass Replacement: How Does Disney’s Genie+ Work?

Disney’s Florida and California Theme Parks

Disney World in Orlando has four parks:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Disneyland Resort in California has two parks:

  • Disneyland Park
  • Disney California Adventure

SheBuysTravel Tip: You can now book Disney vacations up to 500 days in advance! That means you can book now for visits in 2022. All it takes is a $200 down payment. The balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel. You can get details on this, as well as help booking, from our partners at Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.

How Much Do Disney Park Hopper Tickets Cost?

As of this article’s publishing, a one-day, Park Hopper ticket at Walt Disney World ranges in price from $174 to $224 depending on the date you want to visit. At Disneyland in California, a one-day Park Hopper ticket ranges from $169 to $244 depending on the date selected.

Both California and Florida Disney Parks have gone to a tiered pricing system. Does your family want to visit on a weekend? Your tickets will cost more. Would you like to pop over on a Tuesday afternoon or a Wednesday morning? Your ticket may cost less. Tiered pricing allows Disney to charge more for holidays, weekends, and special events. It also encourages guests to consider looking at different dates to visit when it might be less crowded at the parks. This helps to spread out crowds across the calendar instead of during peak season.

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Pixar Pal Around Ride at Disney California Adventure
Want to park hop at Disneyland? You’ll need to add-on to your ticket. Photo credit: Sarah Gilliland

At both Disney destinations, the cost per day goes down if you buy park hoppers for multiple day visits.

What is the Disney Park Hopper Plus?

Park Hopper Plus is available at the Walt Disney World resort area only. It allows ticket-holders to visit more than one park per day as well as cool off at Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon – Disney World’s fantastic water parks. In addition, you can visit Disney’s award winning Oak Trail Golf Course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and the two mini-golf courses on Disney resort property, Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens. Currently, only Typhoon Lagoon is open for guests to visit.

Epcot at night- SheBuysTravel
Experience nighttime at a different park when you use your park hopper pass. Photo credit: Pixabay

What Are the Rules for Disney Park Hoppers?

Next, let’s discuss the rules governing park hopper use. For tickets purchased separately from a hotel package, it’s possible to pick and choose which tickets to upgrade to Park Hoppers. However, if you work with a travel agent or book a package on your own, everyone in the party associated with the reservation must have the same features on their ticket. So everyone upgrades to a Park Hopper, or no one does.

Additionally, park hopper options are non-transferable just like tickets are non-transferable. Disney tickets are tied to a MagicBand or Key to the World card in Florida and to physical or e-tickets in California. Photos are taken of each guest at Disneyland Park to ensure that guests don’t transfer tickets among their traveling party.

Read More: Disney Annual Pass: Become a Passholder and Get Parkhopping Privileges

Park Hoppers for Florida Residents

Florida residents can save even more on tickets, and that includes those with a park hopper add-on. Make sure to check the Disney World website for current ticket prices and specials if you are a Florida resident. Even when the specials end, ticket prices are still less for both regular tickets and multi-day tickets with and without a park hopper option.

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life at Walt Disney World - SheBuysTravel
Visiting another park, like Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is easy with a park hopper ticket. Photo credit: Sarah Gilliland

The same great deals aren’t often available to California residents and Disneyland lovers. However, at times Disneyland makes available the Disneyland California Resident Offer to people living in southern California.

Need help planning your Disney trip? Get all your questions answered from our Disney Planning & Fun Facebook Group!

Is Park Hopping Right for You?

Finally, how do you know if park hopping is right for your family? First, you need to consider your budget. The bottom line is that park hoppers are pricey. If it is going to bust the budget, it is simply not worth it.

Next, consider the number and ages of guests in your party. My family almost never uses park hoppers at Disney World when we visit with our kids. The parks and resorts are so spread out that it takes a minimum of 20-30 minutes to travel from one park to the other. When vacations are short or kids require breaks in between all the fun, that travel time seems like wasted time.

However, in Disneyland Park, we always get park hopper tickets. It is easy to visit both parks at the Disneyland Resort in California because they’re located near each other. It’s a short walk from one park to the other.

Signs for the theme parks in Disneyland Resort
Park hopping is convenient in the Disneyland Resort. Photo credit: Sarah Gilliland

Lastly, consider your theme park plans. Consider whether there are any new attractions. If so, it may be prudent to park hop and avoid the masses gathering at newer areas. Additionally, if tackling as many rides as possible in a short amount of time is a goal, park hopping is the way to go.

Finally, if you purchased single-day tickets initially, but believe your party would benefit from a park hopper, visit guest services at your hotel, Disney Springs, Downtown Disney, or in the parks themselves. They are happy to sell you park hoppers for the remainder of your stay.

Where to Buy Discounted Disney Tickets

We recommend purchasing your Disney tickets through Get Away Today. Not only does the company have the lowest prices, it offers a best price guarantee. If you ever find park tickets cheaper, Get Away Today won’t just match the price, the company will beat it.

Use Code SheBuysTravel and get an additional $10 off a Southern California Vacation Package (2-night hotel stay and 2 ticket minimum).

Sarah Gilliland is a mom to fraternal twin girls and a baby boy, lover of road trips big and small, and a passionate SEC football fan (War Eagle!). Although her father’s military service took her all over the world as a child, Sarah’s family now calls Birmingham, Alabama home. Sarah happily shares the ups and downs of her parenting journey at On the Road with Sarah. When she’s not writing or traveling, Sarah is digging deep into a good book, binging on Netflix, or planning other people’s vacations.
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23 responses

  1. Can a family member who lives in Florida and owns a time share and is a club member be able to purchase tickets for out of state family members who are also club members at the Florida resident price

    1. Disney usually asks for ID to prove you’re eligible for the resident discount.

  2. We are visiting in June and not staying at a Disney hotel. Is it worth it to get the ticket bands or just stay with a card ticket?

  3. IMO a park hopper is worth it practically every case. As an example, on a 7 day trip where you buy a 7 day ticket, staying at Pop Century WITHOUT food cost, you’re going to pay roughly $1300 for a solo person. Again just an example. On that $1300, it costs only $80 more for a park hopper and you can visit any of the 4 parks you wanted to during those 7 days. So if you wanted to go to Magic Kingdom during the day, but feel like eating at Le Cellier for dinner? You can do it with a park hopper.

    If you wanted to watch both Fantasmic (8pm start time) and Star Wars fireworks (8:30pm start time), you can do it with a park hopper by going on different nights. You’d be hard pressed to sit down for Fantasmic and when that show ends, Star Wars starts and you’ll be fighting the crowd to make it over to the chinese theatre in time.

    It’s the little differences that make it completely worth it for as little cost as it is.

  4. I would just like to add for travelers that are planning to return to the park in the future, an annual pass may be something to consider. This allows you to park your car for free at any of the Walt Disney world theme parks and also includes tons of money saving benefits as well. Some of these perks include free memory maker package which includes Disney photo pass which allows you to take home your pictures taken while on vacation for the whole year. Not too mention all of the dining and merchandise discounts as well that can substantially add up. If you purchase let’s say a park hopper or even an magic your way ticket from undercover tourist, when you arrive at the park you can use your ticket which you most likely saved a few dollars purchasing from under cover tourist to upgrade to an annual pass at guest services. Your new pass will allow you access to Walt Disney world for an entire year, maybe some black out dates depending on your choice of AP, Gold, platinum or platinum plus. This pass is also renewable at the end of the year which will now allow you save even more on the renewal cost.

  5. hi i was wondering. does the park hopper pass work for walt disney world and universal studios or do i have to buy 2 difference park hopper passes

    1. No they are unrelated parks. US is not a Disney thing .

  6. My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Disney World in February. We are on a very tight budget, would you recommend to get the park hoppers for us to do more or to get the dining plan to make sure that we don’t over spend.

  7. We always get the Park Hopper option. If you’re on a budget, it actually makes sense to pay for it. For us, we’re not big Star Wars fans, so Hollywood Studios is pretty much just Toy Story Land, the 3D Muppets, and Fantasmic. It’s not a whole-day park. And the restaurant choices at HS aren’t that great, so we leave to eat at someplace else. Animal Kingdom is a half-day park as well.. So we can buy fewer days and still get to all the parks, leaving a full day for Epcot and Magic Kingdom.

    And while I don’t have young kids that need to take naps, we always leave the park after lunch to go back to the resort. 1. That’s the most crowdest time at the parks. 2. I need to get off of my feet for more than a few minutes. And 3. My granddaughter wants to swim. It’s a win-win.

    Save money by realizing that there’s a lot more to Disney World than just its four parks. We can spend hours at Disney Springs. And the Disney resorts have the greatest pools! We actually plan our schedule with time allotted for swimming.

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!!! We did park hopper once eons ago. Now my girls are older, 12 and 9. We want to see Toy Story and do Epoct and we know both are not full days parks.We did Epoct when one daughter was a lil over a year and it was blah to us so we havent taken them back. we just did the other parks all the time. AK is def a half day park as well.

    2. Yes, you can even hang out in DT Disney for a while and it is free. So much to see and do.

  8. What is s good website to purchase Disney tickets without being scammed

    1. There are only a few legitimate companies who are authorize resellers of Disney tickets where you can buy multi-day tickets at a discount. SheBuysTravel recommends and vouches for Undercover Tourist and Get Away Today – see our links in this very post (right at the end) to buy!

      1. If I enter Disneyland on a base ticket and then leave to go to downtown Disney, can I enter Disneyland again with a base ticket?

  9. Hi Leslie,

    We are going to Florida soon and help me understand this park hopper stuff better, LOL. If I buy park hopper for 4 days to all the parks, does that mean I can visit any of the Disney properties during those 4 days?


    1. Park hopper means you can go to any and every park on all of the 4 days. So you could vist up to all four parks on Monday (if you wanted), all four parks again on Tuesday, all four on Wednesday, etc. Park hopper tickets give you the right to go to more than one park in a single day. With regular tickets, you have to pick a park for a single day and stick with it (and can only to go to a different park on a subsequent day).

  10. I purchased Disney wrist bands several years ago, will the still work when I revisit the park this year?

    1. As long as the MagicBands are still showing as “active” when you log into your My Disney Experience account, they will work!

      1. Doesn’t the RFID chip in the band stop working at some point? Is there anyway to tell that it doesn’t work other then trying to use it (or have a cast member test it)?

        1. I read on another post that the batteries which tie in to the Memory Maker feature may wear out after a couple years, but that the RFID chip that touches you in to the ticket stiles and the Fast Pass lines will continue to work, indefinitely was my understanding.

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