One of the most asked Disney vacation questions is how does park hopping at Disney World work? Is park hopping at Walt Disney World worth the cost? How do you park hop at Disney? We have all the answers to your park hopping Disney World questions.
There are a few different ways to use park hopping at Disney World by using the resort busses, the Disney Skyliner, Disney boats or even using rideshare. We have all the best parking hopping at Disney World tips so you have the best strategy.
Keep reading for more information on park hopping at Disney World including how to park hop, is it worth the extra cost, and more.
All Day Park Hopping Access Returning
Walt Disney World has announced that beginning January 9, 2024 guests with a park hopper ticket or a Disney World annual pass, will be able to park hop again at ANY TIME of day during park hours.
Since 2021, park hopper access has only been available after 2 PM each day so this is another great step towards flexibility and normalcy at Walt Disney World. Plus starting January 9, 2024, is also the day that Walt Disney World park pass reservations won’t be required for ticketed guests PLUS the Walt Disney World dining plan returns! Previously the requirement to wait until the 2 PM mark prevented ease of access and flexibility. If you were park hopping from one park to another you could be “trapped” waiting at a theme park that you were already done with. It also created a second larger burst of people at the opening of the park to those without park reservations at the 2 PM mark.
Annual Passholders on days with park reservations will still have to visit their first park where they have a reservation before park hopping. They will be able to do so immeidately though. The 2 PM start time is done completely starting on January 9, 2024.
What is Park Hopping at Disney World?
“Park Hopping” is a term used by Disney and its guests. Park Hopping at Disney World allows you to visit more than one theme park in a day during your vacation. For example, you could visit Magic Kingdom in the morning and then hop over to EPCOT at night. Or start the day off in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom and cap off the evening watching Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios.
Of course, this perk is not free. You will need to add Park Hopper to your base ticket. You can add this upgrade to your ticket when you order online or add it on the day of by visiting a park’s ticket booth.
How Park Hopping at Disney World Works
To activate Park Hopping, you must reserve your first theme park AND have the premium added to your base ticket. Once booked and in the first park, you can hop to your second desired park anytime after 2 p.m. For example, you could start your morning in EPCOT and then leave the park and enter Hollywood Studios after 2 p.m. You do not need to make a second reservation for the park you are jumping to – just the first one!
UPDATE: Starting January 9, 2024, the after 2PM limitation will be removed and guests can park hop any time of day they want!
It is also an easy way to get into your desired park if reservations for a park are full. You can start at a different park during the morning and then enjoy the rest of your afternoon at your preferred theme park.
So, your steps to using Park Hopper are as follows:
- Before your trip: Buy your theme park ticket and book your reservation for the first theme park of the day
- During your trip, enter your first park early!
- After 2 p.m., enter your second park
However, just because you have a hopper does not mean you are guaranteed access to another Walt Disney World park but this is extremely rare and usually only happens on days like New Years Eve. But if you have questions about park availability, the Walt Disney Park Hopping capacity hotline phone number is (407)-560-5000. You will also receive a notification on the My Disney Experience app if a park reaches capacity.
Do I need a reservation for the park I’m hopping to?
No, you do not need a reservation for the theme park you are hopping to. You only need a theme park reservation for the first park you enter that day and then you’re free to park hop after that.
How to Add Park Hop to Your Walt Disney World Ticket Online
Adding the Park Hopper option to your ticket is easy if you look online at the Walt Disney World website.
Select your base ticket. You can choose between one to ten days. The more days you choose, the more significant your overall ticket savings. For example, a single base ticket starts at $109 but booking five days has tickets priced at $99 per day.
Then, choose the first day you will visit. If you select a single-day ticket, it will only be valid for one day. However, if you purchase multiple tickets, they are suitable for a window of time. This can add flexibility during your vacation, as you can choose the days you want to visit the parks. You will still need to make a reservation for each day you visit a theme park.
- Finally, select your ticket type. There are four options:
- 1 Park Per Day: You guessed it – this ticket is only valid for one theme park per day of your visit.
- Water Park and Sports Option: You can visit water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Oak Trail Golf Course, Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf, and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf in addition to your one theme park per day.
- Park Hopper Option: This ticket lets you add the ability to visit multiple parks in one day.
- Park Hopper Plus Option: Similar to the standard ticket, this allows you to visit multiple parks in one day in addition to the water parks, specific golf courses, miniature golf courses, and the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Of course, we recommend booking your Walt Disney World vacation package with our trusted travel partner Get Away Today so you can get the best price on tickets. This may also help you offset the cost of adding park hopping to your Walt Disney World tickets. In addition to great discount prices, their customer service and easy support is absolutely fantastic. They have an entire department dedicated to making sure every order has a wonderful experience and they are on-call to help you during your vacation if you need them.
And at no additional charge, you get FREE concierge Walt Disney World services! These services include having Get Away Today’s Walt Disney World expert Brooklyn take care of all your dining reservations, FastPass+ reservations, and more! This really takes all the stress out of planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Rather than waking up at odd hours of the night to book all your reservations, why not let their travel agents take care of it for you- for free!
Buying tickets from Get Away Today is easy and convenient since all their tickets are sent electronically. You can take their vouchers and head straight to the gate without needing to wait in any ticket booth lines. They also offer layaway plans so you can pay off your vacation over time.
Does Park Hopper Save You Money?
Park Hopping at Walt Disney World is cheaper than individual theme park tickets for the same day. However, the cost can add up depending on the days you visit. A single-day Park Hopper Option ticket can run $184+ (with a base price of $109). Park Hopper is added to every ticket if you order your tickets online. You are losing well-earned money if you do not utilize the feature. That can add pressure to try and maximize your tickets instead of enjoying the vacation.
Who Should Use Park Hopping at Disney World?
Park Hopper is most beneficial when you have a short vacation and need to pack as much in as possible. Vacationers with less than a 5-day vacation should add the upgrade to ensure they visit all theme parks. However, if conquering the parks every day is not on your to-do list, it can be a waste of money. Those with more extended vacations can use the single-day ticket and visit all the parks in their own time. If you want to visit a second park on the same day, you can add it to your ticket at the gate.
Preparing for Park Hopping at Walt Disney World
- Check the park hours calendar on the Disney World website or My Disney Experience app. If your goal is to maximize your day, you can choose the park open the latest as your second park. Hours change depending on the season or if there are any special events, like After Hours or holiday parties.
- Make sure you have your first theme park reserved. To hop, you must have a reservation AND enter your first park. As mentioned, you won’t need a second reservation to hop, but it can impact your dining reservations. As entry into the second park is not guaranteed based on capacity, it is recommended to have any experiences or restaurants reserved at your first theme park. You can join the walk-up list at available restaurants on your second park visit.
- Have a backup plan if you can’t visit your preferred second theme park. While Disney World tries to accommodate all guests, sometimes the parks get crowded. Having an alternative and being flexible can save you time and frustration.
Genie+ and Lightning Lanes for Park Hopping WDW
The Genie service and Lightning Lanes are tools within the My Disney Experience app. They help you maximize your theme park day by offering personalized itineraries and ways to bypass the standby line. There are two forms of Genie: Genie (free) and Genie+. Genie+ allows you to reserve Lightning Lanes, which let you hop onto your chosen ride more quickly than standby. This paid service can help save time during your trip, helping you get ride as many attractions as possible!
For the best use of Genie+ be sure to read our full guide and Disney World Genie+ strategy.
Your journey with Genie+ and Lightning Lanes starts at 7:00 a.m., where you can make your first ride reservation. You will choose a window of time to return to the Lightning Lane queue for that attraction, and you are on your way ! When it comes to park hopping, using Genie+ is simple. You can book a Lightning Lane at your first park, and then reserve your next one at any second park you visit. You’ll want to pay attention to your return window for the second or third Lightning Lane booking, as you cannot enter your second park until after 2:00 p.m.
For example, say you want to start your morning at Magic Kingdom and end the night at EPCOT. You can book your first Lightning Lane for Magic Kingdom’s Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster at 7:00 a.m. and enter the park at 9:00 a.m. After your first Lightning Lane is used, or if it is two hours after park opening, you can book your second Lightning Lane. So, that means you can start planning your afternoon rides anytime between 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Then, you can book your EPCOT attraction Lightning Lane window for a time after 2:00 p.m.
Park Hopping at Disney World Transportation
There are several transportation options available at Disney World:
- Monorail: Similar to a train, a monorail is a quick mode of transport between Magic Kingdom and EPCOT. There are two monorail loops – one takes you to the Magic Kingdom resorts (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort) and theme park, and the other goes straight to EPCOT.
- Bus: You will see buses flying from hotels, parks, Disney Springs, and water parks. They are the main form of transportation at Disney World. Buses operate 45 minutes before theme parks open and end at least one hour after closing. So, if your first theme park opens at 8 a.m., you can expect buses to arrive starting around 7:15 a.m. If your second park closes at 10 p.m., it will run until at least 11 p.m. You might find that buses can fill up quickly, especially during the park’s opening and closing. During park opening, it is best to arrive earlier in the morning rather than later. When it’s time to go to your hotel, leave the park early or wait 30 to 45 minutes until after close to get in your hotel’s bus line.
- Skyliner: These gondolas are your access to the “highway in the sky”. This ever-moving cable transports guests from Pop Century, Art of Animation, Riviera, and Caribbean Beach to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT. The Skyliner operates similarly to the buses, which will operate until at least an hour after the park closes.
- Boats: You can boat to surrounding Disney World hotels and parks. They seat several families at once and operate on a similar schedule to the buses, meaning you will have access to them until at least an hour after the park close. The Polynesian Village Resort, Contemporary Resort, Wilderness Lodge, and Grand Floridian have boat access to Magic Kingdom. In addition, those staying at Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Swan & Dolphin, and the BoardWalk Inn have boat access to Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.
- Car: You can omit the wait on the bus, boats, or Skyliner and take your vehicle between parks! If you are staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you have access to free parking at any theme park. If you are staying off of Disney World property, then you will need to pay for your daily parking. However, your pass is good for all theme parks for the entire day! So, you can drive from Animal Kingdom to EPCOT and not pay for additional parking.
- Uber/Lyft/Minnie Vans: If you do not have your car and do not want to take Disney transportation, you can book a rideshare service to get you from one park to another. In most cases, this option is faster than the free options available. You have less of a wait time and often are dropped off near the park’s entrance. Newer to Disney World is the Minnie Van, a rideshare service through Lyft. But every car is operated by a Cast Member! No matter your rideshare, there are different car configurations you can book to accommodate your group, whether that is a large SUV-style or a smaller car.
Below is a list of all of the available theme park transportation options:
From Magic Kingdom:
- To EPCOT: Monorail
- To Hollywood Studios: Bus
- To Animal Kingdom: Bus
- To Magic Kingdom: Monorail
- To Hollywood Studios: Skyliner, Water Taxis, Walkway
- To Animal Kingdom: Bus
From Hollywood Studios:
- To Magic Kingdom: Bus
- To EPCOT: Skyliner, Water Taxis, Walkway
- To Animal Kingdom: Bus
From Animal Kingdom:
- All theme parks are accessible by bus
Which Disney transportation option is the fastest?
The fastest transportation between parks is either the monorail or the Skyliner gondolas. Both are nearly seamless in their execution of loading and dropping guests off. The buses are the slowest option. With the wait times, it can take you upwards of an hour to hop from one park to another.
The monorail is accessible at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) at Magic Kingdom or the front entrance of EPCOT. If coming from Magic Kingdom to EPCOT, you will need to exit from the monorail and reload to the EPCOT-specific line at the TTC. Similarly, if you are coming from EPCOT, you will transfer at the TTC to the park monorail.
You must also transfer on the Skyliner when hopping between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios. You will reach a central hub regardless of the park you are coming from. There, you will exit your gondola and enter the appropriate one.
If you are coming from any park by bus, you will unload near the park’s entrance. There is an easily accessible walkway that directs you to the front gate.
We suggest getting to your first theme park as early as possible on the day of your visit. This qualifies your ticket faster for Park Hopper. It also allows you to enjoy your morning without rushing to a second park. Then, at 2 p.m., you can visit your second desired theme park. If you’re ambitious, you can visit a third (or even fourth) park on the same day. It’s a challenge but doable!
Best Park Hopping Disney World Itineraries
We have crafted a few itinerary ideas should you wish to use Park Hopper!
- Start the day in Animal Kingdom, where you can get a leg up on the Flight of Passage line. This is also the best time to see the African animals on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, as they are more active in the morning.
- After 2 p.m., head to any other park to close out the evening. They all typically close later than Animal Kingdom.
- Start the day at Magic Kingdom. Grab your Cinderella Castle pictures, ride a few rides, and enjoy a Dole Whip.
- After 2 p.m., take the monorail to EPCOT for a tour around World Showcase. This is a good option for those who wish to avoid joining the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue.
- Start your morning at EPCOT to try and grab the Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind virtual queue. In the meantime, enjoy other in-demand attractions like Test Track, Soarin’ Around the World, and Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.
- After 2 p.m., take the Skyliner gondolas or Water Taxis from the International Gateway to Hollywood Studios. You can enjoy rides and shows like Rise of the Resistance, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, or Fantasmic!
Disney Park Hopping With Children
You may have a child who wants to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the morning and Slinky Dog Dash in the evening. In that case, Park Hopper can be an excellent option for children who want to have it all.
It’s essential to keep in mind that hopping between parks takes time and energy. Between leaving your first park, finding transportation, and entering your second park, it can be a long day for little ones. If hopping, consider stopping at your hotel for a quick nap before conquering your second park. Or, make sure you have some entertainment options while you are traveling. That way, your children can be energized and ready for the rest of the day!
Can I Use Virtual Queue While Park Hopping WDW?
A virtual queue is a recent addition to Disney Parks and is available for specific attractions. You do not book a Lightning Lane; instead, you join a boarding group at either 7:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. on the My Disney Experience app. Then, your boarding group is called, and you have a specific window to enter the ride. We have a great guide that helps navigate the Virtual Queue process for the popular Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and a guide to help with the Disney World TRON virtual queue process.
Unfortunately, park hopping does not work well with virtual queues. For the 7:00 a.m. opening, you must have a theme park reservation (which would be your first park of the day). In addition, to qualify for the 1:00 p.m. timeframe, you must have entered the park before that time. Considering you can only hop to a second park at 2:00 p.m., qualifying for an afternoon boarding group is hard.
If you wish to join a virtual queue, we suggest reserving that park first. Then, you can hop to any park afterward. You can ride some of the newest attractions while enjoying the perk of visiting two (or more) parks in a day.
Is Park Hopping at Disney World Worth It?
Truth is: many guests enjoy their Disney World vacation without using Park Hopper. We have used the Park Hopper ticket on many holidays and loved it – we even conquered all four parks in a single day.
That luxury does come at a cost. If you do not use the opportunity, it is wasted money. We would instead take our time at a single park and have more money for snacks. If you are on the fence about using it, leave it off your initial ticket and add it later. However, it might be worth the price if you take a short trip and want to pack all the parks in.
Ultimately, deciding to add Park Hopper to your ticket depends on your group’s needs. After all, it is YOUR vacation – do what you want! As long as you’re enjoying the days, that is what matters.
Yes, you can add a park hopper options to your Disney World ticket as long as its not expired and you have at least one day of entry left.
No, as long as you’re entering the same park you entered for the day in the morning, you do not need a park hopper ticket.
Yes, you need a Disney park hopper if you want to enter any other park in the same day.
Plan Your Disney World Vacation!
Consider subscribing to our FREE Deals newsletter to ensure your travel runs smoothly. Inside are helpful planning tips and exclusive deals for Disney tickets, hotels, and experiences. You can read more about Disney and theme parks here:
- Walt Disney World Reservations: How to Make a Park Pass Reservation
- Walt Disney World 2023 Planning Guide: Experience More, Save Money at Disney
- Disney World Early Theme Park Entry Info on Resort Perk & Strategy Guide
- Disney World Last Minute Dining Reservations: Our 5 Top Hacks to Get a Seat at the Table
- One Day Magic Kingdom Itinerary – Walt Disney World Strategy
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