Three Reasons Not to Buy Park Hoppers

This is a topic that comes up pretty frequently with my clients.  I’ll preface this with saying each family is different and no one rule applies when planning your Disney vacation. The information below is based on the trips I’ve helped plan for my many wonderful clients.   I’ll say it…I don’t like the park hopper option in 9 out of 10 cases. 95% of my clients do NOT purchase the park hopping option. It’s not to say that there aren’t times when it can work, or that I have never used it before. Here are the Top 3 Reasons why I recommend to MOST of my clients that they skip park hopping!

1. Cost
This varies depending on the number of days on your ticket but for most folks, they’ll have at least a 4-day ticket. This means the cost of park hopping would be $79.88 per person…that can add up VERY quickly for families! I can think of a lot better things to do with that money. With the right scheduling and planning, there is no good reason to be at a different park at the end of the day then you started out. Some families will argue that Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios aren’t full day parks but that’s where I’ll disagree! With all the new amazing events and shows, there is so much to see and do. Even if you aren’t at Animal Kingdom at night, that’s a perfect night to explore your resort or Disney Springs. By incorporating mid-day breaks and staying for evening shows like Fantasmic and Rivers Of Light (PLUS Pandora), you can easily make a full day of both these great parks!

2. Schedule
Nowadays you MUST have a schedule when visiting the parks. I don’t believe in a minute by minute itineraries, but you must have your table service and Fastpass+ scheduled in advance. Because of this, it makes park hopping even less convenient. Fastpass+ initially can only be scheduled in one park. You can, of course, pick up more, one at a time, in other parks after you use your 3 but sometimes it doesn’t make sense to use all your Fastpass’s early or nothing good is left!!

3. Knowledge
If you an Annual Passholder or Florida resident, this doesn’t apply to you. A lot of my clients are either first-time visitors or families that only visit every few years. The trick to park hopping is you have to know WHICH Park to hop to. When I put together itineraries I help clients pick the least crowded park each day. To suddenly decide to hop to another park without having the knowledge of WHICH park would be best or have a touring plan in place, well you could find that you are wasting a lot of time not only traveling but ending up at a park that is really crowded with long waits!

Guests waiting to enter bag check at Animal Kingdom on a busy morning!

Again please remember that this is just MY opinion and it’s for the benefit of those visit Walt Disney World for the first time. Whenever I work with guests I want to make sure they aren’t spending their money in places they don’t need to. Since park hoppers can’t be added for a single day, I find most people won’t make use of it overall.

There are many times it comes in handy. For instance, on our work trips, we often use them because we are hopping around to get photographs or partake in special experiences to come back and share with you. Often guests who visit often and are confident in their touring schedules will use hoppers or guests who don’t book dining that like to hop around…there are always exceptions to the rule but if you are visiting for the first time I suggest that a) You enlist some professional help and/or advice before you begin planning and b) really take a look at the hoppers and see if it’s something you NEED to invest in.