Before diving into being Disney Annual Passholders, we had to figure out what tickets worked best for each of our Disney World vacations. Years ago when I first started visiting Disney World with my parents, we would automatically get the park hopper added on to our ticket as a just in case. But as time went on we started to realize, it rarely ever was used and was actually a big waste of money on most trips! So today I am here to help you figure out if the Disney World Park hopper is worth it or not!
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What is a park hopper?
Okay, so when you purchase your tickets for Disney World, whether through a vacation package or individually, you will have to 1st select your number of days you will visit the parks. Then you will be asked if you want to add the park hopper or park hopper plus!
A park hopper gives you the option to visit multiple parks in 1 day. Say you want to spend most of your day at Animal Kingdom but then head over to Magic Kingdom to close the parks and enjoy the evening magic hours. You can do this with a park hopper (or an annual pass)!
The park hopper option costs an additional $65 – $85 per trip, depending on the number of days your ticket is for.
Park Hopper Plus
The park hopper plus option gives you the ability to visit more than 1 park per day, PLUS a number of visits to other Disney World attractions. Included are both water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), NBA Experience, Oak Trail Golf Course, and both miniature golf courses (Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland). You will receive 1 visit per number of days on your ticket. So if you have a 5 day ticket, you get a total of 5 visits to any these other attractions.
The park hopper plus option starts at $85 for a 1 day ticket and goes up from there.
Is a park hopper worth the money?
So this depends on how you plan to do Disney, but for me, the simple answer is no. But let’s review a few options before you make your decision!
I absolutely hate going through bag check more than once per day so park hopping when it is unnecessary is a no go for me! Now of course there are times when we need to park hop and in those instances I deal with 2 bag checks.
And another frustration is the time wasted going between parks! It’s not an easy switch like over at Universal!
Anyways! On to deciding if a park hopper is worth it!
In our experience, a park hopper was always a back up plan in case it rained on one of our park days, then we could return to that park another day. Specially, it was there so we could see Fantasmic another night if rain canceled the show on our Hollywood Studios day (we love Fantasmic, what can I say!).
But maybe you like to visit multiple parks in one day! Maybe you aren’t that into Animal Kingdom but really want to check out Pandora for a bit before heading to Epcot. Then a park hopper may be for you!
Maybe you only have 2 or 3 days to spend in Disney but want to see all 4 parks! Then a park hopper is absolutely for you!
Your park schedule and what you want to get out of your Disney Vacation is really what determines the best solution!
Another option to consider
So maybe you are like my family once was and just wants that extra safety net in case something interrupts your plans…rain, traffic, a sick child or pet, car problems! Things happen, even in Disney!
Jesse and I have upgraded to annual passes, which gives us the ability to park hop as well (check out the perks here to see if an annual pass may be right for you)!
But, my family members who are not passholders have another solution.
My mom decided not to waste money on a park hopper and instead started adding an extra day in the parks to our tickets. When we do Disney we always have 5 park days and 1 break day. So my mom started purchasing a 6 day ticket so we could visit a park on our break day if we wanted/needed too. And guess what! It’s cheaper! No joke!
Here’s an example
We are planning to get back to Disney in March of 2021. If we were to buy a 5 day park hopper for the second week of March, it would cost $585.57 + tax for one adult ticket.
So now let’s compare!
For that same week in March 2021, a 6 day regular adult ticket would cost $520.60 + tax! And with this option you could have a full extra park day!
So this was our solution for our “just in case” day at Disney World!
You can check the price of your Disney World tickets here!
So, what is the best option?
It really depends on your specific trip! Here are some examples:
Jesse and I took a few days before our Disney Cruise to visit the parks, but we also wanted to try out Universal sooo we fit 6 parks into 4 days (check out how we did it here)! This absolutely required a park hopper! We didn’t want to pick and choose Disney parks because we love them all, but we certainly didn’t have time to spend a full day at each.
So if you do not have enough time to spend a full day in each park but want to visit them all…then get a park hopper!
If you have a trip planned that you can dedicate a full day to each park (check out our weekly schedule here!) then figure out the reason why you are considering a park hopper first!
Are you planning to take a midday break and then head to a different park in the evening? If so, is it necessary or could you just return to the same park?
Do you think there isn’t enough to do or that interests you at a certain park so you don’t want to waste a full day there?
Or are you like us and want to cover your butts for the unexpected (or completely expected…I’m talking about you Florida rain!)?
Whatever your reason, figure out if you would be able to save a few bucks by just adding an extra park day instead of a park hopper.
The choice is up to you!
Now I’m sure there are some of you who think I’m crazy for avoiding park hopping and others who think I’m crazy for adding on extras to an already pricey ticket all together. But I hope I helped everyone realize the options available and how to save some money and still have the best trip ever!
Let me know what you think! Are you a park hopper fan or do you think it’s not worth the money?
And if your ready to experience the freedom of an annual pass, then be sure to check out my helpful guide on the perks and how it can actually SAVE you money here!