Best Trip Tips: Park Hopping. My Opinion.
When purchasing tickets for a trip to Walt Disney World you are given the option to upgrade your ticket to a park hopper pass. This gives you the ability to use this pass to gain entry into more than one park in one day. You can start your day off with a character dining experience at the Magic Kingdom, spend your afternoon exploring the world pavilions at EPCOT and then finish off the day with Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. There is an extra cost to this feature. For a park hopper option you are going to add approximately 50 dollars to a daily pass, and 75 dollars to a four day pass. It increases the cost of your vacation when you add on this option. I don’t know about anyone else, we always included this in our packages since it started being offered. I never even thought of not including it until one vacation we realized how much time we were spending traveling from park to park. On this particular vacation we had plans to spend the majority of the day at Hollywood Studios, but when I was making dining reservations none of the restaurants really appealed to me so I thought we could run down to EPCOT, eat lunch there, and then head back to Hollywood Studios for the evening entertainment. On paper it seemed like a great idea. We were spending another evening at Hollywood Studios after running the runDisney Hollywood Tower of Terror 10-Miler, so we were going to be doing all the rides again with minimal crowds. Park hopping on our Hollywood Studios day seemed like a good use of the day. We’d eat at the Coral Reef restaurant, jump on Soarin’, and then head back. Friends, EPCOT is HUGE! From the World Pavilion entrance of EPCOT to the Coral Reef restaurant you’ve walked 800 meters. And the walk from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT is 2km. We grossly underestimated how exhausted we would be walking back and forth. Of course we ended up taking the boat from EPCOT to Hollywood Studios but this took precious time we could have spent on rides or meeting characters. A boat ride is something relaxing to do on a non-park day. What we took from this experience was that park hopping is not for us at this time. Will it be someday? Maybe. When we’ve got a couple teenagers who want to run off and ride Tower of Terror while we enjoy beer at the Rose & Crown pub, sure. But right now it doesn’t feel like a good use of our dollars. That extra 50-75 dollars per pass is money we could put towards the dining plan, or our next Disney vacation. There is so much to see and do at every single park, when you spend time park hopping you’re limiting what you can experience at one park. The Walt Disney World Team is doing such a beautiful job of constantly updating and recreating rides and spaces. If you count something off as having done it before you might be missing out. If this is your first trip to Walt Disney World, I strongly suggest not adding the park hopper option. Give yourself the opportunity to explore and enjoy the parks one day at a time. Happy Planning.