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Pros And Cons Of A Park Hopper At Walt Disney World

Park Hopper is a feature at Walt Disney World that is a bit controversial. With it, you can go between parks each day of your ticket. Without it, you are limited to one park per day. Park Hopper is automatically included with Annual Passes. Some people would not think of visiting Walt Disney World without adding Park Hopper. Others get by just fine without it. Here are some of the pros and cons of Park Hopper. Only you can decide whether or not it will work for your vacation.

Pro or Con: Planning

This point depends totally on what type of person you are. If you like to plan out every moment of your vacation, you might not need Park Hopper. You will be able to easily fill each day of your vacation without having to leave a park. If you don’t like to plan, Park Hopper will come in handy. If the Wait Time is too long for Tower of Terror, you can easily leave and ride Expedition Everest instead.

Pro: Control Your Spending

If you add Park Hopper to your ticket, you can better control your spending. You won’t be as tempted to impulse buy a T-shirt, because if you still want it you can return to the park and pick it up. You won’t end up buying something that you like, only to later pass on something else that you love because you already have too many souvenirs. Park Hopper can help you to control your budget.

Con: Overwhelming

Walt Disney World is overwhelming to begin with. With Park Hopper, it is even more so. You’ll have four parks to choose from each day of your visit, which can be a bit much. Without Park Hopper, you’ll know that you will visit just one park each day. Park Hopper can also cause dissension in the family, especially if you’re at Epcot and your four-year-old wants to go back to the Magic Kingdom, while your teen would rather hit Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster again. Without Park Hopper, there is no argument.

Pro: Can Return to a Favorite

If you have never visited Walt Disney World before, be prepared to have something surprise you. It could be a ride that you never expected to be a favorite, or maybe you really loved a dessert and want to have it again. With Park Hopper, it’s easy to return to a park that you’ve already visited. If one park is your favorite, you can spend any extra time that you have there.

Con: Exhaustion

Walt Disney World is exhausting. You will want to make the most of every moment of your vacation, but you will also need to get your rest. With Park Hopper, you might be tempted to be in the parks from open until close every day. Without Park Hopper, you have an excuse to head back to your hotel for sleep instead of heading to the Magic Kingdom until 1:00am. Traveling between the parks can take a lot out of you as well. If you don’t have Park Hopper, you’ll have a chance to get a little more rest.

Pro: Get More Out of Each Day

If sleep isn’t all that important to you, you will be able to get more out of each day if you have Park Hopper. Show up at rope drop, then change parks later in the day to whichever one is open the latest. If you’re staying on Disney property, take advantage of Extra Magic Hours as well. You might not get much rest, but you’ll do more than you ever thought possible.

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Con: Time

Leaving one park and heading to another will take a fair amount of time out of your day. It doesn’t matter if you drive or use Disney transportation, it will take time to get from one park to the next. Once you arrive, you will still need to go through bag check and the front gate. If you don’t have Park Hopper, all that you will need to do is to show up and enjoy yourself. You will be able to spend every moment of your day inside the park.

Pro: Cost of Your Vacation

Believe it or not, Park Hopper can save you money, especially if you’re taking a quick trip to Walt Disney World. If you don’t care about seeing and doing everything, you might easily be able to cut a day or more out of your vacation. If that is your goal, plan as much as possible ahead of time. Make a list of your important things to do in each park, and after you have hit everything in one, leave and head to another. Even though Park Hopper is an added expense, if you use it wisely it might save you money.

Con: Cost of Park Hopper

Park Hopper is expensive. How much it costs depends on the number of days of your vacation, but considering that it will be added for each member of your party it will drive the cost of your vacation up. If your budget is tight, carefully consider whether or not you really need to add Park Hopper. If you don’t buy it and you realize that you want it, you can always add it later.

Pro: Freedom

Park Hopper gives you freedom on your vacation. You can go to whichever park you want to visit without limitations. You can make a breakfast reservation at the Crystal Palace, use your FastPass+ choices at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, enjoy dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby, and end the day at IllumiNations. Park Hopper gives you the freedom to head where you want, when you want. For countless people, that freedom is worth the extra cost.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.