Is the Disney Park Hopper Worth It?

Park goers looking to hit as many spots as possible may benefit from Disney Park Hopper, but it's not for everyone.
Alisha McDarris
By Alisha McDarris 

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Disney Park Hopper is an add-on option when you buy tickets that allows you to visit multiple Disney parks in one day. Offered at the Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, purchasing the Park Hopper upgrade with your theme park tickets might seem like a smart way to save time and money, especially if you're planning to visit multiple parks during your vacation.

But it's not actually worth it for all travelers. For starters, it comes at an additional cost. When you purchase a standard Disney ticket, you have access to just one theme park per day (despite the fact that there are actually two theme parks in California, and four in Florida). Tickets that allow you access to multiple parks per day — hence the Park Hopper option — can easily run more than $60 per person, depending on the resort and day. That's $300 (or more) for a family of five, simply for the chance to see multiple theme parks in one day.

Beyond the price difference though are other hidden costs that aren't necessarily financial. There's the cost of commuting between the theme parks. Especially at Walt Disney World, where parks are spread out, park hopping can mean you end up spending a lot of time simply waiting for the bus to take you to another park. There are also annoying limitations, such as how early you actually can park hop.

Given that, Park Hopper can be a great tool for some Disney vacationers, but it's not for everyone. Here's how to decide whether Disney Park Hopper is worth it for you.

What is Disney Park Hopper?

The Disney Park Hopper option allows you to visit multiple parks in a day as opposed to a regular park ticket, which allows access to only one park per day.

When can I use Park Hoper?

That doesn’t mean you can hop around whenever you want; there are restricted hours for using the pass. For example, Park Hopper hours don’t start until 2 p.m. at Disney World and 11 a.m. at Disneyland, and they end when the parks close.

At Disneyland in California, there are two parks, and you can visit both with a Park Hopper ticket:

  1. Disney California Adventure.

  2. Disneyland Park.

At Disney World in Florida, you can use the Park Hopper at four parks:

  1. Disney's Animal Kingdom.

  2. Disney's Hollywood Studios.

  3. EPCOT.

  4. Magic Kingdom.

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Disney World also offers an even more powerful (and more expensive) option, called Park Hopper Plus. With Disney World's Park Hopper Plus, you have access to all of the four theme parks named above. Plus, you can pick one of the following experiences per day of your ticket:

  • Blizzard Beach: One visit to Disney's snow-themed water park.

  • Typhoon Lagoon: One visit to Disney's tropical-themed water park.

  • Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course: One round of mini golf.

  • Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course: One round of mini golf.

  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course: Greens fees at Disney's 9-hole walking course.

  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: One visit to the sporting event venue.

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How does Disney Park Hopper work?

The option to purchase Park Hopper will be offered to you at checkout when buying Disney tickets directly from Disney's site. If purchasing from a third-party, such as Target or a travel agency, you'll typically just have a few options of the ticket type you want to buy. If you purchase a Disney ticket with Park Hopper, it'll be automatically connected to your ticket, so you can visit one park in the morning, and hit other parks later.

Here's what you should expect when buying tickets from Disney's website:

  1. Start by selecting how many days you want to explore Disney parks, how many guests and their ages.

  2. You’ll then select the dates you want to visit the parks.

  3. Select if you want the upgraded Park Hopper option, before going to the checkout page.

🤓Nerdy Tip

For trips until Jan. 8, 2024, Walt Disney World theme park reservations are required — and capacity may fill up. Just because you hold a ticket doesn't mean you're guaranteed access to the park.

Especially if you're particular to which park you visit, or if you're visiting on a busy day, check park reservation availability first before buying tickets. That way, you can ensure you get into your preferred park.

How much are Disney Park Hopper tickets?

The price of a Park Hopper ticket varies depending on the number of days you want to visit the parks and the time of year you're visiting. That said, Park Hopper tickets are more expensive than regular park tickets.

Disney World Park Hopper tickets vary, as do prices for single-park day passes. Weekends and holidays (aka peak times) tend to be more expensive than off-peak weekdays.

As an example, while a single-park ticket on July 4, 2024 runs between $154 and $184 (depending on the park you choose), the Park Hopper option on the same day is $248 — as much as a $94 difference versus just going to the cheapest of the parks, which on that day is Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

The difference isn't quite as stark on other days though. For most weekdays in September 2024, tickets range from $109-$134 if you pick just one park. The Park Hopper option comes in at $188 — a $79 difference versus just going to the cheapest of the parks.

The Park Hopper Plus option commands even more few dollars more money — about $20 more for access to the Disney water parks and more.

Disneyland works a little bit differently from Disney World. Disneyland tickets vary in price, but the Park Hopper option doesn’t fluctuate in the same way it does at Disney World. A single-day Park Hopper will set you back $65 per day, but any other length of time will cost $60 per day.

If you plan to spend one full day in one park and your second day between two parks, you still have to pay for the Park Hopper option for both days unless you make two separate purchases and reservations.

Does Disney Park Hopper include parking?

At Disneyland Resort, both parks are incredibly close to each other, so you'll use the same parking lot for either park.

But at Disney World, people who prefer to drive over taking mass transit will likely want to drive between parks when park hopping. If you're driving, you'll have to purchase a separate parking pass, which is good all day at all four theme parks. So, if you pay for parking at one Disney theme park, you may park at other Disney theme parks on the same day for no additional charge.

Note that Disney Resort hotel guests receive complimentary standard parking at Disney theme parks for the length of their hotel stay with valid Disney Resort hotel identification.

That said, it might be worth just using the complimentary Walt Disney World transportation system — which includes unique modes of movement including boats, gondolas and monorails — to get between parks.

Disney Skyliner is an aerial transportation system that can shuttle you between the Epcot and Hollywood Studios theme parks. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

How to decide if Disney Park Hopper is right for you

If you’re trying to decide if the Park Hopper option is the right choice for you, ask yourself a few questions:

  • How many days do you plan to visit Disney parks?

  • How many parks do you want to enjoy while you’re there?

  • Does each deserve a full day or would you get plenty of enjoyment out of a half day at one or two?

If you want to catch the morning sunrise at Magic Kingdom, but want to spend the evening at another park, then Park Hopper is critical. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney Park Hopper is worth it if...

The Disney Park Hopper is your ticket to visiting multiple Disney parks in one day. Purchase Park Hopper tickets if:

You want to experience more parks than vacation days you have: Say you want to see Disneyland's iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, but you also want to experience the new Avengers Campus over at Disney California Adventure. If you only have one day to do it all, Park Hopper is critical. Maybe you have three days to spend at Walt Disney World, but you want to see four parks. In order to see multiple parks worth of stuff in one day, you'll need that Park Hopper.

If you want to experience as many parks as possible in a limited amount of time, it’s worth it.

You want to maximize every moment of open park hours: Some theme parks have longer hours than others. While park hours vary, Epcot tends to open later. Magic Kingdom tends to be open the longest overall. Given that, you might be at Magic Kingdom right at opening for the anticipated 'rope drop' so you can hit tons of rides before the crowds arrive. Then, you might pop over to Epcot for lunch (which is home to Disney World's best restaurants), and then head back to the Magic Kingdom for fireworks and park close.

You want freedom and flexibility: With Park Hopper, you're not contained to just one park. You unlock the ability to see different shows and attractions at each park, and you more easily can change your plans if you need to. With a Park Hopper Plus option, you might spend the hottest part of the day at a waterpark and the rest of the day at a theme park.

Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom. (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Disney Park Hopper is not worth it if...

Besides being a lot more expensive, the Park Hopper option is often not worth it for other, non-monetary reasons.

The Park Hopper option may not be worth it if you only plan to visit one or two parks during your vacation anyway. It may also not be worth it if you're visiting during a busy time of year, when the lines at the parks are long. Skip Park Hopper if:

You don't want to waste time commuting: If you don’t like to rush and don’t want to waste time catching a ride between parks, then skip Park Hopper in lieu of a regular day pass. It can easily take over an hour to get from Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom all the way to Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom. If you only have one day and you absolutely must do those two rides, then buy Park Hopper. But if your goal is just going on as many rides as possible, you could probably hit almost the entirety of Tomorrowland within that same period of time (assuming lines are short or you have line-skipping privileges like Genie+).

You have as many days as parks you want to visit: Each park contains enough rides and shows to fill an entire day for most tourists. If you want to visit all four Disney World parks and you have four vacation days, you might as well just commit to one park each day.

You're confident you can spend a whole day in one park anyway: If there's really only one or two rides you want to do at each Disney park, and you don't want to spend a whole week vacationing at Disney World, then Park Hopper can make sense. But if you don't mind devoting your whole day to a single park (and it's certainly easy to do so), then commit to just the one and save your money.

You can't be in two places at once, so in a sense, Park Hopper just elevates your cost per hour spent on park tickets. If you're willing to spend multiple days at Disney (and given that the per-day ticket price decreases the longer you stay), then your cost per hour actually decreases by skipping Park Hopper and putting that money toward a multi-day ticket instead.

Disney Park Hopper recapped

The Disney Park Hopper pass can be more limiting than freeing, depending on your Disney style.

Consider how you want to spend your time, if you think you’ll have the capacity to visit more than one park per day and whether flexibility is important to you. Then purchase your Disney passes with confidence, and enjoy the ride.

(Top photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

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