Ed. – Today is “Both Sides of the Pressed Penny Day!” The topic is To Park Hop or Not to Park Hop. Claire looks at compelling reasons for both in two articles that run concurrently today. For the other side of the coin, read “Why You Should Park Hop.”
One of the decisions a Walt Disney World visitor needs to make before arrival is whether or not to add a Park Hopper to their Magic Your Way tickets. There are times when adding a Park Hopper is a great idea…but there are other times when visiting one park each day is all that’s necessary!
Sometimes a Walt Disney World trip is planned on a budget, and cuts need to be made in certain places. On a short vacation (1 to 3 days) a Park Hopper, per person, ranges from a $53.25 to a $68.16 add-on to a multi-day ticket, according to TouringPlans.com’s Ticket Calculator. The more days you stay, the lower the cost.
The joy of the Disney Parks is that each provides a different theme. Disney’s Animal Kingdom is all about the creatures. Epcot is about innovation and national pride. Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes us behind the scenes and up close to movies and shows. The Magic Kingdom is a fantastical view of the world.
For some people, they like to stay in that world from opening to close. Once you enter under the train tracks at the Magic Kingdom, you might want to stay in that magic until you leave that evening. Going from Animal Kingdom’s lush landscapes to Hollywood Studios‘ cityscapes might seem jarring to some.
You can’t obtain new FastPasses until you use the first three, or the time window of the first three expires. If you happen to have times that spread into the afternoon, then you won’t be able to add any more to any other park, no matter where you go. I had that problem on my last trip (fall 2014) while park hopping; my final FastPass at the Magic Kingdom hadn’t expired when I was trying to make new FastPasses at Epcot. I had to wait until the hour passed before the system would let me back in.
If you’re able to schedule FastPass times for early enough in the day this might not be an issue. But it might just be easier to add on new FastPasses to the park that you’re currently at than schedule ones at a different park.
If you are going to park hop, you are going to need to use some mode of transportation – Disney transportation or otherwise. If you want to maximize your time in the parks, you’re not going to want to take the hour to go between parks.
Staying in one park will save headaches that might come from waiting in line for a Friendship boat or bus, or navigating traffic around the resort and finding a parking spot. It also prevents you from missing a dining reservation at a different park.
There are so many Touring Plans that revolve around a 1-day trip into a park. If you truly want to experience a park and all the nooks and crannies, you take a whole day to enjoy it! Certain things only happen in the parks at certain times of the day. I haven’t been able to see the Festival of Fantasy Parade because my time in the Magic Kingdom was set aside for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and I was in Epcot for the morning and afternoon. I didn’t catch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth because I caught Fantasmic! instead. Since I was bouncing around so much, I missed some things that I enjoy the most from each park.
So if you set one day for one park, you are pretty much planning on seeing all those special events (barring any day-of snafus). If you schedule the day at Epcot, you’ll spend the morning in Future World, have delicious lunches and dinners in World Showcase, and wander around the Lagoon catching the various shows in each country. Do you have to worry about missing Illuminations? No, because you’re already nearby!
Park Hoppers are a great option…sometimes. But there can be moments in your trip planning where you might have to ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?” Hopefully you can shed a couple of dollars off your total bill if you find that some of these reasons above apply to you!
Do you have any other reasons why not getting a Park Hopper is beneficial to your vacation? Remember: if you don’t agree with the reasons, stay tuned for Part 2, where I give examples of times when a Park Hopper is a good investment!