Just a few days ago, Disney announced the return of the park hopping option to Walt Disney World. But, park hopping might not be the same as you remember it.
Gone are the days of jumping from park-to-park-to-park at any hour of the day (at least for now). Instead, you’ll have to hop a little more carefully — and because of this, we’re wondering if the return of park hopping will really change your trip at all.
Prior to the closures of the Disney World parks back in March, park hopping was a fairly simple concept. You paid for the add-on to your ticket and it enabled you to come and go to all four theme parks as you pleased throughout the day. The new system (which kicks off on January 1, 2021) has some differences.
The new policy is subject to change, but as of right now, Disney has introduced park hopping hours from 2PM to park close.
You are required to get a Disney Park Pass for your first park of the day, but not the subsequent one(s). You just have to use that initial Park Pass and wait for 2PM to roll around before you can head to another park.
Now, the big caveat here is that limited capacities still apply. Currently capacity is operating at 35% and we aren’t sure when it will look like when hopping returns in January. No matter the capacity, if the park you are hopping to at 2PM is full, you won’t be allowed in. If you start your day in Magic Kingdom and intend to head to, say, Hollywood Studios, you might end up with some unfortunate news.
You’ll have to keep a very close eye on it, but you do run the risk of leaving on a bus from Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios while the My Disney Experience app still shows availability, only to find it at capacity when you arrive — effectively losing you precious park time.
For some, you may not want to risk this. Getting stuck going back and forth on Disney transportation can be a real downer. So, if you’re not willing to take the risk, you might want to skip park hopping altogether.
Plus, Disney parks are still set to close relatively early each day into the new year, so you’ll need to make sure you’re happy with the amount of time that park hopping will leave you in each park.
AND this capacity issue could make dining reservations tricky. We’ve looked into whether a dining reservation will get you into a full park when Park Hopping returns and the results are shaky. Cast Members have reported different things but the majority note that NO you will not be able to enter a full park, even with a dining reservation. We’ll be keeping a close eye out for confirmation on this and you can learn more right here.
Because of this, we recommend making your Dining Reservations in the park you make your Disney Park Pass reservation in. This policy could make it easy to do a breakfast reservation, but you could be dealing with a gamble if you try to hop for dinner.
Overall, if you decide that park hopping is the best option for you, we’ve got some pros and cons as to why you should and should not park hop to each Disney World park! And remember, this new system is subject to change but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.
We’re still looking into what this change means for those with dining reservations in their second park of the day and we’ve broken down the biggest questions for you so far right here. Stay tuned to DFB for updates and if you have any questions about the 2021 Park Hop system, feel free to reach out to us on social media or in the comments.
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
Got questions about the new park hopper system? Ask ’em in the comments!