Hooray! For the first time in MONTHS, we finally got to hop between the Disney World parks again today!
When the Disney World parks reopened last July, there was no Park Hopping allowed. We first heard of its return back in November, and we initially had a LOT of questions: “Which park should we start our day in?,” “Will the cost be worth it?,” and even “Will it really change our next Disney World trip?” We’ve been spending the past 6 weeks trying to answer these questions, but today, we got to experience the modified Park Hopping ourselves, and we’re here to tell you all about it!
Before We Arrived
In order to Park Hop, you will need to get a Disney Park Pass for the park that we planned to start in. And, if you plan on hopping, your park ticket or Annual Pass must have the Park Hopper option.
If you don’t scan in at the first park (where you have your Disney Park Pass reservation), you will be turned away at the other parks. You must scan in at your reserved park first, or cancel and rebook your Disney Park Pass at the park you’re heading to first.
Visiting the First Park
Today we began our day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. (Gotta start with a classic!) When we arrived, it was business as usual. At the parking entrance, guests are asked if they have a Disney Park Pass reservation, and tickets are scanned as usual upon entering the park.
Park Hopping hours today began at 2PM, so we hung out at the OG Disney World park until about 1PM. At that time, we left and drove over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, hoping to make it before the 2PM mark. Another one of our team members started her day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and her experience was similar to ours for the first park.
Switching Parks & Using Transportation
Our reporter that started at Magic Kingdom traveled by personal vehicle, while our reporter at Animal Kingdom traveled via Disney transportation. The first reporter was able to leave Magic Kingdom and arrive at Hollywood Studios well in advance, while the second had to wait on Disney buses to arrive.
Heading to and from Animal Kingdom, the only method of Disney transportation is by bus. In this particular instance, we arrived at the bus depot around 1:30PM, but no park-to-park buses showed up until 1:45PM. This sign is present at the bus depot at each park, reminding guests of the qualifications for Park Hopping:
While waiting for the bus to arrive, a Cast Member scanned our MagicBand (or ticket card) to make sure that we had a Park Hopper ticket before boarding the bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We didn’t encounter this process when riding the Skyliner, as that method of transportation travels to both the parks and resorts.
Boarding on Disney transportation was still the same socially-distanced process that we’ve seen before, with lower capacity on the buses and one party per Skyliner gondola.
Checking In At Our Second Park
It’s very important to note that Park Hopping is subject to availability. Guests won’t be allowed to hop to another park if it’s already at capacity. If you’re wondering about capacity, there is a number you can call for information. If you want to know the status of any of the Disney World parks, simply dial (407) 560-5000. We recommend checking on this before heading to your next park so that you don’t have any issues hopping.
When driving between parks, we were asked at the parking toll plaza whether we had already scanned into our first park. Our reporter that was driving arrived at Hollywood Studios before 2PM and was allowed to enter the park at 1:56PM. We were told by a Cast Member that guests would likely be allowed to scan into their second park up to 15 minutes ahead of the Park Hopping window.
For our reporter using Disney transportation, the bus didn’t arrive at the second park until after 2PM, so we didn’t get to scan in early. Since the buses didn’t arrive until 15 minutes before the window began, we recommend a different method of transportation if you’d like to scan in early.
Things went pretty smoothly scanning into our 3rd and 4th parks — it seems that not very much of the actual “entering the park” process has changed.
Our Biggest Questions
One of the biggest questions that was asked ahead of today was “How many parks can I visit in a day?” and we got the answer: it’s all of them! We visited all 4 parks today (probably in record time), just to see if it could be done. Keep in mind that this is only possible if the other parks aren’t already at capacity. We also headed back to Magic Kingdom after we finished all 4 parks, so you can return to your original park if there’s availability.
Do note: According to a Cast Member, having a park pass will not guarantee re-entry later in the day if you have already hopped to a park. Thus meaning, even if you have a park pass to that park and the park hits capacity, you will not be let in. We will let you know if this information or situation changes.
And if you’re wondering what the best way to check the availability of each park is, then we definitely recommend calling that phone number we mentioned above. The status of each park is kept up-to-date, and that will be the fastest way to find out whether or not you can hop to your park of choice.
One big question that we don’t yet know the answer to is “Will a dining reservation get me into a park that’s at capacity?” So far today, none of the parks have filled up, so we haven’t been able to test this out to confirm for ourselves and we have heard mixed responses from Cast Members. Stay tuned to DFB, because we’ll be checking for this answer as soon as we can.
First of all, we definitely recommend calling that phone number and checking availability BEFORE you leave to head to your next park. If it’s a busy day, it might be good to call while in transit as well. It would be a shame to arrive at your next park only to find out that it’s already full.
It’s also important to plan out your travels in advance. Know your transportation options between parks and keep in mind that traveling takes extra time. With the EPCOT monorail line closed, the only way to get to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is by Disney bus or personal vehicle.
Traveling between EPCOT and Hollywood Studios is likely the easiest, considering you can take the Friendship boats (as long as they are available– we will be checking on their status between the two parks soon), the Skyliner, you can walk (although it’s a pretty long walk), or you can drive.
Also, remember to check those Park Hopping hours listed on the Disney World website. If you want to make the most of your time, you’ll need to know what time you can visit the next park. (It’s possible that the 2PM time will change in the future.)
Even though it was different than what we’re used to, we were so thankful to be able to go Park Hopping again! Keep checking DFB for more information on this modified system, answers to your questions, and tips for how to best utilize Park Hopping!
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Will you be Park Hopping on your next Disney trip? Let us know in the comments!