It’s officially 2021, which means park hopping is BACK at Disney World!
We tried it out on New Year’s Day and learned a lot about the new process. We found out that you can park hop to as many parks as you want (if not at capacity), how transportation works, and more! But today, we’re here to talk about the BEST and WORST parts about park hopping!
The BEST Things About Park Hopping
One of the best parts about the return of park hopping is the amount of flexibility you have! Since Disney World reopened in the summer of 2020, guests have been required to make a Park Pass Reservation. This reservation secures your spot in the park, and that was the only park you were allowed to visit that day.
Now, guests still have to make a Park Pass Reservation, but they do not have to make another one for the park they want to hop to. So after you scan into your original park, you have free reign to hop anywhere you’d like after 2PM!
With one park per day, it can be pretty limiting for families, especially if you are on a short trip and want to fit two (or three or four) parks into one day. Although modified, this is a positive to park hopping coming back!
With the global pandemic still happening, many people try to avoid crowds as much as possible. And although we saw some pretty big crowds in Disney World for the holidays, they are a bit more avoidable with park hopping!
If you and your party start to feel overwhelmed by the crowds in a certain park, you don’t have to go and sit in your hotel room for the rest of the night. Just park hop to another park that has room, and hopefully the crowds are better there!
We’ve been back in the parks every day since Disney World reopened, and from our observations, we see Disney’s Animal Kingdom with the most room to spread out consistently. This is probably the best park to visit if you need a break from being around lots and lots of people.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a fairly small park (and perhaps the most popular park), so it gets congested easily.
We’ve found that EPCOT is either very roomy or very tight. In World Showcase, crowds tend to gather in certain pavilions since they are close together to begin with.
Magic Kingdom is also very popular and there are certain choke points that get very crowded depending on the time of day.
With the ability to park hop, is the ability to escape the crowds! This is a big perk, especially with the current pandemic, because you can continue having fun in the parks!
4 Park Challenge
Many have attempted the 4 park challenge, which is where you visit ALL four parks in one day! We even did it the day park hopping returned!
Whether you challenge yourself to ride something at each park, eat something at each park, or just scan into each park, this is a super fun challenge that many families try. And now, this challenge can make a return with park hopping! How fun!
When park hopping for this challenge, we’d recommend heading to the park that closes first that day. This way, you have a better shot at making it to all 4 before they close!
The WORST Things About Park Hopping
It Can Be Expensive
There are many perks to park hopping, but there are also a few downsides. A big negative for a lot of people is the cost of a park hopping ticket.
We recently looked at if park hopping was worth the price in 2021, especially with the modifications of going to Disney World right now. Ultimately, it depends on what you and your family want.
If you are traveling on a budget, you may want to stick to the base ticket option of one park per day. If you’ve never been and you want to splurge a bit, the park hopper may be for you.
Your Time is Limited
The biggest modification that comes with the new park hopping process is the Park Hopping Hours. Previously, guests could park hop to any park at any time, but now that has changed.
Currently park hopping hours are from 2PM to park close. This means that you only have a limited time to spend in another park. Because of this, you’ll probably want to make a Park Pass Reservation for the park that you want to spend the MOST time in. Also, you are not guaranteed to be able to park hop. If a park or several parks are full, you will not be allowed to hop to those parks! This has not happened to us since it returned, however this is a possibility during busy seasons.
Even though Rise of the Resistance in Disney’s Hollywood Studios gives guests two chances to get a boarding group (one at 7AM and another at 1PM), you can only get one if you start your day in that park. That means that if you park hop to Studios later in the day, you will NOT get a chance to ride that attraction.
Although there is both good and bad, we are glad that park hopping has returned to Disney World for 2021! Are you? This experience can be super helpful for families, and it can be a lot of fun! We’ll continue to update you on all things park hopping, so stay tuned to DFB.
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Have you park hopped in 2021? Let us know in the comments!