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by Soarin’ Diva

You are planning your Walt Disney World vacation. You have your dates picked, your resort picked, then the screen pops up with your park tickets. Now for the big decision, do you go for the base park tickets, or upgrade to the park hopper option? Will it be worth the extra money for you and your family? Let’s explore some pros and cons to upgrading to the Park Hopper option.
Pro – You have more flexibility in your day. Let’s say you make a dining reservation at Be Our Guest, but you are spending the day at Hollywood Studios. With the Park Hopper option, you don’t have to worry about which park you prefer to spend the day at, you can hop on a bus, go to your dinner reservation, and head back to finish out your day at Hollywood Studios if you prefer.
211Pro – You have chosen to go to Magic Kingdom for the day. Suddenly, it becomes so crowded in the park, you feel a strong urge to run for cover. With the Park Hopper, you can just hit another, less crowded park.
Pro – It’s fall, and you are enjoying the beauty of Animal Kingdom. Wait a minute…wasn’t there supposed to be an awesome band playing at Epcot’s Eat to the Beat series? Well, with the Park Hopper, you don’t have to miss this fun, just head on over whenever you are done with your last trek down Expedition Everest.
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222Con – The time you spend waiting for transportation to and from parks could be costing you one to two hours of precious park time in which you could be having a blast at attractions.
Con – The cost. You can be spending anywhere from $50 to $90 per day/ticket. For instance, my next scheduled vacation will include 8 base tickets. If I upgraded to Park Hopper, that would increase my family’s cost by another $272.64 + tax. I’m pretty sure my family and I can find a better use for that much money, like souvenirs.
With proper planning, you can check crowd calendars so you know how busy each park will be each day you are there. We tend to make dining reservations based on which park we want to spend a particular day at as opposed to choosing the dining reservations first, then picking the park based on that. This way, we have already checked our crowd calendar and know that the park we have chosen will have light crowds for that day.  For many, the cost is the biggest con for not choosing to upgrade to Park Hopper.  For our family, the biggest con would be the time that would be wasted waiting on transportation, then riding from one park to another.  We aren’t a family that needs to go back to the resort for a nap.  We are a family who opens and closes a park and we don’t waste a single precious second of our day.  We plan far in advance of our vacation, so we know that if there is a band at Epcot we want to see, and if the crowd calendar is favorable, we are choosing Epcot for that day.  If there is a special event going on, such as Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and we are planning on going to that event, then it’s Magic Kingdom for us that day (Tip– crowds are ALWAYS lowest for MK on party days.)

Each family is different, however, and you need to choose which of these pros and cons are a priority for you and your family.  Many, many people truly enjoy the flexibility of hopping from park to park to park.  If you are one of those families, and you don’t mind the extra cost or the time it takes out of your day to wait for transportation, then Park Hopping is probably going to benefit you.  If you tend to be like my family, who plans well in advance so crowds aren’t a hindrance and dining reservations won’t take you away from the park you are enjoying, then perhaps you can save yourself some money and just stick with the base tickets.

Are you ready to start planning your magical vacation and enjoy all that Disney has to offer, but you aren’t sure where to start? Contact our recommended travel agent, Patricia at All Dreams for Travel, and she can do all the work for you. Best of all, all of her services are FREE, all you have to do is click here to request a quote!

Hi, I'm a Disney loving wife and mom to two awesome Devos. We love all things Disney and when we aren't at WDW, we are usually planning our next trip there! I love to give tips on how to make your WDW trip better.