Disney Decisions: Is the Park Hopper Pass Worth the Expense?

When you're planning your family vacation to Disney World, the park offers a variety of ticketing options to best suit your individual preferences. This  "Magic Your Way" ticket program allows visitors to purchase a base ticket and add on additional options, including the Park Hopper, the Water Park Fun and More, and the FastPass+ packages.

Disney World's base ticket allows each guest entry into one park per day, but with Park Hoppers, guests can start the day in the Magic Kingdom, then "hop" to another park like Epcot for dinner and Illuminations without buying a second ticket. Still, at an extra $55 to $69 per ticket, is the Park Hopper worth the expense for your family?

Weighing out the pros and cons of this extensive pass could save you money—or provide a better experience for you and your family overall, depending on what your plans are for your Disney World vacation.

Edited by Dawn Henthorn, Florida Travel Expert

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    Reasons to Get the Park Hopper

    Disney World Rides
    ••• Purchase the "Park Hopper" option at Disney World to visit any park on any day. © The Walt Disney Company Photos/Dawn Henthorn

    The Park Hopper option is worth the additional cost if you are traveling without small children and you want to enjoy the day split between several of the parks. For couples or families with older kids that enjoy dining in World Showcase, the Park Hopper is a great deal as you can visit a different park each morning and then head to Epcot for dinner at Le Cellier or Teppan Edo.

    One of Disney's Resort perks is being able to take advantage of Disney's Extra Magic Hours program. With a different theme park open for an extended time period either in the morning or evening in Disney World, guests can visit one park during the day and switch to another late in the day to take advantage of the less crowded "extra" hours.

    The Park Hopper option also makes sense for thrill riders—you can ride Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, and the Rock n' Roller Coaster in a single day—if you dare.

    If you are heading to Disney World for a special event, like Mickey's Not So Scary...MORE Halloween Party or Epcot's Food & Wine Festival, the Park Hopper will allow you to visit the event but still enjoy the other theme parks as well.

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    Pass on the Park Hopper

    Family with small children enjoying Astro Orbiter with Space Mountain in the background.
    ••• Small children will have a "blast" on Disney's Astro Orbiter in Tomorrowland. © The Walt Disney Company

    Families traveling with infants or toddlers should bypass the Park Hopper as most family groups move slowly, and between travel time and the additional time needed to transport strollers and gear, it is easier to settle in one park for the day and you may find that you don't have time to actually use the Park Hopper at all.

    If you simply prefer to visit a single park per day and enjoy some of Disney World's recreational offerings, then pass on the Park Hopper. Visit a park each day, then golf, swim in your resort pool, or get a massage at one of Disney's on-site spas.

    Guests with disabilities may not get the full benefit of the Park Hopper option, either. Instead, these guests should consider picking up a captioning or audio device at Guest Services and settle in one park for the day to enjoy it at a comfortable pace.

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    MyMagic_FastPass.jpg
    ••• MagicBands give FastPass+ access. Mark Ashman/Walt Disney Parks

     If you are getting the Park Hopper pass, you'll also want to purchase the FastPass+ ticket, which allows you to schedule out riding the bigger attractions, essentially skipping most of the lines at the park. This, paired with the Park Hopper, will ensure you and your family get the most out of your park experience.

    Although the Park Hopper and FastPass+ do cost upwards of an additional $100, the amount of time you save not waiting in lines is definitely worth the cost, especially if you have older kids who want to do all of the things!

    However, you might miss some of the features and entertainment available only to guests who wait in line for the parks' biggest attractions, so if you have younger children who really love all the interactive features of the line, you might want to pass on both the Park Hopper and the FastPass+.

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    Kristoff and Olaf wave from atop the ski lift at Disney's Blizzard Beach waterpark.
    ••• Kristoff and Olaf will kick off the Frozen Games at Disney's Blizzard Beach on May 27, 2016. © The Walt Disney Company

    One note about the Park Hopper Pass: it doesn't allow you access to Disney World Resort's mini-park attractions, which include Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf, and Disney's Winter-Summerland Miniature Golf.

    To gain access to all of these parks like you would with the Park Hopper Pass for larger attractions, you'll need to purchase an additional "Water Parks Fun and More" pass.

    Evaluating whether or not this option is worth the price, though, is an additional decision you'll have to make before you finalize your plans, so be sure to check out our guided (linked above) to decide before you go!