Welcome to our full guide to Park Hopping in Walt Disney World in 2023. There are lots of changes and announcements being made daily right now, so make sure you check back for any updates! Let’s dive in!
Park Hopping Basics
What Is Park Hopping?
Park Hopping is exactly what it sounds like, hopping between parks in Walt Disney World. This would be visiting 2 or more parks in one day. The four theme parks to choose from are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
How Do You Park Hop at Walt Disney World?
Here are the bare bones assist you MUST have in order to park hop, I will go into more detail on each one below
- You purchase a Park Hopper ticket for Walt Disney World
- You make a Park Reservation for your first park
- You visit your first park
- After 2pm you “hop” to another park
Thats the skinny version, now let’s talk details!
What Are Park Hopper Tickets?
You have to have tickets with the Park Hopper option in order to visit more than one park each day. Base tickets do not offer this feature and will only allow you access to one park per day. The Park Hopper option is an upgrade you will pay extra for ($65+ depending on how many days your ticket is for).
If you already purchased your tickets without the Park Hopper option, you can easily add it on by contacting the place you purchased the tickets from, at the park gate guest relations area or by calling (407) W-Disney directly.
Make A Park Reservation!
After you have your tickets all set and linked into your My Disney Experience app, you will need to make a park reservation. This reservation is for the first park you plan to visit for the day, I suggest going to the park with the earliest closing time first so you have more time after 2pm at your second park (or multiple parks if your going for that!).
You MUST enter the first park that you reserved before you can hop to any other parks!! This just means that you must scan into that park with your magic band, ticket or Magic Mobile before you will be able to visit another park when park hopping begins at 2pm.
When Can I Park Hop?
Currently Disney says park hopping begins at 2pm, BUT this seems to vary on some days. I have seen park hopping begin at 1pm as well and with all the announcements about changes coming to the parks it’s a good idea to check back and make sure you have the accurate time! We will update this post with any changes made to the park hopping schedule as they are announced, but for now count on not being able to park hop until 2pm.
This just means that you cannot enter a second park until 2pm. So if you go to Magic Kingdom at park opening and leave at noon, you will have to kill two hours before you can enter any of the other parks.
You do not have to make a park reservation for the other parks you plan to hop to that day! They are subject to capacity but that has not been an issue that I have witnessed. The only stipulation is that you have to have entered the first park you made a reservation for before hopping to another park.
How Many Parks Can I Hop To?
You can hope to as many parks as you want to after 2pm! If you want to try and tackle the 4 parks in one day challenge, go right ahead! You will sleep great when you’re done but you can do it. Just like with the second park, you will not need a park reservation to enter these parks.
Park Hopping FAQ
Now you know the basics of what you need in order to Park Hop, so now let’s talk about questions that come up with a day of hopping from park to park!
How Do I Get From Park To Park?
Thankfully, there are tons of options when it comes to Disney transportation between parks! Everything from Skyliners to busses but which mode of transportation goes where?! Let’s break it down.
You can travel between all Disney Parks by bus. BUT….they do not start running service from park to park until 1pm right now. Again, this may change in the future as park hopping times are changed or relaxed so keep checking back.
The monorail connects Magic Kingdom and Epcot to one another with a transfer at the Transportation and Ticket Center.
The Disney Skyliner is the newest form of Disney transportation and in my opinion is a must do on your next trip! It’s a very nice ride, no matter where you are going with some really amazing views.
The Skyliner has service to between Hollywood Studios and Epcot with transfer at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
You can travel by boat between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. These pick up and drop off by the International Gateway in Epcot and near the main entrance to Hollywood Studios. These boats are called the Disney Friendship Boats.
Of course you can drive your own personal vehicle from park to park, you will only have to pay the parking fee once and then show your receipt at the entry gate to the next park. But if you have been to Disney before, you know that you can add a lot of walking if you are having to park and walk at every park you visit.
Another option by car is to use a service like Uber, Lyft or Minnie Van that have pick up areas in each park just like the busses. This can get expensive but could be worth it if you are in a hurry and don’t want to wait for Disney transportation.
How Do Lightning Lanes Work When I Am Park Hopping?
If you have purchased Genie+ for the day, it will be good for all parks you plan to visit that day. When you go in to book your Lightning Lanes it will show you all available times for the park you have a reservation for, it will only show you available times after 2pm for all other parks.
This is the same for Individual Lightning Lanes. You will see times throughout the whole day for the reserved park and can purchase Individual Lightning Lanes for after 2pm at all other parks.
As an example, if you are in Animal Kingdom at 11am and see a return time for Slinky Dog Dash in Hollywood Studios for 1:30pm you will not be able to book that! But if you see a return time for Slinky Dog Dash at 2:30pm you WILL be able to book that!
How Should I Plan My Day?
On a day of park hopping I always say “start early and end late”, this will help you make the most of your time in each park! Let’s look at a typical day of park hours to explain better:
- Magic Kingdom – 8am-10pm
- Epcot – 9am-9pm
- Hollywood Studios – 8:30am-9pm
- Animal Kingdom – 8am-7pm
These are the times for the day I am writing this, always make sure you check for the times on your specific park day when planning. So if I was park hopping today, I would start at animal Kingdom because it closes the earliest and I want to make sure I have plenty of time to do what I want to do there and I would end in Magic Kingdom because it is open the latest of all the parks! If you ended your day in Animal Kingdom, you would be done at 7pm as opposed to 10pm.
This is subjective of course and you should plan your park hopping day based off what you and your party want to see and do for that day. Never go into a day thinking you will be able to see and do it all, trust me I’ve tried, you can’t! But you can prioritize what the MUST DO’S are for you and make sure you get those done.
Another big tip on planning your day is to plan for your travel time! We all know that Disney busses can be slow and you may have to wait a while for them. You will not have as much of a problem with waiting if you are using the Skyliner or monorail but you still want to plan out your travel and time for your travel throughout the day.
Park hopping is a lot of fun to me and my family, it’s nice to go from the streets of Hollywood to an African Safari all in one day! But it isn’t for everyone and we have enjoyed many park visits where we only visited one park per day. If you are on a budget, have little ones (or older ones for that matter) that might not make it a full 10-12 hour park hopping day then I would say stick with your base ticket and pick one park per day! You can always add it on when you get here if you change your mind.
On the flip side, if you are only here for a couple of days and really want to visit all 4 parks then splurge on that park hopper option and go go go!! Be sure to know your park hours and if any special ticketed events are happening in any of the parks that may cause them to close early on one of your days and get ready to hop!
I even had friends who did all 4 parks, Disney Springs, a resort, a Disney water park, Disney mini golf and took all forms of Disney transportation in one day! They are crazy, I do not recommend this AT ALL!! They had a blast but said they would never do it again because they were exhausted beyond belief.
So you tell us, how do you feel about park hopping? Do ou have any tips or tricks we may have not mentioned? Let us know below!