I’ve been to Disney many times before, but generally for short trips where we’ve toured commando-style and done rope-drop-to-close in a single park. This time, my mother & I are going for a longer girls trip (8 nights, 7 park days) and we will have hoppers for the first time (mom will have an AP, so it didn’t make sense for her to be able to hop and me not). What are your top tips for using them? We’re going during MVMCP but won’t be doing a party, so I’m already planning two party day mornings at MK and to hop over one night for HEA. Other than that, I have no idea how to make best use of the hoppers – what are your best tips?
When we go, we get up SUPER EARLY and go to ride the hard-to-get rides at one park, then continue with our day. This could mean a breakfast somewhere (like Brunch-at-the-Top at CR, or some other breakfast fun), or we snack on a very LIGHT breakfast and coffee while waiting for Rope drop, do the ride(s), then transfer to another park for the touring w/ our FP+.
This is our strategy for Flight of Passage this year, I’ll let you know how it turns out.
We then either lunch and go to the resort to nap during the heat of the day, then back to a park, OR we nap, then have an early dinner at the park we’re going to that evening.
With a longer stay, I can’t recommend NAP TIME highly enough. My opinion, totally depends on you.
MVMCP is a busy thing, so you could enjoy the party after a nap, all refreshed and ready for action! But best to check out other blogs from people that have done it last year to see their tips and tricks. MNSSHP is kinda our thing, different crowd levels and strategies.
I love, love, love park hopping. Have fun!
~ Josie ~
Do you not find that getting up early and then staying up late to hit your evening park is exhausting even with a nap? I am an 8+ hours of sleep a night kind of girl, and I do NOT function well without it (think how many people get “hangry” but for sleep). That’s what is holding me back from adopting that strategy – the idea, for example, of staying for illuminations and then having to be up to rope drop another park the next morning is exhausting just to think about. We’ve done it in the past on trips, but that was only for one or two days, not a whole week!
We will definitely not be doing the party – did MNSSHP on our last trip and found it totally underwhelming and not worth the money. (I know lots of people love it, but it was not for us!)
The HEAT is the biggest factor for us, and napping during the heat of the day is a big deal to help us relax.
I know people always say “build in a rest day”, but we have a hard time actually DOING it, b/e park hoppers and the like. New attractions, the TV telling me the park is open, and I’m ready to go NOW, even though it’s 166 days away… lol.
We don’t do the early every-single-day. Mostly because, like you say, sleep is a good thing. It depends on the park plan for the day, the hours, the crowd counter, etc.
Waiting in line for FOP last year multiple times in a row gave me blisters. Not all the walking, just the standing in the heat. We loved that ride, so we build in early days that don’t interfere with previous nights if we do fireworks, etc.
Another BIG factor is that I’m a planner, and I plan all of the time, the rest, the food, down to the packing. We have pre-packed (packing cubes) outfits for super-busy days, like the MNSSHP (costume all packed for the day, etc), and travel days, so that we can grab our “cube” and get ready fast.
Also, coffee… lots of coffee. lol
I don’t always stick with the plan, because like you say, rest is needed. However, we don’t do every fireworks night at every park, so that’s not necessarily a factor for us.
Park hopping is great when you want to do dining in one park and tour, and tour the PM and maybe dine in another park. EMH’s, the festivals, the weather… all can make you suddenly get a bit impulsive and want to go elsewhere.
ALSO, and this is just us… AK isn’t a full-day park for us. Aside from Pandora, we’re not crazy about the majority of the attractions there. I love Epcot, but I hear that others aren’t fond of it, and that’s kinda the point. You can do the stuff you love, leave, and go elsewhere.
BIGGEST POINT, for us with park hopping, is try to schedule your FP+ things EARLY in the day. Just get 'em done, and then you can add more as the day goes on. Once you’re in cue and have scanned in for your first FP+, you can MODIFY another FP+ if an earlier time is available.
It’s called SCAN-MODIFY-GRAB, and you can find all sorts of you tube videos on it. Really depends on the crowd levels. But you can totally hit up the hard-to-get rides early (like 7D @ MK), and keep the FP+ magic going by modifying your NEXT FP+ if you can find an open time.
Totally depends on how many people in your party, crowd levels, etc. Tier 1 rides are harder to get, but early morning people do cancel their FP+ rides if they are stuck at breakfast, waking up late, etc. It happens.
Lower tier rides (like Haunted Mansion, Pirates, etc) are easier to grab and modify.
I could go on and on, but just look up the videos, and see if that’s something you might enjoy… or not! It’s vacation, you should do you and have a GREAT time!
Ooops, should have mentioned… once you have used your THREE FP+ options for the day, you can schedule your 4th… then your 5th… and so on.
As long as there are FP+'s available, you can schedule the next and the next and the next all day. Not at parties, just regular touring times.
There are no limits to the amount of FP+'s you can get. People think three is the limit, and that’s not true.
You can also do the 3 FP+ in one park, and then schedule another FP in another park. You have to wait until you’ve used all the FP+ options in that park, unfortunately, but that’s good to know.
Even if you think there’s no hope, never give up! Modify, modify, modify your FP+ items, people drop them more than you realize.
I’m hopping on my next trip for the first time in awhile!
I am trying to plan in chunks of time -
Open until 1pm Park #1
1pm-4pm midday break
5pm- done (either tired or after fireworks) Park #2
Even though I am splitting my days, I am still planning the equivalent of 1 HS, 2 AK, 2 EP, 2 MK.
I only do a few rope drops on my trip because it takes a lot of time to leave the parks and come back later IMO. I also don’t want to rush around trying to get everything done. Too many of my friends and co-workers that go end up being miserable because they did rope drop almost every day, had a mid-day nap break and then stayed till closing and they were still flat out exhausted.
I want to enjoy my vacation personally lol.
We like to have some fun and/or down time moving from park to park! We like to use the boat to go between DHS and Epcot and Disney Springs. Often times it will take a little longer to use the boats BUT is a calm and comfortable relaxing trip compared to the bus system for our family. Of course using the monorail to go between MK and Epcot is fun too.
@imaginette It’s funny you say that AK isn’t even a full day park for you, since it’s our absolute favorite and we are planning one full and one half day there! Honestly, I think I’d skip MK before I’d give up AK – the peace and serenity of the animal trails early in the morning and the incredible level of detail in the theming in Asia and Africa are basically my favorite things at WDW. We’re doing the Wild Africa Trek this time too, which I am so excited for! We’re also planning to spend an hour or so relaxing at Nomad Lounge, which we were very disappointed to miss out on due to time constraints on our last trip. Our other favorite area is the World Showcase at Epcot, which I’ve also got a noon-or-so-to-close time blocked out for.
I think the fastpass strategy you outline is great if your focus is on rides (and I’ve used it before when doing more family-oriented trips), but we really want to use this trip to slow down, de-stress, and take our time with the parks – enjoy the theming, try the various bars and lounges, etc. Constantly refreshing MDE seems like it might be counter to that? Do you find it pulls you away from taking in the experience of the parks?
@SillySamsMom I’ve been scheduling in that “block” system as well, but what I’m finding is that I always want to use the evening block for something other than a park! There are what seems like 20 excellent new TS restaurants at Disney Springs that we’re dying to try, we want to do a combination monorail christmas decor tour & bar crawl, we want to explore the boardwalk and try out AbracadaBAR, and we want to try some of the signature restaurants at the various resorts. So I never seem to have us hopping back to a park once we leave – there’s always some non-park thing I think we’d enjoy more.
@joejccva71 Exactly what I’m afraid will happen to us! There’s only so many late-night-to-early-morning transitions I can handle.
@katiecoppe Good call on the boats and monorails – almost seems like an attraction in itself, compared to the buses!
Disney Springs is hard. Totally. I can spend hours there by accident. Since it’s so spread out, it isn’t like you can easily pop in and out at different restaurants either.
On our 9 night trip, we are only planning 2 DS dinners. Chef Art Smith (repeat from last trip) and Dlux Burger. Both were requested by DH and so I must book them.
Where are you staying?
Pop Century. We will have a car, though, so we won’t be relying on the buses to get to and from Disney Springs, which I’ve heard can be a pain.
I love pop. And although the buses are crowded, they are awesome cuz they don’t share with any other hotels.
I’m glad to hear you like it – we’ve never stayed there before. The refurbished rooms look awesome to me (but I love that ikea / hospital-chic vibe they’ve got going on, which I get some people don’t find very “Disney”). We’re going value resort on this trip so that we can put our budget into splurging on dining
My DH and I are not rope drop people so we love to stay at an Epcot resort and start most days with late breakfast/ early lunch in Epcot. then we hop to whatever park we are doing that day. We found that hitting the parks when most people are taking lunch breaks and heading back to the resorts for a break made lines quite reasonable. And if it rained a little the crowd thinned out even more. Seemed like most of the families went running for the exits!
I rode Splash 3-4 times and BTMR 2x in a row one morning when everyone stayed in due to a sprinkle. Poncho-up and carry on!
It’s especially silly when people avoid riding Splash in the rain!