Hi, all! My family has been to WDW twice before, but we have never parked hop before. We are heading back to WDW in 2 weeks and are staying at BC. Right now I have 4 day tickets with the intention of doing a different park each day. Planning this trip has felt overwhelming because we have never been to Epcot (so I am tryingto learn that park), we have never stayed at BC before, this is our first time at WDW with G+, and we have a wide age gap between our kids (11, 7, and a nearly 3 year old). I was already on the fence about getting the park hopper + option for our family because of our proximity to Epcot and HS and the fact that we are planning on going to Typhoon Lagoon. Then last night I learned that The Boneyard is closed for refurb during our visit. That was a huge part of my AK touring plan for my younger kids, and I feel like we will probably only do a half-day at AK without it. Any advice or guidance you can offer on hopping? Thanks in advance from a very stressed mama.
You’ll get mixed reactions here. Some people love hopping and some hate hopping.
We recently went with a 7 year old and 4 year old and stayed at CBR. We did not hit all 4 parks, but we did hop each day after nap.
If your youngest needs to nap, it would be nice to have the flexibility to have one person stay behind with the little while the rest of the crew goes to HS or EP, given your resort location.
To add - we had 4 park days and hopped 3 out of the 4 days. Two days we hopped from MK to HS and one day we hopped from EP to MK. It was great for our situation and with the Skyliner.
I think hopping with a 7 and 11 yo is a bit much. It’s ok to h end early one day for AK. Were You really going to spend more than an hour at Boneyard? You could add in another show or trail instead.
Thanks! Trying to balance the interests of an 11 and early 3 year old is much harder than I anticipated, but taking advantage of my youngest’s nap time to park hop to EP or HS is a great suggestion.
BTW - I love Epcot and could easily spend 2 days there and am this coming trip.
That’s how we managed - we even made my 7 year old rest each day.
We tried the first day to end around 7pm without a break and it was not great, so on the other days, we hopped after everyone rested mid-day for an hour or two.
Okay. Thank you both! I think my 11 year old could handle park hopping. He is super easy going and up for adventure. My 7 year probably would crash and burn though. And, taking breaks would benefit everyone, especially given the heat (we are from upstate NY and it is still quite cold here). So much to consider…
How long is your trip in total? You mentioned 4 day tickets but not length of your trip.
FWIW we have never hopped but I’ve thought about it as my kids have gotten older. It makes sense to me with littles that the hop would be to/from the park closest your hotel. So for you for example, morning park AK, break, then walk to EP for dinner. Or stroll to EP morning, break, then bus to MK evening. Assuming your youngest will be in a stroller, being able to walk to a park vs. having to bus and break down the stroller every time makes hopping easier. My kids are 5 and 8 and we have had a stroller until last trip which went well, so have been thinking about hoppers just to take the WL boat to MK as our hop. Otherwise from WL hopping with a stroller felt like a lot of work.
We also don’t take very long trips compared to some here, longest to date has been once 6 nights with 5 day tickets, otherwise 5 nights with 4 day tickets. I thought hoppers would make a short trip feel rushed and didn’t want to hop for the sake of just hopping to get use out of the extra upcharge (which feels like a significant expense for shorter tickets). But my kids would be just as happy hopping to the resort pool.
My 2 cents, either take this trip easy without hoppers to see how your crew does with even 1 park per day, with plans for pool time or Disney Springs as a “hop” for your kids that still have energy to burn; or, if you really think they will not feel fulfilled unless they are stacked with an activity all day, buy hoppers as an insurance plan for that purpose to use with walking distance parks and for extra dining options for dinner.
We’re leaving tomorrow. We had hoppers and ds is 10.
Because it is so freaking hot, we had to leave the parks by noon each day. Took a nice long afternoon break back at yc and hit our second park in the evening.
If you don’t want to hop, you could always go back to the same park. But I definitely recommend a break.
If you are staying at BC, yes, absolutely. You can go to parks in the morning, rest, and then go back out. You can have dinner every night in a different Epcot restaurant if you want.
You didn’t mention if you were the only adult on the trip, but if you aren’t, one of you going back to Epcot at night with your 11 year old could be a special moment for you two. My oldest and I “snuck out” one night, went on Mission to Mars and came right back to the hotel.
It depends on whether you’d be satisfied with what you could accomplish with one day at each park. And would you be disappointed if the weather shortened your day or had rides down, etc. We had 4 day base tickets for our last trip that I ended up changing to PH because I was spending too much time thinking about weather (the trip was in late August, so a definite factor that is probably less of one for your time period). It turned out to be right for us - we definitely had some plans altered and PH allowed us to circle back on other days.
The one drawback was that having it also made us (ok, me) want to squeeze every minute out of it. And that can be dangerous.
We had a similar moment on an evening. My husband took DS4 back to the room around 7pm while DS7 and I got to close down HS with three back to back rides (one ILL, two standby) on ROTR. It was magical and fun.
Here is how I think about the question “Should I hop”
No hopping if…
You have young kids/ strollers
There are people with mobility issues in your group
If it’s your first or even second time
You have many park days
May hop if
Have been to parks multiple times and just want to hit your favorite attractions
Small group or solo
Adults or older kids
You need flexibility for dinner reservations
We have always had park hoppers
Always took afternoon breaks
Brought several toddlers to WDW from 94 to 08.
During trips from 94 to 22 have had elders with us
During those years stayed off property twice and on property about 18 times
Have all but about 2 trips traveled with multiple generations and/or newbies
It’s easy to underestimate the ability of Disney parks to engage toddlers. All they need is a place to sit and watch.
Same with elders
An early afternoon resort rest provides a break from stimulation as well as heat and walking.
Just like packing where you take at least 25% back out of your suitcase cuz it won’t get worn. Expect at least that much of your plan to not get done.
Decide what your trip priority is before you leave home. Ours is making memories. They come in unexpected ways.
Above all - have patience and enjoy!
We’ve parked hopped on both trips we’ve made (and have stayed at Boardwalk villas both time). The ability to pop to Epcot for a meal or fireworks or to DHS for a couple repeat rides on headliner attractions near the end of the night or with a G+ booked earlier in the day makes it worth it to us.
As a side note, if you’re thinking you’ll buy G+, park hopping will help you get value out of G+, e.g. it may be harder to justify G+ for AK but it still helps at AK (esp. if you don’t want to rope drop) but then you can hop to HS from there and get in 3-4 great rides near the end of your day using that same G+.
On our last trip, our family was more interested in repeat rides of the best attractions so G+ and park hopping gave us more ability to do that without waiting in any standby lines.
But there are good strategies regardless of which choice you make, so I wouldn’t overthink this!
I think park hopping is wise if you think you will use it at least half the time. With 4 days, I wouldn’t get it just to park hop after AK. I would have a nice pool evening at BC or go play mini golf and save the money for a character meal or 2. If it is not already in the plan, I will suggest adding extra time at the Conservation Station and the Affection Section. My kids could spend 30-45 mins in the Affection Section easily!
We have done both with DS9. I will say it gave us so much more flexibility for our ADR’s (we are big dining people), but it was EXHAUSTING.
We are returning in June and not doing hoppers and DH is excited about just one park per day! I also had to schedule in two test days this trip for him.
But hoppers yes, if it’s a SHORT trip. You can cover more ground.
If you have more than one adult it might be fun to split up a few times where the youngest child is with one adult and the other kids with another. I did that several times with DD who is 3 yrs younger than older sibs. I’d take her to do all the kiddie stuff and DH would take our 2 older boys to do more thrill type rides. It worked out great. This was just for a few hours at a time and then we’d meet up again.
We did hop a little (over 3 trips, one week each) but not much. I usually did it if I could only get an ADR I wanted at a different park on a certain day, or (at that time) FPP where it worked out best to hop. I did do AK as a half day park on our last visit b/c we just didn’t want to do that much there, and wanted more time at MK.
I think Hopping works out naturally if
You Plan to go back to your resort for a break. We always did and then would go to different park at night. My kids were 9 and 5. We had a stroller for the 5 year old— was so thankful for that!!