So we just got a great deal on a 4 day Hopper that is $100 cheaper/person than the 3-day Hopper that we were originally going to buy, but now I have to re-do all of my touring plans in the next week prior to booking FPs! How much is too much hopping? How much should I go by crowd levels to determine which parks on which days? Also, how can I anticipate which FPs I will be able to get? Any additional advice about planning would be appreciated!
Since you have 4 days you may not need to pack too much in per day. It really depends on what you want to accomplish. I think most people who hop start in one park, leave to take a break and then return to a second park. I love the idea of just taking the monorail from Epcot to MK or the boats from HS to Epcot but with kids you maybe better off leaving for a break and then return. Also depends on which parks you want to focus on and which night time shows you are hoping for. CL may not come into play too much unless you are looking to take advantage of low crowds prior to a party and then hopping or if you are taking advantage of EMH and then leaving to go to another park.
Of course harder to get FP will be more likely to get later in your trip so putting AK for FOP and HS for SDD near the end if you want them makes sense.
Although I always have hoppers (the Mil Salute tix come that way), I only hop if there is a specific reason to, not just because I can. For 4 days, one day per park works well for me, and if one park closes early (AK used to close at 5:00 PM most days) I would hop to a park that was opened later.
You have to assume that a hop will probably eat up an hour, gate to gate. If you plan on taking a resort break mid day anyway, no harm no foul, but if you don’t , you’ll lose out on touring time.
Here’s my basic hopping strategy:
Am park = whatever park has am EMh
Leave after you get whatever you planned to do, done. I usually HOPE to be done after some event - maybe an attraction, or a lunch, or whatever the event might be.
Enjoy the pool and chill while everyone else is in long lines in the heat.
Pm park = whichever park has the lowest crowd level + pre-booked 3 fp’s, and nighttime show.
I try to get each night show in, so it gets pieced together like a puzzle. Usually the pm park is very chill. 3 fp’s and the nighttime show. I also try to do each park during the day and at night. If it makes sense, I will schedule the 3fp’s at the am park, but then when I’m done with fastpassable rides, I will start looking for a fp at the pm park. If I can’t find any, I’ll only plan on doing non-fp needing attractions at the pm park, and the nighttime show.
We are early risers so this works best for us. The downside of being early risers is that we go to bed early. The night events - sound like fun, but we’d never last.
Pro tip: If you are staying EP area or Mk area, you save a LOT of travel time for hopping. I stay EP area - able to walk to two parks in a snap.
I do almost the exact same type of strategy as you.
Although it doesn’t really matter if it’s an EMH morning or not. I generally do the EMH evenings though. But it’s park AM, have lunch, leave go back to resort for pool/break, then go to dinner and then park at night for some rides and nighttime show.
I’ll also usually try to take advantage of an 8am ADR for breakfast, then (while not hurrying to eat, we don’t eat slow either), and then use that advantage to get to a big attraction first. So in MK, we’ll do Be Our Guest for breakfast and then be one of the first ones for SDMT. In Epcot, we’ll do Garden Grill, then be one of the first in line for Test Track, etc.
I stayed at the Beach Club last time (May 2018 trip) and it was really nice to walk to either Hollywood Studios or Epcot. We loved walking so there were a few times where we purposely packaged an Epcot Day and DHS night so we would just walk back and forth and walk off our food lol.
I almost always start at a park with AM EMH. When I hop to a park, it’s usually one with PM EMH. EP had the best dining options, so I’m more likely to hop there than other parks - especially from DHS.
If we had PH I would do Epcot only as an evening since WS opens so late and it has the best food. I’d probably do MK and HS mornings with Epcot evenings for two of the days.
Thank you all for the tips!