We have been going to Walt Disney World since 2003. We have NEVER upgraded to park hoppers but will be upgrading next year to Park hoppers. I am a big planner and have no idea how to plan fast passes and ADR’s. For example: do you plan your FastPasses for the second park? We are rope drop people. Any help with how to plan my days, FastPasses and ADR’s would be appreciated. I can’t find any tips anywhere.
There are an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to planning and Park Hopping. Without knowing the dates you are planning, it’s really hard to say what is the best plan for you. But I’ll give you some Simple guidelines that I think will help.
Upgrading to Park Hoppers is a Waste?
First off, let me say, I’m not a big fan of adding the Park Hopper option. We have only done it a couple of times in all the years we’ve been going. I will say that now that we are Annual Pass holders (last 3 years), we are enjoying the Park Hopper feature that’s included in an Annual Pass.
It’s my contention that Park Hopping “wastes” time and money. You can plan a day to stay in the same park. It takes at least an hour to switch parks by the time you exit the current park, get on transportation and get to the second park, go through security and the ticket scanner at the new park and then get to the attraction or restaurant you want in the new park.
A couple of years ago, we were in the Magic Kingdom and had a dinner at Via Napoli in EPCOT. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there and that was using the monorail which is pretty quick transportation. We didn’t wait to get on a monorail.
It also costs a lot of money to add the Park Hopping option. Currently (April 2020) adding the Park Hopper option for one day is $85 per ticket. For 2-3 days it’s $95, and 4 or more days it’s $105. For a family of 4 staying the average 6 days, that’s $420. It’s a lot of money.
Dad’s Tips for Park Hopper Planning
Here are my tips for how to Plan when you are using the Park Hopper option (in no particular order):
- Plan Your ADR’s First – the first thing you will want to get set in stone is what ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) you want to try to get and get those made before you work on anything else. That way if you have to move something because an ADR isn’t available on the date you want it you don’t mess up the whole plan.
- The Daily Park Plan Comes Next (ish) – next comes what park(s) on what day. This is kind of done in conjunction with ADR’s. You will want to have a rough plan for which day you want to be in each park thinking about Extra Magic Hours (do or avoid) and how busy the parks will be as you are making ADR’s. Then you rough it out including Park Hopping.
- The FastPass (FP) Plan – Now that you have an ADR plan and a daily park plan it’s time to make a FastPass plan. I’m not a fan of early morning FastPasses. I shoot for mid-day and afternoon. So I’d plan to get my FastPasses in whatever park I’d be in during the middle of the day since you can only schedule FP for one park per day. That being said, I think you need to plan 2 days of FP in Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
That’s the Cliff Notes version of how plan with Park Hoppers. The big thing is getting your daily park plan figured out and filling in the blanks.
Park Hoppers and Rope Drop People
As I mentioned, I’m not a fan upgrading to Park Hoppers and I like to keep the mornings free of FastPasses. But Park Hoppers for Rope Drop People can make sense, especially with Extra Magic Hours.
Of my top 10 ways to avoid crowds, 2 of the top 5 are get to the parks early and use Extra Magic Hours. Perfect for those of us that are early risers and are rope drop people.
We, rope drop people, can get into the parks before the masses show up, then when the crowds come we can hop over to another hopefully less busy park. Go to Extra Magic Hours, stay until about noon and hop since typically the morning Extra Magic Hours park is the busiest. It’s a good way to beat the crowds.
Dad’s Bottom Line
Sheri, there are the basics for FastPass and ADR’s when you add the Park Hopper option to your tickets. Figure out your ADR’s, map out your daily plan then when it comes time, make your FastPass reservations. Simple enough.
I hope that helps.