There are two main types of Disney World park tickets: A Magic Your Way base ticket which allows you to visit one park per day (you may come and go to that one park as many times as you like that day) and a parkhopper, which allows you to visit as many Disney Parks as you like per day for however many days you have on your ticket, without limitation. The advantage of the parkhopper is that you can park hop to avoid crowds, visit a different park later at night for dinner or to see a nighttime show, or just leave when you want to try something different. It also allows you more flexibility in your trip planning.
The only downside, of course, is the price: At a flat fee of $58 (as of 2012) per person per ticket (whether it’s a one or ten-day ticket), the cost can really add up. For a family of four, you could have dinner in a signature restuarant or take everyone to one of the nighttime parties like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Or you could just save the money. Despite the cost, it can be daunting to plan a trip with no hopping, making the decision to purchase a hopper one of the more difficult ones people make when it comes to planning their trip.
Here’s my advice: Don’t buy a parkhopper before you travel unless you’re absolutely positive you’ll use it.
Why? Because you can always add it later if you find you need it. I love the convenience and I always add the hopper, but it’s a very personal thing based on how you tour the parks and frankly, that can change from trip to trip. Some groups, particularly those with very young children or older folks, may find that parkhopping is impractical. On the other hand, a young couple visiting for a short weekend may want to see as much of the parks as possible; they’ll definitely want the option.
Ultimately, if a client tells me they’re on the fence about the hopper, I tell them to wait, and this is what I would tell anyone. Wait until you’ve toured the parks a day or two. At that point, if you find that you’d like to park hop, simply add it to your ticket. You can add hoppers at your resort’s concierge desk or at the parks at any time during the 14-day period your ticket is good. It takes only a few minutes.
And if you don’t need it, that $54 you saved can buy a lot of Dole Whips and Mickey head attenna toppers!