At Walt Disney World, Park Hopper tickets allow guests to visit more than one theme park on a single day. This is an advantage over base tickets or single-day tickets that only allow you to go to one theme park on any given day (you can enter and exit a theme park as many times in a day as you want, but only visit one park per day). With the coronavirus pandemic and resultant restrictions, Disney had temporarily modified its Park Hopper policies. Guests were not allowed to hop between parks. Now, with the reopening, many people are wondering – Is Disney allowing Park Hopper?
The good news is, yes, Disney’s Park Hopper is back! But with the phased reopening of the Walt Disney World theme parks, there are some restrictions.
Keep reading to find out what Park Hopper during COVID-19 involves – what you can and cannot do and how you should plan your day to make the most of your Park Hopper tickets or annual pass.
I have an Annual Pass. Can I visit more than one Disney theme park in a day? What about those with Park Hopper tickets?
Guests who purchased Park Hopper tickets and guests who hold a Disney World Annual Pass can visit more than one park in a day. However, this is not like the pre-pandemic days when you could go to whichever park whenever you wanted.
There are some modifications to the Park Hopper rules to avoid over-crowding and ensure physical distancing. These new rules allow Disney to manage attendance at the parks, keeping in mind the health and safety requirements of the COVID pandemic.
What are the new Park Hopper rules?
The biggest change is that Park Hopper hours will start at 2 pm every day and last until the park’s scheduled closing time. This means if you go to Magic Kingdom in the morning and want to head over to Hollywood Studios later, you’ll have to wait until 2 pm before hopping to the second park.
The 2 pm time is not written in stone. It can change depending on the day and the park. Disney is therefore advising guests to check the Park Hours calendar and My Disney Experience app for the latest Park Hopper hours.
Do we still need to make a Disney Park Pass Reservation?
Yes, you must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park you plan to visit with your Park Hopper tickets. You will also need to make sure the park you have reserved with Park Pass is the first park you enter on the day of your visit. Meaning, you cannot make a Park Pass reservation for Magic Kingdom and go to Animal Kingdom first. You will have to visit Magic Kingdom in the morning and Animal Kingdom after 2 pm (or whatever the Park Hopper hours are for that day).
At present, you only need to make a reservation for the first park you plan to visit. However, rules can change, so be sure to check the My Disney Experience app before you plan your day.
What about dining reservations and other specialty experiences?
Pre-booked experiences such as Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, or in-park dining reservations do not give you guaranteed access to a Disney theme park. Also, keep in mind that the Park Hopper hours and availability can change on a day-to-day basis. So, if you book Animal Kingdom for the morning and book Droid Depot for, let’s say 2 pm, and plan to hop over to Hollywood Studios in the afternoon, you may find that Park Hopper is not available due to capacity limitations.
The best way to ensure you don’t waste time and money is to pre-book experiences and in-park dining at a theme park where you have a Park Pass reservation. This means if you’re pre-booking Droid Depot or Savi’s workshop, you should plan to have a Park Pass reservation for Hollywood Studios and HS should be the first park you visit that day. Or if you’ve got a lunch reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table, then make a Park Pass reservation for Magic Kingdom and plan to visit here first before hopping to another park.
We’re planning to go park hopping. How can we make dining reservations at the second park?
Let’s say you want to enjoy a specialty dining experience at your second park of the day, for example, dinner later in the evening at a table service restaurant. Disney recommends that you add your party to the walk-in list at table service restaurants after you enter the second park. You can do this through the My Disney Experience app.
Can I join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance later in the day?
To join the virtual queue for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you should make sure that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the first park you visit and that you have a Park Pass reservation for Hollywood Studios. If you’re park hopping and Hollywood Studios is your second park that day, you will NOT be able to join the virtual queue for this experience. You can, of course, enjoy other attractions and areas of the park.
Is Disney allowing cancellations or modifications, given the new Park Hopper rules?
Given the restrictions and updates in policy, Disney is allowing cancellations and modifications of Park Hopper tickets. You should speak to your travel agent or call the Disney Reservation Center to make changes.
Does Park Hopper include Disney’s water parks in Orlando?
Park Hopper tickets do not include Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks. However, the Park Hopper Plus option does include admissions to the water parks. You can also purchase 1-day tickets for the Disney water parks.
If you have unused single-day tickets for the water parks that were active at the time of water park closures due to the pandemic, Disney has extended their validity up to December 31, 2021. If you cannot visit before 12/31/21, you can apply the value of a wholly unused ticket towards the purchase of a Disney parks ticket in the future. If you have an annual pass for the Disney water parks, the validity will be automatically extended for the period the parks were closed during the pandemic.
At the current time, no reservations are required for the two Disney water parks. However, rules can change, so you should check before you go.
Making the most of Disney’s Park Hopper
Given the health and safety requirements due to the pandemic, some attractions and entertainment at Disney World are temporarily closed to accommodate physical distancing, including character greetings, playgrounds, and parades. Other experiences have been modified or have limited capacity. So, you’ll need a little extra planning to make the most of your Park Hopper tickets. If you’re planning to visit more than one Disney theme park in a day and have some must-do experiences, make sure they are open. Then, make a Park Pass reservation for that park and go there first. If you want to enjoy in-park dining or pre-book an experience in the first park, do that. Then, check the Park Hopper hours and availability for the other parks and plan your second park of the day accordingly.