In the last 15 years, I can count 8 trips that I have taken to the Walt Disney World Resort. I know, I know- half of you dear readers believe that number to be high, while the other half think it’s too low! My family has now visited 5 times together and this past trip in March, we did several “firsts!” Firsts, you say? Yup. One of the amazing things about Walt Disney World, is that there seems to ALWAYS been something we have never done before.
Today, I will share how our family used the Park Hopper option for the first time. I have always been a big believer in the “one park each day” style of park touring. For me and my family, it came down to time. We already split up our days with nap times for my young children and there is just SO much to see at each park, it seemed silly to me to divide up the days. Typically, we would schedule at least 2 days in Magic Kingdom, one day at the other theme parks and always a down day for resort hopping and swimming at our hotel. But after some research (and reading posts like “To Hop or Not to Hop“) I started to change my mind.
This past trip though was very short. In fact- we would only have time to be in the parks for 3 days. The very idea of skipping Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios made my girls sad and quite honestly, I would have been disappointed myself. So, we decided we would add the Park Hopper option to our tickets. Our girls are old enough that we don’t have to nap each day, so I was counting on that giving us a bit more time.
We only ended up using the Park Hopper option on one day of our trip- and boy did we make it count! Our plan would start with an early morning at Animal Kingdom and we would head towards Hollywood Studios in the afternoon. When planning my Fastpass+ selections, I purposely chose to book FP’s at our “afternoon” park because I did not want to miss out on Toy Story Mania! for our family.
When we arrived at Animal Kingdom, we had reservations at Tusker House for breakfast. This is one of our FAVORITE meals and we wanted to start the day off with a big breakfast (Be sure to watch for my upcoming review of Tusker House!). After breakfast, we headed straight back to the Kilimanjaro Safari’s and got in the standby line. Because it was still early, the line was not too long and we enjoyed our tour. We headed out to find Minnie Mouse, as she was not at breakfast and then walked towards Dinoland for a few rides over in that area. We had plenty of time to catch a show, but we decided to just head back to the hotel for a rest, because our girls were showing some signs that they were worn out from our breakneck speed through the parks in the 2 days prior.
After our nap, we got up and headed over to Hollywood Studios. As I said before, we had some FastPass+ selections to use this afternoon, so we headed over to start our evening. The original plan was to stay to watch the new Symphony in The Stars show, however, as it still early and we accomplished all we came to do we decided to head back to the resort so we could get started on the packing.
As we were walking out, I looked at my husband and said “We have park hoppers! Why don’t we take the boat to Epcot and walk through- just for the fun of it!” He didn’t like this idea… but my girls thought it sounded like a blast. So, we hopped on a boat, and walked through World Showcase towards the front of the park.
My girls noticed one of the playgrounds set up for the Flower and Garden Festival, and asked to play. Sure, why not? In a funny turn of events, we actually ended up staying and watching IllumiNations together.
Will I use the Park Hopper option again? I’m not sure. It was fun and it worked out perfectly for this trip, but I am not completely on board with needing the option if we are planning a longer trip. Of course, Disney has been attaching Park Hopper tickets to some of their vacation specials, so it may happen!
What do you think? Are you a fan of the Park Hopper option or do you stick to the one-park-a-day touring style? Make sure to let us know by reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+. We love interacting with you on Social Media! You can also sign up for Magical DIStractions newsletter and watch videos on our YouTube channel. We also have a Magical DIStractions Facebook group where you can chat, ask questions and get help for our knowledgeable Magical DIStracted staff!