Purchasing the right Disney tickets for your family can make or break your budget and limit or maximize your flexibility in the parks. There are pros and cons to both base tickets and park hoppers, but at the end of the day there are a couple of considerations to make to decide which passes will work best for you.
First visit? Base tickets
Base tickets can make your first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort much easier. The parks can already feel overwhelming during a first visit before you even factor in the possibility of park hopping. All too often first time guests purchase park hoppers only to seldom actually park hop during their trips. Not only can park hopping make a first visit more overwhelming, but it can also be difficult to do efficiently when you’re unfamiliar with the parks.
Early bird or night owl? Park hoppers
Getting to the park early (or staying late at night) can have its advantages. If you’re an early bird or night owl, you’ll probably want to take a break at your resort in the middle of the day so you don’t wear yourself out. If this sounds like your touring style, park hoppers can be useful in planning your trip because you can do one park early in the morning followed by a midday break and another park in the evening.
Crave flexibility? Park hoppers
Disney vacations have increasingly become increasingly a planner’s dream, but if you prefer to plan on the go a park hopper may make more sense. With a park hopper you’ll be able to switch parks at a moment’s notice. Whether you like to spontaneously get dinner in Epcot or you’re only visiting the parks for a few days and need to break up your park time, spontaneity is much easier with park hoppers.
Bringing the kids? Or the grandparents? Base tickets
Kids and grandparents tend to take in the parks at a more relaxed pace (or at least they should if you don’t want to wear them out easily!) Getting around the parks with the whole family, both old and young, can be much easier when you do not feel pressured to hit more than one park per day. This point is especially true when visiting with younger kids whose behavior can be more unpredictable. The last thing you’d want to do is drag exhausted kids to another park because you already paid for a park hopper ticket.
On a budget? Base tickets
There is value in purchasing park hoppers, especially if you plan on visiting the parks during Extra Magic Hours since this can really extend the amount of time you can spend in the parks. On the whole however, for a budget-friendly trip base tickets are the way to go. Especially when you’re paying for the whole family, you can save some serious cash by skipping the park hoppers and you can easily plan your trip around visiting one park per day.
Visiting in the off season? Park hoppers
If it’s in the budget, purchasing park hoppers during the off season can certainly come in handy. During the slower times of the year when the parks close earlier it can be helpful to have the ability to hop to a different park. Park hoppers can become even more useful when the Magic Kingdom closes early for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. If you’re not planning on attending the party, you can use a park hopper to visit the Magic Kingdom in the morning and spend the evening at a different park of your choice.
Still not sure?
If you’re still on the fence about which tickets you should purchase for your next trip, there is one more option: Purchase base tickets knowing you can upgrade them to park hoppers during your trip. Sometimes you just can’t predict if you’ll actually end up park hopping, and if you’re not sure it probably isn’t worth paying for park hoppers up front. But you can always purchase base tickets and then pay the difference to upgrade them during your trip if you change your mind!