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Mouseke

About the Column

Is it possible to have too many Disney tips? Well, yes, if they're from your crazy uncle Louie, but not if they're straight from the experts, the folks who plan perfect trips for others day-in, day-out: Disney travel agents! Keith Anderson, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and co-owner of Mouseketrips, has been doing that for years. He's learned a lot about Disney, especially how to save money on a Disney vacation without skimping on the frills or the thrills. Every week, in Disney Travel Tips from Mouseketrips, Keith will distill new Disney wisdom - just for you! Don't tell Uncle Louie...

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FROM: Disney Travel Tips from Mouseketrips Published Saturdays

To Hop or Not to Hop

One of the 'religious' debates waged among the Disney faithful is whether to 'park hop' or whether to stay put in the same park for the entire day. There's no right answer. But, as Keith Anderson explains, there are times to hop and times to stay.

Whether purchasing a Disney World package or purchasing theme park tickets at the gate, the tickets come in two forms: basic tickets or park hoppers.

Years ago, Disney didn't give you that choice. All packages came with length-of-stay tickets that included both hopping and access to auxiliary areas such as water parks and DisneyQuest. With the newish Magic Your Way tickets, you now have a choice, which is usually cheaper than the old length-of-stay tickets.

Park Ticket Primer

Basic Park Passes provide access to the four Disney theme parks, but you can visit only one park per day. What you do one day does not effect the following day, so you can spend all your days in the Magic Kingdom or spend each day in a different park.

However, once you enter a park, that is your park for the day, and the other three parks become off-limits.

The Park Hopping option adds unlimited access to the four Disney theme parks for your entire stay. You can come and go as you please between the parks, with no limit on the number of times you can visit each park during your stay.

Park hopping sounds like a no brainer, but of course there's a cost: about $58 per person. That's not a daily cost; it covers your entire length of stay, whether it's one day or one hundred days. It doesn't sound like a lot of money, but once you figure in a few adults and a few kids, you're shelling out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of visiting multiple parks on the same day.

In Praise of the Park Hopper

So, why hop? I love hopping, and do it every trip.

Here's why it's worth my extra money:

  1. Flexibility  I don't have to be in one park all day long. If a park is crowded, we can leave. If my kids just want to ride a few rides that they missed riding the previous day, we can do that and then move to another park.
  2. Planning  Hopping makes planning easier. I can plan dinner for the restaurants where I want to eat and not have to worry about spending the entire day in 'their' park just to have dinner at one of them. I can also leave a few days open at the end of my trip for the parks we want to visit again, or for the things we missed, without sacrificing my meal schedule.
  3. Crowds  I really like the Extra Magic Hours at night, but they bring in the crowds. All those folks with basic park passes look at the calendar months ahead and think it will be such a great idea to stay at the Magic Kingdom until 2:00 A.M. Yes, well, great, until you realize that you're 'trapped' in the Magic Kingdom with a ton of other people since early that morning who had the same idea. I try to hit several evening Extra Magic Hour parks each trip, but I don't show up until right before normal closing time. Then I don't have to deal with the increased crowds all day in exchange for a few less crowded hours at night.

Hopping isn't for everyone. On short trips, you probably don't need hopper passes, because you can hit one park per day and be done with it. And if you're willing to put in some extra planning, you can have a wonderful trip without any hopping.

Whatever you do, enjoy your trip!

While you're waiting for Keith's next Disney tip, why not ask him to plan your next Disney trip? Mouseketrips does nothing but Disney - and they're really good at it! Hook up with them at their website, through Twitter, or on Facebook.

More: DISNEY TRAVEL TIPS FROM MOUSEKETRIPS

 

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