Disney World Crash Course #1 - Base Ticket vs. Park Hopper 101
One of the most common misunderstandings I run into from my clients relates to Disney World tickets. As a Disney veteran even I admit it can be very confusing. But as the first class in the Pink Ear Pixie's "Disney World Crash Course" I'm here to disspell any of the myths.
Listen up! Tickets to Disney World are broken down into TWO different types. The Magic Your Way Base Ticket. And the Park Hopper ticket. What's the difference and how will it affect your visit to the World?
Magic Your Way Base Tickets
Base Tickets are used when your family wants to visit ONE park per day. That means you are only allowed to enter one of the four main Disney World parks each day. Base Tickets are available for 1 day to 14 days.
- You CANNOT visit one park in the morning and then skip over to another park for the evening.
- You CAN visit one park in the morning, leave the park and then re-enter the SAME park that evening.
- You CANNOT make dining reservations for breakfast inside one park and then dining reservations for dinner the same day inside a different park. By only being able to enter ONE of the two parks with a Base Ticket you are not able to dine in more than one park per day.
- If you have a 5 day Base Ticket you can only enter ONE park PER day. You cannot use your 5 days worth of tickets within 4 days by entering more than one park per day. It's a 5 DAY Base Ticket, not a 5 PARK Base Ticket.
Park Hopper Option
Technically the Park Hopper is not a type of ticket - it's an option that can be added on to a Magic Your Way Base Ticket to allow you to enter more than one park per day. This is an option that is great for families that want flexibility when entering the Disney World themeparks. But I say "proceed with caution" as oftentimes a Park Hopper is a costly add-on that some families do not benefit from.
- You CAN visit one park in the morning and another park in the evening.
- You CAN visit ALL FOUR main Disney World theme parks in one day.
- You CAN dine in one park for breakfast and a different park for dinner if you'd like.
What's the best option for your family?
There is not a simple answer to this question. It really, really depends on many factors.
As I have found out after working with many families during my time as a Disney specialist, every family is unique. Some families benefit greatly from the Park Hopper while others find they rarely use it. If you are able to "hop" between parks at least twice during your stay then it will probably be a benefit for you.
Another thing to consider is how flexible your dining options are going to be. If there is a possibility that you will need to dine at a restaurant for breakfast in one park and dinner inside a different park, all based on reservation times that are available, then you may want to think about the Park Hopper.
It's also best to have a Park Hopper if you are planning to take advantage of the Extra Magic Hours at the parks. For instance if the Magic Kingdom has early entry at 8:00 a.m. for Resort guests and you enter the park at 8:00 a.m. and then realize around lunchtime that the park is really crowded (which tends to be the case with Extra Magic Hours), with a Park Hopper you have the option of leaving that park and heading to a less crowded park.
Something else that needs to be mentioned - transportation and the locality of your Resort. The Park Hopper option can be a great value to guests who are staying at a Disney Resort close to the parks. For instance, the Resorts on the Monorail are very convenient to the Magic Kingdom and even Epcot. If you are staying at one of these resorts you may want to consider a Park Hopper because it's so easy to hop on the Monorail and head to the Magic Kingdom for a quick stop. Or the Boardwalk Resorts are another example. Being right outside the back gate of Epcot and only a boat ride away from Hollywood Studios, these are also great resorts that make sense to have a Park Hopper to enter the closest park whenever you feel the need.
What's the cost difference?
I've outlined the cost of Disney tickets before, so let's recap:
Disney World tickets are designed to make your longer stays "less per day". So if you have a 4 day Magic Your Way Base Ticket the adult cost per day is - $56.25. A 4 day is more economical per day than a 2 day - for instance:
- 2 day base ticket - $78 per day (about $156 total)
- 4 day base ticket - $56.25 per day (about $225 total)
Now, for the Park Hopper option you are technically "adding" that on to your Magic Your Way Base Ticket. The cost is an extra $57.51 (includes tax) per person. The cost is exactly the same for adults and children. This can really add up BUT if your family likes flexibility then I highly recommend it.
Check the full list of Disney World ticket pricing here.
That's okay - and perfectly normal! As I mentioned, Disney World tickets can be confusing and part of my job as your personal Disney travel specialist will be to help you determine which type of ticket makes the most sense for your family. Don't fret - we'll work it out! Contact me today and let's get started planning your dream vacation.
Next up - Disney World Crash Course #2 - Key to the World Card 101