Dear Disney: Please Let Us Park Hop

    It has now been more than a year since Disney World reintroduced Park Hopping to their theme parks. When it was reintroduced back in January 2021, it came with restrictions. Those same restrictions are still in place today. Most notably, you can’t park hop until 2pm. It doesn’t matter if you have breakfast scheduled at Cinderella’s Royal Table and want to take advantage of low crowds at Disney’s Animal Kingdom after that – you’ll have to wait until 2pm.

    When Disney announced the return of park hopping, they said that they were implementing modifications as part of their ongoing efforts to focus on health and safety. That is, the 2pm restriction was put in place as a COVID-19 modification. In the initial announcement, Disney said that the park hopping rules were “designed to help us continue managing attendance in a way that fosters physical distancing.” Physical distancing is not monitored or enforced at Disney World and hasn’t been for quite some time. By and large, Disney has abandoned most health and safety measures that were implemented following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Even if we don’t consider the health and safety aspect of the park hopping rules, Disney also said that park hopping hours could start sooner than 2pm – that hasn’t happened over a year later.

    At this point, park hopping restrictions are only in place to benefit The Walt Disney Company – not the guest. The restrictions are arbitrary and unnecessary, and they should be removed. Guests are asked to pay upwards of $65 per ticket, per day for the “privilege” of being able to park hop. While Disney brings back other offerings in an effort to return to normal such as parades and dining locations, how about dropping the ridiculous 2pm park hopping restriction as well?

    Disney, while we’re at it, how about resuming Annual Pass sales again?

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    1. “Entitled” dosent begin to color this article in both tone and substance, if you can even call it substance. A private company can outright restrict park hopping, leave it in place or any combination of the two… charge for ride cutting “privileges” or decide to close the park early. Lobby and complain though you may, you play by their rules or just park your dollars somewhere else. It’s all the same, it’s just a shame to see this lazy level of articles begin to sift through this blogs. Funny how utility fades, but blog options abound. Do better.

    2. I am with you Mike. The park hopping time restrictions need to end. There is not really a reason to leave them in place now aside from wanting to keep people in their selected parks until after lunch time. DAK is really a morning park with little to offer in the way of quality food.

      The free market approach does work in some cases, but not when you are already invested with DVC and annual passes which are prepaid. How is it possible to walk away and take your dollar elsewhere?

    3. Fact is as long as they can pack the parks everyday, the consumer will generally suffer with higher prices, lower quality, more restrictions. There is a way to fix it … but the chances of doing it are actually very low.

    4. With you all the way, its a simple thing that has really (negatively) changed my experiences.
      It has destroyed Food and Wine for me.

      But, Bob C, keep driving the stock price closer to its 52 week low. You have added a ton of restrictions and destroyed a lot of market capitalization, kudos! Down 30 percent off of your high, right on. Park lovers hate what’s going on, and stock holders do as well. Good recipe.

      • Food and Wine? Because you want to leave Epcot before 2pm or because you want to arrive there from another park before 2PM. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

        • I want to arrive from another park and grab lunch. I would like to do that before 2 PM. I am not making a park reservation every day for a week at EPCOT so I can eat my lunch there.

    5. Park hopping is just not feasible anymore. I get that they are trying to get a handle on park attendance, but they used to do a better job of that before the park passes. Sure they’re trying to pare down staffing and resources for the parks to “exactly” what’s needed and no more, but they aren’t getting it right anyway. In most cases it’s too thin for just what’s there.

    6. I use to like and stay at the Boardwalk-area hotels due to their proximity to Epcot and all of the dining options. One thing I really enjoyed doing was popping over to Les Halles for breakfast before I went about my day. Sometimes I would walk through Epcot to the main gate and grab the monorail to Magic Kingdom. I know it takes a lot longer, but I like the monorail and I can’t do this anymore. Let’s say I have a park reservation to Magic Kingdom in the morning and plan on park hopping to Hollywood Studios later in the evening for a dining reservation at the Brown Derby, and I wake up in the morning and I’m exhausted and want to sleep in and spend time at the pool. That means I have to make my way to MK, scan my band, and THEN go to HS for my reservation, or get charged for not cancelling 24hrs in advance. It all seems so rigid and I liked to be able to go where I wanted, when I wanted. I don’t think I’ll buy the park hopper tickets next time I go, unfortunately.

      • You are free to go to any park you want without reservations and hop to any park at any time you want…

        At Universal!

      • Being forced to go to a park is ridiculous. They should at least drop the reservation requirement after 2PM as well. We bought annual passes and have been on two trips so far in the past 4 months, for a total of 13 park days. On two of those days, we changed our minds (i.e. slept in) about our first park, but as Laurie says we still had to go there, swipe enter the park, and then we immediately turned around and left! It’s a complete waste of time.

    7. Amen! The 2pm restriction is absurd when we are paying to park hop. I’m ok with moving it up a few hours if they need to get an understanding on daily crowds, but 2pm is way too late. Animal kingdom closes early each day, and 2pm does not provide adequate time to hop there.

      • I don’t think any of this has to do with Covid crowds or “caring” about guests. If you’ve been ready anything since November/ December up to last weekend, the parks are jam packed? Why are we still having to make reservations and wait till 2:00 to hop? Seems like the proverbial lip service, to give a fake sense of being “ careful.”

    8. Since corvid disney has really screwed up, everything on mobile, from booking parks, rides, food, hotels etc where is the fun on been on your mobile for most of your holiday disney suppose to be fun but most of the time you have your head in a mobile phone
      Get rid of it all, go back to fun disney instead of spoiling family holidays by putting up cost, changing for rides, long queues than they were before & consistly on mobile phone to pay & book everything
      Worse idea disney has ever done it spoils the whole experience who wanrs to be consistly on your mobile phone while on holiday
      Get rid disney 😡😡😡
      Disney got Greedy, thinking more of the rich than for all types of families

    9. Our last visit to the world and we decided park hopping was not worth it. We found one park a day more than enough and I can tell you even if they open Park Hopping again I don’t think I will ever pay for it again. Now at Disneyland even with hopping restricted till 1pm I will pay for that every time.

    10. Meanwhile down the street at Universal:
      NO restrictions on park hopping
      NO need for reservations
      NO overpriced FastPass needed on most days
      NO blackouts on annual pass sales.

      So tell me why Disney is better? Answer: it’s not. The magic is gone, replaced by making money no matter the cost.

      • I don’t like the universal rides. They are all 3D and feel completely interchangeable with each other. The atmosphere at Disney has always better too. But Disney has ruined that for me. There’s no spontaneity anymore. I can’t hop in for lunch at epcot when I’m in florida. Paying for individual rides is crazy. Anyway I go this spring because I already had an annual pass but then I’m done. Time to spend my vacation dollars elsewhere.

    11. Mobile phones meh i don’t want to take it on holiday ffs I used to go to Disney to forget about home for a cpl of weeks now they make phones basically a must have to go to the parks, well screw you chapek I like the parks but not enough to justify taking my phone to book a ride it even sounds mad so yes I did change my plans now I’m doin universal,sea world and Busch gardens amongst other things aint stepping a foot in disney till chapeks gone

    12. Back in September 2021, my daughter and I were inside HS, at around 10:30 a.m. I went onto the Disney app and made a reservation for EPCOT. We were inside EPCOT 90 minutes later without an issue. This was on a weekday.

    13. I wanted to just park hop for 1 day because of dinner reservations in MK but we have tickets to Epcot the same day. I was told I CANT do that. I would have to add park hopper for all 4 days. This definitely is not patron friendly just park making more money- this trip is becoming stressful- shouldn’t be that way. And you know the difficulty we had to procure dinner reservations at Be My Guest!!!!

    14. I think there is something that Americans don’t realize, which is they actually control what businesses do far more than how journalists want us to believe that businesses dictate to the public how they are run. Airlines are a classic example. Journalists generally disparage airlines for poor service, overpriced flights, uncomfortable seats and so on as examples of corporate greed. But I’m reminded of the time when I was flying out of MSP on Southwest and the counter was next to Spirit Airlines. The line at Southwest was maybe 5 people but Spirit was at least a hundred (it was over 3 queue lines long). All I heard from the Spirit folks were grumblings about how crummy Spirit was and how they needed to improve everything. As Michael O’Leary, the CEO of RyanAir famously said “My airplanes are full of people who said they would never fly with me again”.

      We may want Disney to bring back those things we miss, but wanting doesn’t translate to reality until a business sees the value of what you’re asking for. If I run a business, and my profit is $$$$ by doing A, but my profit is $ by doing B and all I hear from customers is “I want B”, I’m not given much incentive until the $$$$ starts swinging toward B.

      If you complain and say a company will go bankrupt by doing A, it simply won’t happen if the dollars never swing toward B, no matter how unhappy you are.

      That being said, it is the responsibility of the CEO to look at the long term and see if A is going to hurt vs B. It is probably the #1 reason large company CEO earn such high incomes (making customers happy is sadly further down the list, but I think companies like Disney and LL Bean place higher up the list than most companies). Think of a single person who is responsible for “gambling” billions of today’s dollars to anticipate the company needs 5-10-20 years from now. This is simply something not anyone can do, and not many do all that well.

      Regardless, the consumer has much more power than we are led to believe. The reality is that we get what most of us are willing to pay for – including how we see the Disney of today.

    15. My theory is park hopping is a waste of time and helps WDW have crowds enroute and not in the abysmal lines for rides. After decades of loyal raving about the our experiences and love of Disney, we might cancel our 8 day booking late ’23. It just doesn’t sound like the same place since our last visit Jan 2020.

    16. I agree 100% the 2pm restriction is nuts for a paid-for extra. This and the removal of magical express, we’re voting with our wallets and taking our vacation budget elsewhere.

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