Disney World has reintroduced Park Hopping, but with a few restrictions that Disney says is to allow them to manage capacity and foster social distancing. Here’s our Disney World Park Hopping 2021 Guide.
When the Walt Disney World theme parks reopened back in mid-July, it came with a set of restrictions designed to limit capacity and encourage social distancing at the theme parks. One such measure was the suspension of the Park Hopping option. Beginning January 1, 2021, Park Hopping returned to Walt Disney World, but with some modifications. Here’s what you need to know.
You Need a Ticket That Supports Park Hopping
Not all tickets that you will purchase allow for Park Hopping. In order to visit more than one theme park per day, you need to ensure that your ticket or Annual Pass has the Park Hopping option included. Not only will your Park Hopping entitlements be checked at the main entrance to a theme park, but it will also be checked before you use bus transportation. More on that in a bit.
You Still Need a Disney Park Pass
Disney is still requiring that each and every guest through the gates has a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first theme park they’re visiting for the day. As a reminder, the Disney Park Pass reservation system is in place through January 14, 2022 at this time. To make a Disney Park Pass reservation, visit the Disney World website: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/experience-updates/park-reservations/
Now, Disney is not requiring that you have a Disney Park Pass reservation for the park(s) that you’ll hop to – just the first park that you’ll visit that day.
You Can’t Hop Until 2pm
Perhaps the most significant change in the Park Hopping benefit is that you can’t hop to a second park until 2pm. We arrived by our own car a bit earlier than the 2pm deadline and were met by the turnstile turning blue before 2pm. It’s possible that you might be able to enter 5 or 10 minutes before 2pm, but don’t plan on being able to Park Hop at 1pm.
Park Hopping Hours Could Change
Disney has added the Park Hopping hours to their Walt Disney World calendar with the caveat that the hours could change and guests should check back before they visit the resort. It’s likely that Park Hopping will never go later than 2pm, but it is possible that it might start earlier than 2pm. Here’s the Walt Disney World calendar with Park Hopping hours: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/calendars/five-day/
We’ll have a more complete write-up on transportation in a bit, but your options are to either utilize your own car, ride share, the Disney Skyliner, Friendship boat service, or the Disney buses.
Cast Members will check that you have Park Hopping entitlements on your ticket before allowing you to board the Disney buses, so make sure that you know that your ticket allows you to Park Hop before trying to board a bus.
Cast Members will not scan your ticket if you utilize the Disney Skyliner or watercraft methods of transportation. Similarly, they will not prevent you from accessing the parking lot, but may advise you that Park Hopping doesn’t begin until 2pm if you arrive to a parking lot early.
Rise of the Resistance
Of course, with Park Hopping starting at 2pm and the final Rise of the Resistance boarding group distribution time occurring at 1pm, anyone who chooses to Park Hop to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is ineligible for entering the boarding group. Only guests who have a Disney Park Pass reservation specifically for Disney’s Hollywood Studios are eligible to join a boarding group.
How to Check for Park Hopping Capacity
Disney has not made it very easy to check the capacity for the park that you wish to hop to. Disney has, for the past many years, pushed guests to the My Disney Experience app for all of their planning needs. That said, Disney has not added capacity information to the My Disney Experience app at this time. As a matter of fact, the only way that you can check the capacity status of the park that you wish to hop to is via the Park Hopping hotline: (407) 560-5000.
(Update March 14th) If you have the My Disney Experience app downloaded, Disney will send you a push notification should a park reach capacity and not be welcoming guests. We have a more in-depth article here.
How Many Parks Can You Visit?
The short answer: all four!
The longer answer involves a bit of miscommunication by some Cast Members on the ground yesterday that made it seem like you’d only be able to visit one additional park and not all four. Of course, we hopped to all four theme parks yesterday and made sure that you will be able to do the same.
Disney World will allow you to visit all four theme parks with Park Hopping as long as there is capacity at the park that you’re trying to visit. If there is no capacity, guests will either be stopped before they board a bus, or stopped at the main entrance and asked to wait to the side (socially distanced) until enough guests leave to allow them to enter the park.
COVID-19 and Park Hopping
When you are park hopping to another park, you’ll still go through temperature screening even though you would have had your temperature screened at your first park of the day.
Logistically, temperature screenings are next to bag check areas, and guests have always had their bags checked in between Park Hops, so it would reason that you can expect to have your temperature screened too.
Disney has said that even though Park Hopping has returned, they will continue to operate their theme parks in a manner that fosters physical distancing and a continued focus on guest safety.
If you have any questions about Park Hopping that we haven’t answered in this post, please leave a comment below or reach out on social media and we’ll be sure to get you an answer!