We’ve all had to deal with some major changes to the way we experience Walt Disney World since its reopening. From limited hotel availability to enhanced cleanings, all of these changes have been in an effort to increase the safety and comfort of guests visiting the resort. Many of these variations on how Disney usually runs Walt Disney World have fundamentally changed how we experience the biggest aspect of the resort, the theme parks. The most notable being the implementation of a new Park Pass Reservation system and the restriction of being able to visit only one park per day. Luckily Walt Disney World has been moving through their planned phases successfully and we are already starting to see some of the normal perks return. We were recently surprised with the announcement that starting very soon, guests will be able to enjoy more than one park per day again as park hopping returns on January 1, 2021. Of course, this isn’t exactly the same procedure that many remember from just a year prior. Guests will still need to make Park Pass reservations for the foreseeable future, and you won’t be able to head to your next park on a whim. So to prepare you for this new style of park hopping, we’re going to go through the steps as we know them now. As Disney releases new information on the process, we will update this guide.
Make Your Park Pass Reservation
Although we will all soon be able to enjoy more than one park per day during a Walt Disney World visit, you’ll still need to use the new Disney Park Pass System to reserve the first park you wish to visit on a given day. The Park Pass Reservation system allows guests with valid park tickets to reserve their space at one of the four theme parks. To avoid disappointment, Disney allows you to check the current availability of any park even if you haven’t bought your tickets or booked your package yet. Once you’ve checked availability and purchased your tickets, you can easily reserve your park days for the length of your tickets. With park hopping’s return, you will still need to make a reservation for the first park you plan to visit that day. It would also be a good idea to use the Park Pass Reservation availability calendar to get an idea of how busy the park you are wishing to hop to might be that day. If you’re planning to start your day at Magic Kingdom and then hop to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the Studios is already showing limited availability, you might not want to hang all of your hopes on hitting that park for the second half of your day. So always have a backup plan ready, the key to visiting Walt Disney World during this time is flexibility.
Related: Park Pass Reservation 101
Confirm Park Hopping Hours
Walt Disney World’s new park hopping procedure has a few limitations set in place. While before if you had purchased a ticket with park hopping added in, you were free to visit any and all theme parks, at any time, for the length of your tickets. Obviously, that open system cannot work in a time when the resort is diligently tracking and limiting attendance. During the initial restart of park hopping, you’ll be limited to hopping only after 2 PM and until the park’s designated closing time each day. Before you head to your next park, you’ll need to confirm the available hours in the My Disney Experience app.
Visit Your First Park
Once you’ve made your Park Pass reservations and devised a loose plan for your park hopping day, you’re all set to visit your first park. To take advantage of the new park hopping system, you’re actually required to do so. Guests wishing to visit more than one park per day must first enter the park where they made their reservation before being allowed to hop to another. We are guessing that this is in an effort to curb any gaming of the system that would throw off Disney’s capacity tracking.
Hop to Your Next Park
Disney has said that guests wishing to use park hopping to visit another theme park will not need to make another Park Pass reservation to do so. While this may change, as it stands now, you’ll only need to check the desired park’s current availability before heading over. When you are ready to head to your next park, you’ll find Cast Members and signage informing you of which parks have reached capacity and which parks are still accepting guests.The park availability calendar located on the My Disney Experience site will not be updated to reflect park hopping openings so the signs and Cast Members will be your best bet for accurate information. You can also call (407) 560-5000 for current park hopping availability. As you board Disney transportation, Cast Members will scan your Magic Band or park tickets to varify park hopping eligibility. Those who are driving should check with Guest Services before heading to their next park.
We mentioned before that all park hopping will be restricted based on capacity limits at the parks. Current limitations on the number of guests allowed in each park have been in place since the reopening began, and are expected to remain for the foreseeable future. This being the case, it’s best to not put too much importance on hitting a specific park for your second stop. As we said earlier, the key to visiting the resort right now is flexibility, and you’ll have a much better time if you allow yourself to go with the flow during times like these. There is currently no limit to the number of parks you may visit in a day as long as capacity has not been reached.
Another big restriction that you should be aware of before making your park hopping plans is one put on Walt Disney World’s biggest new attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Since the ride’s opening, Disney has used a virtual queue system in an effort to combat long lines. Beginning each day at 7 AM, guests with valid tickets and Park Pass reservations for Disney’s Hollywood Studios can try to join boarding groups for the chance to ride the attraction later in the day. If you miss out on that early morning mad dash you can also try for the second round of passes at 2 PM, from inside the park. If you were thinking that this would be a great way to ride Avatar Flight of Passage in the morning and then hop over to grab a 2 PM boarding pass for Rise of the Resistance, you will be very disappointed! Disney has said that guests will only be able to join boarding groups at either window if they have chosen Disney’s Hollywood Studios as their first park of the day, and made a reservation. Our best tip for getting that coveted boarding pass is to try to snag that first thing in the morning and then plan on being at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for most of your day. There is no trick to getting an earlier boarding time, and you might end up with a window late in the day, which would ruin any park hopping plans you might have made.
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