Use smart travel to hit multiple parks

Not all Disney vacations are right for park hopping, but if you weigh your park-hopping options and decide to go the multi-park route, it’s important to plan appropriately. Taking a leisurely approach to seeing multiple parks in one day could result in a lot of time wandering with very few attractions included in your stay. Make the most of your money and your time with these tips for park hopping like a pro.

Watch the Extra Magic Hours

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Whether you’re staying at a Disney Resort or not, Extra Magic Hours (EMH) are something you want to be aware of. If you are staying on property, EMH give you some extra time in the day’s select parks which will make your park-hopping experience even better. Consider starting at the park with morning EMH and ending where the evening EMH are taking place to make the most of this perk.

If you’re not staying a Walt Disney World resort hotel, look up the day’s EMH parks and avoid these, instead. If you can’t get in early to enjoy the extra time, this feature works against you. By the time you make it into the park, top attractions will already have a line. You’ll find a similar issue with the evening EMH. If you plan to end your day at a park that has extended hours you can’t enjoy, you’ll just get stuck in the swelling crowds at the end of the day and have to leave before you enjoy any real payoff from it.

Schedule your FastPasses early

FastPass Entrance

If you’re planning to park hop, choose FastPass+ reservations that take place early in the day. Ideally, you’ll want to show up at the first park of the day when it opens, and use up your three FastPasses before lunch. If one of your must-see attractions doesn’t have passes till later in the day, reserve a pass for something else and commit yourself to standby. You can’t afford late afternoon FastPasses if you want to make the most of your park hopping experience.

If you’ve used up all your FastPasses at the first park before you hit the second, you can sign up for three new FastPasses on arrival at the second park. This is the best way to maximize your use of the FastPass+ system. While you’re more likely to have a couple longer standby lines in the process, it will allow you a good shot at utilizing six whole passes during your whirlwind park experience.

Watch wait times from afar

Stand By Line

Download the My Disney Experience app to your smartphone and use it to keep a close eye on wait times throughout the day. This will help you spot attractions with shorter waits, even when you’re across the park. Park-hopping requires a little more dedication and organization than strolling about leisurely with one park on your agenda. You probably won’t have time for multiple laps, so it’s important to know where you’re going and what you can expect when you get there.

Using the app, you can also begin to scout out wait times at your second park while you’re still en route. With this information in hand, you can make a beeline for the attractions with the shortest wait times and make a smart decision about which FastPasses are most valuable for the second leg of your day.



Like previous comments have stated eating at off times or even bringing your own lunch can save you a huge amount of time. Or even consider getting something to eat on your way to the next park. For example the Contempo Cafe in the Contemporary Resort is quick and never has a huge crowd. Nothing surges at disney like the lunch rush at a quick serve dining location. It's a massive amount of people.

Another tip to save time is that Disney will let you in earlier than park opening if you have a reservation. It's tricky but depending on timing you could be in the park ahead of the crowd. Also if meet and greats are high on your list at least consider a character meal. It could save you time by combining a meet and greet and a meal. Another tip is if you don't want/need to see the parades and/or night time shows this is an excellent time to get ride popular attractions. In my opinion the golden hour (especially at the Magic Kingdom) is right after the fireworks before the park closes. A lot of attractions drop to 5 minutes or are walk on. A lot of rides are much busier during the day rather than at night. Examples being the Jungle Cruise, Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Ship Earth. Another way to extend your time in the park is to take advantage of the fact that it is the line that closes at closing time. Not the attraction. So if the mine train has been over 2 hours all day consider hoping in line right before the park closes just keep in mind when transportation options stop although Disney will never leave you stranded. Similarly leave your shopping to the end of the day as most of the stores stay open until long after the rest of the park closes as well.

You cannot walk to the Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian, only the Contemporary. But you can take the monorail from the Polynesian.

1) Get to the park at least 30 minutes (and preferably, 45 minutes) prior to the posted opening time and be there for the rope drop! Doing so means...

2) ...you won't have to burn an early Fastpass. Get to the head of the line at a popular attraction that you don't have a Fastpass for right at rope drop.

3) Skip out on the long food lines around lunch time and dinner. Disney allows outside food to be brought into the park. Bring snacks to satisfy you past the lunch rush, and maybe even all day. If you feel the need to eat high dollar Disney food, fine. But do so at times when there aren't huge crowds at counter service restaurants.

Not trying to nitpick, but there are a couple misleading statements in this article. You can only book 1 FastPass+ at a time after your first 3 expire, not 3 more all at once. Also, you cannot walk to Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian, only the Contemporary.

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