The Disney Park Pass Reservation system has been extended until the end of 2021. The last date you can now book a Disney Park Pass is for January 14, 2022. Previously the latest bookable date was September 26, 2021, which was 1 week before the Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary. Of course, Disney could always cancel the reservation system early, but does the continuation of Disney Park Pass mean the long-term end of Park Hopping?
Disney Park Pass was introduced during the reopening of Walt Disney World. During the reopening period, Park Pass allowed Disney to strictly control the number of guests entering a park each day. Since the reopening period, the number of guests has gradually increased, but Disney Park Pass remains.
To access a park at Walt Disney World, you need to prebook a reservation through the new Disney Park Pass System. Guests can enter one park a day and are not able to park hop later in the day. To access any park, guests have to present both their park reservation and a valid park ticket. Guests who do not have either of these will be refused entry.
It is understandable why Walt Disney World will want to continue Disney Park Pass for the foreseeable future. Park Pass allows Disney advanced information on exactly who will be attending each park every day. However, will the long-term suspension on Park Hopping continue?
Park Hopper tickets, which cost an additional amount, allow guests to visit more than 1 park at Walt Disney World each day. In the morning, you can visit the Magic Kingdom, but then visit Epcot for an evening stroll and dinner. Park Hopping allows increased variation and spontaneity in your vacation. Also, guests can always attempt to complete the Disney Four Park Challenge. If guest numbers are rising and state restrictions being reduced, why would Disney continue to restrict Park Hopping?
It is possible that Park Hopping will restart in early 2021. The remaining tickets for 2020 do not allow Park Hopping, but for 2021 Park Hopping tickets are available. In theory, this means Park Hopping returns on January 1, 2021. However, there is currently no method to book multiple reservations, and you continue to be limited to 1 park reservation a day. Disney presumably will refund the additional cost of tickets as we approach 2021.
Why would Walt Disney World want to continue to suspend Park Hopping? Park Hopping tickets do cost more, but they also increase Disney’s costs. It is unlikely Disney will recover these additional costs at this time through Park Hopper tickets. Park Hopping guests will require transportation between resorts and additional security checks. Transportation, due to social distancing, currently is at a premium, and it unlikely Disney would want to transport guests between parks when transport has limited capacity.
Also, Disney Park Pass allows Disney to carefully control capacity at each park. This obviously helps during the reopening period but also prevents sudden swings in attendance. Have you ever paid extra for a crowd calendar and wondered why the park is so much more crowded than the experts predicted? Even the most skilled can’t fully predict a crowd. We could all decide we want to Park Hop to Magic Kingdom to see fireworks on the same night. Disney has to manage park staffing to control these swings. It does make you wonder whether a cash-strapped Disney would have any desire to see Park Hopping ever return?
Our suspicion is Park Hopping will not return at any point in 2021. Guests who already have purchased tickets with hopping included will get this portion refunded. We don’t expect Park Hopping will return until 2022 at the earliest, but we could be wrong!
Are you considering visiting Walt Disney Word? Read our guide to the resort which has all the latest reopening information.