One Way You Can Work Around Disney’s Afternoon Park-Hopping Rule—If You Have The Money

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire
(Image credit: Walt Disney World)

Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World is a challenge, even for the most seasoned fans of the storied theme park. In the past couple of years, it’s become even more complex, as changes to reservations systems have forced guests to rethink how they navigate the various parks. But there is apparently one way visitors can get around the company's afternoon park-hopping rule – it just comes at a bit of a price. 

When Disney Parks reopened after its historic closures in 2020 due to COVID-19, the long-awaited moment came with a few changes to how things operate. One of the most significant has been the plethora of radical changes to the reservation system. Now, guests who make reservations have to choose ahead of time which park they will visit, rather than deciding when they get there. 

The new reservation system has also meant a change to the park hopper pass. Now, guests have to wait until 2 p.m. to move from the first park they selected to their next option. Well, most guests anyway. According to Insider, guests who choose to navigate their Disney vacations through VIP tours don’t have to follow the same rules as other visitors. That includes the park hopping rule – which means they can move from park to park at any time. 

The catch, of course, is that in order to bypass the new rules, you’ll have to pay upwards of $850 an hour for the VIP tour. That’s on top of the other rising costs of visiting the theme park. In other words, it’s probably not in the budget for most families who are looking to spend a couple of days at Disney World. 

The main theme park and the companies' other Florida locations have become increasingly crowded in recent weeks, leading to long lines and wait times at popular attractions. The change to the park-hopper policy has meant that guests can no longer try their luck at a park that may be less crowded, or head to another park to grab lunch, as easily as they could before.  Something like the VIP tour – which is facilitated by a park cast member and allows guests to skip lines at rides and at dining facilities – would be a welcome change of pace if you can spring for it. 

If you can’t afford a VIP Tour through Disney Parks, then you’ll be stuck with the park hopper policy for the foreseeable future. That means your best bet for navigating old and new Disney World attractions this year is probably the also unpopular Fast Pass replacement, Genie+. This program does allow you to skip to the front of some lines – also for an additional fee. Or, you can do your best to plan ahead, bring your patience, and hope for the best.

Katherine Webb