Yesterday I told you that a modified version of Park Hopper is going to return to Walt Disney World on January 1, 2021. This is indeed good news, and one step closer to “normal”. The problem is that the post from Disney Parks Blog was a bit vague on how things will work. It has honestly left me with several questions.
I think that the top question on my mind is how is this going to affect crowds? What has been nice since the parks reopened is that the crowd levels have gone down as the day went on. A few days ago my daughter and I spent the evening at Epcot and it was empty! We walked right on most of the rides, and the others that we rode had very short Wait Times. The only long wait was for Frozen Ever After, and we didn’t plan to ride that. Will Epcot suddenly become packed in the evenings because it is often the park that stays open the latest?
Speaking of park hours, that is another question that I have. Will the parks stay open later? On January 1, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is currently scheduled to close at 5:00. Will it even be worth it to head in that direction if you can only have a couple of hours of park time?
In order to Park Hop, you will still need to have a Disney Park Pass reservation. You’ll need to visit that park first. After 2:00, you can then see if there is any availability in a different park. What happens if you haven’t yet entered your first park by 2:00? I do that all the time. In the past four days I’ve been to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I didn’t enter either park until after 2:00. Would I lose my spot since I hadn’t used it yet? This would not only affect people like me, it could make a difference to those who like to hit a park the day that they arrive in Orlando.
I also wonder about capacity. Will it be increased? We can’t trust Bob Chapek on this one, because he told us that they weren’t going to raise capacity, and then they raised capacity. Will some of the spots be held back so that a park doesn’t go over capacity?
What about guests with dining reservations? I know many people who like to visit one park for the bulk of the day, but then head to Epcot for dinner. Will guests with dinner reservations be given priority? Will guests who have reservations but can’t get into the park be charged for not showing up?
One final question that immediately comes to mind has to do with the number of parks. Will we be limited to just one extra park a day? If we’re allowed to visit all four parks, how will they determine capacity?
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that Park Hopping will soon be happening again. I miss the days of being able to leave a park when I realized I’d rather be in a different one. That said, we’re living in unprecedented times. Disney has done a great job of keeping everyone safe. I’m sure that they have a plan that will allow people to Park Hop and keep socially distant. If they thought that the crowds would be too much, Park Hopper wouldn’t be returning. I would be shocked if we aren’t given more details about how things will work in the coming weeks. I’ll keep you posted.