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  • My husband & I have been to WDW many times. It will be our oldest son's (3 1/2) second time and our youngest's (1) first time. I didn't add on the Park Hopper option to our tickets. Any opinions on whether Park Hopping is recom. for kids this age?
  • - Asked by Shawn from Pennsylvania on 12/30/2010
  • Oh, Shawn!

    You've come to the place for opinions!  That's what I've loved about my time here at the Mom's Panel for the past two years. As I answer my last few questions before retiring from the panel, I'm grateful to able to share my opinions freely, without interference from Disney. The answers that you'll find here are truly our own opinions.

    When it comes to Park Hoppers, I'm not a fan of them for families of small children. Although there are a few exceptions, like getting them during the holidays when you need to have the ability to simply leave a full park and choose another, generally our family sticks with the basic one-park-a-day ticket. Here's why:
    • Hassle. If you've got small children, like yourself, you're usually carrying a stroller, a backpack and who-knows-what-else. Lugging everything from one park to the next, including the children, takes effort. If you have to ride the bus (from say, Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom), this means unloading and collapsing the stroller. Why add to your exhaustion factor?
    • Time. Typically, you're going to need about 45 minutes to an hour for the total transfer from one park to another, not to mention the time to get through the gate. With small children, an hour is an eternity to them--not to mention to parents if children are cranky.
    • Budget. the Park Hopper option costs $54 plus tax per person--no discounts on a child's ticket. When you add that up for a family of 3, that's no chump change. What could your family do at Disney to actually create a memory for $165? A Character Meal? The Pirate & Pals Cruise? The Balloon Ride and Ghirardelli Family Sundae at Downtown Disney? Rent a convertible? Upgrade from a Value Resort to a Moderate?
    Children need to explore the parks at a slower pace. Tackle one park per day and enjoy the benefits.

    Wishing y'all a magical vacation!
    Whitney
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Panelists have received/will receive a Walt Disney World® Resort, Disney Cruise Line®, Disneyland® Resort or Disney Vacation Club® vacation for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. The views expressed in the Panel are those of the panelists, who are independent contractors. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, its affiliates, its management, its agents or its employees and have not been reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.