|Selecting and buying Walt Disney World Tickets
The Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando is a big place – including four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels, and more then 20,000 acres.
And in that vast playground are several options for purchasing Disney World tickets.
First, brace yourself for some sticker shock. It is no secret that Disney does things right – and expensively. From a pricing perspective, a trip to Disney is not like a night out at the movies – it is much more like a week on a cruise ship. However, given all there is to do and the quality of the experience, I think the price is fair.
After you get in the door you will still need to plan funds for food, souvenirs, a place to sleep at night, and even a way to get to Disney property. (For more information about transportation see our article on Disney’s Magical Express.)
Here are a few tips before I explain the current Disney ticket options:
Tip 1 – Do some research before you arrive. There are many options and it can be a bit confusing. At a minimum decide what Disney World Ticket options you want before arriving. Ideally, you should purchasing the tickets before you leave home so that you can skip the ticket counter and head straight for the fun.
Tip 2 – Buy only from a reputable source so you don’t get ripped off. I read a recent article about a person in Orlando selling Disney tickets on the side of a major street in Orlando. The tickets were no good. Unfortunately, a few unsuspecting tourists lost their money to this criminal, but fortunately they worked with the police to arrest them. Purchase direct from Disney, the Automobile Association of America (AAA), or another source you trust. Also, beware buying your Disney tickets on eBay. Disney Magic Your Way Tickets are nontransferable and must be used by the same person on any and all days. Disney even scans your fingerprint at the entrance to enforce this!
Tip 3 – Play more, pay less per day. Disney is very motivated to get you onto their property and keep you there. That keeps your wallet there too. They have designed the Disney Ticket packages to encourage you to stay more than just one or two days. Since there is so much to do, this is not necessarily a bad thing. More on this later.
So what are the options for a Walt Disney World Ticket? You start with a Magic Your Way base ticket and then add options.
The base ticket allows you to visit one theme park in one day.
After you purchase a Magic Your Way base ticket for a number of days admission, you can elect to add options:
Park Hopper Option
What it is: The Park Hopper option lets you go to more than one theme park on any day of your ticket.
What it costs: Currently, there is a flat cost of $45 for this option.
Water Park Fun & More
What it is: The Water Park Fun & More Option adds on:
- Two Disney water parks: Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
- DisneyQuest, the indoor theme park at Downtown Disney
- Clubs at Downtown Disney Pleasure Island
- Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex
What it costs: Currently, there is a flat cost of $50 per ticket and the number of extra admissions depends on the number of days in your Magic Your Way base ticket.
No Expiration Option
What it is: The No Expiration Option makes it so that your tickets don’t expire. Otherwise Base Ticket days expire 14 days from the first time you use them. This option allows you to use your unused days later.
What it costs: Currently, the cost varies with the number of days. It is $15 on a two day base ticket but a whopping $180 for a ten day ticket.
Price Per Day
All this means that it is expensive to go for only one day. A ticket for one day only is $71. But, going for 5 days is just $43 per day.
As mentioned before, the price PER DAY really goes down quite a bit as you purchase more days. There really isn’t a huge price difference in a 3 day ticket vs. a 4 day ticket.
Example: I ran a sample that showed 3 days with Park Hopper = $248 while 4 days = $257, an increase of only $9 for an extra day.
Why? This is because Disney wants you to spend your entire vacation spending money with them.
They’ve also cleverly designed the current pricing to encourage you to purchase your days now and use them now. Remember that Magic Your Way base tickets expire 14 days from initial use unless you’ve added the No Expiration Option.
Example: I ran a sample that shows you could purchase two 5-day tickets (not adding the “No Expiration Option”) for $215 each, or a total of $430. If you purchased one 10 day ticket with the No Expiration Option, the cost is $405 – just $25 less. That is a little savings, but is it enough to invest $400 today? You decide…
Where Should You Start?
I recommend that you visit the official Disney World Ticket web page well before you leave home and play with the options. They have a nice calculator so that you can try out different combinations of days and options:
Our Take / Summary
In my opinion, adding Park Hopper is nice (if the park you want to visit on a particular day closes early, you can spend the evening at another park that doesn’t close early). However, if you are a first time visitor, there is plenty to do in each park so that you will be occupied for the entire day. If you’ve visited Disney many times, the Park Hopper option becomes more valuable.
The Water Park Fun & More option really depends on your preference. If you like water parks and want to spend some time there, it may be a good deal for you.
The No Expiration Option might not be necessary if they you plan to purchase and use the exact number of days they need during your trip. If you want to purchase days to use in the future, you can do so but as outlined above you won’t save huge money doing this. And make sure that you don’t lose those unused days in your sock drawer once you get the tickets home!
Disney Ticketing Page on the official Disney World web site:
Disney World Ticket FAQs Page on the official Disney World web site:
Note: Prices change often (almost always going up!). Be sure to check the Disney web site for the latest prices.