When people start talking about visiting Walt Disney World, the question I’m most often asked is where to get a discount on tickets. Sadly I don’t have a good answer for them. Some sites will offer discounted tickets to newsletter subscribers and I strongly discourage people from buying them from discount sales sites around Orlando as you never know exactly what kind of ticket you’re actually purchasing. Because tickets can be such a huge expense for families, here are some things to consider before making that investment.
Know the Lingo
- Ticket – this is what gets you into one of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks. Tickets can be purchased in advance as part of your Magic Your Way package or when you arrive on site. You can extend your ticket if you decide to extend your stay or time in the parks.
- Park Hopper – option that can be added on to a ticket purchase during your stay. The cost to add this feature is a flat fee, not based on the length of stay like a park ticket.
- Magic Your Way Package – booking your resort room and tickets together; could also include the Disney Dining Plan. Packages can be a great way to budget for a trip as they are paid in full six weeks before you’re scheduled to arrive at Walt Disney World.
- Magic Bands – you’ll receive these bands if you’re staying on site at a Walt Disney World Resort. They’ll serve as your room key, park ticket and purchasing method during your visit. Don’t worry if you don’t receive them before you arrive – they can be picked up when you check in as well.
When are you going?
Summer means longer hours in the parks which can translate to more bang for your buck in the ticket department. Winter does bring shorter hours to the park which could translate into spending more days overall in the parks to get the same amount done. You can learn more about the pros and cons of visiting during the different seasons here.
Will you spend every day in the parks?
Disney offers so many things to do on site both in and out of the actual theme parks themselves. Having a plan regarding what you want to do during your vacation will help you determine the number of days to purchase for your tickets.
Are you visiting multiple parks each day?
Disney gives you the option to visit one or all of their parks each and every day. Visiting one park takes up one day on your ticket. Visiting multiple parks takes an additional day off your ticket for each park visited if you haven’t purchased the park hopper option. Adding this option allows you to visit as many parks as you’d like each day while only using one ticket per day.
Are there any special events taking place during your visit?
Special events do require the purchase of an additional ticket. Depending on the length of your visit and your plans, it may be more economical to purchase a ticket to the special event than a regular park ticket for the day.
Are you doing any “extras”?
In addition to the four theme parks, the Water Parks and More option can be added to your ticket purchase. Before making this addition, look at the resort where you’re staying. Many of the Disney resorts have amazing pools so a day at the water park may not be needed. Another thing to consider is how long you’re visiting and when your next trip will be. If you have limited time and won’t be returning in the near future, this would likely be an option you could skip.
Where are you staying?
Check out the amenities at the resort you’re staying at. Walt Disney World Resort pools all have wonderful theming as well as entertainment throughout the day. Moderate and Deluxe resorts also have water features and/or slides to enjoy during your visit. Many off site resorts also have pools and other activities to keep you busy. If you plan on spending a day at the resort, account for that when making your ticket purchase.
Once you know how long you’re staying, how many days you’ll be visiting parks and if you’ll be visiting multiple parks in a day, you’ll be ready to make a ticket purchase. Tickets can always be upgraded by visiting Guest Services at a Disney theme park or resort so it’s better to start out purchasing less days and adding on to your tickets once you arrive.