Following our tips & tricks will save you money on Walt Disney World tickets through 2018, help you find discount Walt Disney World tickets, and choose the right options for your vacation. We also cover the latest park ticket price increase that occurred on February 12, 2017 in this post, and how you can continue buying tickets at the “old” prices…for now.
Park tickets are likely your second-most expensive expenditure of your Walt Disney World vacation after your hotel, so saving money is important! Since Disney raises its ticket prices 1-2 times per year, it’s best to buy your tickets before your trip, as early as possible. This guide will help you with which tickets to buy, and where to buy them. (Post last updated March 26, 2017.)
If all you want to know is where to safely buy the cheapest, legitimate Walt Disney World multi-day tickets from an authorized reseller, we recommend ParkSavers. Currently, ParkSavers has limited-time specials on Walt Disney World base and Park Hopper tickets. The 5-day Park Hopper is our top recommendation, because it includes a free day right now!
Plus, readers of this blog can save an extra $2 per ticket with discount code DISNEYTOURISTBLOG at check-out. Our discount code expires April 4, 2017. The tickets sold at ParkSavers are valid through December 31, 2018, so even if you’re traveling in 2017 or 2018, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets before the end of December. Click here to see the list of the best Walt Disney World park ticket options.
You’ll need to enter a redemption date when you add tickets to your cart. This date does not really matter, so long as you pick up your ticket after the redemption date you input. You just cannot pick up the tickets before your redemption date. In other words, if you enter June 27, 2017 as your pickup date, you could pick up the tickets on June 28, 2017 (or later), but not June 26, 2017 (0r earlier).
If you have more questions about which type of Walt Disney World tickets you should purchase or need other assistance, the rest of this guide is for you. We present all of the options here along with their pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision. Given their cost, and the different ticket options, it’s important to know as much as you can before you buy your Walt Disney World tickets so you don’t waste money. We will break down all of the options and various add-ons to make buying Walt Disney World tickets easier.
In this article we sort through the different options and give you recommendations on what types of tickets are best for you, plus where you can save money on Walt Disney World tickets. (If you’ve come looking for info on discount Disneyland tickets, you’ve come to the wrong place–but we do have an article with Tips for Saving Money on Disneyland Tickets, too.)
Ready to get started? Here are our tips and tricks for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets for now through 2018!
Where to Buy the Cheapest Disney Tickets
To save money on multi-day Walt Disney World tickets, there are some authorized discount Disney ticket brokers from whom we recommend purchasing your Disney park tickets: ParkSavers, followed by Undercover Tourist, and Official Ticket Center. In our experience, these have the best reputation and prices. Not only do they sell tickets cheaper than you can purchase them from Disney directly, but they are FastPass+ enabled, so you can make FastPass+ selections with these tickets before you arrive to the park! Keep reading to learn why this is important…
Authorized discount Disney ticket brokers are great ways to save money on park tickets over gate prices, but not every third party ticket broker is reliable and trust-worthy. Most places selling discount Disney tickets are scams. Buying tickets on eBay or Craigslist is about as good of an idea as buying hypodermic needles from buying some dude on a street corner. Disney tickets are non-transferrable–they are tied to your fingerprint once partially used. If you get burned by these sellers with a partially-used or counterfeit ticket, Disney won’t have sympathy. You’ll have to pay full price for tickets at the park gates. Not exactly the best way to start the day on a Disney vacation!
If you’re comparing prices, remember to compare apples to apples: Disney prices don’t include the Florida 6.5% tax, whereas prices from the sellers we recommend do include tax into the final price you pay. Also consider whether you’re comparing Park Hopper tickets to regular tickets or not. Lots of readers have had questions about their comparisons, and they almost always had made a mistake in not comparing the same tickets to one another.
Moving on, let’s take a look at which type of ticket options are best for you…
Which Tickets to Buy?
Sometimes people ask which ticket is our favorite for first-time visitors to Walt Disney World, and it really depends upon how long you’re visiting. In our Walt Disney World Vacation Planning Guide, we recommend most first-time visitors take a 6-8 trip.
Assuming you are going this route, you probably won’t spend every moment in the park. You’ll want a rest day in the middle to spend recovering poolside, and maybe a shopping day (or morning) at Disney Springs. With that said, we recommend buying a Park Hopper ticket that is one day shorter than the duration of your vacation–unless you’re visiting for 4 days or fewer, in which case you should purchase a ticket for every day.
Meaning, if your vacation is 8 days, we recommend the 7-day Park Hopper ticket. If you are visiting for 6 days, get the 5-day ticket. (In our experience, a 6 day trip is about the sweet spot for first-timers.)
Note that in February 2017, Disney eliminated the “Water Park Fun and More” option. This used to be a nice way to do “add-on” days in the water park. Now, water park visits are bundled into the “Park Hopper Plus” ticket option. This means that if you want to do 4 days in the theme parks and 1 day in the water parks, you should buy a 5-day “Park Hopper Plus” ticket. (You can also access the water parks and theme parks on the same day as one another with the Park Hopper Plus tickets–another reason we recommend that option!)
Skip The Park Hopper Option?
The Park Hopper add-on allows you to visit multiple parks in the same day, so you can bounce around the parks and spend the majority of the day in the parks. Some guests can skip the Park Hopper option, particularly those with small children and those who won’t stay out late.
However, now that Walt Disney World has eliminated the “Water Park Fun & More” option, a “Park Hopper Plus” ticket is a wiser purchase, since most people won’t want to spend all day at a water park. (And you couldn’t even if you wanted–they close earlier than the 4 theme parks.)
Additionally, Park Hopping can be really beneficial if you want to revisit favorite attractions or head over to a certain park for fireworks. Since each park has different opening and closing hours, getting a Park Hopper is a good way to extend your day (particularly in the off-season when parks close earlier) or spend more time in Magic Kingdom.
Some nights, Magic Kingdom closes 2-3 hours later than the other parks, so you squeeze a couple more hours out of day. Or, you might want to revisit favorite attractions or fireworks shows at a particular park, and the Park Hopper option allows that, too.
While the Park Hopper option does cost more, if you’re buying multiple day tickets, you might be surprised to learn that the extra cost is insignificant. Currently, a discounted 7-day Walt Disney World Adult Park Hopper Ticket is $473 after tax. Now, that’s a lot of money.
However, compare it to a 1-day Park Hopper ticket directly from Disney, which is $181.05 after tax (during regular season). For a little more than double the price of a 1-day ticket, you can purchase a 7-day discounted Park Hopper. That works out to being less than $70/day!
Other multi-day tickets offer similar savings, so be sure to look at the prices of other multi-day Walt Disney World tickets and do some comparison shopping to see just how much you can save. Walt Disney World advertises that “the more you play, the less you pay per day” and this is definitely true.
If for some reason you don’t want to buy discounted Disney tickets from ParkSavers, (or Official Ticket Center/Undercover Tourist), there’s a possibility you qualify for some other form of discount. The most common discounts are: Florida resident, military/department of defense, corporate or “club” discounts, Disney Vacation Club, and sometimes Walt Disney World ticket discounts for Europeans. Of these discounts, military Disney ticket discounts are typically the best, followed by AAA discounts. AAA discounts are only offered through local offices and tax isn’t included in their price quotes. Note that Disney ended its relationship with AAA last year, so there are no additional perks for buying Disney tickets through AAA anymore.
AAA discounts typically are not as good as the prices offered by the discount ticket brokers, but military or department of defense discounts are always better. The frequently-run “Stars and Stripes” promotion will usually annihilate what is offered by third party discount ticket brokers or AAA. This promo isn’t always offered, so call Shades of Green at 888-593-2242 prior to ordering tickets to see whether it’s available for your stay.
Why to Buy Tickets in Advance
When you purchase tickets from an authorized Walt Disney World ticket broker before your trip, you can make FastPass+ ride reservations before you trip. You definitely want to book FastPass+ for popular attractions like Toy Story Mania, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, etc., in advance, because if you wait to make reservations on the day you visit, there won’t be availability. This is especially important now, as FastPass+ is incredibly popular for Frozen Ever After…and standby wait times have been hitting 240 minutes! (By contrast, you’ll wait <30 minutes for Frozen Ever After with FastPass+.) We cannot stress enough how important it is to make FastPass+ reservations in advance, and buying tickets before your vacation is the only way to do that.
If you’re unfamiliar with FastPass+, we have a comprehensive Guide to FastPass+ at Walt Disney World that includes step-by-step tips for using FastPass+ and a ton of tricks for using it. Basically, FastPass+ is a web-based ride reservation system that replaced the old paper FastPass tickets. It is part of the MyMagic+ system, which is discussed in our full MyMagic+ FAQ post that covers everything you need to know. It’s really important that you understand FastPass+ before your trip, so definitely read those posts. Many attractions “sell out” of FastPass+ weeks in advance, and standby waits on the day you visit for some of the attractions above can exceed 2 hours. Using FastPass+ effectively will save you a ton of time. Because of this, you absolutely need to purchase tickets in advance, and make FastPass+ reservations as soon as possible.
If you wait until you arrive at Walt Disney World to purchase your tickets, not only do you pay more money, but you can’t make your FastPass+ selections until you arrive. Many popular attractions won’t have any availability, meaning you will have to either skip them or wait in long standby lines. Our Walt Disney World Ride Guides cover which attractions are the best uses of FastPass+ in each park.
Now, let’s cover strategizing to save money on your Walt Disney World park tickets. While Walt Disney World tickets are expensive, there is a misconception about just how much visiting Walt Disney World costs per day. Unless you’re only going for one day and buying your ticket at a Disney ticket booth, tickets won’t cost $100 per day–or anywhere close to that.
What About An Annual Pass?
In the past, it has made sense to consider an Annual Pass for your trip to Walt Disney World. After Annual Pass tiers changed, that now is typically not true unless you are a Florida resident. For the normal “Platinum” Annual Pass to be a better value than normal park tickets, you’d have to spend 15+ days in the parks. If you visit annually, this may still work if you book two of your “yearly” trips so they fall within 365 days of one another.
Recently, this became even more appealing, as Disney announced new perks for Annual Passholders. The first is an offer for a free bonus month (so 13 months instead of 12) with the purchase of an Annual Pass. That means you could buy an AP for your Halloween trip this year and then do a Christmas trip (in November) next year, which we think is appealing.
Beyond that, there is a new 20% discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages at 45 participating restaurants at Walt Disney World, and 10% off at most other restaurants. The 20% discount includes some of our favorite restaurants, such as Flying Fish at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Jiko & Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and Flame Tree BBQ at Animal Kingdom. You can see the full list of participating restaurants here–it’s a nice mix of counter service and table service locations.
This is pretty good for those who don’t purchase the Tables in Wonderland card (with this new discount, we won’t renew our Tables in Wonderland card!) or use the Disney Dining Plan. Additionally, Annual Passholders will now receive 20% off merchandise purchases.
These added perks could definitely change the math and help you justify purchasing an Annual Pass for the discounts even if you’re taking a trip slightly shorter than 15 days, or if you’re visiting twice within a 13-month window.
Disney Ticket Price Increase
The most recent price increase occurred on February 12, 2017. Some of the biggest percentage increases occurred with 1-day tickets, where Flex Pricing continues to break 1-day tickets into three different tiers: Value, Regular, and Peak. Most people reading this probably aren’t buying 1-day tickets, but if you are, hopefully you’re visiting during a slow time of year when school is in session.
In addition to Disney increasing ticket prices by about 3-5% across the board, they also introduced variable pricing depending upon whether you pre-purchase or wait until arrival. This means that there’s a $20 surcharge for purchasing park tickets at the booths when you arrive. Disney is spinning this as a way to “save $20 by purchasing in advance!” but the reality is that it’s an additional increase over what prices where. Purchasing in advance from the authorized ticket sellers we recommend also means avoiding this $20 surcharge.
As far as future increases go, we expect another price increase in February 2018, but nothing else before then. If attendance is strong in May and June, another increase in late July 2017 is an outside possibility, but unlikely. Disney has increased prices the last several consecutive Februarys, so that’s probably a given.
Regardless, if you are planning a vacation and definitely going to Walt Disney World, it’s best to buy tickets ASAP. Unused tickets don’t expire, so you can buy a year or more in advance of your trip to avoid having to pay increased prices. Buying now locks-in current pricing so you don’t end up paying more down the road. It also means not having to hassle with Flex Pricing for multi-day tickets (and potentially paying a lot more if you visit during school breaks or holiday seasons).
Which tickets should you buy? Whichever ones suit your vacation! Hopefully the above info helped you determine this for yourself, because really, there is no one size fits all ticket, so I can’t give an answer to that question. Here are some general rules:
- Thanks to a very good special offer, our top recommendation is the 5-day Park Hopper ticket.
- If you won’t visit more than one park per day, you can save additional money by skipping the Park Hopper option.
- By purchasing via an authorized ticket broker, you can make FastPass+ reservations ahead of time. If you buy tickets once you arrive to Walt Disney World, you’re at a disadvantage in two ways: you pay more for tickets and you cannot make FastPass+ ride reservations in advance.
- Disney has eliminated the “Water Park Fun & More” option, and water park visits are now bundled into the “Park Hopper Plus” ticket option, meaning you should factor in water park days when considering the length of your ticket purchase (e.g. if you want to spend 4 days in the main theme parks and 1 day in the the water parks, buy the 5-day Park Hopper Plus ticket).
- Do not consider an Annual Pass unless you will visit Walt Disney World for 15+ days in a 365 day window.
It’s important to know that my suggestions are based on our preferences, and they may not work for you. It’s really best to read through this and then apply it to your own circumstances by looking at your own schedule and preferences, and determining what type of tickets are best for you. Then, head to ParkSavers, Official Ticket Center, or Undercover Tourist to buy the appropriate tickets at a discount.
For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
Have any questions about which tickets might be best for you? Which Walt Disney World tickets do you think are best, and why? Hopefully this guide to Disney discount tickets has provided you with some valuable tips & tricks to help you save money on Walt Disney World tickets, and has helped you figure out which kind of Disney tickets are right for you. If you still have any questions, please leave them in the comments and we will try to help!