You can save money on Walt Disney World tickets in 2018 with our tips that will help you find discount Walt Disney World tickets. We have an exclusive coupon, special deals, and info so you can choose the right park tickets for your vacation. This post also covers the latest park ticket price increase, and how you save money year-round on Walt Disney World tickets. (Last updated January 1, 2018.)
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 at least once per year (usually in mid-February), it’s always best to buy your tickets before your trip and as early as possible. This guide will help you with which tickets to buy, and where to buy them. 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 highly recommend ParkSavers.
We particularly recommend the 6-day Park Hopper right now, which is currently $60 off! ParkSavers’ prices on WDW tickets are the best as of January 2018 on the majority of park ticket options (39 of 48 different possible choices), and our exclusive discount code (see below), makes their prices even better. In addition to digital tickets, ParkSavers also offers actual physical tickets, which they ship for free. Both kinds of tickets can be added to your My Disney Experience account for FastPass+ bookings and use with MagicBands.
Readers of this blog can save an extra $2 per ticket with discount code DISNEYTOURISTBLOG at check-out. The tickets sold at ParkSavers are valid through December 31, 2018, so even if you’re traveling in 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.
Note that you’ll receive confirmation codes for My Disney Experience via email, which enables you to link the tickets to your My Disney Experience account and make FastPass+ reservations. This also means that the tickets are compatible with MagicBands (which you’ll receive with your Walt Disney World hotel reservation; you can also purchase special edition MagicBands in the parks). As we cover below, FastPass+ is really important to saving time at Walt Disney World!
With so many different park ticket options, plus FastPass+ and MagicBands, this might already seem overwhelming. 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. 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.
In this Walt Disney World park ticket guide, we present the pros and cons of different tickets so you can make an informed decision about which options are best for your family. We’ll break down everything you need to know about the complexities of Walt Disney World tickets, and by the end of this post, you’ll know way more than you ever thought there was to know about park tickets!
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
As we mentioned at the beginning, to save money on multi-day Walt Disney World tickets, we recommend purchasing your Disney park tickets from ParkSavers, authorized discount Disney ticket broker that has the absolute lowest prices on legitimate park tickets. They’re also a small business that prides itself in great customer service, and our readers have had nothing but positive reviews for ParkSavers (see the comments section below for ‘testimonials’).
In addition to ParkSavers, we also recommend Get Away Today, which has the best prices on remaining handful of park ticket options. Note that with Get Away Today, tickets must be purchased 10 days in advance of when you’ll use them (you’ll see ticket availability on their page once you enter your travel dates into the calendar on their landing page). If you don’t need your tickets in a rush, Get Away Today has some good deals. We also recommend Undercover Tourist and Official Ticket Center. All four are reliable, authorized Walt Disney World ticket sellers.
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 Louis Vuitton purses 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. Sorry bold that all, but we get so many comments from people who miss that, and wonder why the discounts aren’t as good as promised. Also make sure you’re comparing Park Hopper tickets to regular tickets or not. Lots of people make mistakes in not comparing the same tickets to one another. (Again, just look at the comments section, ha!)
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 1-2 days 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. Always get at least a 4-day ticket. Ideally, get nothing less than a 5-day ticket.
Meaning, if your vacation is 8 days, we recommend the 6-day or 7-day Park Hopper ticket. If you are visiting for 6 days, get the 5-day ticket. In our experience, a 6-day Walt Disney World vacation is about the sweet spot for first-timers. That means either a 4-day or 5-day ticket is going to be a smart bet for most people reading this. (If you have more time, that’s excellent!)
Note that Walt Disney World has 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 as an add-on. Purchase the number of days you’ll want to be in the 4 main theme parks.
This means that if you want to do 5 days in the theme parks and 2 days 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!
Are Park Hopper Tickets Worth it?
The Park Hopper add-on allows you to visit multiple parks in the same day. You can bounce around the parks and maximize your time in the parks. Some guests can skip the Park Hopper option: particularly those with small children and those who won’t stay out late.
On the other hand, Park Hopping can be really beneficial if you want to revisit favorite attractions or head over to a certain park for fireworks. Currently, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has two overlapping nighttime spectaculars (Fantasmic and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular) that are impossible to see in the same night. However, you also won’t want to spend 2 full days in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so the best solution is to spend 1-day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and see Fantasmic that night, and then park hop back a second night just to see Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
Another benefit of the Park Hopper option is spending more hours per day in the theme parks. 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. Magic Kingdom often closes 2-3 hours later than the other parks, so you squeeze a couple more hours out of day by starting your day in Animal Kingdom (for example) and heading to Magic Kingdom once Animal Kingdom closes.
Because of these two things, we generally recommend purchasing the Park Hopper option. While it 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 $477 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.
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 Avatar Flight of Passage, N’avi River Voyage, Frozen Ever After, 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 that FastPass+ is available for the Pandora – World of Avatar attractions. Wait times for these have been in the 120 minutes range since they opened for those who don’t have 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’s really important that you understand FastPass+ before your trip. 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, we highly recommend purchasing Walt Disney World park tickets in advance, and making 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.
If for some reason you don’t want to buy discounted Disney tickets from ParkSavers, Get Away Today, Official Ticket Center or 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 “Stars and Stripes” promotion (only available to select members of the armed forces and department of defense) 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.
Another option available to some people is Tickets at Work. This is a members-only site that partners with certain corporations to offer company employees exclusive discounts and special offers for theme parks, attractions, Broadway shows, special events, hotels, concerts, and movie tickets. In other words, Tickets at Work is a “perk” that’s available only to employees of certain corporations.
Tickets at Work most definitely is legitimate. Unfortunately, we cannot offer a price comparison to Tickets at Work because we don’t work for companies partnered with Tickets at Work, nor do we know anyone who does. Anecdotally, we’ve heard that in some cases, Tickets at Work offers prices that are slightly better than ParkSavers or Get Away Today. In other cases, their prices are worse. We’ve also been told that shipping can take 2-3 weeks with Tickets at Work, which could be a deal-breaker if you’re trying to make FastPass+ reservations in a hurry. Check with your company’s HR department to see if your company is a Tickets at Work partner.
Now, let’s cover one other possible Walt Disney World park ticket option…
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 or are a Disney super fan who will travel to Florida 2-3 times per year. 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.
Beyond that, there is a 10% discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages at participating restaurants at Walt Disney World. The discount includes some of our favorite restaurants, such as Flying Fish, Jiko & Sanaa, and others. You can see the full list of participating restaurants here–it’s a nice mix of counter service and table service locations. Additionally, Annual Passholders will now receive 20% off most merchandise purchases.
Thanks to these benefits, if you’re taking a trip slightly shorter than 15 days or if you’re visiting for two 5+ day trips within a 12-month window it still might make sense to buy Annual Passes.
Disney Ticket Price Increase
The most recent Walt Disney World ticket price increase occurred in February. 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, another price increase is an inevitability. Due to the opening of Pandora – World of Avatar this year, Toy Story Land in 2018, and other large projects currently under construction, another increase in February 2018 is a near certainty. In fact, increases in February 2018 and July 2018 are not outside the realm of possibility. It’s not uncommon for Disney to increase prices twice in one year, but it has not happened in a few years.
Because of this, if you are planning a vacation and definitely going to Walt Disney World, it’s always best to buy tickets as soon as you can. 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).
Hopefully the above info helped you determine which Walt Disney World park ticket you should buy and how to save money on those tickets. If you still have some questions, here are some general rules:
- Thanks to a very good special offer, our top recommendation for Walt Disney World is the 6-day Park Hopper ticket.
- We recommend the Park Hopper option for most people, but if you definitely 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.
- Do not consider an Annual Pass unless you will visit Walt Disney World for roughly 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 Get Away Today 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!