Our discount Disney World ticket guide offers money-saving info, pros & cons of Park Hoppers, tips for the best deals on tickets between now and September 26, 2021 for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom, plus price increase history/predictions. (Updated August 25, 2020.)
If you’re just wondering the best place to safely buy the discounted Walt Disney World multi-day tickets from an authorized reseller, we highly recommend Undercover Tourist. They have the lowest prices on Florida theme park tickets, including Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando in addition to WDW.
Note that while Walt Disney World’s phased reopening continues, guests are required to make a theme park reservation via the Disney Park Pass system in addition to purchasing valid tickets. We have a How to Make Disney Park Pass Reservations Guide that can assist with that, but it’s pretty easy and reservations seldom book up in advance for guests purchasing standard theme park tickets. It’s also a great time to visit Walt Disney World because crowds are the lowest they’ve been in decades!
With so many different park ticket options, this might already seem overwhelming. In this WDW 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.
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.) By the end of this post, you’ll know way more than you ever thought there was to know about park tickets!
Before we get started, it’s important to note that some things have changed during Walt Disney World’s phased reopening in addition to the Disney Park Pass Reservations. Namely, FastPass+ and Park Hopping have both been temporarily suspended. Both are discussed below because they’re returning at some point in the future, but we don’t know when. Whether they’re relevant to you really depends upon when you visit. If you’re traveling in October 2020, probably not. If you’re visiting in April 2021, maybe. Keep an eye on our ‘Temporary Abnormal’ Walt Disney World Planning Guide or subscribe to our free email newsletter for all of the latest updates.
With that out of the way, let’s start with the latest ticket news & rumors…
2020 Ticket News & Rumors
Ticket prices already increased once at Walt Disney World in 2020, at the very beginning of the year. We cover all of the details in our 2020 Ticket & Annual Pass Prices Increases at Walt Disney World post. In a normal year, prices would increase once or twice–with the second potential increase occurring around October.
The multi-month closure of Walt Disney World has taught us that 2020 is anything but normal. Regardless of that, we are not anticipating another price increase in 2020. Attendance is down roughly 80% in the months following the reopening. Demand is down due to fears about traveling, mandatory quarantines, reduced entertainment, temporary safety measures, economic uncertainty, and other factors.
In short, the timing is simply not right for another price increase. To the contrary, we’ve been predicting for months that at some point in the near future, Walt Disney World will lure out aggressive discounts for this holiday season and 2021. However, those probably will not be ticket-only deals (we’d expect ticket prices to hold steady) but instead offers that discount vacation packages that include hotels and tickets.
In fairness, we’ve been wrong on this before and Disney has increased prices at other times when we didn’t expect it. Accordingly, if you have a 2020 Walt Disney World trip planned, we highly recommend buying tickets sooner rather than later to lock-in current prices. There’s zero downside to buying now–it’s all upside. You avoid paying more money later if or when prices increase.
In the meantime, Walt Disney World is offering a variety of Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket Deals. These Discover tickets are valid for admission to one Walt Disney World theme park per day, any day through September 30, 2020 with no blockout dates. These are a great option for locals to experience 2020 additions, including Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway and more. Plus everything else that’s new as of the last year, including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Speaking of which, the normal Discover Disney tickets will give you one shot at experiencing Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance (unless you upgrade to the Park Hopper…which you should consider for this ride alone). This attraction uses a virtual queue and boarding pass system that is first-come, first-served.
Our comprehensive Ride Guide & FAQ for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance covers everything you need to know so you don’t blow your chance. For the purposes of this post, the main thing you need to know is that it’s impossible to experience Rise of the Resistance if you arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after noon.
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 buying from Undercover Tourist, which is an authorized discount Disney ticket broker that typically has the lowest prices on legitimate park tickets. You can order tickets for use now through September 26, 2021.
You’ll receive confirmation codes for My Disney Experience via email, which enables you to easily link the tickets to your My Disney Experience account. 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.
There aren’t many Disney ticket sellers that are actually legitimate, so be careful if you find a deal elsewhere. The sellers we mention in this article are the ones that have the best reputations and offer the biggest discounts. If you find a better deal somewhere else, well…you know what they say about when something sounds too good to be true!
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!
The good news is that there are several legitimate, authorized Walt Disney World ticket sellers that can be trusted. In addition to Undercover Tourist, we also recommend Official Ticket Center.
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.
Additionally, you might be eligible for discount tickets through your employer or a membership program like TicketsAtWork that can save even more than the alternatives. The only downsides are that some of these tickets require more advance notice for processing, and that what you receive is a ticket voucher (it still can be linked to My Disney Experience); you will need to pick up the actual ticket when you arrive at Walt Disney World.
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 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 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!)
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–even though Slinky Dog Dash is a really fun new ride in Toy Story Land there–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 will cost around $490 after tax, with some dates costing more and some costing less. Obviously, that’s a lot of money.
However, compare it to a 1-day Park Hopper ticket directly from Disney, which cost over $180 after tax. For less than the price of three 1-day tickets, you can purchase a 7-day discounted Park Hopper. That 7-day ticket 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.
What About Park Hopper Plus Tickets?
The Park Hopper Plus ticket option (formerly “Water Park Fun & More) offers everything included with Park Hopper Tickets mentioned above, plus access to Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, NBA Experience, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, and Winter Summerland or Fantasia Gardens mini golf.
With Park Hopper Plus tickets, you are eligible for the same number of “Plus” admissions as the number of days on your ticket. Meaning that if you have a 7-day Park Hopper Plus ticket, you also have 7 entrances the water parks, mini golf course, etc.
Whether this ticket is right for you really depends upon whether you want to do any of the parks beyond the 4 main theme parks. If you want to do one of the other things even once or twice, you come out ahead to purchase the Park Hopper Plus Tickets. We love both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, and enjoy both of the mini golf courses (albeit less so than the water parks) and recommend this ticket option to anyone who will be spending 6 days or more at Walt Disney World.
What About the Water Park and Sports Option?
The Water Park and Sports Option is available as an add-on to select Walt Disney World theme park tickets for $70 plus tax. This option allows guests to visit one theme park each day, plus various water park or sports experiences that same number of times.
The Water Park & Sports Option is valid at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon or Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks, the NBA Experience, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, FootGolf at Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course, or Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course.
Basically, this ticket is the non-park hopper version of the aforementioned Park Hopper Plus ticket option. The analysis for the Water Park and Sports Ticket Option is identical to the Park Hopper Plus, but for those who only want to do one theme park per day. We generally favor the Park Hopper Plus option as it offers great flexibility and the upgrade cost to that is insignificant, but that’s just us.
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 Undercover Tourist or Official Ticket Center, 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, 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 TicketsAtWork. 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 Undercover Tourist. 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 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; 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.
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 very good discounts, our top recommendation for Walt Disney World is the 5-day to 7-day Park Hopper ticket, all of which provide excellent savings.
- 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 park 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 park reservations in advance.
- Do not consider an Annual Pass unless you will visit Walt Disney World for roughly 15+ days in a 365 day window, or will take multiple shorter trips.
- If you are planning a vacation and definitely going to Walt Disney World before September 26, 2021, it’s always best to buy tickets as far in advance as possible to lock-in current prices and avoid future increases.
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. Finally, head to Undercover Tourist buy the appropriate tickets at the best 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!