Walt Disney World has released the new 2-Park Explorer discounted ticket for Florida residents for the Fall 2023 off-season, with deals on visiting EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. This shares info & details about the limited-time offer, commentary about this Floridian special offer, return of Annual Passes, and historical comparisons.
Between those resort discounts and this special offer on tickets, Florida residents can visit Walt Disney World for the remainder of this summer and fall and actually have spend less money than the same dates and experience would’ve cost last year. It’s relatively unprecedented for year-over-year effective price decreases, but that’s precisely what we’re starting to see–and it’s very much welcome after a few years of massive price increases.
In terms of the details, the 2023 2-Park Explorer Walt Disney World ticket deal will offer Florida residents the ability to buy a special 2-day ticket that’s valid for admission to EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom for $159 plus tax.
The Disney 2-Park Explorer ticket is valid from August 1 to September 29, 2023. This makes it perfect for checking out the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival, which is now underway–and will expand again on August 15 and on September 22 (when the most interesting food booths will open). See our Guide to the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festivalfor more details, recommendations, and more!
If you’re a regular ole out of state tourist looking for a deal on tickets during this same timeframe, check out the 4-Park, 4-Day Walt Disney World Magic Ticket. This ticket has been hugely popular, does not require reservations, and offers a huge discount over normal 4-day ticket prices.
Walt Disney World’s 2-Park Explorer tickets can be used on consecutive or nonconsecutive days (subject to theme park reservation availability), so you can spread out your visits to the parks.
Again, the Florida Resident Disney 2-Park Explorer Tickets are valid for admission to EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park only. Limit one theme park per day—for a total of 2 admissions, on 2 separate days. Theme park reservations are required and are subject to availability.
Tickets and add-on options expire September 29, 2023. All tickets and options are non-transferable and non-refundable and exclude activities/events separately priced.
Proof of Florida residency required. All adults will need to show proof of Florida residency at park entrance. Both a theme park reservation via the Disney Park Pass system and valid theme park admission for the same park on the same date are required.
Water Park and Sports Option: Just $35 More Per Ticket, Plus Tax – You can purchase a Florida Resident Disney 2-Park Explorer Ticket that also includes the Water Park and Sports option for just $35 more per ticket, plus tax. With this ticket and option, you can:
Visit EPCOT or Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park on 2 separate days with a theme park reservation
Visit a Disney water park, golf course or miniature golf course on 2 additional days (or enjoy them on the same day that you visit a Disney theme park)
All tickets and options expire on September 29th, 2023.
Important Details About the Water Park and Sports Option – The Water Park and Sports option allows Guests a certain number of visits to a water park, golf course or miniature golf course based on the length of their ticket. Please note that:
Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park is closed at this time. Guests will still be able to access Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park during the ticket usage window.
A park reservation is not currently required to visit a water park; however, park reservation requirements are subject to change.
Water parks are subject to refurbishments, seasonal, capacity, and weather closures, or may close for other reasons.
Tee times are required for Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course and are subject to availability.
FootGolf is available every Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday after 2:30 PM, subject to availability.
Miniature golf is valid for one round. Round must start prior to 4:00 PM.
Only one miniature golf visit per Guest per day.
ESPN Wide World of Sports admission is valid only on event days; some events require an additional admission charge; there are no events on certain days; days and hours of operation of concessions, venues and attractions vary. Visit ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for more information.
The only option that’s “missing” from the 2-Park Explorer Florida resident ticket deal is the Genie+ add-on. The absence of this is not technically new, as other recent ticket releases also have not offered it. Still, worth mentioning as this could be purchased in the past for the duration of the tickets at a flat-rate charge of $16 per day. This option has been retired for all tickets and Genie+ now uses date-based, per-park pricing that ranges from $16 to $35 per day.
The good news is that Genie+ will likely cost $16 to $22 most dates and parks that these tickets are valid. We’re not expecting $30+ prices again until October 2023. There’s also the reality that you won’t need Lightning Lane access for all dates or all parks. Everything you need to know is covered in our Guide to Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Walt Disney World.
In terms of commentary, this is a savvy move by Walt Disney World. This 2-Park Explorer ticket prevents its purchasers from visiting in Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which are far and away the two most popular parks for tourists right now, and the only ones that have had any kind of capacity issues in 2023.
In the past, the company has used theme park reservations to limit access to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, redistributing attendance and pushing people towards Animal Kingdom and EPCOT. The goal was to increase the utilization of those parks and normalize numbers across all four parks. That was an instance of the infamous “yield management” approach discussed by executives on earnings calls and in interviews.
More recently, Walt Disney World offered V.I.Passholder Days this summer, with an emphasis on EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. There was a “lounge” in EPCOT, free magnets distributed at different times in both parks, and other incentives to try to draw diehard fans and locals to EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. Since Annual Passholders already have park admission, the goal there was to get them in the gate and spending money on merchandise as well as food & beverages. (Don’t be surprised if V.I.Passholder Days returns for the next two months!)
It’s a somewhat similar idea here. If left to their own devices, people would not visit Animal Kingdom and EPCOT in the same numbers or with the same frequency as Magic Kingdom (also known simply as “Disneyworld” to many casual guests) or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (aka “The Star Wars Park” or “The One With Big Rides and New Stuff”).
The 2-Park Explorer Ticket is valid only at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, so it redistributes attendance to those two parks, thereby leaving more surplus capacity at Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The weird thing, from our perspective, is that this ticket is being released at what’s historically the slowest time of the entire year. All of the parks will have surplus capacity. As such, there’s no need to redistribute crowds. They’re low everywhere.
With that said, this ticket might be a good pilot program for Walt Disney World at an incredibly low-stakes time of year. The company can see what the response to this offer is among locals, and potentially bring it back during times of the year when Magic Kingdom and DHS are busier, but there’s still excess capacity at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom.
That is when a ticket deal like this makes sense–when it’s too busy to offer discounts at Magic Kingdom and DHS, but they could be useful at EPCOT or Animal Kingdom. We’d expect to see a special offer like this in October through December (likely with blockouts) or other times when ticket deals are historically not offered to locals. And maybe that’s the eventual intent.
Or perhaps Walt Disney World is simply trying to throw new special offer concepts at the wall and see what sticks. Either way, we’re on board with Walt Disney World experimenting with more new and novel discounts!
If you’re trying to choose the best dates to visit or ones to avoid, consult our 2023 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendars. Spoiler alert: there are going to be many dates that have low crowds during this 2-Park Explorer ticket promo for Florida residents.
We hesitate to make any conclusive proclamation about summer season being over already–as there was just an unexpected spike last week (and it ended up being the busiest stretch of summer!)–but wait times are already heading back down. It’s exceedingly rare for that trend to reverse course once August starts. Suffice to say, crowd levels are already low this week and only likely to get lower for the next several weeks.
As noted above, there’s another Florida resident ticket deal for these same dates. Prior to this, there was the Disney Weekday Magic Ticket, which started January 10 and ran through April 27, 2023. That offered Floridians discount tickets, with a 2-day ticket for $175 (plus tax), 3-day ticket for $195 (plus tax), or 4-day ticket for $215 (plus tax).
The 2022 Disney Weekday Magic Ticket discount was similar, just slightly cheaper. Those 2-Day Florida Resident tickets cost $149, the 3-Day version was $179, and the 4-Day Florida Resident ticket option cost $199. Additionally, there were fewer blockout dates.
If you’re wondering how this compares to 2021, back then Florida resident ticket prices for the first half of the year were $149 for 2-day tickets, $179 for 3-day tickets, and $199 for 4-day tickets. (Those had more blockout dates–but were also available during a busier season.)
Post-reopening, Florida Resident Discover Tickets started at $130 per ticket for the 2-day ticket. The 3-day option was $174 per ticket and the 4-day Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex Ticket was $195 per ticket. None of those tickets were limited to weekdays-only.
For the sake of comparison, it’s worth point out the differences between this 2-Park, 2-Day Explorer ticket and those past special offers. The big one is that this ticket deal is once again not limited to weekdays-only. This is going to be important to many Floridians; working 9-5 jobs Monday through Friday made the prior two resident tickets non-starters for many fans.
Even with this costing slightly more than the winter and spring discount, it’s probably a better value for at least some Floridians as a result. From our perspective, this not being a weekday-only ticket is more interesting because of a recent dynamic we’ve observed with wait time and crowd trends (and even Genie+ pricing): weekdays are actually busier than weekends most of the time!
The other obvious distinction, as discussed above, is that this is limited to EPCOT and Animal Kingdom. This is the first ticket offer to do that in the decade-plus that we’ve been tracking Walt Disney World deals…and probably the first time ever.
Given that demand is lower for EPCOT and Animal Kingdom, and judging by the single-day pricing discrepancy, it’s fair to say that admission to these two parks is not worth as much as it is to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. There’s also the timeframe during which this is valid, which is literally the slowest (and cheapest) stretch of the entire year.
On balance, our assessment is that Walt Disney World actually aimed a bit too high with the price point here. Don’t get us wrong, this will be an attractive option for some Floridians who enjoy atmosphere or want to partake in the 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. However, if Walt Disney World really wants to attract locals without Annual Passes who still stayed on the sidelines with the release of the other resident offer, this ticket should’ve been more aggressively priced.
Just spitballing, but I think the sweet spot would be $119 to 130 for the regular ticket. I’d also go with a $99 option for seniors–that demo is far less likely to do the blockbuster thrill rides at either park; they’re more inclined to spend money eating and drinking, or buying souvenirs/gifts for their out-of-state relatives. Older Floridians is probably a demographic that Walt Disney World has lost over the last several years, and attracting them back for August and September would make a lot of sense.
Ultimately, the Disney 2-Park, 2-Day Florida Resident Ticket offer is a good way for locals to save on park admission right now…unless you’ll get enough mileage out of an Annual Pass to make that worth the money or you want to visit Magic Kingdom or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Frankly, we suspect that’ll be true for many Floridians who have an interest in Walt Disney World.
While we think this ticket is probably priced too high and is unlikely to be what “fixes” the attendance downturn at Walt Disney World, it’s still an interesting experiment. We’re incredibly pleased to see Walt Disney World reviving deals from the past and trying out new special offers like this.
What do you think of these park ticket promotions for Walt Disney World? Will you be taking advantage of the Florida resident deal for late Summer and Fall 2023–or did you already purchase an Annual Pass when those sales resumed? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!