New Discount Mid-Day Magic Ticket at Disney World
Walt Disney World has announced a new discounted afternoon park admission option called the Mid-Day Magic Ticket, valid at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios after 12 pm. In this post, we’ll offer pricing and share thoughts about this new WDW ticket offer.
For starters, the basics. Walt Disney World’s new Mid-Day Magic Ticket is only a multi-day ticket, sold in 2 to 4 day increments. Currently, it’s available between now and December 15, 2019. If the Mid-Day Magic Ticket proves popular, we’d expect it to be extended.
While Disney Meetings has long offered convention guests special afternoon tickets, this is the first time Walt Disney World has sold such a midday ticket to the general public. It’s an interesting option, but perhaps not for the reasons you might think…
Let’s begin with pricing. Per Walt Disney World, here are the various options and price points:
- 2-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission after 12 p.m. 2-day Mid-Day Magic Tickets are available from $88 per day plus tax (from $176 total plus tax) and expire four (4) days after the selected start date.
- 3-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission to after 12 p.m. 3-day Mid-Day Magic tickets are available from $84 per day plus tax (from $252 total plus tax) and expire five (5) days after the selected start date.
- 4-Day Mid-Day Magic Ticket: Valid for admission after 12 p.m. 4-day Mid-Day Magic tickets are available from $79 per day plus tax (from $316 total plus tax) and expire seven (7) days after the selected start date.
One thing to note here is that there is no date-based pricing (at least not that we can see) for Mid-Day Magic Ticket, so the amount you’ll save varies by date. This means you’re looking at the least savings now or through most of September and greater savings October through December. You might save as little as ~$20 per day for an off-season date, or as much as ~$50 for a peak-season date.
UPDATE: Disney’s press release didn’t provide details about date-based pricing, but apparently there is date-based pricing on these tickets. Additionally, the starting prices are actually lower than what Walt Disney World has indicated. See accurate pricing based upon your travel dates here on DisneyWorld.com.
However, it is worth noting that those 3 hours, especially during the aforementioned peak season dates, are the most valuable of the day at Walt Disney World. This is something we harp on a lot, but with an efficient 1-Day Disney Parks Itinerary or Touring Plan, you can do more during the first two hours of the day you can get more accomplished than during the next 5 hours.
It’s also worth noting that Walt Disney World is offering Extra, Extra Magic Hours for the entire months of September and October in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios. If crowds prove to be large during the initial months of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, we could also see this being extended to November and December.
During Extra, Extra Magic Hours, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open to on-site hotel guests at 7 a.m., and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open at 6 a.m. It should go without saying, but on-site guests who purchase Mid-Day Magic Tickets will not have access to Extra, Extra Magic Hours.
This means those guests will lose out on another 2-3 hours of time in the parks–early morning hours that will offer a huge strategic advantage to on-site hotel guests who are early risers. This is especially true if daytime and evening hours are busier than normal, you should be able to get a ton done first thing in the morning if you arrive early.
The flip side to this is that those who arrive later will be at a huge strategic disadvantage. If you’re rolling up to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at noon in September and October, you are essentially showing up 6 hours after the park has been open, at which point the crowds will have swollen pretty considerably.
If you’re an on-site guest, we’d implore you not to sleep in during this timeframe (for all of the reasons identified above). Nevertheless, if you’re the type who likes to relax in the morning or if you’re an off-site hotel guest on a budget, the new Mid-Day Magic Ticket is potentially an attractive discount option.
Off-site guests might actually be better off arriving later and staying later. You’re going to hit peak crowds at 9 a.m. anyway, so why not sleep in and not hold off for another few hours, save some money, and stay as late as possible (when crowds will once again start to subside). From that perspective, it’s tough to argue with the Mid-Day Magic Ticket.
Beyond the superficial, we’re also intrigued by the deeper implications of, and motivations for, the Mid-Day Magic Ticket. It would appear that this is a way to redistribute crowds (within a single day) while also offering a quasi-discount to lure in guests who have otherwise been priced out.
The ‘priced out’ guests are the most interesting part of this, and it makes us wonder whether we’ll see more options like the Mid-Day Magic Ticket in the near future. We wonder this because, the Walt Disney Company released its fiscal third quarter results last week, and revealed that attendance dropped 3% at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Disney CEO Bob Iger attributed this drop to aggressive Annual Passholder blockouts and people postponing trips due to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (in the case of Disneyland, fears of crowds; in the case of Walt Disney World, wanting to see the new land).
The reality that attendance is down is hardly surprising–we’ve been covering this phenomenon in our Why Are Star Wars Land Crowds So Low? post. It’s the underlying causes for the declines that have our interest. Speaking to this, Iger said: “we do not feel that we have a pricing issue at our domestic parks.”
While we agree with some of Iger’s purported rationales (fears of crowds, AP blockouts, people postponing trips until the entire land is open) and disagree with criticism of the land’s substance, we disagree that Disney doesn’t have a pricing issue. Of course Iger isn’t going to come out and say that–it’s his job to put a positive spin on Walt Disney Co’s results.
Disney’s aggressive price increases and their long term sustainability is something we’ve discussed at length in countless other posts. We won’t reiterate all of that here, but see our “Is Disney World Eroding Fan Goodwill?“ and Page 2 of our Should You Wait to Visit WDW? posts (among many others) for more of our thoughts on this topic. Suffice to say, cracks are starting to show in the travel industry at large, and this is with record consumer confidence.
The inverted yield curve and warning signs in the global economy have been making waves in the news the last couple of days, and the stock market has already started to react. Even if it takes another 18 months, it would appear that some degree of a recession is an inevitability. It will be interesting to see how Disney navigates a less-than-stellar economic environment after a long run of growth.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland haven’t felt the ramifications of these price increases (yet) thanks to guests being in a ‘spend freely’ sort of mood, but will that end? Will Disney’s parks be hit harder than during the Great Recession due to most expensive day ever perceptions? Will we see a litany of other promos and offers like this? If I were a betting person, I’d say the answer to all of those questions is yes, and we’ll start to see this play out in the not-too-distant future. Of course, I’ve been wrong (or at least premature) in my predictions about this for the last couple of years; perhaps Disney is better positioned than I think.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, 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 clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of the Mid-Day Magic Ticket? Does this ticket appeal to you, or are you a rope drop sorta crew? Thoughts on how a recession could impact Disney? Do you agree or disagree with our analysis? 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!
I’ve got a trip booked in October and I decided to call yesterday and switch my tickets to the midday magic tickets. This kind of ticket wouldn’t always be appealing to me, but it’s kind of a cool option to force myself into a different change of pace. My husband and I are usually in the parks as much as humanly possible. We are doing our first Halloween party this year, so we already have one partial park day scheduled. Between the midday magic tickets and the Halloween party, our total package price is almost $300 cheaper than what it’d normally cost. That’s not chump change! We’re going to take advantage of the extra non-park time and explore resorts we’ve never been to via dining reservations (Sanaa!) and maybe actually float in the pool for a little bit in the morning. I was kind of afraid I would have instant buyers remorse when I switched tickets, but I’m actually excited for a new experience. Maybe I’ll even be able to still walk by the end of our trip! 😛
Thanks for the info! This looks like a good option. I’m sad for those who can’t afford to go. We honestly don’t have the same adoration for Disney that we did 4 years ago–and this is coming from a lifelong Disney freak. While my husband and I aren’t “priced out”, we are still conscious of the hikes and nickel-and-diming, and frankly, it’s put a bad taste in our mouth. The last straw for us was the sold out, overcrowded, overpriced, “exclusive” MNSSHP that we attended 4 years ago with our 2 kids. It was a nightmare. We didn’t return for 3 years. The sad truth is, Disney has lost some of its magic for us. Once up a time, we’d have our next visit planned before even leaving our current trip. Today, we don’t know when we’ll be returning. My dad and step mom used to go to Disney twice a year EVERY YEAR. Meh. They haven’t been back in 4 years. My little family still has love for Disney, but I hope these tix are a sign that they’re seeing the light. I hope to see more discounts and specials in the near future. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for this information! Just ordered our mid day park hopper tickets and are very happy with the savings.
The pricing of this is appealing to me, but it would really mess with how we do Disney. We’re starting to get priced out of Disney as it is, however. We have been going every other Spring Break for the last ten years, and in the process I have become a Disney fanatic. Which is pretty obvious since I’m on this page!
We have been lucky that my in-laws have a time share that we were originally able to use off property, and now it actually works on property (last trip in 2018 we stayed at Saratoga Springs). So that has saved us a TON of money on lodging. In the process, however, we have gone from 1 kid, to 2 kids, now to 4 kids (the last two arrived together). So we’ve gone to paying for 3 tickets, to 4 tickets, and now the twins will be 3 in December, so next year it will be 6 tickets!! I priced some tickets for us for next March and it was ranging from $2600-2900 for 6 regular tickets, 5 day passes and no park hopper. Just last year we paid a little over $1500 for the same tickets, but for only 4 of us as the twins were still free. With the increased ticket prices and the additional kids we have to pay for now, our ticket prices have virtually doubled!
It’s really making me sad that we probably won’t be able to make our usual trip unless something drastic happens with our finances.
Looking at these new half day tickets, while it would drastically change the way we do Disney, as we are rope drop kinda people (or at least as close to it as possible), it might become our only option. We could sleep in, eat breakfast at the room, maybe swim for a little bit with the kiddos, and then hit the parks and stay later in the evenings. I would just hate to not be able to do that much in the parks due to crowds and missing out on the earlier hours. I’m not sure if that would be worth the savings. We may also have to look into bringing as much food into the parks, as possible, to save money.
We have a family of five and it’s really spendy!!! We’re going next month, September. I went on a website called
undercover tourist.com for all of our tickets: WDW, US, and Sea World. It was considerably less that going to the individual sites! You do have to select the start date On your tickets and you only have a couple more days to use them than says you are going.
For example: I bought us each a two day hopper pass to Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure and we each got three days free!
I hope this helps.
I actually looked there, too. They were cheaper ($2600-ish vs. $2900-ish from Disney), but that’s still a good $1100 more than they were for us last year. That’s a huge deal to us. We basically went last year and did the Dining Pass for what it would cost us just for the tickets in 2020. We aren’t broke, but we are by no means wealthy, and that extra $1100 is tough to stomach and will most likely price us out for now.
We spent 8 days at Disney in June – I was in conference for 5 of those days. Yet, we bought 8- day tickets. I’ll have to run the numbers to see if the mid-day tickets for 5 days and 3 days of reg tickets actually comes out cheaper??
What are the chances of Disney coming out with the Canadian ticket discount we’ve seen for the last couple of years (looks like it was released the last week of August last year)?
We’d go midday if it’s less expensive , like using a Party ticket for days admission. This honestly isn’t cheap enough to enjoy swim & brunch before going to Parks, especially if they’re closing early lor 10- 11pm. Sell me a $59 ticket for this and I’m all in
Tom, do you think the fall/winter Fl. resident discounted tickets will be coming out soon? I saw where the new mid-day tickets just came out for everyone.
Would also like to know if Disney is going to offer a discounted version for Florida Residents for these mid day tickets.
I take this as a Marketing ploy in an attempt to offset overcrowding in the mourning hrs of operation for the CashCow
Resort on site Customers. The outcome effect may be small, but as it stands now, anything to reduce overcrowding will be a welcome relief.
We have a certain way we “do Disney”, and afternoon tickets would not appeal to me. But with the price increases of all things Disney (tickets, merchandise, food, etc), I am having to reconsider how we “do Disney”. Beginning with- visiting less often (sad face), potentially shortening our vacation time, being pickier with our meal options (I’ve always thought it ridiculous to go to Disney and pack and lunch… I may be rethinking the absurdity of that…). And now my kids (and my husband and I) love Harry Potter too, so we will have to occasionally factor that park into our vacations.
Curious how the last recession impacted Disney? What did Disney look like in 2008/2009?
Wish they offered a one-day version of this for people in town for other things. I’d do it if the timing was right (good weather, free time, and a park open later in the evening). I did do one of the ‘1/2 day’ tickets many years ago while at a conference.
I was thinking the same. We drive, so a cheaper ticket for the first day would be nice since we aren’t going to get there early. But since we are getting tickets for 4 days, it might not even be cheaper to do 1 late day & 3 regular days.
We went in 2009 with 3 adults and 1 child under 3…in October–FREE DINING. Plus 7 nights in Saratoga for just under $1300!!!
The recession talk yesterday was a hoax to test the waters on how much the media can get away with before the next election. They changed their tune when all the numbers came out from last quarter… sales and consumer confidence is up.
Yeah, total hoax. I’m so thankful the sleuths like you are on to them.
You got it!
How is an inverted yield curve even conceivably a hoax?
Point was that yesterday’s recession talk was dropped when numbers from last quarter came out.
Disneys prob may very well be increased prices for some but all in all, consumer confidence is up.
Fake News, Kathy!
Consumer sentiment is down significantly for August, the lowest it has been during all of 2019 and well below what was anticipated for August. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/16/us-consumer-sentiment-august-2019-preliminary.html
Nice try, though….
I have no problem with this discussion occurring, but let’s please keep it civil and substantive. (Also, let’s stop using the “Fake News” term; it’s so over and misused that it’s utterly devoid of meaning at this point, and is only inflammatory.)
Fair enough, Tom! I thought my comment was fairly toned down (other than my use of the term-that-must-not-be-named, but that’s also probably why you didn’t straight-up delete it). But its your website and I do see your point! Love reading your blog and I am actually in WDW right now for the AP preview tomorrow! So excited!
Sounds like dolphie and tony got triggered. Did you notice the source he posted? Too bad.
Who’s Tony? :o)
And is this source better for you, Leon? https://www.wsj.com/articles/consumer-sentiment-falls-11565965412
I was unaware that CNBC was thought of as having some sort of bias (liveral or conservative), are you perhaps thinking of MSNBC?
“While we agree with some of Iger’s purported rationales (fears of crowds, AP blockouts, people postponing trips until the entire land is open) and disagree with criticism of the land’s substance, we disagree that Disney doesn’t have a pricing issue.”
I actually think, at the moment, that Disney doesn’t have a pricing issue, at least from the perspective of the company. The 3% drop in attendance doesn’t look so bad when it comes with a 7% increase in parks revenue. When attendance drop is coupled with a revenue drop, that’s when the company has a pricing problem. For the past 2-3 years, I think the domestic parks have had an attendance problem; too much attendance. Higher crowds significantly decreases the overall quality of the park experience, and it’s been this which has prevented us from visiting as often as we would like (Florida residents with Silver Passes, FYI). Like it or not, pricing some folks out on the margins increases the guest satisfaction for those who can afford the higher prices. I actually think that the price increases, in addition to the desire to raise park revenues, was actually planned to reduce park attendance. The renovations targeting pathways and crowd control back up the need to improve guest satisfaction by making things less miserable crowd wise.
As for the impending recession (impending for how many years now…), I’m of the exact same mind. I’ve been waiting for the check to come due for several months, and I think it’s just about here. I don’t think Disney will drop the ticket prices from the established levels, I think they’ll opt for other tactics that have been used in the past but not for several years. Free attendance on birthdays, graduate days, removing blackout dates, upping restaurant discounts for AP’s will be the first things to show up. Dropping prices to reasonable levels isn’t likely to make people cross oceans just for a Disney trip; in a large scale economic downturn those tourists are just out of the equation, discounts or not. Under that situation, the domestic parks will rely on upping the attendance of the locals through promotions. The parks will eat some of the ticket revenue to get the locals into the parks to spend money on food and merchandise. These same locals are the ones who are the most high crowding sensitive; they will avoid crowded days because they can go “whenever”. That also makes them the same ones to seek out the parks during periods of low attendance because they can go at the drop of the hat, relatively speaking.
As for the new “afternoon tickets”… I’ve got nothing. It’s a real head scratcher to me. I just can’t figure out what demographic they’re trying to rope in, or what hole they’re trying to fill.
While I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying, I do wonder how much of the perceived attendance problem is intentionally reduced capacity on attractions and Cast Members using free admission.
I’d also speculate that Disney isn’t targeting “those who can afford higher prices” (the affluent) so much as it is squeezing the middle class (hardly unique to Disney).
Nevertheless, I agree with a lot of what you’re saying.
My first thought as I was reading his comment was “operations is what makes it feel crowded!”. We went quite a few times in 2018-2019 and it was fascinating to see how even when there were seemingly few people in the park, they were operating at such low capacity that rides had significant wait times. I personally find that way more frustrating than had the park been actually crowded!
I feel like the two things that keep me from visiting WDW regularly are:
1. Higher prices across the board (admission, food, etc.)
2. The massively increased crowd levels vs. 10 or 20 years ago (and how spending so much time in lines, wading through masses of humanity, and requiring so many meals/activities to be rigidly scheduled diminishes the overall vacation experience).
These are probably key issues for many other folks, as well. But as referenced above and in many of Tom’s posts, this is a challenging conundrum for Disney. Lowering prices would incentivize more travelers to visit and stay longer, but exacerbate issues around overcrowding. Raising prices may keep many visitors away, but will lead to lower overall guest satisfaction while generating negative PR and consumer enmity against the Disney brand (and likely not reducing crowds in a meaningful enough way).
I don’t see this problem going away anytime soon. And any solution that lowers Disney revenue would need to be accompanied by cuts to operating hours, attraction availability, customer service operations, etc.
Honestly the only “hope” for those who struggle with the economic and crowding-related challenges of visiting the parks is that the economy takes a downturn and you have a recession-proof job/income. And that’s a pretty grim thing to hope for.
This is an interesting proposition during Magic Kingdom party season. Between the Halloween and Christmas parties, there are going to be soooo many days where these tickets will not be worth using at Magic Kingdom. But maybe that’s the schtick? Trying to push people to AK/EPCOT and appear to give on-site guests a better (read-less crowded) SW:GE experience if they use EEMH? It would keep morning crowds slightly more manageable so on-site early risers could do the whole park by noon and potentially leave/hop and make room for the afternoon tickets. While Disney sacrifices as little profit as possible by avoiding the DL reservation system.
I see on the website that you can purchase this ticket online as long as you give a starting date. You can also add a Hopper feature or Hopper Plus (water parks, golf, etc), but those cost about $10 more than if you just added a Hopper or Hopper Plus to a standard ticket.
This type of ticket is appealing, if only the cost were lower. I could see myself purchasing this if it were really a bargain, but not sure that I would consider it at this price point. As you mentioned, those early morning hours are so valuable. I could justify sleeping in and missing out on those valuable early morning hours, if I felt like I was getting a realllllllly good deal. I don’t think that is the case though here, unfortunately. Someone who is priced out otherwise might buy it, but ultimately just another way for Disney to money monger and get people’s money who otherwise wouldn’t be buying at all.
“Someone who is priced out otherwise might buy it, but ultimately just another way for Disney to money monger and get people’s money who otherwise wouldn’t be buying at all.”
I think this is accurate, but keep in mind any price decreases or actual aggressive discounts are going to come slowly and over time. Walt Disney World will offer as little as possible to entice guests to buy tickets, visit, etc.
If initial efforts don’t work, they’ll slowly ramp up deals over time.
With the cost of a Premier AP (two worlds) we have been considering taking a year off from WDW. But if this new offer continues, it could be a good deal for guest coming from the Pacific
Time zone who really don’t enjoy waking up SO early on vacation!
I’m also wondering just how many of these tickets they will be selling. It seems like the afternoons are already by far the most crowded time of the day especially at MK. Why add more crowds?
I don’t know if I believe WDW national advertising has confused people who didn’t know Star Wars was opening up at DL first, but that’s my go-to reason if SW WDW ends up being packed. (Did Pandora drive attendance to WDW or just pull visitors from the other parks?)
Based on a Value minimum of $74 per day for a 4 mid-day ticket versus an online Value minimum of $101 per day for a 4 day ticket, it’s about 25% off. I would rather park hop from my bed to a park midday than one park to another, but others may prefer another option like a cheaper hotel and the more expensive tickets.
Thanks for the post Tom.
I find this aspect (that is, recent price increases and potential softening in the economy) to be the most interesting aspect of the current state of the parks.
There is no way they would be offering this unless they were worried about park attendance, and it has to be related to the recent earnings call.
We’ve got trips booked for the next two years because I think this will be our “golden age” for the kids at Disney, but the recent price increases have shifted our attitudes to saving money elsewhere (e.g. doing one meal per day out and groceries for others, limiting up charge experiences).
It does make me wonder if their timing of rolling out a 2 billion dollar expansion (both Galaxy Edge sites) with only two experiences that come without an additional cost is going to prove unfortunate.
When I fly from NJ I am able to .wake it to the park by noon of the day I fly. I would absolutely take advantage of this mid day deal, go to another park on day 2, and fly home on day 3.
“It does make me wonder if their timing of rolling out a 2 billion dollar expansion (both Galaxy Edge sites) with only two experiences that come without an additional cost is going to prove unfortunate.”
Yeah, it will be really interesting to see how those aspects of the land perform in the long term. I’d think the natural solution would be to add entertainment and other ancillary offerings to SWGE so it feels like it’s less retail-heavy, but it’s hard to fathom Disney adding to Galaxy’s Edge if it continues falling short of expectations.
Seems like a last minute grasp to get higher crowds without having to lower prices, answer to people who already paid, and admit they already priced themselves too high. Interesting you think EEMH extension is still possible. I gave up on that after seeing Disney down on quarter earnings. We are going in December and would love longer hours.
We’re going in December too and would also LOVE if Disney extended the Extra Extra Magic Hours!
“Interesting you think EEMH extension is still possible. I gave up on that after seeing Disney down on quarter earnings. We are going in December and would love longer hours.”
I don’t think it’s likely, but I do think it’s possible. I also think they should do it.
December occupancy is high and Rise of the Resistance is opening. It make more sense to have EEMH in November and December than September and October. Unfortunately, last quarter’s results and (potentially) low utilization of EEMH in September and October might give Disney the rationale not to extend.
Hi Tom! Very interesting take on this. I agree, I think it is a little of both: People are waiting for new lands/attractions to open to make their trip “worth it”. Why book, lets say 2 trips, one you could wait and book one in 2020/2021 and get to see all of the new stuff then? Just my 2 cents.