The latest in a line of Walt Disney World discounts is the Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex ticket, which offers deeply-discounted 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day park tickets for locals. In this post, we’ll cover the details, recap other recently-released discounts, and the likelihood of more being released for the general public in the near future.
Although some of those prices are still very high, those are among the best percentage discounts we’ve seen since around 2012. (Obviously, hotel prices have increased a lot since then.) Still not the ~$50-$70 per night we remember paying for the Value Resorts during the Great Recession, but the All Stars are not even open right now, so there’s that!
Subsequently, Walt Disney World quietly released a 30% off discount on merchandise purchases at most Walt Disney World stores for Annual Passholders with only limited exclusions. Normally, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders receive a 20% off merchandise discount as part of AP perks, so this amounts to an extra 10% off.
This 30% off is currently valid through August 14, 2020, but we would be more surprised if it’s not extended than if it is extended. If anything, we expect more attempts to entice Annual Passholders to spend money while in the parks. Offering 20% off the 2020 Taste of EPCOT Food & Wine Festival booths seems logical given the high menu prices (and the fact that the first wave of bloggers/vloggers/etc. is now over).
Now, we have new discounts on park tickets for Florida Residents…
With the Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex Ticket, locals can enjoy 2, 3 or 4 days at one Walt Disney World theme park per day. These flexible tickets can be used at any one of the 4 theme parks on consecutive or non-consecutive days throughout the offer period (subject to Disney Park Pass availability).
The 2-Day Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex Ticket costs $130 per ticket (or $65 per day) and is valid for use July 22, 2020 through September 30, 2020. The 3-day Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex Ticket costs $174 per ticket ($58 per day) and is valid July 22 to November 20, 2020 plus November 29 to December 18, 2020. Finally, the 4-day Florida Resident Disney Magic Flex Ticket costs $195 per ticket ($49 per day) and is also valid July 22 to November 20, 2020 and November 29 to December 18, 2020.
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.
It’s worth noting that these are the exact same prices as last year’s Florida Resident Discover Disney Ticket. However, that too was an aggressive deal, offered during the lead-up to the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. That was a window we dubbed the “Pre-Star Wars Slump” and low attendance and hotel occupancy during that timeframe is why Disney moved forward the land’s debut.
Offering the same discount one year after the debut of that blockbuster land plus Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is undoubtedly not what Disney had in mind at the time. With that said, this is likely only a precursor of even better discounts to come…
As far back as March, “will Walt Disney World offer deals when the parks & resorts reopen?” and “will WDW raise prices to make up for lost revenue during the closure?” were two incredibly common reader questions. In response to those, we published Will Disney World Offer Huge Discounts After Reopening? That post was essentially an emphatic YES!
Still, many readers disagreed, pointing out the lost revenue and how Disney would jack up prices to compensate. As we’ve discussed countless times in the past, Walt Disney World charges what the market will bear. They don’t hold off on price increases as a nice gesture to guests nor are Disney’s prices based upon costs. At this point, Walt Disney World’s pricing is based almost exclusively on demand. And right now, demand is low.
We mention all of this not to take a victory lap, but as a foundation for the present landscape that Walt Disney World is trying to navigate. (If this were simply about patting ourselves on the backs, it’d be about as lame as claiming success in predicting in afternoon thunderstorm in Florida during the summer.)
Our predictions about Walt Disney World offering aggressive discounts were not exactly prescient or even bold. This was easily foreseeable to anyone with a vague understanding of economics and historical knowledge of how Walt Disney World has operated during past recessions.
However, one thing we did not foresee was the current status of the health crisis in Florida. Our expectation back in March was that America, as a whole, would flatten the curve and maybe there’d be a smaller second wave later in the fall that we’d all deal with more swiftly and dynamically, having the knowledge and preparations from the first wave. Quite naive, in retrospect.
We did not expect Florida to peak later during the first wave and be the epicenter of America’s outbreak right as Walt Disney World reopened, drawing a firestorm of bad PR in the process. Whether proceeding with reopening as planned was a poor decision or a matter of unlucky timing is debatable, but either way, not germane to this post.
What’s relevant now is that Walt Disney World has sort of been backed into a corner. A lot of potential guests don’t want to visit Florida in the near-term future, and even if they did, Walt Disney World would be reticent to market the parks and resorts to them.
The result is that Walt Disney World is in something of a holding pattern, waiting for the real world situation in Florida to improve or at least the headlines to subside. Thankfully, there are signs of both. (In particular, Orange County’s numbers are starting to look better than Florida’s as a whole.)
Ultimately, that’s our take on why Walt Disney World has yet to release great deals to the general public despite the resorts operating at incredibly low occupancy rates at the resorts and the parks being veritable ghost towns with plenty of surplus Disney Park Pass inventory.
It’s likely a matter of public perception, fear, and also wanting to err on the side of caution with a slow and methodical phased reopening. Consequently, we’re still probably looking at late summer or early fall (at the earliest) before Walt Disney World offers aggressive discounts to the general public. But they will be come, and they will be exceptional.
What do you think of Walt Disney World’s recent discounts for Florida Residents and Annual Passholders? Are you anticipating colossal savings on hotels, tickets, or dining for the general public? Will you be ready to pounce on deals—or will you wait for a full economic bounceback–or until operations are normal at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? 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!