Ticket Bridging for Disney World Annual Passes
If you want to save money on a Walt Disney World Annual Pass, a method called “price bridging” will provide the greatest discount. With this technique, you purchase a park ticket from an authorized third party reseller and then upgrade that ticket to an Annual Pass. (Last updated May 6, 2018.)
In the process of ticket bridging, you’re credited for the full gate price value of the regular Walt Disney World park ticket. This “bridges” the gap (hence the name) between what you paid and the ticket’s current value. You then pay out of pocket for the difference between your ticket’s current value and the cost of a Walt Disney World Annual Pass.
In order to price bridge, you’ll want to start by purchasing the Walt Disney World park ticket with the deepest discount from an authorized third party reseller. We keep our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post updated with what’s currently the best deal at the top of the post. Saving money in this first step is important because you receive the face value of this ticket, not what you paid for it, when upgrading.
The next step is going to a Guest Services window with your unused or partially used (despite what you might read, it makes no difference) ticket, and requesting to upgrade it to an Annual Pass, with the value applied towards your Annual Pass. The reason we recommend Guest Services is that this is a fairly uncommon request, and Guest Services is where you’re most likely to find a Cast Member with experience in price bridging.
If, for some reason, the Cast Member at Guest Services is unable to price bridge at the current (full) gate price of your Walt Disney World ticket, ask if a supervisor can assist. Don’t get confrontational or say, “but the internet told me this works!” Neither will get you anywhere. For many Cast Members, the internet is a verboten place of tomfoolery and lies about 5th gates and monorail expansion.
Failing that, try again at a different window. Please, don’t leave an irate comment here about this technique “no longer working.” This method absolutely does work–you just need to be diligent. If ever price bridging stops working at Walt Disney World, I’ll update the post.
Here’s some quick and dirty math to illustrate the savings and process. Let’s say I buy a 7-day Park Hopper for $447. This ticket is credited its full gate price including tax, which is $516.53. I want to purchase the Disney Platinum Pass, which is $829.64 after tax. Out of pocket, I will pay $313.11 to price bridge the difference. (Obviously, these numbers will differ based upon what you purchase–and if any price increases occur between the time this is published and whenever you’re reading it.)
What’s interesting about this technique is that it only works this way with third party tickets, not those purchased directly from Walt Disney World. While all tickets are capable of being upgraded if you pay the difference, those tickets purchased directly from Disney receive credit for the gate price of the ticket at the time the ticket was purchased.
By contrast, third party tickets are credited the current gate price of the ticket at the time of the upgrade. This is a known loophole in Disney’s system and I’m not sure why. Perhaps there’s some sort of breakdown in the feedback loop with the third party sale or some other, unknown reason why full, current price is credited. Whatever the case, it’s a “known issue” that benefits the consumer.
Note that there’s one unique wrinkle to this that will impact a very small minority of you. If you purchased tickets from a reseller before the February 2018 price increase, you will only be given credit for the gate value before the increase. If you purchased after the February 2018 price increase (as most of you are probably doing), you’ll receive credit for the current gate value of the ticket. Since this is a ‘how to’ post, this nuance probably applies to next to no one reading, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Variations of price bridging have been around for at least 10 years, and this loophole has yet to be closed. (Let’s call it a “Disney Hack” since loophole has a negative connotation…) I doubt this blog post will change that as this info has been widely available via forums and other sites for a while. I remember using the technique–albeit not in the exact manner–back in the early days of Free Dining to upgrade tickets, and the same principles are being applied here.
Theoretically, you could “invest” in park tickets now that you’ll use to upgrade to Annual Passes years down the road and watch the value of your tickets climb. It would basically be like investing in GOOGL at its IPO and cashing out today. Well, maybe not that good of an investment, but ticket price increases have way outpaced inflation. However, we don’t recommend this as a long-term plan because there’s no telling when Disney revise this policy.
A few other notes:
- You will receive a credit for the current gate price after-tax when upgrading. Make sure to confirm this amount before completing the upgrade transaction.
- You can use price bridging on Annual Pass renewals.
- You can use price bridging on Disney Vacation Club-discounted Annual Passes.
- You can use price bridging on other, more expensive tickets that aren’t Annual Passes.
- There are some reports of price bridging working at Disneyland, but most of the time it does not. It has never worked for us, so YMMV.
That should about cover it in terms of pricing bridging your discounted Walt Disney World tickets to…discounted Annual Passes! It’s a nice way to save a bit more money that you can then put towards Vinylmation or novelty hats–you know, the necessities.
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!
Do you have any questions about price bridging? Have you tried it before? Any issues price bridging? Successes? Wish this technique were called “WDW Ticket Trojan Horsing” instead? Share any questions, tips, or additional thoughts you have in the comments!
Avid follower of your blog for years. Disney hack question here. You may have answered this in your post but it’s been a few (crazy) years so I’m hoping I can still use your “Disney Hack”. I plan to use today’s Undercover Tourist Black Friday sale to buy tickets for my daughter and I at child prices (Woohoo!). We are both sorcerer passholders up for a renewal window that spans our next DVC trip. Should we be able to apply the full adult value of our UT tickets to our renewals? Will the full ticket value at renewal include the upcoming Dec 8th price increase? Thanks for always providing the most thorough and intelligent analysis of our favorite home away from home!
I have 3 days remaining on a never expire park hopper (you can’t buy those now). Does anyone know if I could bridge that to a DVC gold pass? One of my kids doesn’t have the passes and I was considering the AP for him. But I would prefer we all have the same type passes moving forward.
I am also wondering the same thing!!!
do you know if this would work with military discounted tickets? i.e $257 5 day hopper military ticket has a value of $500-$600. could we pay the difference on that as a Florida resident?
Bethanie, I too use our Military Salute to the Armed Forces tickets. Refresh my recollection, doesn’t the military tickets say “Salute to the Armed Forces” or “Military” on the Ticket? If so, we may not get the actual value of $516.00, but the actual discounted price we paid. Notwithstanding, I am willing to take the challenge! I remember when the Military 4-Day park hopper Tickets were free
I just asked when I was there two weeks ago! I was told that you could receive the value already paid as long as you did it while your tickets was still valid.
Has anyone had any recent experience with a UK bought ticket? I bought a 21 day ticket from Virgin Holidays (as part of a package holiday) for roughly $525 and wanting to upgrade to the Platinum Plus Pass.
In the article, it is mentioned that “You can use price bridging on Disney Vacation Club-discounted Annual Passes.”
I recently bought WDW 5 day park hopper tickets for May (for the entire family), not realizing I would be buying into DVC and qualify for the Florida Gold Pass. When I spoke with DVC, they thought I would need to “bridge/upgrade” at the ticket office. When I chatted with the ticket office, they said that they could not bridge to a DVC Gold Pass if I’m not a Florida resident. Surely I’m not just out the entire family’s worth of 5 day Park Hopper tickets? One other note, I plan to buy DVC this week and realize that cuts it close for even receiving my membership card in time to do the upgrade. Maybe they will honor my contract even if my membership card hasn’t come?
Hello! Has anyone been successful doing this with FL resident tickets?
That’s what I would like to know, because I was just denied. Saying only Florida resident discount paid. Not full price.
Does this work for passes that are through the Summit cheerleading event at WWOS? Or tickets purchased in a “group” package>
Your best bet is to use your ticket at the parks at least once then visit guest relations at any one of the Walt Disney World theme parks or Disney Springs. In my own experience, Disney Springs town center guest relations was the most helpful when I chose to bridge my 10 day park hopper to a DVC Annual Gold Pass in December 2018. Wish you all the best.
If I buy a four day ticket and upgrade to an annual pass on the third day when will the Annual pass expire? I want to go the same weekend the next year. Would The annual pass start on the first day I used my four day ticket?
Yes your ticket will revert back to the first date of use for your base or park hopper ticket that is being bridged to an annual pass.
On top of this next year before the annual pass expires you will have the opportunity to renew your pass for one more year and save approximately $70.
I just referred back to your blog post about ticket bridging. I fount your blog a few months back and was interested in doing this so I purchased a 10 day park hopper from Undercover a Tourist for $505.57. When I visited Guest Relations @ MK yesterday I was told by the cast member that I would receive $487 for a credit towards my Gold Pass. I was wondering if you had any knowledge of this change in ticket bridging maybe during the last price hike on tickets they changed their policy. Today I checked and the same ticket is selling for around $561 on the Disney site. Help!!!
Is this still something we can do now that the ticket structure has changed?
Hey Laura, this will absolutely still work and I had the best results at Disney Springs Guest Relations. Everywhere else I went it seemed like the cast member were a bit confused or weren’t trained to do the ticket bridging. An update to my post above I am happy to report that my 10 day park hopper ticket that I had purchased before the price increase in 2018 cost $505.57. Before my trip ended I visited guest relations at Disney Springs and the cast member let me know that I would receive $654.17 towards my Disney Gold Pass(eligible for Florida Residents and DVC members) so I essentially gained $150, receive $6.50 change and was upgraded to the Gold Pass for free. Make sure that anyone trying this does in fact use their pass first, I believe for some reason it adds more value after first use. A very magical moment in deed. Message me if anyone has any questions.
Disney Gold Pass costs $648.00 with DVC discount
James m. So you’re saying use a day of my 7-day Park hopper ticket that I purchased from Undercover Tourist for $493.00, upgrade it the next day to annual pass and I will get credit for a 7-day Park hopper ticket to be applied to price?
I would recommend using at least 3 days from your pass then visitin guest relations at Disney Springs for ticket bridging…to save even more apply for a Disney Premier Visa to save $250 on your first purchase in first 3 months of $500
So James you still didn’t answer my question. If I use 3 days of my 7 day park hopper will I get $535.00 applied to an annual pass even though I have used 3 days.
But does this work/apply to discounted tickets? Example: bought a discounted 4-day. And were told that the full price would be applied. Is this the case?
Trying to figure out how this will work. I have some very old unused WDW annual pass vouchers (issued around 2000) which cost under $300 each. I have verified that these are still valid and can be redeemed for a 4-park WDW annual passport. Once issued, I want to exchange that for a Disney Premier Annual Passport (good for both WDW and DL). I’m trying to see if they will credit the cost of a current WDW annual passport or the $$ I actually paid back in 2000? Appreciate any info anyone can provide on this. Thanks.
From what I’ve researched on ticket bridging and in my own experience worth the old tickets unfortunately if they have a no expiration they would not be able to be bridged to another ticket but hey it doesn’t hurt to ask maybe use a little pixie dust and maybe a little magic may happen. The only other thing I would consider is selling the tickets you do have unless they are used and then purchasing the third party tickets as I did from undercover tourist.com (best prices I’ve found on multi day hopper passes to universal and Disney) then use the ticket and before you leave bridge it for full gate value at Disney Springs guest relations ( this is where the most magic happens), best of luck to you and anyone else trying to save on their trips to Disney.
I really do wish articles about how to get the best and or cheapest experience would melt off the servers. If someone has the intelligence to figure out how to get a savings, good. If not, don’t advertise it. Disney will clamp down on every little bit of air we breathe if they think they can sell it.
We recently did this in September 2018, via the MyDisney Experience app, on 6-day park hopper tickets (with free dining plan), defintiely purchased after February ’18. We were quoted a higher price to upgrade at guest services, by almost $200 a pop, so we just noped right out of there and bought our annual passes via the app, then turned around and activated them at another guest service window. I’m not sure if this info will really benefit anyone, but definitely check your tickets in the app to see if you can score a deal on passes there!
This is great info! So the app applied the price of your tickets to the annual pass and you paid the difference just like you would at guest services ? I am assuming you do this after check in? I am really wanting to do this at our upcoming trip in December, but nervous it would mess up our free dining plan.
Hello, Amber! Did this work for your trip? If so would you explain? Thank you!
This did work! We upgraded right on the app- Super easy!
Jessica (and Amber) – I am interested in trying to convert UCT 9 day tickets to a FL annual pass. Sorry if I am slow in working this out, but in your comment, are you saying that you bought 6-day tickets from a third-party (like UCT or Parksaver), added them to your MDE account, and then at some point after your first use, converted them to an annual pass on the app itself? (Without having to go to a guest service window?) That would be ideal. If so, may I ask if either of you were able to bridge to a FL resident annual pass? or non-resident pass? Thanks!!!
Hi All – did buying on the app and applying your current ticket only work after check-in? I do not see the option to apply my current ticket on the app yet. Our check in date is friday.
I’m curious to know how this all worked. We have 7 day park hoppers currently purchased but we want to upgrade once we arrive. Did you have to use your ticket at least once before the app allowed you upgrade? where in the app did you find the upgrade option?
Hi amber! Did this work for upgrading to ap and keeping your free dining? We’re wanting to do this in sept!
Also, interested in how this works in more detail. Going in August with free dinning and we are interested in upgrading to AP’s. From what I understand you upgraded via app?
You will need to use at least one park ticket before the app will give you the option to upgrade to annual pass. My free dining was not affected, no issues at all! Once you upgrade, go to guest services to get your AP card. Just show them you upgraded on the app and they will activate your new AP card.
Tom, Can you please clarify if I should simply purchase the ticket that offers the biggest savings (example 10 day park hopper from UT says it saves $70) or buy the ticket I need for my trip (6 day park hopper or in this case 5 day park hopper plus extra day from UT which saves $63) ?? We don’t need ten days of tickets as we won’t be there that long. I know the difference is only $7 but thats a free ice cream in Disney World right !?! We’re going Tuesday-Sunday of Thanksgiving week and will upgrade to annual passes during this time.. hoping to do it first day of the trip to get the memory maker which is included and use the AP discount at our dinner reservations! Dose pre paying for memory maker make a difference either? Going back in March, May and maybe next August!
Thank you for such a detailed post!
I bought my ticket before the price increase in February 2018, when we only had one trip planned. I am now planning a second trip a few months later and an annual pass seems cost effective for me.
The value of the 2017 ticket I would upgrade – would it be the value of the ticket+tax as if it was purchased at the gate? Or online? I saw something that said Disney’s online prices for 2017 were $20 cheaper than at the gate, and I’m wondering which gate value would be applied to my ticket.
I should add, my ticket is from Undercover Tourist, bought before the February 2018 price increases – am I understanding correctly that I get the 2017 gate value, or will it be valued at the 2018 gate price?
Does this work with tickets purchased from Shades of Green?
Is it worth purchasing memory maker in advance? Does this offer a price savings as well from gate price when price bridging? Also, I’ve read in some other places that I need to use one day of my tickets before trying to price bridge. Is this true? Thanks either way for the advice!
Wanted to share my experience bridging tickets for AP renewal today. First, I tried Guest Relations by Spaceship Earth. What a bad idea! The cast member gave me even LESS credit than what I actually paid for at Undercover Tourtist. I politely declined and prepared to walk away. Then, he said that I wasn’t going to get anymore than what he was offering and NO ONE would give me a full gate price for these tickets! The whole thing took 45 minutes. What an unpleasant experience. Then, I tried my luck at the International Gateway. The cast member took one look at my magicbands and told me how much I owed. I didn’t even have time to tell him that I wanted to use the extra tickets. He got all that from the 2-second look!!
I’m confused o. What happened at international gateway. Were you able to complete your transaction?