With dining reservations in hand, you can make a better decision about which park tickets you need to buy. You may wonder why we waited to discuss tickets until now. Well actually, we think looking at your resort, schedule, and dining gives you the best indicator of what tickets you’ll want. Before we begin ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I want to go to a theme park every day? (Or will I take advantage of non-park rest days?)
2. Do my dining reservations line up with my park schedule? (Or will I need a park hopper option?)
3. Will my resort pool provide adequate water entertainment for my family? (Or will we want to visit the waterparks?)
OK, let’s get started…
1. Multi-Day Tickets
Multi-day Disney tickets become “cheaper” the more days that you plan to go…cheaper per day, that is. At the four day mark, the savings really set in, so if you are debating at all about additional park days, now is the time to do the math—any day after three is actually pretty economical in terms of additional total cost. The base ticket will allow you entrance into one park for each day of use.
2. Park Hopper
Adding the Park Hopper option gives you access to all four theme parks on any day of use. For example, with this upgrade you could start the day in Hollywood Studios then “hop” over to Epcot in the afternoon, get it? Park hopping privileges come at a fairly significant cost though, so be sure to really consult your schedule (and dining reservations) to see if it’s the best thing for you. Also, be aware that hopping from park to park is not as simple as it sounds when you add in travel time and security. Hopping can easily eat up over an hour. For those under a time crunch, consider adding Express Transportation to maximize your Park Hopper ticket. If you’re unsure, remember that you can add hopper upgrades at the parks’ ticket counters at any time.
3. Park Hopper Plus
Park Hopper Plus allows you the benefits of park hopping, plus admission to the following Disney places: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Winter Summerland Mini Golf, Fantasia Mini Golf, Golden Oaks 9-Hole Golf, and ESPN Sports Complex. The number of “plus” admissions corresponds to the days of your ticket. (A four day ticket with park hopper plus gets you four admissions to the extra venues listed above.) Park Hopper Plus is an excellent option if you plan to utilize the waterparks on your rest days, since the additional cost is less than regular waterpark admission.
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4. Where to Buy Tickets
After you decide what types of tickets you’ll want, you have some options in terms of purchasing…
- Disney – Use the Disney website, MDE app, or call a cast member in vacation planning to purchase your tickets.
- Authorized Disney Vacation Planner – These helpful travel agents are friendly and knowledgable. You can purchase tickets through them for no additional cost.
- Auto Clubs – AAA, CAA, and Auto Club South sometimes offer discounts for members on 3-10 day passes and annual passes. If you are a member it’s worth calling an agent for more details.
- Military – Military members (active and retired) can sometimes get discounts on base. Check with surrounding Florida military bases for more details. Usually the tickets must be picked up in person.
5. Where NOT to Buy Tickets
Unfortunately there are plenty of people that will try to scam you by offering “discount” Disney tickets. Run from these offers…
- Partially Used Passes – sometimes you’ll find people who want to sell a multi-day ticket that apparently has a few days left on it. This should raise red flags. You have no way of confirming the true value of the ticket, tickets issued in the last few years are tied to an individual via biometric finger scan, and tickets issued in the last few years also have an 2 week expiration date from first use. Don’t risk it!
- Discounted One Day Tickets – They don’t exist from legitimate sources. Period. Disney does not offer discounts to any of its legitimate ticket brokers, so if a broker offers a discount they are losing money. And if you don’t buy from a legitimate broker you run a serious risk of your ticket not being real.
- E-bay and craigslist – Legitimate brokers don’t use these avenues. Instead Disney authorized vacation planners will have their own website with the vacation planner seal of approval and they will not have “Disney” in their website name.
- Time Shares – Some resorts will offer discounted or free Disney tickets in exchange for your attendance at their time share presentation. These may or may not be worth your time and effort—it’s up to your personal preference. Just be sure you have some paperwork to fall back on for the validation of your tickets.
Alright, time to get on the phone or computer and purchase the tickets that are right for you. Finally, we’ll start to fine tune the details of your daily itineraries in Step Six: What To Do In Each Park?