Discount Disney Tickets - Real Deals and Rip-Offs
Discount Disney tickets aren’t always easy to come by. Cheap Disney tickets are even harder to find. We just got home from Disney World in Orlando, and the most expensive elements of our vacation were the Disney World tickets. Our accommodations were cheap in comparison, even though we stayed three nights at the resort but visited Disney on just one day of our vacation. Discount Disney World tickets are hard to find for one-day passes, but you can find several discounts on multi-day tickets, season passes, and add-on options. You might find these savings at work, through an organization, or from a Disney tickets reseller. If you’re willing to sit through a timeshare spiel, you might even be able to get free Disney World tickets. At any rate, such tickets should be really cheap. When you’re planning on a visit to The Mouse, do your homework first. Planning ahead, comparison shopping, and being realistic about the time you’ll spend at Disney World can help you save a significant amount of money. I hope you find my tips and warnings about discount Disnney tickets helpful!
Disney World Parks
There are four Disney World Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. I’ve heard that it’s impossible to take full advantage of everything an individual park offers in one day, but I disagree. If you stay in the Disney World Parks for the entire hours of operation, if it’s not too crowded, and if you have the energy, it can be done.
My daughters have been to Disney World numerous times, and on our most recent visit, they took their kids for the first time. One daughter and her husband, along with their three kids, were able to do everything they wanted to do in the Magic Kingdom in a single day, with one day base Disney World tickets. The other daughter, her husband, and three kids left the Magic Kingdom shortly after lunch and returned to our resort for a break and a snack. They returned to the park around 4 pm. They got to do A LOT more in the evening than they did during the day because the lines were much, much shorter. My daughters noticed that park guests began to leave around four, and by six, there was what they referred to as a “mass exodus” from the Magic Kingdom. Below is a list of everything they did:
Space Mountain (twice)
Lunch in the Magic Kingdom
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (twice)
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
It’s a Small World
Peter Pan’s Flight
Dumbo, the Flying Elephant
Prince Charming Regal Carousel
Carousel of Progress
Stitch’s Great Escape
Magic Carpets of Aladdin (twice)
Swiss Family Treehouse (twice)
Enchanted Tiki Room
Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
Disney’s Electric Parade
Show at Cinderella’s Castle
Disney World Park Hopper Tickets
Hubby and I decided the Disney World Park Hopper Tickets were the best fit for us. We wanted to begin our day early at the Magic Kingdom with the grandkids and then leave the kids with their parents while we enjoyed an adult afternoon at Epcot. Park Hopper tickets cost more than regular Disney World Tickets, but if you can manage to squeeze in two parks in a single day, you’ll save money.
Can you “do” all of two Disney parks in a day? I don’t think so, but it’s a good way to get an overview of the different parks – sort of a sampler package. As I said, my husband and I began our Disney World day at the Magic Kingdom, with our grandchildren. None of them had ever been to any of the Disney World parks, and we wanted to see their reaction.
We were able to take in a lot of Epcot in an afternoon. We got from place to place quickly because we both rented motorized scooters. I was recovering from knee surgery, and hubby has an arthritic hip and a heart condition. Believe me – Epcot is huge. The scooters were a lifesaver! We rented them inside Disney World.
What we saw and did at Epcot in an afternoon:
Rode The Seas with Nemo and Friends
Did Turtle Talk with Crush
Rode the Mexico Boat Ride
Rode/watched Ellen’s Energy Adventure
Toured the Aquarium
Watched a dolphin performance
Ate lunch at an Epcot restaurant
Had dessert at a French bakery
Visited all the countries in the World Showcase
Browsed numerous stores
Disney World Ticket Prices
Of course, the most obvious place to buy Disney World tickets is on the official website. The choices can get confusing, though, so be sure to read all the descriptions and limitations that are posted on the website. According to the site, Disney World ticket prices are:
Base ticket for one day to one Disney World park for an adult: $89
Base ticket for one day to one Disney World park for a child (ages3-9): $83
With the above tickets, you can’t leave one of the Disney theme parks and visit another park in the same day. You’ll have to purchase another ticket for that park. With Disney World Park hopper tickets, however, you can go from park to park in the same day with the same ticket. The park hopper option for a one-day ticket is an additional $35 on the Disney website. Disney park hopper tickets don’t include admission to DisneyQuest, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, the ESPN Sports Complex, or golf. If you want to include those in your Disney World tickets, you’ll need to purchase the water park fun and more option. That option costs $57 to add to a one-day ticket.
Our one-day tickets with the park hopper option were $124 each. If we had purchased a one day ticket to Magic Kingdom and a one-day ticket to Epcot, my husband and I would have each spent $178 to visit both Disney parks. By dividing a single day between the two parks, we saved $54 each. If you have the energy to do so, this could be a good strategy for you, too.
How many days will your Disney vacation last? How many days will you be visiting Walt Disney World on your trip? Disney World ticket prices for multiple days are cheaper per day. For example, a two-day ticket for an adult is $88 per day, and a three-day adult ticket is $80.67 per day. The more times you visit one of the Disney parks, the cheaper each day’s visit will be. For longer vacations, this is a great strategy that results, essentially, in cheap Disney tickets. Check out the following:
4 day ticket: $64 per day
5 day ticket: $53.60
6 day ticket: $46.33
7 day ticket: $41.14
8 day ticket: $37.25
9 day ticket: $34.22
10 day ticket: $31.80
Be careful about purchasing multi-day tickets, however, especially if you’re not familiar with Disney World. Some people think they’ll never tire of visiting the Disney theme parks, so they might purchase tickets good for six or seven days. They might find that they’ve had enough magic and happiness after just two or three days, and they’re stuck with unused days. And unless the tickets include the no expiration option, the unused days on the tickets could be lost forever. Even if you found discount Disney tickets, there's no sense in throwing them away.
Cheap Disney Tickets
Can you really find cheap Disney tickets? Well, “cheap” is a relative term, and it’s not like you’re going to find Walt Disney Tickets for $10 each. Well, you might find them, but you might not be able to actually use them. You can, however, find discount Disney tickets from numerous sources. You have to be somewhat careful, though. If you’re not, you could wind up with useless tickets or pay hidden handling fees.
Around Orlando and Kissimmee, you’ll see lots of stores with signs out from that read Cheap Disney Tickets or Discount Disney Tickets. Some of these are rip-offs. For example, some unscrupulous merchants sell counterfeit Disney World Tickets. Some might also sell tickets that have expired or tickets that aren’t transferable from one guest to another. For instance, if you buy a five-day ticket and only use two days, the remaining three days can’t be used by someone else. You can’t legally use the unused portions of someone else’s multi-day Disney World tickets, and don’t think you’ll get away with it. Disney World has a scanner that checks your fingerprint, and if a different print shows up, you can forget about getting into the park.
That being said, you can sometimes find legitimate cheap Disney World tickets in stores. I read that even a couple of Walmarts in the Orlando – Kissimmee area sell Disney World tickets. I have a family member who takes his family to Walt Disney World quite often, and he never purchases his tickets until he gets to the Orlando area. He buys them from stores like the ones I described above. I always sort of wondered where such stores got their tickets. I found out when we went shopping on Highway 192 in Kissimmee. We went to a large “touristy” store, and when we entered, an employee approached us to ask if we had any unused Disney World tickets we’d like to sell to him. We didn’t, but I now see how some stores can sell cheap Disney tickets. I have no idea if this store was an authorized ticket reseller or whether it was a scalper.
Another way some places are able to sell cheap Disney tickets is by purchasing large amounts of tickets from Disney World. I guess it’s a “volume discount” sort of thing, or maybe the tickets were never picked up or used by the people who purchased them. Deals on one-day tickets are usually hard to find, but you can find discount Disney World tickets that are good for extended stays. Typically, the savings range from $1 for a three-day ticket to as much as $65 for an eight-day ticket with the park hopper and water park fun and more options. Just be sure the seller is reputable. One that comes highly recommended is Undercover Tourist. Others include Maple Leaf Tickets, Know Before U Go, Official Ticket Center, and DW Tickets, all of which are authorized Disney World tickets sellers. We’ve used Ticket Momma, and I can personally recommend them. Compare the deals and discounts before buying your tickets!
Sometimes you can also find cheap Disney tickets on Ebay. They might be offered for sale by travel agencies, ticket outlets, or stores. Sometimes individuals might sell their unused tickets on Ebay, too. Most of the Disney World tickets on Ebay seem legitimate, but I’m sure not all are. Look at the seller’s feedback score and read reviews from his or her former customers. The good thing about buying on Ebay and paying via Paypal is that if you do get ripped off, Paypal will settle the issue for you. Of course, that could still toss a big wrench into your vacation plans. It will take you awhile to get your money refunded, and you’ll have to purchase legitimate tickets in order to enter the Disney parks. Take my advice: Buy your tickets before you get to Disney World. You don’t won’t to waste time standing in line to buy your Disney World tickets. If you purchase your tickets from Disney, and you order them at least a week before your arrival, your tickets can be shipped to you via FedEx or by the U.S. Postal Service. If your Disney World tickets are ordered within seven days of your arrival to the parks, they can be picked up at Will Call. You’ll see these counters near the park entrances. Be sure to have a valid ID and your ticket order confirmation number with you.
Discount Disney Tickets
If you’re a member of certain organizations, you might be given the opportunity to buy discount Disney tickets. For example, if you’re part of the United States Military, Disney offers special discounts on rooms and tickets for you and your family members. This promotion includes those on active duty, retired personnel, Reservists, members of the Coast Guard, and members of the National Guard.
If you’re a member of the American Automobile Association, or AAA, you might be able to get discount Disney tickets. The savings might not be much, but every little bit helps. Disney also offers discounts and special promotions for its vacation club members.
You might want to check out discount Disney tickets on Orbitz, too, as they offer special promotions. Right now, they have a “buy three days, get two days free.” If you purchase a three-day adult ticket for $259.74, you get two additional days for free.
Are you attending a convention at Disney World? If so, you might be able to get discount tickets and/or other discounts and perks while you’re at the convention. Also, several large companies and corporations offer discount Disney tickets to their employees. Our credit union sometimes offers discount tickets to theme parks for their members, for example. Inquire about this at work. It never hurts to ask!
Disney World Packages
Another way to get cheap Disney tickets and discount Disney tickets is through package deals. Most Disney World packages include lodging and theme park tickets, and some include airfare and/or other amenities. When the accommodations in the Disney package deals don’t include the Disney resorts, be careful. There are many, many Orlando resorts, and some are much better than others. You can’t always trust the online photos of all the resorts, either. Many Orlando resorts are timeshares, and they want you to make a purchase. They lure you with cheap condos and free or cheap Disney tickets, and you oftentimes have to agree to attend a “preview.” These previews are actually sales pitches, and many of them are done by high pressure salespeople. If you think sitting through a boring pitch is worth it in order to get discount Disney World tickets, think about the vacation time you’ll be giving up. You can’t always trust the time period given, either. For example, some Disney World packages might say that the “preview” will last ninety minutes. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? I mean, you’re getting cheap Disney tickets and an inexpensive place to stay, right? You might want to think again. Some of these previews can drag on for hours and hours, and you might be faced with high pressure salesmen who simply won’t take no for an answer. We had some friends who went through such an experience several years ago, and it was a disaster. The Disney tickets were legit, but the place they were staying was a total dump and looked nothing like the online photographs. This couple was also “hounded” to buy a timeshare the entire length of their vacation.
If you agree to a deal with a timeshare, make sure you have a copy of the agreement in writing. Explain upfront that this is your vacation and that you’ve allotted only the advertised and agreed upon amount of time for the sales presentation. Make them stick to their agreement, and be sure to have the tickets in hand before you leave.
Of course, there are plenty of legitimate Disney World packages, too. A reputable travel agency can often find the best deals for you, but make sure you understand all the conditions. Get them in writing, too. If you have any questions or concerns, express them openly to an agent. If any changes are agreed upon, get those in writing, too. Most travel agencies in the area work with lots of different Orlando resorts, so they don’t usually “push” a specific resort onto customers. For our last trip to Disney World, we used an agency called “OrlandoVacation,” and they were easy to work with. They had us lodging at a resort neat Disney World, but after we read some bad reviews of the place, we called with our concerns. We were told that we could change our reservations to another resort, but the agent added that they hadn’t had any complaints about the lodging. We trusted our agent, and she was right. Our resort was perfect, and our Disney World tickets were waiting for us when we checked in.
I certainly wish you the best in your quest for discount Disney tickets! If you’re careful and use some common sense, you can save money and have a wonderful time in Orlando and at Walt Disney World. A lot goes into planning such a vacation, so start your search for tickets and lodging as far in advance as you can. The options can be overwhelming – seriously. If you agree to a time share presentation in exchange for cheap lodging and free or cheap Disney tickets, be sure your spouse is willing to attend the spiel, too. All such deals that I’ve seen require both spouses to attend. Also, if you’re approached by a ticket scalper, remember that unused days on tickets aren’t transferable, and that most Disney World tickets have an expiration date. Be smart and savvy. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Don’t ruin a potentially magical vacation by being ripped off in your search for discount Disney tickets!
More by this Author
A great guide to the Jacksonville Zoo, with helpful tips. Videos included!
Tips for renting and operating motorized scooters or ECVs at the Disney World theme parks, based on our personal experience.
Tips for getting your disability claim approved quickly—from someone who's done it. Lots of good feedback and advice from readers, too!