Saving Money On Disney Tickets Starts With Making The Right Purchase

In most circumstances, you would walk up to the box office and tell them how many adult and children’s tickets you need.  They would hand it to you and you would walk away.  Buying a Walt Disney World ticket is a little different.  Disney World tickets come with many different options and where you purchase your Disney ticket from can greatly affect the price of your ticket(s).  Let’s take a look below at all your various choices for Disney World tickets.

Authors Note:  All prices/policies are correct and up-to-date at time of publication.  Prices and policies can change at any day.  This article was last updated on June 6, 2012.

Base Tickets

This is where all tickets start.  What a base ticket does is allow you entrance to one major theme park (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom) per day.  Base tickets can have one to ten days on each ticket.  You may not use more than one day on a single ticket on the same calendar day.  The purchase price of the base ticket isn’t the same cost for each day on the ticket; the more days you purchase, the less it costs per day.  Unused base tickets are good forever, but once you use the ticket, it will expire in 14 days, regardless if there are days remaining on the ticket or not.

Below is the admission price list for Magic Your Way base tickets.  Full ticket prices include tax. Per day prices do not include tax.  Ages 3 - 9 are considered children and ages 10+ are adults; children 2 and under do not need a ticket.

  • One-day: Adult--$94.79  ($89 per day); Child--$88.40 ($83 per day)
  • Two-day: Adult--$187.44 ($88.00 per day); Child--$$174.66  ($82 per day)
  • Three-day: Adult--$257.73  ($80.67 per day); Child--$240.69  ($75.33 per day)
  • Four-day: Adult--$272.64  ($64 per day); Child--$254.54 ($56.00 per day)
  • Five-day: Adult--$285.42  ($53.60 per day); Child--$266.25 ($59.75 per day)
  • Six-day: Adult--$296.07  ($46.33 per day); Child--$276.90 ($43.33 per day)
  • Seven-day: Adult--$306.72  ($41.14 per day); Child--$287.55  ($38.57 per day)
  • Eight-day: Adult--$317.37  ($37.25 per day); Child--$298.20  ($35 per day)
  • Nine-day: Adult--$328.02  ($34.22 per day); Child--$308.85 ($32.22 per day)
  • Ten-day: Adult--$338.67 ($31.80 per day); Child--$319.50  ($30.00 per day)

Park Hopping Option

Park Hopping is the most common option to Walt Disney World tickets.  By purchasing this option, you may go to more than one major theme park on the same day.  You may go to all four major theme parks on the same day if you choose.  The cost of adding Park Hopping is the same for both adults and children and the cost is per ticket, not per day.  There is a slight variation on cost of Park Hopping depending on if you want a multiday ticket v. one-day ticket.  Park Hopping on one-day tickets cost $37.28 with tax ($35 without tax) and on multiday tickets costs $60.71 with tax ($57 without tax).

Water Park Fun and More Option

This option becomes a bit trickier.  The Water Park Fun and More Option gives you a set number of entries to various minor attractions.  You may use as many entries on the same day as you like.  Note:  leaving the same attraction and coming back in most cases only counts as one entry; different days to the same attraction or different attractions on the same day count as different entries.  Water Park Fun and More gives you entries to the following attractions: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Disney Quest, Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex, admission to ESPN's World Wide of Sports with 30 minutes of game play at PlayStation Pavilion, a round of miniature golf at either Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland prior to 4 PM and a round of golf at Oak Trails golf course.   Each round of golf at Oak Trails or the miniature golf courses counts as an entry, even if multiple rounds are played on the same day.

How many entries you receive on your ticket depends on how many days are on your base ticket.  One-day or two-day tickets give you two entries.  Three-day to ten-day tickets give you the same number of entries as you have base days.  For example, a five-day ticket will have five entries and a ten-day ticket will have ten entries.  No matter how many entries you receive, or if an adult or child ticket, the cost is the same per ticket: $60.71 with tax ($57 without tax).

NOTE: Park Hopping AND Water Park Fun and More Options can both be added for $84.14 with tax ($79 without tax).  This gives you a discount of $35 (without tax) when adding both options.

No Expiration Option

This option can be added to base tickets to make them not expire in 14 days once used.  This option is good if you’ll be taking a few short trips since it is cheaper to buy tickets with more days than to buy multiple short day tickets.  It applies to every option on your ticket, so if you have the Water Park Fun and More option, you will be able to keep those entries good forever.  Beware: Most partially used tickets are lost and/or never used again.  Also, you need to keep track of what is left on your ticket (Writing it on the ticket in shorthand with a sharpie works well for this.) because Disney will only check it at the gate for you.  Disney will no longer give you this information over the phone or via email. 

Charges for no expiration varies on the number of days on your base ticket and is the same on both adult and child tickets.

  • Two-day: $31.95with tax ($30 without tax)
  • Three-day: $42.60with tax ($40 without tax)
  • Four-day: $90.53 with tax ($85 without tax)
  • Five-day: $138.45  with tax ($130 without tax)
  • Six-day: $175.73 with tax ($165 without tax)
  • Seven-day: $202.35  with tax ($190 without tax)
  • Eight-day: $228.98 with tax ($215 without tax)
  • Nine-day: $266.25 with tax ($250 without tax)
  • Ten-day: $292.88 with tax ($275 without tax)

Which Ticket to Purchase

Figuring out where to start (base ticket) is relatively easy.  You purchase the number of days that you will be going to a major theme park at Walt Disney World.  From there, you simply decide if you will be going to more than one major theme park on the same day.  To decide on Water Park Fun and More, you need to decide how many times you will attend the minor attractions/parks it grants admission to.  A single admission to Disney Quest costs $46.86 with tax for an adult and $40.47 with tax for a child.  A single admission to either Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon costs $55.38 with tax for an adult and $46.86 with tax for a child.  A single admission to Wide World of Sports costs $15.92 with tax for an adult and $10.95 with tax for a child.  A round of golf at Oak Trails is $40.47 with tax for an adult and $21.30 for a child.  Miniature golf is $12.78 with tax for an adult and $10.67 with tax for a child.  It is easy to see that if you will be doing any two of these minor parks, the Water Park Fun and More is a good value to add on.  With no expiration, you must do the math to see if the value is worth it to you.  Typically, you must get three complete trips out of a single 10-day ticket with no expiration to make this purchase worthwhile.  

Of Special Concern

When purchasing a ticket, it is always best to underestimate what you might want or need.  Any option, including the addition of base days (as long as the added on day(s) plus the originally purchased day(s) does not equal more than 10) can be added anytime before you use the last day on your ticket.  Prior to August 1, 2011 it was anytime during the first 14 days the ticket is used.   What you pay is the difference between the ticket you have and the ticket you want.  NOTE: Disney will only credit you the amount of the ticket they sold it for (less than what you paid for it if purchase from a discount ticket broker) if you do not first use the ticket at least once.  Once you use a ticket, it is automatically upgraded to the current gate price if purchased from an authorized discount ticket broker.  This can save you money if you purchased from a discount ticket broker or purchased a ticket/booked a package deal prior to a ticket price increase.  Tickets purchased directly from Disney (online, via phone, through the Disney Store, etc) will not be upgraded to current gate value.  You will only receive credit for the amount you paid.  Certain special tickets cannot be upgraded, such as YES tickets.

You cannot downgrade a ticket.  If you have an option on the original ticket, it must remain on the ticket as you upgrade it, including paying any price difference for the days.  For example, if you have purchased a seven-day ticket and used five days, you will pay the No Expiration cost for a seven-day ticket and not a two-day ticket.  Likewise, if you have a one-day Magic Your Way ticket with Park Hopping and decide to add days later, you will pay an extra $20 (plus tax) for the difference in the Park Hopping Option.

If you will be spending more than 11 days at a major theme park at Walt Disney World and want the Park Hopping option, you should purchase an Annual Pass instead of a Magic Your Way ticket.  This is true if the 11+ days are anytime during a 366 day period.  For example you may take a trip in November for Thanksgiving one year and then in July of the next year.  Additionally, Annual Passes offer other perks and discounts (like free parking when staying offsite) that might make it worthwhile even if you will only be at Walt Disney World 8 – 10 days.

If you purchase a No Expiration ticket for your child, and they turn 10 years old before the ticket is finished, they can use that ticket as an adult.  Just stop by a guest relations office and have them upgrade the child ticket to an adult ticket at no extra charge.  The same holds true if your child celebrates a birthday while on a Walt Disney World--they are the age the began the trip as for the duration of the trip.

All types of annual passes are the same cost for a child and an adult.  If you upgrade to an annual pass, you will pay the full costs from a child ticket to the full price annual pass.

Now that you understand which ticket to buy, all that is left is to purchase your Walt Disney World tickets and start deciding if you want to purchase a dining plan (if staying onsite).