Walt Disney World Park Tickets

One of the big decisions when planning a trip to Walt Disney World is what kind of tickets to buy. There are 4 options and you don't want to waste money by purchasing options you won't use. ( Be sure when you purchase a package that you are allowed to select the type of tickets you want. Don't pay for options you won't use)

The Base Ticket - The simplest and cheapest ticket is a base ticket. This is where it all starts. You can purchase it for 1 - 10 days. (Longer then that and you should be thinking annual pass) This pass entitles you to enter the parks up to 10 times. It doesn't expire until you use your first day. After you use it the first time it will expire 14 days after first use. This means there is no problem  purchasing your tickets in advance. You don't have to use the days in a row, just within the 14 day window. Children under 3 do not need a ticket. Children 3-9 can purchase a child's ticket and 10 and above need an adult ticket. The more days you purchase the cheaper the per day rate gets. This gets significant around day 4. Here is a list of the prices for 2010 not including tax.

Day                      Adult                       Child
1                            $78                           $68
2                            $156                         $133
3                            $219                         $187
4                            $225                         $192
5                            $228                         $195
6                            $231                         $198
7                            $234                         $201
8                            $237                         $204
9                            $240                         $207
10                          $243                         $210

As you can see after day 4 each additional day is only $2 or $3.

There are 3 options you can add to your ticket for an additional price. You can choose which options you want to add in any combination.

Park Hopper Option (additional $52 per ticket)

This allows you to go to more than one park on one day and only use 1 day of your ticket. For example, you can go to Epcot for the morning and then go to Magic Kingdom for lunch and then over to Hollywood Studios to see Fantasmic. You would only use one day on your ticket. This can be a good option if you have no children with you or your children are older. It can take up to an hour to get between parks and there isn't always a direct transportation option. This can get crazy with little ones unless you plan to go back to the room and rest and then go someplace different.

If you plan to leave the park and go back to your room or another hotel to rest/use the pool/eat  and go back to the same park you do not need the Park Hopper Option for that. Only if you want to go to a different park on the same day.

Water Park and More Option (additional $52 per ticket)

This option allows you to be admited into the two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), Disney Quest, ESPN Wide Wolrd of Sports, or a round of golf at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course. The number of days at the other parks is equal to the number of days of your ticket. (except for a one day ticket you get two option days). Therefore, if you get a 3 day ticket with water park and more option you will have 3 option days. I do not believe that means you get 3 days in the main theme parks and then 3 days at one of the other option places giving you a total of 6 days. It just means that you can use up to 3 of those days at one of the other places. The exception is the 1 day ticket. You get two options so you can do one day at the theme park and then a second day at one of the options or 2 days at the options. Does that make sense? This is the most confusing add on. Let me know if you have further questions.

No Expiration Option (additional amount changes)

This option protects your ticket from expiring. Remember with the base ticket your days will expire 14 days after your start using it. If you add this option then your remaining days will never expire. This is a great option if you travel to Florida every year but don't spend all your time in Disney. Purchasing a multi-day ticket with no expiration can be a lot cheaper then purchases 1-3 day tickets ever year. The additional cost per ticket depend on the number of days but is the same for adults and children.
Days     Additional  Cost            Days                Additional Cost
   2                            $18               6                                     $84
   3                            $24               7                                     $115
   4                            $52               8                                     $152
   5                            $73               9                                     $178
                                                     10                                    $209

As you can see it gets very costly to add the no expiration to a longer ticket. If you only use 6 out of 8 days on a trip, and you plan to come for a week on your next trip, you don't really need the no expiration option. You only payed about $4 for the days you didn't use and you would have to pay $152 to keep them. Like I said before the No Expiration Option is great when you are only going to use less than 3 days a year over a few years.

A few things to remember for this option. First, if you purchase a child's ticket with the no expiration option you must be careful. It will only be good for the child you purchased the ticket for. If your child is 7 and you don't use all the days before he is 9 then you may lose the other days since he will now need an adult ticket. They may be able to modify the ticket but I don't know about that. Second, You can use a pen to make dots or slash marks on the back of the ticket so you will remember how many days you have left on it. Lastly, it may be a good idea to make 2 photocopies of the tickets front and back and put it in a safe place with your receipt. Bring one with you when you travel to Disney and keep the other at home in a safe place. If you have a 10 day no expiration ticket it will cost about $450 (or more if you added other options to it). If it gets lost or damaged you want to have all the numbers on the ticket to try to get it replaced.

To calculate how much the ticket you need will cost just start with the base price and then add on the options you want to add. It is hard to make a recommendation on tickets because it depends on so many things. Figure out how many days you will use on your trip and what your plans to return are. Look at  the big picture and add things up. See what makes the most sense for you.

If you stay at a Disney Resort with a package you will need to purchase at least a one day base ticket. Keep this in mind when you are planning what tickets to buy and future trips.

If you need help with this feel free to leave me a comment. Let me know what your plans include and who is in your party and I can help you run the numbers.

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