Disney visitors are often overwhelmed by their ticket choices, not quite sure if they need premium tickets, park hopping privileges or if they are better off purchasing their tickets as part of a package. Making the right decision can save travelers hundreds of dollars, money they can better use to enjoy their Disney experience. Here’s how you can make the right decision when purchasing your tickets and a great savings tip you can use when booking your room.
Ask yourself, how important it is to visit more than 1 park per day.
If you are new to Disney and know you’ll need at least a day to visit your “must have” rides, park hopping may not be as necessary. Especially if you are visiting for a shorter period, when the cost of park hopping ($64 per ticket) is less reasonable than that same cost when spread over a longer stay. If you have been to Disney before or will be staying multiple days, park hopping is likely well worth the cost.
How interested are you in spending time outside the 4 main parks.
For a total cost of $64 per person (regardless of your total stay) you are able to gain access to not only the 4 main parks, you can also visit both Disney water parks (Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach), Disney Quest, Wide World of Sports and Disney’s Golf course. Keep in mind that during winter months, only one of Disney’s waterparks may be open. For $26 more per person, Disney will also provide you with park hopping privileges.
Don’t buy a premium pass simply because you think you’ll run out of stuff to do otherwise. You won’t. However, if you know your family is particularly interested in one or more of the “extras”, premium passes may be for you.
Step 3: Decide how many days you will visit the park within the next 12 months.
The fee to spend one day in the park is drastically reduced if buying multiple day tickets. For example, one day at Magic Kingdom is $105 per adult (plus tax). If you purchase 5 days it works out to $63 per adult (not including park hopping).
The longest stay you can purchase tickets for is 10 days. This works out to $36.50 per day for an adult plus $64 (total) if adding the park hopper option. However, if you are planning 2 separate trips during the year, your pricing will not take into account how long you will be in the park total. For example, say you are planning to visit the park for 6 days on 2 separate occasions. Excluding tax, an adult will be paying $325 each visit or $650 total (+$64 for park hopping privileges each trip). If they bought an annual pass as a DVC member, that total would be $590.
Even if you are a non-DVC member, annual passes still make sense. The cost of an annual pass is $654 + tax; however, passholders enjoy additional perks such as free parking, access to special Disney packages, and dining discounts. Your annual pass also includes park hopping privileges. If you are an AAA member, you can save $20 for an annual pass if you purchase it at an Orlando area AAA office.
How can I save money at Disney?
http://www.mousesavers.com is an extensive site that covers every aspect of saving money at Walt Disney World. If you are flexible with your travel dates and hotel choices, you may very well be able to save hundreds of dollars. The vacation packages you will be presented when calling Disney or searching online will not necessarily provide you with a discount. You may be better off booking your room separately from your tickets and meal plan. Or, as you will read about shortly, you can save money by renting points from a DVC member. Mouseavers, amongst other sites, provide monthly newsletters that will help you keep up on discounts and special offers.
In regards to the park tickets themselves, you may be able to save 5-20% if utilizing a reliable discounter. Since I purchase annual passes I haven’t explored this option, but mouseavers.com has all the details you’ll need: http://www.mousesavers.com/walt-disney-world-vacation-discounts-and-deals/walt-disney-world-ticket-discounts/
Mouseavers recommends that you utilize Undercover Tourist, which is a Disney Parks USA Selected Ticket Seller. There is also an option available through 2 Wal-Mart locations in nearby Kissimmee, where you have to purchase tickets in person. It is always possible that Undercover Tourist pays Mouseavers to recommend them, but I certainly would feel better using them over a complete unknown. There are so many Disney blogs and message boards out there, a little research should bring you to the right company to use.
Active Military and those employed by companies with access to web sites Tickets at Work or Working Advantage are also able to purchase discounted tickets. As before, the premier source of information regarding discounts and ticket options is mouseavers.com.
How does renting points from a DVC member work?
DVC members own a certain number of points they are able to use each year, towards staying at various deluxe Disney resorts. If a member is not traveling to Disney or has more points than they need each year, they can rent those points to non-DVC members. This transaction is independent from Disney World reservations.
Two sites that match up travelers needing points with those that have them are dvcrentals.com and dvcrequest.com. Both offer examples of how much money can save booking with them directly. It may seem too good to be true, but this option really works how it is advertised. You can also facilitate your own transaction by visiting Disney message boards directly, such as DISboards.com and mouseowners.com. Using these boards may help you save additional money, but it will require trust on your part. The DVC member will remain responsible for coordinating the purchase of your dining plan (if applicable) and your Disney Magical Express reservations. They basically will have control of the reservation, which is why many potential renters feel better working with a third party site.
The rack rate charged by Disney for some properties can be astronomical, particularly during peak season and for larger rooms. One example provided on dvcnews.com illustrated how someone staying 5 nights at Animal Kingdom Lodge could have saved almost $1600 renting points over booking through Disney. I found a great article regarding how this all works from 2011; however, the information is still accurate for renting today.
Remember, DVC properties are always deluxe and include 1 and 2 bedroom condos, which are prefect for larger parties traveling together. Not every deluxe hotel has “vacation club” villas associated with it, but over the years the number that do has grown considerably. Your proximity to each park and/or Downtown Disney will vary considerably depending on the property you chose. It is important you study a WDW map and read about how you will travel to each park from your hotel. Will you always have to ride a bus or will you have options to take the monorail, walk to the park, or ride a water taxi? While the bus may seem fine at first, this can add additional travel time and impact your experience more than you realize. Bus rides can be longer than you expect as well, so know which parks you prefer and don’t make your decision simply based on money if you can.
Remember – if any of these tips help, please leave feedback on my blog. I’d love to hear from you.