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Guide to Saving on Disney World Tickets • Florida

Published on January 31, 2019 by Shannon Knight

Aside from accommodations, Disney World tickets may be the most expensive and confusing part of your vacation to the “Happiest Place on Earth”. Deciding between Walt Disney World Base Tickets, Park Hopper Tickets, and Park Hopper Plus Tickets can leave your head spinning! I’m happy to share where I consistently find tickets with the lowest prices and hassle-free returns. 

Why not just buy tickets from the Disney World gates?

For years I bought our Disney World tickets in advance from an online reseller and enjoyed the benefits without even knowing it, until the day my husband and I decided to celebrate our vacation home purchase with a last minute trip to Magic Kingdom.  Our fun night of celebrating quickly became a long, hot evening of waiting in lines. 

After an hour-long line to buy our full-price tickets at the window (gulp!), we switched to waiting in line for all of our favorite rides because we didn't have any FastPasses (more about FastPasses, below). Rookie mistake! If it had been our first time to Disney World, we never would have gone back because this experience was so expensive and so disappointing. We rode very little and stood in line a lot!

Buying Tickets in Advance Saves Money and Time

Had we planned just a little bit ahead, we could have saved some bucks buying online, gone straight to the park turnstiles with our pre-purchased tickets, and reserved FastPass ride times for our favorites (more about that, below), freeing up hours of time to enjoy a meal or even more rides. Instead we waited, and waited, and waited. Don't be us. Be the one who saves your family money and time. 

Buying Tickets in Advance Gets You FastPasses

Now back to the FastPass explanation. Disney World offers FastPasses for select rides and attractions at each theme park. You have to own a ticket to that park or a multi-day pass to any of the parks to be able to schedule your FastPasses, so again, buying in advance has its advantages. EVERY ticket to a Disney World theme park includes FastPass. It's automatically part of your ticket and you do not have to pay any extra money for this feature.

 

Disney World Tickets FastPass

FastPass reservations are done via the My Disney Experience website or the My Disney Experience App. You link your pre-purchased ticket to an account on the website or in the app and then you choose the day you will go to a specific park, and the rides you would like to reserve at specific times. The site and app will help guide you through linking your ticket and choosing your FastPasses.

You are able to schedule your FastPasses 30 days in advance if you have a park ticket, but are staying at an off-Disney property, and 60 days in advance if you are staying at a Disney resort. That’s a HUGE reason to go ahead and buy tickets in advance. We own vacation homes near Disney World, so we no longer stay at a Disney resort, and we have always been able to ride our favorite rides by scheduling FastPasses 30 days in advance. Staying at a Disney resort property is not necessary to get the FastPasses you would like. Buying your tickets at least 30 days in advance is a necessity.

In a future post I will discuss how to choose your FastPasses, how to make changes to your FastPasses, and which rides/attractions are deserving of your FastPass selections.

Where Should I Buy My Disney World Tickets?

It's not my favorite choice, but you can buy your tickets directly from the Disney Website. The site is easy to use, but the tickets are not always the cheapest and are non-refundable. It's your only option for 1 or 2 day tickets, but for 3 or more days, a less expensive source is Undercover Tourist and they offer refundable tickets.

Walt Disney World Tickets

UnderCover Tourist purchases large volumes of tickets from Disney for a discount, and then passes along the discount to vacationers. My family and I have been purchasing tickets from them for over a decade and they are highly recommended on numerous, reputable Disney planning sites. They have an A+ rating with the BBB and I send all my vacation home guests to them for Disney tickets with ZERO complaints. A HUGE advantage of them buying in bulk is when Disney World raises their ticket prices, Undercover Tourist often has tickets in stock at last year' s lower prices.

In addition to their ticket prices often being lower than Disney's, they have a VERY generous refund/lost ticket policy. Here's what they say on their site, which I think really reflects their commitment to great customer service.

Walt Disney World Tickets

For lost tickets, the website says, "We keep records of all ticket serial numbers and can cancel the tickets and re-issue you new ones. If you have partially used your tickets we will work with the theme park to re-issue you your remaining days." 

For cancellations/returns, Undercover Tourist says, "Your confidence in purchasing takes priority, which is why we offer a 90-day Return Policy and use common sense and fair practices when dealing with your cancellations & refunds. If you believe you are eligible for a refund, please contact us for further shipping instructions. Once tickets have been received and verified by Undercover Tourist, we will issue a refund back to the initial form of payment according to the terms below within 15 business days." Undercover Tourist will keep a 5% fee to cover delivery, handling, and processing fees associated with your credit card. Please note the Disney e-tickets purchased through Undercover Tourist are NOT returnable or refundable. Definitely purchase tickets that are mailed to you instead.

There are 3 RULES for returns to Undercover Tourist:

  • Tickets must be unused and unsigned to qualify for the 90-day Return Policy. (So don't open their packaging, and don't sign them until 30 days before your trip, just in case you have a change of plans and need a refund.)
  • Disney E-tickets from UnderCover Tourist are NOT refundable once the order has been placed. (So, DON'T buy an e-ticket unless you are absolutely positive you are going to Disney. An  electronic ticket cannot ever be returned. Have paper tickets mailed to your house instead.) 
  • If an RFID profile has been set up on Disney tickets they cannot be returned or exchanged. (An RFID profile is when you electronically link a ticket number to a name. So don't link your tickets to the My Disney Experience website or app until 30 days before your trip, just in case you have a change of plans and need to return the tickets for a refund.

Which Disney World Tickets Should I Choose?

Now that you know to buy your paper tickets from Undercover Tourist and not to open them until 30 days before your trip (so you can get a refund if needed), which tickets should you purchase? The choices are a bit overwhelming, so I'll try to break them down and help you decide. 

Base Ticket

The Base Ticket is Disney World's most basic ticket. The ticket allows you into ONE of the 4 theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios) for the day. You cannot visit another park on the same day with this ticket. It's the most widely used ticket and the one I most recommend.

Even when I purchased tickets in the past that allowed us to visit multiple parks the same day, my family rarely park hopped. We found there was so much to do in one park, we never got bored or felt the need to change parks. I find that families who frequent Disney World are more likely to visit multiple parks in a day because they have seen everything so many times, they know what they enjoy most, and just want to focus on those rides and attractions. For families who rarely go to Disney World and for families who only have 5 or fewer days to spend at the parks, a Magic Your Way ticket is the most affordable and highly recommended option.

Need help deciding on a park? Here is information about each Disney World theme park and water park: https://gatheringhouses.com/walt-disney-world/.

How to Purchase a 1 or 2-Day Magic Your Way Ticket

If you are only going to Disney World for one or two days, and you only want to visit one theme park on each day, you can purchase a 1 or 2-Day Magic Your Way ticket directly from the Walt Disney World website for the cheapest ticket price.

Here's where it gets tricky! Disney prices tickets by date of use. You will need to be certain of the date you want to visit and purchase a ticket for the correct date to get the cheapest price. Disney's website says, "You can make changes to your tickets, including your ticket dates, prior to December 31, 2019. There’s no change fee to modify." Disney will give you instructions for making changes and they must be followed very carefully. 

If you have no idea which days you want to go to the parks or need flexibility in your ticket dates, you can choose a ticket with a flexible option. Disney may charge up to $15 more per ticket for this option, but it gives you flexibility to visit the park any day you choose until December 31, 2019. I think it lowers the stress level considerably!

How to Purchase a 3-10 Day Walt Disney World Base Ticket

Buying tickets for 3 or more days is cheaper from Undercover Tourist. If you'd like to visit one park per day for 3 days, purchase the 3-Day base ticket. If you are certain of your dates, choose from the "Option 1 - Maximize Savings!" table. If you aren't sure of your dates or feel better with flexibility, choose from the "Option 2 - Maximize Flexibility!" table. You don't have to decide at the time of purchase which parks you will visit. You only need to know the number of days you'd like. The more days you choose, the cheaper the ticket is per day. Remember, be sure to purchase tickets to be mailed to your house if you want the option to return them to Undercover Tourist. If you buy e-tickets, there is no chance of a refund.

Park Hopper Ticket

Park Hopper Tickets cost a bit more than base tickets because they allow you to visit all four theme parks in the same day. It's a good option if you will be visiting the theme parks for 5 or more days, or if you are in town only a short time and really want to get a taste of each park. Otherwise, I don't recommend Park Hopper tickets. I prefer to stay all day at the same park and use the difference in ticket price for a great character meal each day or souvenirs. Here is information about each theme park and water park: https://gatheringhouses.com/walt-disney-world/.

How to Purchase a 1 or 2-Day Park Hopper Ticket

Like the base ticket, the 1 or 2-Day Park Hopper ticket is also priced by date. You will need to be certain of the date you want to visit and purchase a ticket from theWalt Disney World website. They also give you the option of purchasing a flexible date ticket for an additional fee. 

How to Purchase a 3-10 Day Park Hopper Ticket

The 3-10 Day Park Hopper ticket option is pretty easy to purchase from Undercover Tourist too. All you need to decide is how many days you want to visit the parks and purchase the corresponding ticket. For example, if you want the option to visit all four parks everyday for 5 days, buy the 5-Day Park Hopper ticket. You again have the option of choosing exact dates (a bit cheaper) or flexible date tickets. If you are certain of your dates, choose from the "Option 1 - Maximize Savings!" table. If you aren't sure of your dates or feel better with flexibility, choose from the "Option 2 - Maximize Flexibility!" table. You don't have to decide at the time of purchase which parks you will visit. You only need to know the number of days you'd like. The more days you choose, the cheaper the ticket is per day. 

Cue the broken record: Be sure to purchase a ticket to be mailed to your home if you want the option to return it to Undercover Tourist. If you buy the e-ticket, there is no chance of a refund.

Park Hopper PLUS Ticket

The ultimate Disney World ticket, a Park Hopper Plus ticket allows you to visit all four theme parks each day.  In addition, you get "plusses" that can be used at the water parks, a round of golf at Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (tee time reservation required) or miniature golf at Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course or Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course. You get one "plus" per day that can be used anytime during your visit. For example, if you purchase a 3-day Park Hopper Plus Ticket, you get 3 "plusses". You can visit any of the 4 theme parks as many times as you'd like during those three days, PLUS you can choose 3 additional experiences during your stay to be done ANYTIME during your stay, including all 3 on the same day, two on one day and one on another, or just one per day, you get the idea.

Undercover Tourist has a great blog post about determining if this option is a good one for you: https://www.undercovertourist.com/blog/disney-park-hopper-plus-option/.

Here is information about each theme park and water park: https://gatheringhouses.com/walt-disney-world/. Disney's golf course information is here: https://www.golfwdw.com/

How to Purchase a 1 or 2-Day Park Hopper PLUS Ticket

Like the base ticket and the 1 or 2-Day Park Hopper ticket, this Park Hopper Plus ticket is also priced by season. You will need to be certain of the date you want to visit. A 1 or 2-Day Park Hopper PLUS ticket cannot be purchased from Undercover Tourist. You will need to purchase it directly from the Disney Website

How to Purchase a 3-10 Day Park Hopper PLUS Ticket

The 3-10 Day Park Hopper PLUS ticket option is pretty easy to purchase too from Undercover Tourist. You have the option of purchasing for exact dates (a bit cheaper) or a flexible date ticket.

Cue the broken record: Be sure to purchase a ticket to be mailed to your home if you want the option to return it to Undercover Tourist. If you buy the e-ticket, there is no chance of a refund. 

Changing Your Tickets/Ticket Upgrades

After you purchase your tickets, you can make changes. Disney will allow you to upgrade a ticket to include more days, different days, adding the Park Hopper option or the Park Hopper Plus option. 

  • If it's before your start date and/or within 90 days of your order date: Please contact Undercover Tourist with your order number and the requested change.
  • If it's after your start date and/or 90 days of your order date: Please make changes through My Disney Experience or contact Disney Guest Services: (407) 566-4985, 0800 16 90 730 (UK), 1800 812 676 (IE)

 

https://youtu.be/oLPMRY5gC1Q

Drive to the Disney World Main Gates in 15 Minutes from Sun Gathering House!
Drive to the Disney World Main Gates in 15 Minutes from Sun Gathering House!
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Sunny Kitchen:Dining:Living
11
2
4
31
Sun Gathering House BBQ and Table Seating for 12
Grill your Family Favorites on the BBQ, included in your stay.
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... and Shady Retreats
... and Shady Retreats
Mickey Themed Bunk Rooms ...
Mickey Themed Bunk Rooms ...
... and Star Wars too!
... and Star Wars too!
Oasis Club Splash Zone ...
Oasis Club Splash Zone ...
... and Beach Volleyball
... and Beach Volleyball
State-of-the-Art Home Theaters ...
State-of-the-Art Home Theaters ...
... with Leather, Reclining Theater Seats
... with Leather, Reclining Theater Seats
Oasis Clubhouse
Two Minute Stroll to Oasis Clubhouse ...
Enjoy the Oasis Club Gym, Lazy River, Pools, and Restaurant, included.
Enjoy the Oasis Club Gym, Lazy River, Pools, and Restaurant, included.
Downstairs King Master Bedrooms for Grandparents with Private Baths ...
Downstairs King Master Bedrooms for Grandparents with Private Baths ...
... and Guest Approved Memory Foam Mattresses
... and Guest Approved Memory Foam Mattresses
Hear the Quiet Pool and Tiki Bar Calling your Name!
Hear the Quiet Pool and Tiki Bar Calling your Name!
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19
20
Linger by the river.
Linger by the river.
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15
air hockey
Feel Welcome at the Oasis Club Restaurant. The Staff is very friendly!
Feel Welcome at the Oasis Club Restaurant. The Staff is very friendly!
Feed the Family at the Oasis Club Restaurant. The Menu Pleases everyone!
Feed the Family at the Oasis Club Restaurant. The Menu Pleases everyone!
upstairs master bedroom 2
Upstairs King Suite 2 Bathroom
Upstairs private, king bath: walk in shower, hair dryer, makeup mirror & soaps
38
58
10
Kids Table
Enjoy a Cold One while the kids get wet.
Enjoy a Cold One while the kids get wet.
Count down to drench time!
Count down to drench time!
6
Sunny Family Room
68
39
kitchens near Disney World
Shine Gathering House table gathers families for dinner.
5
5
front at twilight
Meet The Author
Our love for Disney and traveling as a family has led us to own two vacation properties near Disney World. My heart is bursting with happiness every time guests tell me of the fun they have had at one of my homes. For many extended families, it's the first time they have all been able to sleep under one roof and spend quality time together. The opportunity my husband and I have had to share our homes with other families has been a true blessing to our lives!
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Sun Gathering House
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