Planning With My Non-Disney Family: Tickets

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If you’ve been keeping up with my TouringPlans.com blog posts you may remember I’m planning a trip to Walt Disney World with my family, none of whom are Disney people.  As these trips go, some of our plans have already changed.  In my last post about my family trip I reported we would be making reservations at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  However, after pondering our options, we’ve switched to the Polynesian Resort.  Now that we’ve settled on our home base during our trip, it is time to decide what the best ticket options are for the group.  I have to admit I’ve become spoiled having an annual pass to the parks for the last 5 or 6 years.  I wasn’t sure how much regular park tickets would cost, so I had to research just like any other WDW visitor.

There are several ticket options so I thought I’d take my family’s experience as an opportunity to go over the possibilities with our blog readers.  Let’s start with the basics: guests may purchase these tickets for anywhere from 1-10 days.  The cost starts at $90.53 (including tax) for adults and $84.14 kids aged 3-9 for one day and tops out at $309.92 for adults and $289.68 for kids for a 10 day pass.  The base ticket allows one admission per guest per day at one of the main theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom).  It is important to know the cost per day goes down when you add more days to your ticket.  For example, one day’s admission costs for an adult is $90.53, but five days admission costs $267.32 or $53.46 per day and 10 days works out to $30.99 per day for adults.  You may purchase as many days as you need.  Some families want to hit the Disney parks every day of their vacation, but others may want to spend a full day at their resort in order to relax.  Or maybe they’d want to visit another area attraction during their stay to get a break from the Disney magic.

If you would like to visit more than one park in a day you will need to purchase the Park Hopper Option.  This type of ticket will allow you to visit any of the four major Disney parks each day of your trip.  For instance, if you wanted to tour Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the day and Epcot for the evening you would be able to without any issue.  The cost to add this feature is $35 for a one day ticket and $55 for 2-10 days.  To clear up any confusion the $55 is a flat fee per ticket and will apply to all days on your pass so it is more economical with the more days you plan to purchase.  Guests often ask if they are able to use two days of their ticket in exchange for park hopping, but this action is against Disney policy.  Whether you want to park hop is a completely personal decision.  I like the idea of park hopping, but I can see why it is not for everyone.  If you are looking for a way to trim a bit off your budget saving $55 per person in your party by opting out of park hopping is a good place to start.

Perhaps you’d like to also visit the water parks during your vacation.  Well, no problem, you would want to look into buying the Water Parks Fun and More option for your tickets.  This option is also a flat fee of $55 per ticket no matter the length of stay.  You will be allowed admission to either of the Disney water parks called Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Disney’s Wide World of Sports, Disney Quest, or be able to play a round of golf at Oak Trail for each day included in your ticket.  If you were to stay 10 days that would be a lot of access to attractions outside the main parks!  I really love the water parks, but I haven’t experienced the other offerings included with this pass.  If you think your family would be up for any of them the Water Park Fun and More Option may be a great choice for you.

There is one last option guests may add onto their base ticket called the No Expiration Option.  Normally, your pass would expire 14 days after your first use whether you used all of your days or not.  However, you may purchase the ability to keep your tickets valid until they have been used if you are planning to come back in the future.  This advantage doesn’t come cheaply though!  A two day no expiration will set you back $25 with prices ranging to $225 for 10 day tickets.  There may be times when this option makes sense for you, but you will have to do the math for yourself to figure it out.  You may add this feature after you have started using your pass, but you will have to pay for no expiration for your entire length of your pass rather than just your unused days.

After a bit of consideration we decided we’ll be purchasing length of stay Magic Your Way base tickets for four adults and two children.   Children under the age of three do not require park admission.  They simply get to roll through the turnstiles in their strollers!  My nephew fits into this category which makes his parents very happy.  There was some debate about whether or not to get park tickets for the last day since the family wouldn’t get a full day in the parks.  Then, we realized it was only about $10 more per person to add the extra day so it was a no brainer.  Now, we plan to hit a park in the morning before returning to our resort to be picked up by Disney’s Magical Express.  We don’t plan to visit the water parks or Disney Quest so we will opt out of the Water Park Fun and More option for this trip.

Our biggest question is whether or not to purchase the park hopper option.  At the moment the plan is to do one park per day, but we all know that could change.  Since I have an annual pass I am used to being able to park hop so it seems odd to me to plan to spend the whole day in one place.  However, I completely understand the desire to not wear out the kids (and newbie adults) too much and try to stick to one destination a day.  I’ve advised the family to purchase the base ticket for now and we can always upgrade it later.  Disney will always allow guests to upgrade passes as long as they have not expired.  This way if we never park hop we won’t have wasted the money on the hopper option, but if we decide “hey, let’s go to Epcot tonight” it shouldn’t be a problem to add the option during the trip.

The four day base ticket seems to be the best fit for our family, but it may not be for yours.  That is the beauty of the Magic Your Way program; you are able to customize your tickets to your needs!  The ability to add on so many options can also be confusing though so if you’re still stumped about which ticket option would be best for you try the TouringPlans.com ticket calculator to shed some light on the subject!  I’d also be happy to answer any of your questions in the comments!

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Posted on October 19, 2011

One Response to “Planning With My Non-Disney Family: Tickets”

  • That was us this summer. When I booked our trip, my husband and decided we wouldn’t get the water parks and more option. As what happens so often, we changed our minds (due to a little pressure from our kids lol) and it was no problem to add it on. I couldn’t imagine not having the park hopper though.