Filed under: Trip Planning
Tickets. They can be a huge decision for a family trying to make their way to Walt Disney World for a vacation. After all, the cost of one day at Disney World is fast approaching $100 in ticket prices alone. It might be an easier discussion if you are talking about one trip and you know exactly how many days you plan to go to the parks, but what if you want to come back another time this year? Or maybe you plan to take a shorter trip this year and a longer one next year? Do you spring for No Expiration? Do you buy an Annual Pass? It’s enough to drive a person mad.
Luckily, TouringPlans.com is here to help you. I found myself in a slippery ticket situation for Marathon Weekend, where I suddenly had to decide in January whether I or my kids would be making return trips to Disney in the next 12 months. I don’t know about you, but with my work schedule, the kids’ activities and the seemingly always changing school calendar, I was not prepared for planning my year out in advance like that. So what did I do? I went to the Least Expensive Ticket Calculator.
This is probably the most underrated tool here at TouringPlans.com. Although the tools focusing on crowds, lines and touring schedules are great, many people struggle with ticket issues, and the Least Expensive Ticket Calculator can save you money. Let me lay out my situation from Marathon Weekend and show you how I used the Least Expensive Ticket Calculator to pick the best tickets for my family. To start off with, none of my family had tickets. Last year, we all had bought Annual Passes, but due to a shift in the school calendar, we had been forced to cancel a week long trip to Disney World in mid-summer. That meant that my kids had bought an Annual Pass for a grand total of 8 days in the parks, which was probably not the most efficient use of our money. I was determined not to let that happen again.
For the weekend, we were scheduled to arrive on Thursday midday, then check in for the 5K and have an early dinner. That was to be followed by the race on Friday, with touring afterwards, then cheering for friends Saturday morning and some more park touring. Easy answer, right? Two days worth of tickets should do it. Wrong. There was more to consider. My wife and I have made it a tradition to take a long weekend away from the kids and head to the Food & Wine Festival. So we knew that at least the two of us would be coming back within the year. But that meant that we had different ticket needs than our kids. Fun, huh? We would like to take the kids back to Disney sometime this year, but right now we cannot be sure that will happen. There was always the option of buying Annual Passes for them, but as I mentioned, I got burned with that last year.
In order to solve this dilemma, I tapped into Len Testa’s brain by heading over to the Least Expensive Ticket Calculator. The tool asked me some simple questions in order to determine the best options for my ticket conundrum. First, how many adults and children were going and then how many days would I be going to the parks. Then the calculator spits out the best options for my situation. Now, that’s a little simplistic for the variables I have going on, so I clicked on “Advanced Options” and was given more criteria to help sort out the situation. The Advanced Options give me the choice of adding Water Parks, Disney Quest or No Expiration to the tickets. It also takes into account whether there is a chance you will return within 12 months and if you can accept delivery of the tickets in the next 3 weeks rather than wait and pick them up at Disney.
I can hear some of you out there wondering how the Ticket Calculator can help with two different sets of tickets, such as my ticket versus my kids’. Well the easiest thing to do is to run the different scenarios. For example, for my kids, I ran the numbers as if they were only going for these two days, then again as though we would bring them back for a week long trip in the summer. Doing this can expose some quirks in the Magic Your Way ticket system. For example, did you know that an Annual Pass is actually cheaper than a 10 Day Park Hopper Ticket with No Expiration? It is, which was a big temptation for me. After all, if the kids have Annual Passes, the we can go to Disney World whenever we want, right? In the end, the best option was to get Annual Passes for my wife and myself, and simply the Two Day Park Hopper tickets for the kids. That way, if we did decide to go back with the kids later, my wife and I were set, and we saved the money now of having to pay for a full year’s worth of tickets that the kids may not use. But that is just one way I have used the Least Expensive Ticket Calculator. It is a really handy tool that all of you should check out. If you have used it before, how did your ticket calculations come out?