Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, I do not speak for the Walt Disney Company. The following information is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the Walt Disney Company’s policies. Please see the Walt Disney World website for official rules and regulations regarding ticket use.
I’m always on the hunt for a bargain, and I’m willing to take some risks to get one–my recent purchase of clearance yogurt comes to mind. However, Walt Disney World tickets are not the purchase to mess with. I work as a vacation planner (read: ticket seller) at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and I’ve witnessed the many ways guests have tried to game the system to avoid paying full price for tickets. Here’s a quick list of the most frequent Disney World ticket scams and why you should avoid them:
Beware “Cheap Tickets.” They’re especially scary at night. Photo by Maddi Higgins
Somebody bought a 7-day ticket, only used 5 of the days. Why not hand those two days off to somebody else and get a little extra cash? Then you can pick up those extra days at Cheep Ticketz on 192 for a major discount.
Why you shouldn’t try it:
The only way to know if a ticket has any entitlements left is through Disney. So when you stop at Tickets ‘R Us on 192, you’ll have to take their word that there are any days left on the ticket. You also have no idea if the person who originally purchased the ticket also got the No Expiration option; if not, the days on the ticket expired 14 days after first use. The biometric scanning information is connected to the ticket, so if you have a different finger than the original user, you will not get through the touch point. So unless your used ticket comes with the chopped-off index finger of the original owner, you won’t have much luck getting into the parks.
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You’ve probably heard by now that Disney recently raised the price of one-day adult admission to the Magic Kingdom to a whopping $99. Add the tax and that puts the ticket price inarguably over the $100 mark. My first reaction to this, and likely yours as well, was, “OUCH! That’s a hefty chunk of change.” And yes, $100+ dollars is a significant sum, but I’m here to perhaps put this all in a bit of perspective.
Were villains at work on the price increase?
When I was fresh out of college (back in the dark ages, aka 1987), I did a lot of mental calculation about whether various entertainment options made financial sense. The benchmark I used was the price of a movie ticket, which was at the time about $4.00. For $4.00 I could get two hours of entertainment. Thus, using my Movie Ticket Metric, I valued entertainment at $2.00 per hour. ($4.00 price divided by two hours.) Entertainment that cost less than $2.00 per hour was, to me at the time, a good value and usually a no-brainer purchase. Entertainment that cost more than $2.00 per hour merited serious thought and consideration before buying.
With this methodology, purchasing a book for $5.00 was a relative bargain, because I could get perhaps 10 hours of reading enjoyment from this, giving me an entertainment cost of $.50 per hour. (Forget for a moment that I could have borrowed the book for free from the library. Those were my English major book-hoarder days.)
Conversely, a ticket to a Genesis concert (I am sooo old) ran $18.00 for about a three hour show. This form of entertainment cost $6.00 per hour. Before buying the concert ticket, I’d have to think about whether it was worth three times my normal entertainment cost. Was it special? What else would I have to forgo? Will I remember the experience fondly? For how long?
So what does all this have to do with Disney ticket prices?
Well, the little voice in the back of my head still uses the Movie Ticket Metric to assess the relative value of entertainment. Prices have gone up. Here in my New York area hamlet, a trip to the movies now runs about $16.00, meaning that entertainment costs $8.00 per hour. So let’s use that to put Disney ticket prices in perspective.
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Every night we check the price of Disney World tickets sold by Disney and the most popular discount Disney ticket wholesalers: Undercover Tourist, The Official Ticket Center, Kissimmee Guest Services, Maple Leaf Tickets, and Orlando Fun Tickets.
We use these prices in our Least Expensive Ticket Calculator, a search engine for Disney World tickets, that we’ve programmed to find you the cheapest Disney admission for whatever you want to do. For example, the Calculator knows that if you only want to visit a Disney water park once, a 1-day admission to the water park is usually cheaper than the Water Park Fun and More add-on.
The Ticket Calculator’s job is to hide the complexity of reading hundreds of vendor prices and admission options. The Ticket Calculator also takes into account sales tax and shipping, which some vendors don’t show until the last step in the checkout process, so it’s a true apples-to-apples comparison between all the vendors.
Sometimes it’s useful to see in one chart which vendors are selling the cheapest Disney World tickets. The images below show who’s got the cheapest Disney World tickets for adults and children ages 3-9, for 1 to 10 days of admission, including all combinations of Disney’s Park Hopper, Water Park Fun and More, and No Expiration options. (Sorry about the table formatting – did the best I could.)