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Discount Disney World:
Finding Cheap Tickets
Visiting Walt Disney World can be expensive, with tickets alone for the average size family setting you back
hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, big Disney discounts are hard to find (discounts on Orlando's other theme parks are much easier to come by). Still, if you plan ahead, you can save a few bucks.
Here are some strategies to stretch your ticket buying dollar:
- Check the prices on Disney's website first, before you buy tickets from a reseller so you can be sure you're actually getting a bargain and they're not quoting your "savings" by comparing a multi-day pass price
to the price of several individual single day tickets (the most expensive way to buy).
- Plan your vacation days before you buy, so you don't buy a pass with more (or fewer) days admission than you'll actually use.
- Don't buy more ticket than you need. If you're not going to be visiting one of Disney's waterparks or
Pleasure Island and only want tickets to the theme parks a regular
pass will do just fine without more expnsive options.
- If you'll be making several visits that year, or an extended visit of longer than a week's park hopping, consider buying an annual pass instead of a park hopper.
(Annual Passholders are eligible for some special perks and discounts beyond park admission -- for current programs check the Walt Disney World website or ask at Guest Services.)
If you fit into any of several select groups, you may be eligible for other programs offering even
- US Military. Active duty, retired military, and DOD employees are often eligible for discounts (sometimes even free tickets, with deep discounts for family members, during Disney Armed Forces Salutes.) Before you go, check with your local base MWR.
- AAA Members. Discounts are often available to members of AAA on multi-day passes, but you have to buy them at a participating AAA office. Discounts may vary by region. Check with AAA for prices and eligibility.
- Conventioneers. If you are attending a convention in Orlando you may be eligible for discounts or unusual pass combination options through that convention. Check with your convention's promoter or travel agency or at the tourist information desk in the convention center.
- Florida Residents. Disney offers Florida resident discounts on annual passes and sometimes offers special deals such as discounted "Play 4 Days" passes or other discounts. Check the Florida Residents area of the Walt Disney World website (the link is near the upper right hand corner) for programs and details. (Proof of Florida residency required).
- Employees of Corporations Sponsoring Disney Attractions. If you work for Coke, GM, or another company that sponsors a Disney attraction, or a company that contracts with Disney, see your Human Resources Department before you go and ask about any current programs.
- Disney Employees. Of course, if you work at Walt Disney World you know about their programs already...
Scams and Scalpers
You may be approached in Orlando (or see ads on eBay) by someone trying to sell the unused days on a multi-day pass. Unfortunately, if you read the fine
print on the back of a Disney ticket, you will see that they are non-transferable and cannot legally be sold in this way.
While you might be able to get away with using one (but don't bet on it, as Disney now uses fingerprint recognition ID), you can't read on a pass
how many days are actually left on it -- that smiling guy in your hotel parking lot who says this pass has two days left on it won't be there when you put it in the
turnstile to give you a refund if it turns out that all days have been used and the pass has actually expired. You also have no way of knowing if such a pass
is stolen or even counterfeit and, since you were engaging in an unlawful transaction to begin with, don't expect much help or sympathy from Disney or the Orlando Police if you get taken.
Scams happen: know your seller, preferably an authorized reseller.
You may also see advertising for ticket sellers offering deep discount, or even free, tickets. Such deals are possible but usually involve spending hours listening to a timeshare presentation
and a hard sell before you can get them. It's fine if you want to spend the time, but if a deal looks too good to be true be sure to find out up front what the catch is so you know what you're getting into.
More ways to save money on your Walt Disney World vacation...