Ready to purchase Disney World tickets for your trip?
In this post, we will walk you through everything you need to know about how the date-based ticket pricing structure works, plus give you some of our thoughts on where you should buy them (and why!).
Let’s take a look…
What to expect in this guide
Your tickets will likely be one of the most expensive components of your Walt Disney World vacation, so our goal is to make sure that you have all the information you need to make the best purchase for your trip.
Below we are going to talk a little bit about how Walt Disney World tickets work (including why the price varies) and then we’ll go over the different types of tickets you can buy with our recommendations on who we think should consider them.
3 things that will make your Disney World tickets more expensive
Besides the number of days (more days will always be more expensive), there are 3 things that will make your tickets to Walt Disney World more expensive:
- the type of ticket you choose
- the time of year you plan to use it, and
- how far in advance you buy your tickets
Base tickets vs. tickets with add-ons
There are 4 main types of Disney World tickets:
- 1 Park Per Day base tickets
- Park Hopper tickets
- Park Hopper Plus tickets, and
- Water Parks and Sports
And, while we will cover them a lot more in-depth down below, the main thing we want you to take away right now is that ideally your goal should be to only purchase the type of ticket and number of days that you truly need.
Don’t get sucked into thinking you need the most expensive options without first considering your actual plans for your trip because you can waste a lot of money that way.
Ticket prices vary according to how busy Disney thinks the parks will be
Walt Disney World ticket prices are seasonal, meaning, the busier Disney thinks the parks will be, the more expensive your tickets will be, too.
For the best deals, aim to travel during less busy times of the year. To make it easier, we track those for you on our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar.
Advanced Purchase vs. Buying at the Gate
Because Disney World requires so much planning, it is fairly normal for guests to purchase their tickets way in advance.
Not only does this make a lot of practical sense, but it also can save you some money because buying your tickets ahead of time will get you a small discount.
If you purchase a ticket that is 3 days or longer at the gate, you will pay $21.30 MORE than what you would pay had you purchased it in advance.
Which type should you buy?
Thanks to MouseSavers (whose data we’ve used below) for compiling all the ticket prices *with* tax.
Here’s a quick overview of the different types of tickets and our thoughts who should get each one.
1 Park Per Day (aka Base or Standard Tickets)
These are the most basic tickets that allow you to visit 1 of the 4 theme parks per day. This is your most inexpensive option.
Who should buy 1 Park Per Day tickets:
People looking to spend the least amount possible and/or those whose daily plan only requires visiting one park per day should purchase Base tickets.
Adding the Park Hopper option to tickets allows you to visit more than 1 park per day.
Note: Beginning January 9, 2024, Park Pass Reservations will not be required for date-based tickets like Standard, Park Hopper, Park Hopper Plus, Water Parks, Sports & More, etc. Reservations, however, will still be required for Annual Passholders and non date-based tickets.
Important things to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing Park Hopper tickets:
- Park Hopping is subject to the park’s capacity. Although very, very rare, there may be days when park hopping is not allowed. Guests wishing to check on the status of Park Hopping can dial (407) 560-5000.
- Designated Park Hopping hours are subject to change. They could start earlier or later. Guests are advised to use the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date hours.
Park Hopper Cost
If you want to upgrade your base ticket to a Park Hopper Ticket, here’s how much extra you can expect to pay:
- 1-day ticket: $67.10 – $78.81 more
- 2 or 3-day ticket: $79.88 – $90.53 more
- 4-day or longer ticket: $90.53 – $101.18 more
Here’s what that total price for a Park Hopper, with tax, looks like:
Who should buy Park Hopper tickets:
We recommend Park Hopper tickets for the people in the categories below.
- If you’re staying at an Epcot-area resort, it’s convenient to have Park Hopper tickets, so you can spend the first part of the day at any park and then go into Epcot in the evening.
- Visitors with trips of 3 days or less who want to fit in more parks than they have days.
- Those who want to see all nighttime entertainment (when available) but the shows aren’t scheduled for every night of your trip. Park Hoppers will allow you to visit any park for the first part of the day and then hop to the park with the nighttime show when it’s scheduled.
- If you’re staying at a Magic Kingdom-area resort, it’s convenient to have Park Hopper tickets so you can spend the first part of the day at any park and then go into Magic Kingdom in the evening.
Park Hopper Plus
Park Hopper Plus allows you to visit more than 1 park per day, plus gives you a certain number of visits to one or more of the following:
- Blizzard Beach
- Typhoon Lagoon
- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
- Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course – FootGolf and Golfing
- Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Miniature Golf Course (before 4:00 pm)
- Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (before 4:00 pm)
The number of “Plus” visits you receive depends on the length of your ticket.
For every day of tickets that you buy, you get 1 entry into 1 of the extra places.
For instance, if you buy 5 day Park Hopper Plus, you’ll get 5 entries into the extra places that can be used at any time during your trip.
Adding the “Plus” option also gives you 1 extra day your tickets will be valid.
Park Hopper Plus Cost:
If you want to upgrade your base ticket to a Park Hopper Plus Ticket, here’s how much extra you can expect to pay:
- 1-day ticket: $88.40 – $100.11 more
- 2 or 3-day ticket: $101.18 – $111.83 more
- 4-day or longer ticket: $111.83 – $122.48 more
Here’s what that total price for a ticket upgraded to Park Hopper Plus, with tax, looks like:
Who should buy Park Hopper Plus tickets:
People who plan to do a water park will often find it a good idea to get these tickets rather than buying the water park ticket separately.
Water Park and Sports option
Adding this option to your tickets gives you all the “Plus” options without the ability to Park Hop.
Just like with the Park Hopper Plus, with the Water Parks and Sports ticket you are eligible for the same number of “Plus” option entries as the number of days on your ticket.
So, for example, if you have a 5-day Water Park and Sports ticket, you’d get 5 “Plus” entrances. A 10-day Water Park and Sports ticket would give you 10 “Plus” entrances, etc.
Each Water Park and Sports entry can be one of the following (and you can repeat things if you want to):
- 1 entry to Blizzard Beach water park
- 1 entry to Typhoon Lagoon water park
- 1 admission to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (note: your entry does not include any special event ticket costs)
- 1 round of mini golf at Fantasia Gardens (must be played before 4:00 pm)
- 1 round of mini golf at Winter Summerland (must be played before 4:00 pm)
- 1 round of golf at Oak Trail par 3 course (advance reservations are required, and the club rental is not included for adults)
Water Parks and Sports cost
The cost to upgrade to a Water Parks and Sports ticket is a flat $74.55 for any length of ticket.
Who should add the Water Park and Sports option
Anybody who is already planning on visiting at least 2 of the options on the list AND those who are absolutely positive that they will not hop (not even once!).
People with an Annual Pass get, as the name indicates, 1 year of entry into the 4 Disney World theme parks.
Annual Pass costs
Who should get an Annual Pass:
People taking multiple trips within a year will usually find that an Annual Pass is a better deal than buying 2 sets of Disney World tickets (though you should do the math to be sure).
In the past, it was relatively easy to make a case for 1 person in a group to get an Annual Pass in order to take advantage of things like free PhotoPass and resort discounts.
But, that is no longer the case.
And, because ticket prices are now date-based (with busier times of the year being more expensive), it is more difficult than ever to give a blanket recommendation on who should and shouldn’t purchase an Annual Pass.
How much do tickets cost?
How much your ticket costs depends upon which ticket you select as well as the dates you plan to use it.
Note: The table below is best viewed on a computer.
Are there discounts for Disney World tickets?
The good news is that there are a few ways you can get some small discounts on your tickets.
But – and this is very important – you need to be smart about purchasing discounted tickets.
There are lots of places that are nothing more than scams. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When it comes to finding discounts for park tickets, we have been big fans of the MouseSavers ticket discounts page for years. They’ve always done a great job of compiling legit Disney World discounts into one spot.
How long are tickets valid for?
How long a ticket remains valid depends on the type of ticket and whether you bought it as part of a package or not.
This is important to track because you want to make sure you use your entitlements before your tickets expire.
Because the tickets and extras (like the Water Park and Sports and the Park Hopper Plus entitlements) do expire, keep that in mind when planning your days.
If you purchased your tickets outside a vacation package (meaning you did not purchase your tickets and your resort reservation together), your tickets are valid for the length indicated below.
Note: if you choose to add on the Park Hopper Plus, you’ll notice that you get 1 additional day to use your ticket.
- 1-Day tickets are valid ONLY for the day indicated when purchased
- 2-Day tickets are valid for any 2 days within a 4-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (5 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 3-Day tickets are valid for any 3 days within a 5-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (6 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 4-Day tickets are valid for any 4 days within a 7-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (8 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 5-Day tickets are valid for any 5 days within a 8-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (9 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 6-Day tickets are valid for any 6 days within a 9-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (10 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 7-Day tickets are valid for any 7 days within a 10-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (11 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 8-Day tickets are valid for any 8 days within a 12-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (13 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 9-Day tickets are valid for any 9 days within a 13-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (14 days for Park Hopper Plus)
- 10-Day tickets are valid for any 10 days within a 14-day window that begins on the day indicated when purchased (15 days for Park Hopper Plus)
Walt Disney World Vacation Packages
If, however, you purchased a Disney World Vacation Package, your tickets are valid for the LONGER of either the standard valid length indicated in the list above OR the length of your stay.
So, for example, if you booked an 8-day package, but you have 3-Day tickets, your tickets are good for 8 days (the length of your stay) not the standard 5 days (per the list above).
AND, the reverse is true.
If you book a 3-night package, but you have 8-Day tickets, you’ll have 12 days to use up all of your ticket entitlements (per the list above) not just 3 days (which is the length of your stay).
Park Pass Reservations
So, when getting your ticket, you will select a start date for January 9, 2024 or later, complete your purchase, and then you will be all set.
However, for other admission types, including non-dated tickets like Annual Passes, theme park reservations may still be required to help Disney “continue managing attendance and delivering a great experience for everyone.”
Using your Disney World Tickets
When it comes time to enter the parks, you’ll have a few different options:
- Physical – Physical tickets can either be hard plastic or thinner Tyvek.
- MagicBands – These brightly colored bands (similar in size to a watch) can be purchased ahead of your trip and can be used to do everything from opening your resort room to entering a park.
- MagicBand+ – An upgrade to MagicBand that includes all the same features as a regular MagicBand with some interactive additions.
- MagicMobile – Utilizes your phone (or Apple Watch) to access nearly all the same features of a MagicBand.
Where should you buy Disney World tickets?
For the most hassle-free experience, you can’t beat purchasing your tickets through Disney.
Not only is it the most convenient option, it’s also a required part of booking most packages, as well as a requirement for some promotions.
3rd Party Vendors
There are lots of 3rd party options out there, but not all are created equal.
If you opt to look outside of Disney for your tickets, there are some things to keep in mind:
- If you do decide to use a 3rd party vendor, you’ll want to make sure that you are working directly with an official authorized ticket reseller. Definitely do your research ahead of time!
- Make sure you understand how you’ll get your tickets (mail? email?) and don’t forget, you’ll need to link those tickets to your My Disney Experience account and if traveling before January 9, 2024 that you’ll also need to make Park Pass reservations.
Where you should *not* buy tickets
Used ticket resellers
Ticket sellers will often pop up at random hotels in the Orlando area or on sites like eBay. Do not purchase from those sources.
When you enter a Disney theme park, your finger is scanned to verify that you are the person linked to the park ticket.
If you purchase used tickets, your fingerprint won’t match, you’ll lose your tickets, and there’s a good chance you’ll be questioned by a Cast Member regarding where you purchased the tickets.
Not a magical way to start a vacation.
Disney World Park Ticket FAQs
Do children under a certain age get free admission to Walt Disney World?
Children under 3 years old are admitted to Walt Disney World parks for free. Children aged 3-9 are eligible for the less expensive child park tickets.
Is parking included with my park ticket?
No, parking is not included with a park ticket. However, guests staying onsite do get complimentary parking included with their stay. Guests not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel will need to pay.
Is park hopping free?
Park hopping at Walt Disney World is not free. You need to purchase a ticket that allows hopping to park hop. Your options for that are a Park Hopper, Park Hopper Plus, or Annual Pass.
Should I buy my tickets in advance?
Yes, we highly recommend you purchase your tickets in advance. Not only does it save you some money (since tickets purchased at the gate cost more than those purchased in advance), you can also lock in the cost before any price increases.
When does Disney World raise ticket prices?
Disney usually does a big update to overall prices about once a year, but they have also been known to do it twice a year, too.
Typically, we hear about the price increases in October, with the occasional February increase thrown in for fun.
Are tickets refundable?
Disney World’s refund policy for park tickets depends on the type of ticket you have purchased. Typically, standard theme park tickets are non-refundable. However, if you purchase a vacation package that includes both tickets and accommodations, the cancellation policy may vary based on the package terms and conditions.
It’s always a good idea to review the specific terms and conditions of your ticket purchase before making a final decision, and to contact Disney World’s guest services for further assistance.
Can I modify my ticket after I purchase it?
Multi-day tickets can often be modified or changed before their first use, subject to any price differences.
Oftentimes, you are able to modify directly in the My Disney Experience app.
- Click on the menu in the lower right (the 3 lines)
- Select Tickets and Passes, and then select the ticket you wish to modify.
- You can then change the dates you’ll be using your ticket, change the ticket length by adding days, and/or upgrade your ticket to add the Park Hopper, Park Hopper Plus, or Water Parks and Sports option.
Is Genie+ included with my ticket?
No, Genie+ is not included with your ticket, and you cannot purchase it in advance. Genie+ and Individual Lightning Lane Selections can only be purchased on the day you wish you use them.
Date-Based tickets are now in effect
Back in September 2018, Disney announced a major overhaul of their ticket-pricing structure.
A lot of the announced changes caused the entire purchasing process to look drastically different from what was done in the past.
So, if you are a Disney World veteran, you’ll want to pay close attention to the details listed below.
Old: Aside from single-day tickets, pricing only varied based upon the length of the ticket.
New: You must specify the first day you plan to use your tickets, and the price of your ticket will depend upon both the length of the ticket AND that initial usage date. Base prices for tickets will vary throughout the year much the same way resort prices vary (busier times of the year prices are higher, slower times of the year, prices are lower).
Ticket valid period
Old: Tickets 2 days or longer in length were valid for 14 days from first use.
New: How long a ticket remains valid depends on the type of ticket, the length of the ticket, and whether you bought a package or not. See the chart at the top of this post for details.
Park Hopper Plus
Old: Granted you all the privileges of a Park Hopper BUT also granted you additional entrances into the water parks (both Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon) along with other “plus” options for things like golf. The number of additional entrances was equal to the length of your ticket (5 day Park Hopper Plus granted you 5 days in the four main parks and 5 “Plus” visits). This ticket also used to be called “Water Park Fun and More”.
New: The new Park Hopper Plus option works the same way as before, EXCEPT guests that purchase Park Hopper Plus also receive an additional day in which they have to use their tickets. This isn’t an additional park day – it is just an extra day to use your ticket entitlements.
Tickets with no date restrictions
Old: This was basically how all the old-style tickets worked. Aside from single-day tickets, the ticket you purchased could be used regardless of the date and tickets remained valid for 14 days after the first use.
New: Tickets are purchased for specific dates.
Making changes to your tickets
Old: If you changed your mind about your tickets, in many instances you couldn’t make changes until you got to Disney World.
New: Changes (including changing the start date, increasing or decreasing days, adding Park Hopper, etc.) can be made from home either in the My Disney Experience app OR on the My Disney Experience website.
However, it is important to note that if the change causes to the price to go UP, the guest will be prompted to pay the difference. But, if the price goes DOWN, no refunds will be given. Ouch.
History of Disney World price increases
Every time a price increase occurs, people seem to moan as though it doesn’t happen every year. In fact, you can count on an increase every February.
The reason is super simple: the parks are crowded. Not only can Disney raise prices but it helps keeps the crowd levels more manageable.
What questions or other info do you have about purchasing park tickets?
Please share in the comments.