August 17, 2015

Saving on Tickets to Walt Disney World

When planning a trip to Disney everyone is always looking for ways to save money.  When it comes to park tickets there really is not very much in the way of savings to be had unless you are a Florida resident or in the military.  If you would go multiple times in a year, you may be able to save with an annual pass but the big savings on a annual pass really only come when there are a lot of factors all coming in to play....

1- you will make several trips in a year
2-you will be staying on Disney property
3-you will spend a lot on dining in the restaurants included in the food card discount plan
4-you will be driving your car to the parks instead of using resort guests transportation
5-you will be spending a lot in the gift shops
6-you will be traveling with a large group

We run the numbers every time and even with our gang we would not quite even break even on the annual pass for one visit.  However, do your research and run your numbers because everyone's circumstances are a little different and it may pay off for you.  Pay close attention, though, because there are tricks and exclusions.  For example, annual pass holders do receive a 20% discount on restaurant dining.  However, the card is an additional $100 and not good in every restaurant.   The ones included tend to be the more expensive ones.  So be sure to consider where you want to eat and if there will be reservations available during the time you plan to visit.
We do buy our tickets in advance from a third party and we save about $5 per person for a two week trip.  That's not really a great deal and probably not worth the effort if there are only four of you traveling.  For our gang it amounted to enough savings to add an additional day to our park tickets.  This gave us 8 days in the parks instead of 7.  We like the more relaxed vacation of having extra days so we can spend a day by the pool and after naptime go to the park for dinner and one of the evening shows.  That way we really enjoy the show instead of being worn out from the day and having little ones asleep in the buggy instead of enjoying the fireworks or program.  This trip we have three such days on the schedule when we will be seeing Illuminations, Fantasmic, and at Magic Kingdom Wishes and the Electric Magic Parade.

The first time we went to Disney we were a little concerned about buying third party tickets but Touring Plans said they were trustworthy so we gave it a whirl.  Back in 2003 the savings were very substantial.  After paying for a five day pass each additional day was only about a dollar a ticket.  We bought 14 day tickets and weren't bothered at all about whether we used all the days or not.  It was far cheaper than park hopper tickets and all the Disney options to give you the flexibility we were looking for.  We bought the tickets and had no trouble and we have bought our tickets this way for every single trip we've taken to Disney since.  Just one more reason I love the Unofficial Guide.

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