Disney World Park Tickets Guide and Tips

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Disney World Park tickets are one of the biggest costs of your entire Disney vacation. Those suckers are NOT cheap. It is important to understand as much as you can about the Disney park ticket system and options in order to save as much money as you can.

If you happen to be reading this in early December, be forewarned: You want to buy your park tickets NOW.

Why is that, you ask? Well, that’s because Disney announced a price increase.

If you haven’t already, make sure you take a look at the guide to Park Pass reservations. They are now an essential part of any Disney trip and are linked to your park tickets (Updated December 9, 2022).

Disney World Ticket Prices Going Up December 8, 2022

That’s right! Disney World ticket prices are about to go up! This is the second ticket price increase in 2022. While that’s not unprecedented, it’s also not a common practice to do 2 in one year.

Typically, price increases tend to happen around February. If that holds true again, there could be another price hike in a few more months. I’m hoping that’s not the case, but time will tell.

But there is good news here. The price is increasing on very specific tickets, not ALL tickets. With this also comes a slight structure change.

Single Day Park Ticket Price Increase and Structure Change

As of right now, standard one day, one park tickets are for any of the four parks AND are the same price regardless of park. That means you simply buy a standard one park, one day ticket and make your park pass reservation for the park of your choice.

With the existing system, the price to go to Magic Kingdom for one day is the same price to go to Animal Kingdom.

After December 8, 2022, Disney moves to park specific one day ticket pricing. Here are the announced price ranges:

  • Magic Kingdom: $124 – $189
  • Animal Kingdom: $109 – $159
  • Epcot: $114 – $179
  • Hollywood Studios: $124 – $179

As you can see, these prices are listed as ranges. That’s because Disney uses dynamic pricing based on the day of the year. The days which are projected to be more crowded have the higher priced tickets.

Disney introduced this system of dynamic pricing back in 2018.

Single Day Park Tickets No Longer Need Park Pass Reservations

Ok, so that heading is a bit misleading, but what it boils down to is one park, one day ticket holders no longer need to make their park pass reservations themselves.

Basically, because the one park, one day tickets will now be park specific, there’s no need to make a park pass reservation to designate your park. Your ticket already says where you’re going!

Now, when you buy your park ticket, the system will automatically book your park pass reservation for you. It simply eliminates that extra step.

Note: this does not apply to one day park hopping tickets or any kind of multi-day ticket. As soon as you add on park hopping ability you need to make a park pass reservation for the FIRST park of the day.

Ditto, when you have more than one park day you need to book your park pass reservation for where you plan to be each day.

But seriously, if you missed the link above, make sure you understand Disney’s park pass reservation system. Whatever you do, DO NOT show up for your Disney vacation without them booked ahead of time.

Park Hopping Just Got More Expensive

For those who like to have the freedom to go from one park to another on the same day, the price of your Disney World park tickets is about to go up too.

The ability to park hop is also switching to a more dynamic pricing system. We don’t yet have information on the specific cost, unfortunately.

What this means is that the busier the day is projected to be, the more it will cost to add on park hopping.

This price increase will apply to adding park hopping to ANY ticket, both single day and multi-day tickets.

Annual Passholder Price Increases

Listen, Disney hasn’t even been selling new Annual Passes for a very long time now. The only people who can buy them are existing passholders looking to renew their pass.

Despite this, there will be a price increase on most types of annual passes.

  • Incredi-Pass: $1399 (up from $1299)
  • Sorcerer Pass: $969 (up from $899)
  • Pirate Pass: $749 (up from $699)
  • Pixie Pass: no change

On the plus side, this price increase *might* indicate that Disney plans to open up annual pass sales again. Or maybe not. That question has been one of the biggest from Disney die-hards ever since the pandemic.

How to Avoid the Disney World Ticket Price Increase

So now, the big question: What can I do to avoid the upcoming Disney ticket price increase?

The answer is simple, buy your Disney park tickets before December 8, 2022. As long as you are solid in your vacation dates, I strongly encourage you to buy your tickets now.

Clearly, the one park, one day tickets are the most impacted. However, if you plan to buy park hoppers, you too will be effected.

For those buying multi-day park hoppers, I highly recommend that you buy your tickets from Undercover Tourist, the official discounted Disney ticket seller.

Not only do they offer discounts on multi-day tickets to begin with, but they will likely also have a sale where they keep the existing price system for a little while beyond December 8. This gives you the opportunity to get them for cheaper.

NOTE: I have confirmed that Undercover Tourist is still using the OLD ticket prices for a limited time. This equals a significant savings if you haven’t already bought your tickets. This will be your best deal right now, so hop on over to Undercover Tourist and grab those tickets!

It doesn’t matter if your trip isn’t until July of 2023, you can buy your tickets now and protect yourself from any further price increases.

My husband and I are going to Disney in January 2023 and I have his ticket already! At least I know I won’t be paying a little bit more!

Now, back to the regularly scheduled programming to learn all about Disney park tickets!

Types of Disney World Park Tickets

First off, let’s take a look at the different types of Disney World park tickets you can choose from. Each of the options will give you slightly different options and price points. The categories of Disney park tickets are:

  • Standard Theme Park Ticket – 1 Park per Day (Formally knowns as the Magic Your Way Ticket)
  • Park Hopper Ticket
  • Annual Pass

What are Standard Theme Park Tickets?

The Standard Theme Park tickets permit you to visit one park a day for each of your designated park days.

The park you choose for the day is determined by the Park Pass reservation you made for that day combined with entering the park. For example, when you tap your MagicBand or ticket to enter Magic Kingdom at 9:00a, the ticket is now locked into Magic Kingdom for the rest of the day.

You can come and go from Magic Kingdom as many times as you want for the duration of that day. However, you cannot visit another park that same day.

If you wanted to make a last minute change from Magic Kingdom to Epcot, you would need to modify your Park Pass reservation BEFORE entering Magic Kingdom. Because once you enter a park, that’s now your designated park for the rest of the day.

Standard one park per day tickets are the cheapest ticket option at Disney World.

What is a Disney Park Hopper Ticket?

The Disney Park Hopper ticket does exactly what it name implies. It allows you to “hop” from one park to another throughout the course of a single day.

For example, you decide to start your day at Magic Kingdom as discussed above. However, the crowds at Magic Kingdom are higher than you want, so you decide to hop over to Epcot for the afternoon. Then, everyone wants to ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train, so the whole crew heads over to Hollywood Studios for the evening.

The biggest thing that comes with a Park Hopper ticket is flexibility. And like most things that improve flexibility and options, the Park Hopper ticket costs quite a bit more than the standard theme park ticket.

Park Hoppers returned after the pandemic closure with one very important amendment: Park hopping is not allowed until after 2p. I have hope that this will return to normal eventually, but I’ve also been saying that for almost 2 years now…

Also, you DO NOT need a park pass reservation for the parks you hop to, only for the first part of the day. Read up on the new park hopping rules before your trip.

Disney Annual Pass

Disney’s Annual Pass is another ticket option for those who plan to go to Disney more than once a year, or possibly on one very long trip.

The Annual Pass allows you to enter the parks as many days out of the year as you want (some annual passes have blackout days). The Annual Pass also automatically gives you Park Hopper tickets, giving you the flexibility you want in an annual pass.

There are a few different types of annual pass which determines the price of the pass, but in general, all of the passes come with certain benefits. As a brief overview, here are some Disney Annual Pass benefits:

  • 20% off Disney merchandise
  • 10% off most Disney table service restaurants
  • Free parking at Disney World parks
  • Discounts on tours and events
  • Resort room discounts – the highest discounts available aside from the military discount

Tip: Do the math. Sometimes it might be cheaper for one person in your party to get an Annual Pass. That one person will then qualify the family for the above discounts. All of the discounts MAY end up justifying the cost of the single Annual Pass.

As of right now (12/5/2022), Disney has not resumed sales of any annual passes, to the dismay of many Disney fans. Only annual pass renewals are permitted at this time.

What are Disney World Ticket Prices?

And here we have it, the million dollar question that everyone needs the answer to. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. A lot of it depends on several factors that fall into place to create your final price.

Let’s take a look at some of the main factors that contribute to the final Disney World ticket price. Throughout this post we will look at different examples of cost based on different factors. At the end we’ll put it all together and do some number crunching.

1. The Number of Park Days

Clearly, the more days you plan to spend in the Disney Parks, the more your overall ticket will cost. However, the more park days you need, the lower the cost of each individual day.

For example, let’s compare a 1 day park ticket to a 5 day park ticket. On a date I picked at random, a 1 day park ticket will cost $125 for that one day. For a trip starting that same day with a 5 day park ticket, the price per day drops down to $91 per day.

As you can see, your total cost of the 5 day park ticket will be $455, but the daily cost of that ticket is cheaper.

2. Time of Year of Your Disney Trip

Choosing the dates of a Disney trip always seems to come with stress and uncertainty. Aside from crowds, one of the biggest outcomes based on the dates you choose is the overall cost of your trip.

The cost of the largest expenses of your whole trip, resort and park tickets, will be determined by the dates you plan your trip. If you have the flexibility, choosing a cheaper time of year can save you quite a bit of money.

In addition to the time of year, the overall daily price of your ticket is based on the cost of the ticket on the first park day that you decide upon. This creates some possibility of wiggle room in there to save some money, but we’re really only talking a few dollars per person savings.

3. Type of Park Ticket

The different categories of Disney park tickets impacts your overall bottom line. Think very carefully about the type of ticket your family needs. Clearly, this is an area of planning you can manipulate to bring the cost down as much as possible.

Standard Theme Park Ticket VS. Park Hopper Ticket Cost

Let’s take a look at an example of the price difference, shall we? I’ve picked a date at random to compare the cost of a 1 day Standard Theme Park Ticket to a 1 day Park Hopper Ticket

  • Standard 1 Day Ticket: $124
  • Park Hopper 1 Day Ticket: $189

You are looking at a $65 price difference between the two different types of tickets, for one park day, for one person. Now let’s look at a 5 day ticket comparison.

  • Standard 5 Day Ticket: $536
  • Park Hopper 5 Day Ticket: $621

Now we are up to an $85 difference. Multiply that by how many people are in your party, and you begin to see how the type of ticket has a huge impact on your total Disney World ticket price.

How to Buy Disney World Tickets

Whether you plan to buy your Disney World park tickets through Disney our through Undercover Tourist, you need to know the following things:

  • Type of Disney World park tickets you want
  • Date of your first park day (NOT necessarily the date of resort check-in)
  • How many park days you want

Once you have all of those answers you are ready to buy your park tickets!

Why is the Date of My First Park Day Important?

Check out the calendar below. You will notice how each of the days has a different cost associated with it. Your per day cost per ticket is based on the daily price indicated by the FIRST park day you have indicated.

Disney World park tickets screenshot

You can see the daily prices for the entire month at a time (really the whole year). In this way, you can pick and choose the cheapest time to go.

The price highlighted above will set the ticket price for the whole trip at $99 per day. If you chose May 24 as the first day, your cost per day would be $106.

So you can play around with this calendar and figure out combinations of days that work to bring the cost down as much as possible.

If you are following my beginner’s guide to planning a Disney vacation, then this falls under step 1. If you have flexible dates for your trip, this is the time to find the dates that give you cheapest possible park tickets.

Ticket Expiration Window

Once upon a time, when your park ticket was activated, you had a 14 day window to use all the days on your ticket. Well, that’s gone now.

If you look at the calendar picture I used above, you can see where it indicates the very specific window you have to use all 5 park days. This window adjusts based on the number of park days of your ticket. If that window closes before you use all of your park days, they are no longer active.

This is going to be a major factor for people who are doing split trips with cruises wedged in the middle. Instead of being able to buy your 5 day park ticket and use 2 days before the cruise and 3 days after, you will be stuck having to buy a 2 day park ticket and a separate 3 day park ticket. Unfortunately, this will make the tickets more expensive overall.

You do not need to use all of your park days consecutively, they just need to be used within your allotted time frame.

Other Random Disney Park Ticket Facts

It’s important to note the Disney park ticket cancellation policy.

If you are unable to travel during the time frame you originally bought tickets for, you can still use them, you just need to contact guest services first and have them adjusted to the proper dates. This could result in you needing to pay the difference if it’s a more expensive time of the year.

However, it’s important to note that if you end up going at a cheaper time of year, you will not get any of your money back.

Under certain extenuating circumstances, like hurricanes, family emergencies, etc., you may be able to get a refund on your park tickets.

For a much more in depth look at the cancellation policies, take a look at my guide all about Disney World’s cancellation policies.

How to Get Discounted Disney Tickets

With Disney World park tickets costing so much money, most people look for ways to save even a little money on the tickets. There are some tried and true ways to cut down on the cost of Disney park tickets.

Disney Tickets from Undercover Tourist

One of my recommendations is to buy your discounted Disney park tickets through Undercover Tourist. I have personally used Undercover Tourist and have never had an issue with buying from them.

They are an authorized Disney discount ticket option, which is very important to note. Not all companies that peddle discounted Disney tickets can say the same.

So how does Undercover Tourist compare to buying park tickets direct from Disney? Using the same random date in our example above I went to Undercover Tourist to find out.

It is important to note that the prices for Standard Them Park Tickets and Park Hoppers I listed above are BEFORE taxes. The final price will be higher. Undercover Tourist automatically shows you the final price WITH taxes.

Type of Park TicketDisney Direct Prices (before taxes)Undercover Tourist Prices (before taxes)
5 Day Standard Ticket$536$511
5 Day Park Hopper$621$577

Clearly, you can see that there is a pretty significant price different between buying your tickets directly from Disney or from Undercover Tourist. Again, multiply that difference by the number of people in your group, and the savings adds up.

What is essential to note is that Undercover Tourist provides you with park tickets you can immediately link to your My Disney Experience account. This is of utmost importance since you want to be able to book your Disney Park Pass right away.

Using Discounted Disney Gift Cards to Buy Tickets

You may be wondering, with that kind of savings why would anyone buy their tickets directly from Disney? Sometimes there are packages that require your tickets to be bundled in them to get the savings.

But when it comes down to it, a lot of people distrust buying their tickets from anyone other than Disney World. And there is nothing wrong with that, but you might as well try to save money on that too. You can do that by purchasing your park tickets directly from Disney and paying for them with discounted Disney gift cards.

Price Comparison Using Discounted Disney Gift Cards

Let’s take another look at our Disney World park ticket cost examples. Again, all of these prices are before taxes.

If you use minimum effort to buy discounted Disney gift cards, i.e. buying them from Target with your Target Red Card, you will save 5% on the cost of all of those gift cards.

Now, if you decide to employ some of the other strategies mentioned in the discounted Disney gift card post, you can expect to save 8-10%, or even more if you are really good at it.

The chart below compares buying from Disney direct, using discounted Disney gift cards with 5% savings, discounted gift cards with 8% savings, and Undercover Tourist. I really wanted to lay it all out there in black and white.

Type of
Park Ticket
Disney DirectDisney Direct
(5% discount)
Disney Direct
(8% discount)
5 Day Standard Ticket$536$509$493$511
5 Day Park Hopper$621$589$571$577

Clearly, if you are diligent in your quest for discounted Disney gift cards, you can save a lot of money. Even at 8% savings, you save more using discounted Disney gift cards versus Undercover Tourist.

What it really comes down to is deciding how much work you want to put towards getting those discounted Disney gift cards. And it is getting tougher and tougher to get the big discounts on Disney gift cards.

Other Disney World Ticket Discounts

There are of course more places to buy Disney park tickets than just straight from Disney or Undercover Tourist. There are other discount Disney ticket sellers out there. However, do your due diligence and make sure they are legitimate. Sometimes when something looks too good to be true there’s a reason for it.

But there are some other places to look into. Very often they are not as discounted as Undercover Tourist or using discounted Disney gift cards, with one very big exception.

AAA Disney Tickets

AAA does offer discounted Disney park tickets. If you are a AAA member it is definitely worth a look to see what the price is. Disney does not post this information, you have to check with your own local AAA to find the discount information.

Typically the AAA Disney tickets are not cheaper than the options discussed above.

Disney Military Ticket Prices

The single best Disney park ticket price is through the Disney World Armed Forces Salute tickets. If you are in fact eligible for this discount, you just saved yourself a ton of money.

For 2023, the Disney military ticket discount is as follows:

  • 4 Day Park Hopper Pass $349 plus tax
  • 5 Day Park Hopper Pass $369 plus tax

That is one deeeeeep discount on Disney World park tickets! The 2023 Military Salute tickets are valid for travel from January 1, 2023 through December 15, 2023.

There are some blackout dates on these tickets. They cannot be used from April 2-15, 2023 or November 19-25, 2023.

In addition to a ticket discount, military personnel and their families also qualify for very significant resort discounts and a discount on the Memory Maker.

Disney military tickets need to be purchased directly from your military base. They can be linked to My Disney Experience right away so you can book your Park Pass reservations.

However, once you arrive at Disney World, you have to activate the tickets at Guest Services or the Ticket and Transportation Center. You are required to show your military ID to verify that you are eligible for that discount. The active military personnel (or spouse) has to be present to activate the tickets.

Tickets at Work

Tickets at Work, or any other similar workplace discount ticket access hub will likely offer discounted Disney park tickets as well. My family has access to Tickets at Work and I always look there to check the price when I’m looking for tickets.

So far, Tickets at Work has not come close to the price offered by Undercover Tourist.

How to Get the Cheapest Possible Disney World Park Tickets

We are about to enter the concept of “in a perfect world”. What if the stars aligned and you were able to do everything you could to get the cheapest possible Disney park tickets? How much would those cost? From everything we’ve talked about so far, we know the following:

  • Pick the cheapest possible time of year
  • Pick the cheapest start day for your tickets to be activated
  • Skip the Park Hopper and go for the Standard Theme Park ticket
  • Work hard to get 8-10% off with discounted Disney gift cards

Disney used to have a handy link that showed you which months have the cheapest prices of the year. They took that away, unfortunately. I don’t know if it still holds up, but at the time, the cheapest Disney ticket prices were in August, September, January, and February, so start there in your research for the cheapest time to go.

Final Thoughts on Disney World Park Tickets

Having a good understanding of your Disney World park ticket options is important. This knowledge will help you make the right decision for your family in terms of need and budget.

I highly recommend that you take a good hard look at how you want to be able to use your park tickets. If you don’t absolutely NEED to park hop, then get the Magic Your Way ticket. In the event that you only have 3 days to fit four parks, then clearly you will need the Park Hopper ticket.

Just make sure you have your tickets purchased and linked to My Disney Experience and book your Disney Park Pass as soon as you can.

Your Thoughts

Do you prefer to buy your tickets from Disney or through a discounted ticket seller? Are you willing to put forth the effort to pay for your tickets with discounted Disney gift cards? Let me know your thoughts below.

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4 thoughts on “Disney World Park Tickets Guide and Tips”

    1. My understanding is that yes, the discount applies to veterans. I went to Disney’s Website to double check and this is what it said: “”Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Spouses of Military Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active or retired Military Personnel or Commissioned Corps Members.” However, there is no senior discount for park tickets. But if you qualify for the military discount you won’t find a better deal anywhere.

  1. Costumelooks.com

    What if you book a Disney hotel for 1 night and buy a 2-day park ticket, starting on day of arrival. Would you get 60-day FP+ adv res for both days? I would assume to get the 60-day you have to book park tickets and hotel together in one transaction, but do they prevent you from buying a park ticket for more days than nights you are staying (I would guess they would allow +1 day so guests could go on day of arrival and day of checkout?)

    1. Yes, you get the 60 day window based on your 1 night reservation. You don’t have to buy the tickets with your room. In fact you can buy them from Undercover Tourist and simply link them to your My Disney Experience app along with your resort reservation and you are good to go with a 60 day FP window.

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