A summary of ticket options and budget planning your Disney World vacation
Ticket prices at Disney have been ticking up and up but seem to have reached a peak in early 2023 as Disney struggles to entice guests to the parks. When planning your Disney trip, you will need to be mindful of the ticket prices to ensure you make the most out of your budget. This article will give you a rundown of what types of tickets there are, exactly how much tickets cost, and how to select the best option for your family.
How Much Are Tickets?
Ticket prices change day to day, typically with higher prices on days Disney knows they can have more visitors (holidays and weekends). If you have the flexibility, always choose to visit in the middle of the week for slightly discounted tickets and lower crowd levels. The average price of a one-day base ticket is around $145 per person. The more park days you buy, the greater discount you get. This will make the total price per day for a typical 4-day vacation to around $100 per day. If you have extra time in your vacation, buying more days in the park can be well worth the money, especially if you exceed 6 park days.
Disney offers different park ticket pricing depending on the age of the visitor. Children under the age of 3 get in free, and a kid’s ticket (under the age of 10) is usually about $20 per day cheaper than the full adult ticket price. If your family has younger children, be sure to time your visit carefully if your kids are right on the edge of these age thresholds. Visiting the Disney World Resort a couple of months earlier while your youngest child is still 2 years old will save you from paying hundreds of dollars to get them into the park after their birthday.
What Types of Tickets are There?
Disney offers multiple types of tickets which offer different benefits. The base ticket option is the best option in most circumstances. This ticket will allow you to enter one park each day. Therefore, a 4-day ticket would allow you to enter each of Disney’s 4 theme parks one time during your trip.
Other types of tickets allow different perks, but usually come at a fairly steep cost. Think of the base tickets as the discount tickets, and these special ticket add-ons as more fancy. These ticket types could be useful for your vacation, but often times they are not worth the added price. There are basically four different types of tickets. I will explain their perks:
Base tickets allow you to attend one theme park for one day. You may exit and return to this theme park as often as you like within that day.
This ticket add-on changes your ticket to allow you to visit more than one park in a single day. That means, for example, you could visit Animal Kingdom in the morning, ride the amazing Avatar Flight of Passage, see some animals, then head to Magic Kingdom later in the day to catch the fireworks show.
This perk is great if your Disney visit is going to be short. It allows you the freedom to ensure you access each park’s top attractions, even if you don’t have tons of time to explore everything each park has to offer. Unfortunately, the price of the park hopper add-on is steep: it adds around $70 to a 1-day ticket, and around $45 per day ($180) on a 4 day ticket.
Keep in mind that it also takes time to exit one park and travel to another. Depending on your luck with Disney busses, it will take 30-60 minutes to get exit one park and get into the other. That hour of time could have been used waiting in line for a top attraction!
Since ticket prices decrease as the number of days increases, it’s far more economical to add more total days to the vacation and stick with the one park per day base tickets.
Water Parks & Sports
The Water Parks & Sports add-on will grant your family access to Disney’s water parks (both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach, though usually only one is open at a time), Disney’s Mini-Golf (if arriving before to 4pm), Disney’s 9-hole golf course (but you have to make a reservation first), Footgolf (where you kick a soccer ball into the hole; like golf but with your feet), and various events at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. The add-on applies one activity per day of the ticket. So, if you only have a 1-day ticket, you’d be allowed to enter a park one day, and a water park one time. If you have a 4-day ticket, you could go to a main park 4 days, a water park on two different days, play a round of Footgolf, and wrap it all up with some mini golf (a total of 4 experiences).
The Water Parks & Sports add-on is a great value for Disney visitors who have tons of extra time on their vacation to truly enjoy the extras. I personally love Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, and would go often just to hang out when I had free entry as a Cast Member. The theming there is incredible, and it’s a great reminder of what Disney Imagineering used to be capable of. If you have more than a week in your vacation, you could buy a 4- or 5-day ticket with the Water Parks & Sports option, visit each park in a day, then take a few days in between as more “relaxation and fun days” at a water park, playing mini golf, or doing the other activities.
The great thing about the park tickets is that they don’t have to be used all consecutively – meaning that your 5-day park ticket could be used over a span of about a week and a half. This allows you the extra time and in-between days to make the most of your ticket add-on. Doing this is a great way to get the most value out of your tickets, even though the price per day will increase.
Park Hopper Plus
This add-on takes both the Park Hopper and the Water Parks & More and adds them together for a sort of “all-inclusive” ticket. In my opinion, there is no need for anyone to get this ticket add-on. There is no way to squeeze everything in all together, and the ticket types are only beneficial in opposite ways: park hopping if you have limited time, and Water Parks if you have extra time.
Line Skipping Add-Ons: Genie+ and Lightning Lanes
When budgeting, keep in mind that Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes are the new replacement to Disney’s old (free) Fastpass system. That means you’ll have to pay $15-$20 per ticket per day for line-skipping privileges. This add-on is needed for days at Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, but you can manage without it at EPCOT and Animal Kingdom if you’re trying to keep prices to a minimum.
Ticket Cost Examples
To help you wrap your head around the overall prices for tickets, the following is a breakdown of how much tickets will cost in the summer of 2023.
|Park Days||Base Ticket Price||Park Hopper Price||Water Parks & Sports Price|
If we do the math on a typical family of four on a vacation with 4 park days, the total ticket cost will be just short of $2,000 for just the base level tickets. Once you add in Genie+ and Lightning Lanes, it’s about another $300 total. The same 4-day park tickets with a park hopper add-on will be over $500 more. Water Parks & Sports add-on tickets are comparable in price to the park-hoppers. Be sure to do the math and research exactly how much your vacation would cost!
Where Can I Buy Tickets for Walt Disney World?
The easiest place to buy tickets is directly through Disney via their website or My Disney Experience phone app. This is because Disney currently has a park-reservation requirement. This means that you will have to link your tickets to Disney’s system ahead of time in order to reserve your spot in a park for each day you visit. Since these reservations can fill up, it’s beneficial to have your tickets all squared away and ready to go a couple of months before your vacation actually begins.
What’s the Best Way to Maximize My Vacation Budget?
To get the most out of your Disney World vacation in 2023, you want to spend the most time in Florida as possible while lowering your price per day. That way, you get both an exciting and relaxing stress-free vacation! To start, don’t stay at an expensive resort (this means Disney). Most families will be spending their entire day out and about, meaning that the hotel room or AirBnB ends up only being utilized as a place to sleep. Second, add more park days if you have the budget for it. The more days in the park you have, the less you have to worry about hurrying around or adding on Genie+/Lightning Lanes to ensure you get to do everything. Lastly, don’t be afraid to take some relaxation days in the middle of your trip – whether that’s with a Water Parks & More add-on or not.