Hello friends, I hope you are well! There are a lot of decisions that go into booking a Walt Disney World Vacation. From dining plans to hotels to park passes, it’s a lot to think about! Well, that’s where I step in. Today I’m going to break down the different park passes to help you figure out what suits your needs best, and hopefully save you some money in the process! Okay, let’s jump in!
(updated August 2019)
There are three levels of park passes offered by Walt Disney World: One Park Per Day, Ticket with Park Hopper, and Ticket with Park Hopper Plus.
One Park Per Day
This is your standard ticket. It allows you to enter one of the four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom) for each day of your stay. The more days you add, the cheaper the price per day tickets are. You can leave and re-enter the same park in a day, which is a great benefit. You can leave the park for your hotel for a little while, and head back to the park in time for fireworks. Trust me when I say that one park is enough in a day! Priced from $109 (ages 10+). If you plan on hopping between parks, it might be cheaper to buy an extra one park per day ticket and use two in one day. I’ve done this before and it worked great!
Ticket with park hopper
Park Hopper allows you to do exactly that, hop between parks. This can be nice for longer vacations, or if you would like to break up time at the different parks on your trip. Or, you could take the ultimate challenge: 4 parks in 1 day. I have yet to tackle that one, but hope to someday :). Park Hopper is a great add-on to your ticket, but only if you use it. On my trip in 2013 Ethan and I purchased tickets with Park Hopper and didn’t “hop” at all during our trip. Because of that we did not buy Park Hopper tickets in February 2015. To be completely honest, it did not make that much of a difference, and we certainly didn’t feel inconvenienced because we could only visit one park per day. Again, one park per day is plenty! From $169 (ages 10+).
Ticket with park hopper plus
I would only suggest purchasing these tickets if you feel you would park hop and visit the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Oak Trail Gold Course, or the mini gold courses. I have only purchased this ticket package once, and was in Walt Disney World for 10 days. It’s definitely not a must, and you should see yourself or your party taking advantage of both extra aspects before purchasing this ticket package. I like the water parks, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out when I go to Walt Disney World without visiting them. I would recommend this ticket if you are going in the heat of summer and would spend time in the water parks more than once. Otherwise I don’t think it is worth it. From $189 (ages 10+).
Disney has a bunch of option for Annual Passes, and you might be surprised at how quickly you can save money. If you are visiting Walt Disney World for 10 or more days, I would suggest pricing out Annual Passes. If you are looking at a shorter trip (3 days) and a longer trip (7+ days), you would start to see the benefit. Of course there are other benefits of being an Annual Passholder, but you save money just on admission. Plus you can park hop as much as you want. There are many different levels of annual passes from passes to both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, to Florida Resident Passes and DVC member passes. Prices start at $1119 (ages 3+).
In the last year Disney has implemented dynamic prices to their park tickets. This means different times of year are more or less expensive, down to the day of the week. When purchasing your tickets you are paying the price per day for your whole stay the price of the first day. So you definitely want to take that into consideration if you have flexible dates! You can see an example in the calendar below. You can see the prices range from $69-76 per day, and that can add up! (PS- I sent this information out to my newsletter subscribers when it was announced! Want in? Sign up here.)
Special Ticketed Events
Walt Disney World has certain events throughout the year that require a separate ticket. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are some examples. Only guests with these tickets can visit Magic Kingdom during party hours. These events have special parades, stage shows and character meet and greets. If you have enough park tickets (enough days) you can visit the park in the morning and stay for the whole day (the parties usually start at 4pm). Or, if you want to save some money you can not buy a park ticket for that day and either spend the morning at your hotel, do some shopping, or visit some of the Disney resorts. In November and December the resorts will be decorated for the holidays, and it can be great to see! The Grand Floridian even has life-size gingerbread houses!
A couple of quick notes about getting discounts on tickets!
- if you are purchasing a package through WDW (room+passes), you get a discount
- if you are Canadian, check out the deals for Canadian Residents!
- Check out Park Savers and Get Away Today for discounted tickets
- don’t be afraid to do the math to find the cheapest deal
One more note about park passes! A one day pass is the most expensive. Even authorized ticket sellers (other than WDW) cannot beat Disney’s price of a one day ticket. It’s impossible to fit everything in during a week long vacation, never mind in one day! I would strongly suggest visiting Walt Disney World for more than one day, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Keep an eye out for a one day plan soon ;)!
It can be hard to know what your family is going to want to do before you head to Walt Disney World, and you will definitely learn from experience. I have learned a lot from my previous trips, and know that while I don’t need the Park Hopper option, I do like having the option and am willing to pay a little more to get it. I hope this post can help you find the right ticket package for your family, and sheds some light on the differences between packages.
If you’d like to hear more about Walt Disney World tickets, check out the video below:
What ticket package do your typically purchase when you visit Walt Disney World? Have you learned from experience? Let me know in the comments!
Other Disney Vacation Planning Posts:
Thanks for reading!