Disney World’s New Pricing System Could Save You Money — or Cost You a Ton (Video)
Frequent Walt Disney World visitors know organizing a vacation requires a bit of finesse, and when Disney introduces its new online booking platform next month, you’ll need to know even more to plan that perfect trip. It’s not exactly a ticket increase, but it’s going to change the way you visit Walt Disney World forever.
Currently, one-day tickets to Walt Disney World’s four parks are broken up into three pricing tiers — value, regular and peak — depending on date, while multi-day tickets (two or more days) are flat-rate. Starting October 16, Walt Disney World will switch to an “interactive calendar” which changes your price depending on when you arrive and how long you stay.
It won’t be clear until next month how much more (or possibly less) the update will cost guests, but price increases would not be without merit. Walt Disney World is in the process of building six new major attractions including Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which opens at the Orlando-area park late next year. With a record-breaking “Guardians of the Galaxy” indoor coaster, Mickey Mouse’s first ride, and Shanghai Disneyland’s best thrill ride on the way in the next few years, you’ll at least be getting more bang for your buck.
Still, the way you plan your Magic Kingdom-bound vacation will never be the same. Here’s everything you need to know about Disney’s admission changes, and why you should consider buying those Walt Disney World tickets ASAP, even if your vacation dates aren’t on the books.
You’ll need to plan your Disney vacation much further ahead.
Come mid-October, all tickets will need to be purchased with a specific “start date.” Besides needing to know the exact amount of days you plan to spend in the parks, you’ll also need to know the very first date you plan on visiting — and that’s just to see pricing. Spontaneous travelers will find it to be a hindrance, but seasoned Disney visitors know advanced planning is already essential to visiting the amusement-filled paradise. FastPasses, which need to be booked up to 60 days in advance, require you to know which park you’ll be at on a specific date, and being forced to decide that earlier in the booking process can give unmotivated vacationers a necessary extra push.
You’ll have less time to use your tickets.
Currently, all multi-day tickets to Walt Disney World Resort can be used within 14 days. Starting October 16th, that will change. Tickets purchased will have select and specific usage windows based on their length of use; exact details are not yet announced, but Disney’s example showed a 4-day ticket having to be used within 7 days. Guests will still be able to use their tickets non-consecutively, meaning they can take a day off from the parks to relax at the hotel pool, but it leaves less time to do so.
All four parks will now cost the same.
Magic Kingdom one-day tickets currently cost a few dollars more than Disney World’s other three parks, but under the new system, all four parks will be evened out for price. It makes sense, given the changes underway. With Toy Story Land now open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom’s Pandora — The World of Avatar still drawing massive crowds, and Epcot’s back-to-back food festivals proving endlessly popular, all four parks are in full demand.
It’ll be easier to pinpoint less costly times to visit.
Disney’s making an effort to help showcase cheaper tickets. When the new ticketing system debuts October 16, there will be a new feature that’ll highlight the most budget-friendly tickets available. Families tend to plan vacations around school breaks, summer vacation and holidays, which will always be the busiest times at Walt Disney World, but the ability to simply click a button and see what dates are the least expensive is a helpful tool for flexible travelers.
Don’t want to deal with any of this? There’s an add-on for that.
Disney is introducing a flexible ticket option which essentially gives you exactly what tickets currently include, but for a per-day premium. The price of flexibility will adjust depending on your purchase: the longer you stay, the lower the fee. It’s annoying to pay extra for the ability to show up to Magic Kingdom whenever you’d like, but if your vacation plans aren’t set in stone, that kind of flexibility is worth it.
Or, buy your multi-day tickets now.
Admission purchased before the new Disney World tickets system comes into effect on October 16 are not affected by the changes and do not expire until the end of 2019. That means you get every benefit — current pricing, 14 days to use multi-day tickets, and arriving on whatever date you please — all for doing due diligence and reading this article.
If your plans change, you can adjust your tickets.
Reschedule your vacation — or simply have to change a flight? With the new booking system, guests will be able to make modifications to their tickets online or through My Disney Experience up until midnight of the day before their tickets are set to begin, so there’s no need to fret.
Visiting Disneyland soon? You may want to buy those tickets now.
There are no rumblings of any changes, but they’re likely to come, especially at Disneyland Resort. Ticket increases typically happen in February, but the Anaheim theme park recently moved its annual pass admissions to a per-park calendar, likely lessening the number of passholders allowed to enter Disneyland Park once brave Jedis are able to board the Millennium Falcon thrill ride and visit the cantina inside Galaxy’s Edge, open summer 2019. Our advice? Try to purchase those tickets (or upgrade your annual pass) sooner rather than later.