Saturday, 25 January 2014

The insider's guide to the mystery that is WDW Park Tickets

In Sydney this summer we saw the opening of a new Wet and Wild water park. Supposedly the largest W&W in the world. Also, seemingly the most problem prone.

But one of the biggest complaints has been sticker shock. The Season Passes, whilst majorly expensive to buy for a whole family, were sold out in a flash. Visitors are now only able to purchase daily entrance which runs at $70 p.p. + extras like locker hire ($10) and food.

Wet and Wildly expensive
When it comes to tickets for WDW, whilst they still carry the expense factor, there are a lot more options for flexibility. LOTS more flexibility.

There are no greater mysteries than the Gordian knot, the Bermuda Triangle and Disney Park Tickets.  So let's take a wander through the options - and I will limit the options to what is worthwhile during convention period.

Gone in the mists of time

Step 1 - decide how many days you'll be wanting to visit the parks.

You may be like Mrs. Banks and her little group who are staying at the Boardwalk Villas and expect to visit the parks most days. Or perhaps you just want to visit for 1 day? (HA HA HA HA HA - good luck with that approach .... oh sigh...)

Tickets are sold from 1 to 10 days entry, and the expiry clock starts ticking from the first day's use, and lasts 14 days. Work out how many different days you wish to enter a Disney Park.

The other joy with multi day tickets is that Disney want you to spend ALL of your holidays in Disney theme parks. So every extra day you add, the per day rate of the ticket drops dramatically. See the image above - it costs you $280 to buy the first 4 days of entry. After that point every extra day is only $10. So lay down another $60 for an additional 6 days, for 10 days in total, for only $340! Those extra days are practically free!

Triple your days for only $60
This is Disney's way of pushing people from coming for a long weekend to coming for a whole week or more.  Once you've got a ten day ticket in your hand, well you might as well just keep entering the Parks day after day with no limits, no rushing, forgetting about time. 

Ummm ... yeah .... our Aussie group - buying the 10 day ticket. 

Electronic swipey entrance now the thing

Step 2 - decide how you want to spend your day and if it is likely you will swap parks during the day

So Disney money spinner no. 2 - the Park Hopper option.

Say you're at the park, and it gets to 1pm and it is really hot! you decide to (OMG) leave the park. But if you just walk out, well you've wasted one of the days off your ticket. And say later that evening when the temperature has dropped you decide you want to go back into a park - but you can't. 

So the Park Hopper option was created.

For a flat fee of a mere $59 (regardless of the number of days) you can come and go from any and all of the parks as much as you want. Go commando and do all 4 parks in 1 day (OK - you can wear underpants, if you must). Imagine 31 million tourists a year paying $59 - and it costs Disney nothing to provide. Sweet, simple earner.

Yep - park hopper option is going onto the Aussie's tickets

RFID "Magic Bands" now carry your tickets (and your room key, dining reservations & charge card)
Step 3 - decide if you want to do something other than a theme park - water parks, golf - real and mini, sports etc

Did you say YES! Then you need the "Water Parks and More" ticket option added on. For just a flat $59 you can add 10 more activities to your park tickets. If you are bringing the kids you will want this option. Considering a single entry to a Water Park is $56, this option gets you into both water parks and those mini golf games, and the computer games centre - all the things the kids need to do whilst you collapse from the heat. So it is brilliant value - if you do those things.

Us Aussies - nope - not doing any of those. Not a kiddie among us. (childlike - but not that much)

$84 for everything is pretty sweet
And that's it! See relatively painless! (if comparing to a dentist's drill)

So to summarise: the Aussies are staying at Boardwalk Villas for 7 nights, and then we have convention for 5 nights. So they are going to buy a 10 day ticket + park hopper option - which will last them for 14 days and they come and go from Disney whenever they feel like. 

wave your magic band past the special magic band scanner
As for me - I have an Annual Pass - but that's a whole 'nother story. Along with Florida Resident tickets.

Do you want to visit Walt Disney World? What is your time frame and what ticket might suit you best? And do you like to do the parks commando style?

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