One of the toughest places to save money at Walt Disney World? Park tickets! While we enjoy taking the occasional trip down to Disney World without visiting the parks, the reality is, you and your family want to visit one of the four magical theme parks Disney has to offer. On this page, we’ll outline the best ways to save money on Disney park tickets.
To give a baseline, we should note Disney charges two rack rate ticket prices. First, there is the price you will pay if you show up to the ticket booth when your trip begins. That’s the most expensive place and time to buy Disney World tickets! But since you’re reading this, that price probably doesn’t apply to you. Whenever we refer to Disney’s rack rate prices in this article, we will be referring to their online prices which come at a slight discount from the ticket booth.
Four of the best ways to save money on Disney park tickets
While saving money on your park tickets can be tough, it’s not impossible. We like to break down potential savings into 3 categories. First, you have special limited time Disney offered tickets (not to be confused with special ticketed events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Secondly, you can find modest cash discounts from ticket vendors, but these are very competitive so it can be tough to find the “best” deal. A third and very popular method is to buy tickets directly from Disney using Disney gift cards purchased at a discount. Finally, we’ll take a look at our preferred method of saving money on park tickets, using miles and points to buy Disney World tickets. Let’s take a quick look at how you can save money from these three categories. And while we’ve outlined this elsewhere, oftentimes buying an annual pass can make sense even for families that only visit Disney World once a year.
Note: We’ll only cover non-Florida residents at the moment. For best Florida resident discounts check this out.
- Disney limited time offers
- Cash Discounts on Disney tickets from authorized ticket sellers
- Buying Disney tickets with discounted gift cards
- Buying Disney tickets with bank points
Disney limited time offers
While Disney doesn’t presently have any available, they often offer multi-day tickets at a discount with a catch. For example, in the past Disney has offered a “4-Park Magic Ticket”, a four day ticket allowing visitors to visit each park once. These tickets presented a significant savings, but they lost the Magic Your Way privileges of visiting the same park twice. (On a regular 4 day Magic Your Way ticket you could go to the Magic Kingdom three times and Epcot once if you’d like).
When ticket offers like this come around from Disney, you should give them some serious thought. Disney World is a huge place and if you plan to go back you can always revisit the parks you enjoy. Or, Disney might offer other discounted tickets. One thing to note about discounted tickets, if Disney offers them, it’s probably a slow time of year. That’s good for your trip, too!
Cash discounts from authorized ticket sellers
There are a lot of ticket wholesalers who buy tickets directly from Disney and offer them at slight discounts to consumers. These outlets are great! However, make sure you avoid resellers who ask you for specific dates. They likely are selling you unused tickets. While they are probably substantially cheaper, if you don’t use them on the EXACT day you requested, you may be in for a disappointment. Stick with the more reputable wholesalers like Undercover Tourist.
Our favorite way of finding the cheapest tickets out there is Touring Plans Disney Ticket Discount Search. You input all of your parameters and then Touring Plans will tell you the cheapest place to purchase them. They don’t receive a commission from anyone so the cheapest price you see is the cheapest price out there. They also only use reputable resellers for their program.
Buying tickets with discounted Disney gift cards
An excellent way to get a discount on Disney tickets is to buy from Disney with Disney gift cards. Thanks to credit card rebates, gift card sales, and the like, it’s possible to get these gift cards at a discount. We regularly purchase Disney gift cards at 5-10% off (or receive a rebate from our credit cards equal to that number). At times, you can do even better.
If you purchase Disney gift cards at a discount, you can compare with the cash discounts from authorized ticket sellers and decide which will save you more money. The beauty of discounted Disney gift cards is you can use them for any of your Disney purchases. Even if you don’t end up using them for your tickets you can pay for your hotel, food, or souvenirs when you are on vacation.
Check out our current list of gift card deals.
Buying Disney tickets with bank points
Our favorite way of purchasing Disney tickets at a discount is with bank points. A simple version of this would be to use a Barclays Arrival Card and use your points to “zap” the purchase. But you can do much better than that. Citi Thank You Points can be used to buy Disney World tickets (RIP Chase). While you’ll pay Disney rack rates, the fact that you can use your points often means you save money. For example, 10,000 Citi Thank You points would be worth $100 redeemed as cash, but $125 towards Disney World tickets if you hold the Citi Thank You Premier. The trick is you need to speak to the cruises and tours department, they are the only ones who can sell you tickets only.
American Express Membership Rewards, along with Citi points, can be used to book vacation packages at Disney. All three banks will basically use their travel agents to book any packages (room + ticket, room + ticket + dining, etc. etc.) you can see on the Disney website. Again, depending on the credit cards you hold, your points may be worth more than one cent per point. That’s where the value lies.
These are some of the best ways to save money on Disney tickets. The problem is, it can often be tough to figure out which route is the best for your trip. Be sure to pursue all these avenues to make sure you get the best deal. But as a general rule of thumb, you can and should try to beat Disney’s rack rates. Saving $20 per person for a family of four could get you a nice meal!