Best Time To Buy Disney Tickets (To Save Big Money!)

As Walt Disney World ticket prices continue to increase finding ways to save is becoming increasingly important.

However, what very few potential Walt Disney World Resort guests realise is that when you purchase your theme park tickets can have a significant impact on how much you pay.

However, sadly it’s not quite as simple as booking as far in advance as possible or simply buying your tickets at the park gate.

Instead, there are a number of variable factors that will influence the cost and how much you can potentially save.

Thankfully we’ve broken these down based on where you’re travelling from since each location will have slightly different optimal ticket purchasing times and locations.

We’ve also added some additional information at the bottom of this post that will help you understand how when you travel can have an impact on the price you pay for tickets to the Walt Disney World Resort, particularly if you’re travelling with young children.

If You’re From The USA (But Not A Florida Resident) Or Canada

If you’re based in the USA or Canada (but not a Florida resident) then typically the best place to buy your tickets to Walt Disney World is either on the Walt Disney World website or on Undercover Tourist which is an authorised Disney partner website.

Pro Tip: Third-party sellers frequently offer tickets to Walt Disney World at a slightly discounted price (roughly $20 per person). 

However, you'll want to make sure these sellers are authorised Disney partners as many unofficial sellers will offer super cheap tickets but these are often discuised as either scams or time-share sales pitches. 

Just remember, if a deal looks to good to be true, it probably is.

Whether you purchase from Walt Disney World or Undercover Tourist is likely going to depend on whether you’re staying on-site at the Walt Disney World Resort or whether you’re staying elsewhere in Orlando and booking your trip separately.

If you’re booking a Walt Disney World vacation package then it’s often cheaper and easier to book direct with Walt Disney World. However, all the advice about the best time to book listed below will still apply.

If you’re staying elsewhere in Orlando or only plan to visit Walt Disney World for the day as you pass through Orlando then Undercover Tourist likely has the more favourable pricing structure.

However, once again all the advice below regarding the best time to book will still apply.

Buy Your Tickets Before You Arrive At The Walt Disney World Resort 

This may sound like an obvious one. However, sadly some people are still under the misconception that buying last-minute tickets at the gates of the Disney theme parks will save them money. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.

If you wait to buy your tickets at the park gate, you’ll find that prices are often at their highest. 

However, that’s not the only issue since buying tickets at the gate may actually not be possible.

That’s because in 2020 it became essential for guests to not only purchase a valid ticket to the Walt Disney World but also make a theme park reservation for the specific theme park within the Disney Resort that they would like to visit on any particular day.

Without both a Walt Disney World theme park ticket and a park reservation for the specific Walt Disney World theme park on the day you’d like to visit, guests are not permitted entry – and while Walt Disney World tickets never sell out, park reservations regularly do (especially for Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios).

You can check park reservation availability online using the Walt Disney World website.

As a result, we recommend that you Walt Disney World tickets as far in advance as possible, regardless of where you’re purchasing your park tickets from.

Ideally, you want to purchase your Walt Disney World tickets at least 60 days before your first day at the Disney theme parks since 60 days is the window for both park and dining reservations.

Look To Buy Discounted Or Promotional Tickets During Promotional Holidays

Tickets for Walt Disney World are rarely discounted. However, some third-party sellers occasionally offer promotions such as complimentary add-ons or an extra day in the parks for free.

These limited-time promotions usually take place over holidays, such as the 4th of July and Thanksgiving etc. Although, they can pop up at any time.

As a result, it’s well worth knowing the standard ticket prices so you can spot the best deal quickly and easily, and also signing up for the mailing list for authorised Disney ticket suppliers so you’re alerted to any promotional offers in advance.

If You’re A Florida Resident

Florida residents are able to receive special discounts on Walt Disney World park tickets throughout the year (as well as at Walt Disney World hotels and the Genie+ service).

The amount Flordiains save on Walt Disney World tickets is dependent on the same factors that impact general admission pricing – when you visit, the type of ticket you purchase and how long you stay for.

TICKET TYPEPER-DAY PRICE RANGE
(1-Day Ticket)
PER-DAY PRICE RANGE
(3-Day Ticket)
PER-DAY PRICE RANGE
(4-Day Ticket)
FL Resident - Base Ticket$109-$159$73-$105$62-$84
FL Resident - Park Hopper$142-$192$86-$117$73-$95
FL Resident - Park Hopper Plus$162-$212$93-$124$78-$100
FL Resident - Base Ticket with Water Park & Sports$144-$194$85-$116$71-$93

Alongside discounted standard park tickets, Floridians also typically benefit from special offers significantly more frequently when compared to any other group of Walt Disney World guests.

These promotions will occur randomly at various times throughout the year in addition to the more typical bank-holiday promotions.

However, it’s worth noting that these tickets also tend to come with significantly more restrictions and blackout dates when compared to typical promotional offers that are shown to other guests.

Florida residents can find the active ticket promotions on the Walt Disney World website or have all new and up-and-coming promotions emailed if they sign up for My Disney Experience and certify their Florida residency.

It’s worth noting that all adults visiting the Walt Disney World Resort with a Florida resident ticket will need to prove that they are a resident of the state.

This identification can come in the following formats;

  • Valid Florida driver’s license (with Florida address)
  • Valid Florida state-issued ID card (with Florida address)
  • Valid Florida-based military ID
  • Current homeowner’s insurance policy or bill (no more than 2 months old)
  • Current utility bill (no more than 2 months old)
  • Mail from federal, state, county, or city government agencies (no more than 2 months old)

Discounted Walt Disney World Annual Passes For Florida Residents

It’s also worth noting that Walt Disney World offers discounted annual passes to Florida residents. These include the Pixie Pass, the Pirate Pass and the Sorcerer Pass (the latter of which is also available to any DVC member).

  • Incredi-Pass: $1399
  • Sorcerer Pass: $969
  • Pirate Pass: $749
  • Pixie Pass: $399

This means that the Incredi-Pass is the only annual pass that’s available to the general public (including worldwide guests) and as you can see that pass is significantly higher in the 2023 season when compared to the other annual pass offerings.

These passes are available to be purchased year-round and sadly haven’t been known to go on any additional sales at certain times during the year.

If You’re From The UK Or Ireland

If you’re travelling from the UK or Ireland to the Walt Disney World Resort then the best place to purchase your Disney theme park tickets is either on the Walt Disney World website or from the authorised third-party seller AttractionTix.

Walt Disney World sells tickets in either a 7-day or a 14-day format with the 7-day ticket starting at £509 and the 14-day ticket starting at £529.

The exact price you pay could increase depending on the time of year you visit with 14-day tickets increasing to as much as £599 in the peak season. These tiered price structures based on when you visit also apply to US residents.

However, unlike the US-based tickets (inc Florida resident tickets), the UK tickets to Walt Disney World include a number of extras as standard such as;

  • Park hopper as standard
  • Access to the Disney water parks (Typhoon Lagoon & Blizzard Beach)
  • Complimentary Memory Maker
  • Mini-golf

You are also not required to prove that you are a UK resident when using these tickets to enter Walt Disney World. Although they can only be purchased in the UK.

Look To Buy Discounted Or Promotional Tickets During Promotional Holidays

Promotional offers on Disney theme park tickets purchased from the Walt Disney World website are rare. However, third-party sellers do occasionally offer promotions.

These limited-time promotions usually take place over holidays, such as the 4th of July and Thanksgiving etc. Although, they can pop up at any time.

Most third-party UK based Walt Disney World ticket retailers offered a 5% discount on Walt Disney World tickets from Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday. This is despite the fact that UK residents don't typically celebrate Thanksgiving. 

We recommend researching the base ticket prices for Walt Disney World in advance so you can spot a bargain quickly and easily.

As well as signing up for the mailing list for authorised Disney ticket suppliers so you’re alerted to any promotional offers in advance.

Save Money On Walt Disney World Tickets By Purchasing Them Alongside Hotels Or Additional Theme Park Tickets

We highly recommend comparing the individual cost of your Orlando vacation when the total cost of a holiday package.

This does require some up-front research and planning, however, it can significantly help you in understanding what’s a good and bad deal.

A couple of years ago we found a deal online with TUI for our Orlando flights, hotel and transfers. However, there was no discount for Walt Disney World park tickets. 

So, we went into our local TUI store, had them find the same deal, and then asked about Walt Disney World theme park tickets in addition. 

They were able to discount the tickets by £20 per person and upgrade our transfer to a private taxi instead of a shared shuttle if we were happy to reserve the holiday in-store there and then. 

These discounts can come in a variety of different ways depending on the package you’re looking for.

With a tour operator such as TUI or Virgin, you’re going to be looking at flights, accommodation, transfers and park tickets.

However, with Walt Disney World there’s slightly more flexibility in how much you have to book and as such, you can save on park tickets by simply booking your accommodation and park tickets directly on the website. However, you are restricted to on-site Walt Disney World accommodation only.

Meanwhile, for those simply looking to explore additional theme parks alongside Walt Disney World when in Orlando, we’d recommend AttractionTix.

That’s because AttractionTix provides combo tickets to Walt Disney World and other theme parks in Orlando for UK residents at a discounted price.

When To Buy Tickets For Special Events

Walt Disney World hosts a number of special events that often take place after hours at selected Walt Disney World parks.

These events include; Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Christmas-focused Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

To enter these events you will need to purchase a separate ticket. Meaning entry can not be gained with your regular park admission.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party takes place at Magic Kingdom and includes special holiday-themed entertainment.

This includes live shows, and parades, as well as exclusive access to select attractions and character meet-and-greets.

Tickets for this special event usually go on sale in August and have never previously been discounted but have been known to sell out.

As such we highly recommend booking tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party as soon as they become available to avoid disappointment.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place at Magic Kingdom in September and October.

This event includes special Halloween-themed entertainment, such as live shows and parades, as well as exclusive access to select attractions and character meet-and-greets.

Tickets for this event typically go on sale around June / July and have never previously been discounted.

While selected dates for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party have been known to sell out this usually only happens a couple of days before the event (and is typically only seen on weekends in October).

As a result, it’s not as important to book your tickets as soon as they come on sale, however, if you know you’re going to be visiting the Walt Disney World Resort during one of the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party dates and want to experience this special event then we recommend buying the tickets just to be safe.

When Is The Cheapest Time To Travel To Walt Disney World

When you purchase your Walt Disney World tickets can have a significant impact on how much your theme park tickets cost.

However, when you choose to actually visit the Walt Disney World Resort can also impact how much you pay.

Some days and times of the year are cheaper than others and like most theme park resorts, the longer you visit for, the cheaper each day will become.

Before Your Child Turns 3

Children under the age of 3 can enter all of the Walt Disney World theme parks for free and do not require a park reservation.

Under 3’s can also eat at buffets or family-style services for free, saving you money on meals.

The Walt Disney World website states that kids under 3 can “eat from your plate” for free. However, don’t take this too literally. Most places let you grab an extra plate for little ones too.

Before Your Child Turns 10

The Walt Disney World Resort also offers marginally discounted tickets for children aged 10 and under. However, the discount sadly isn’t incredible.

For reference, the cheapest Disney tickets for a single park are $116.09 for adults and $109 for children under 10 as of December 2022.

If you're planning on visiting Walt Disney World for a 3rd or 10th Birthday then provided the child is younger than the stated age on the start date of your vacation you're eligable for the discounted ticket.

However, in the case of the child under the age of 3 in particular it's a good idea to bring a form of identification with their birth date on incase you're questioned by a cast member. 

When You’re Able To Visit For 5 Days Or More 

By purchasing Walt Disney World tickets for a number of days, you’ll get more bang for your buck. 

How much you save will depend on where you’re travelling / purchasing tickets from and any promotional offers you’re able to obtain.

However, as an example upgrading from a 7-day ticket to a 14-day ticket for UK residents typically only costs an extra £20 to £60 per person.

Visting During The Off-Peak Season

The cost of Walt Disney World theme park tickets is now done on a date-based pricing model. As such the price of theme park tickets can vary depending on the exact date you visit.

Typically the difference between a 'value' and 'surge' one day ticket to the Walt Disney World Resort is around $60 - an increase of roughly 33%.

As such the off-peak season (or what Disney refers to as ‘value days’) can be one of the best times to visit as theme park tickets are often significantly cheaper.

This includes; January, February, September, and early November (although watch out for hurricane season during the latter).

However, even if you’re unable to choose exactly when within the year you’re able to take your Disney trip it’s still worth noting that Monday to Thursday is typically cheaper than Friday through to Sunday.

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