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If you pay attention to the news it all, you likely saw that Disney World has raised prices (again), and a one day ticket to the Magic Kingdom now sits at an all-time high of $99 + tax for those aged 10 and up. In reality, this is just a $4 increase, but that is a bunch of money all-in to have some fun at the Mouse House. Reminds me a lot of the cost of lift tickets… Of course, most people don’t go to Disney for one day, so your per day cost is lower than that via the multi-day tickets, but it isn’t inexpensive by any stretch.
I’m not the kind of mom that thinks Disney should be the only place our family goes every year, but I’m also not the kind of mom that thinks it sounds terrible and should be avoided at all costs. We’ve been to both Disney World (several times) and Disneyland, and hopefully have several more trips in our future. It’s pretty fun and obviously a very family friendly destination.
With this price increase, I think it is a good time to review some ways to save when going to Disney World.
Subscribe to Mouse Savers monthly newsletter for discounted park tickets:
The newsletter comes out on the 15th of each month, so you need to plan accordingly and subscribe in time to get it the next month. They provide a private link to Undercover Tourist who is an official seller of Disney tickets at the lowest prices that are publicly available (that I know of) when you use that link.
Here’s an example of a few of their prices:
Adult Five Day “Magic Your Way” ticket $290.95 ($323.76 from Disney)
Child (3-9) Five Day “Magic Your Way” ticket: $270.95 ($302.46 from Disney)
Adult Park Hopper Five Day ticket: $341.87 ($387.66 from Disney)
Child (3-9)Park Hopper Five Day ticket: $322.70 ($366.36 from Disney)
Their one and two day tickets are currently a couple of dollars less than buying at the gate. I have personally used Undercover Tourist myself for Disney tickets and they arrived on time and worked just fine for my family.
Sign up for a credit card that gives a large sign-up bonus that can be used for Disney tickets:
Some rewards credit cards offer sign-up bonuses that can be used as cash toward travel expenses. One current example is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® that provides $440 toward travel charges after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days (40,000 points for hitting the spending bonus, and then 10% of those points back to use once you redeem). The $89 annual fee is waived the first year. I imagine if you bought your Disney tickets through a travel agent they would code as a travel expense. They may even code as a travel expense directly from Disney. If you included them with a hotel or other package I think you would also safely be in the clear as having them be a “travel” expense. I think this is a great way to knock some of the cost off of a family Disney trip.
Buy tickets that never expire and save days unused for a future trip:
Warning: This tip is only for the well organized family as it will be a waste of money if you can’t keep up with your tickets. Most multi-day Disney ticket purchases expire within 14 days from the date the ticket was first used, but you can pay extra to get a version that never expires. For example, from Undercover Tourist you can buy a 10 day “Magic Your Way” ticket that never expires for $ 678.95. Disney tickets only get pricier each year, so in theory you could use the days you want for your trip this year, and then save the remaining days for a trip in a future year. That way you benefit from having the discount that comes from multiple days, and you guard against price increases in the coming years. Of course, you have to be willing to shell out a bunch of cash now, bank on going to Disney again in the future, and not losing your tickets.
Buy Disney gift cards at retailers that are part of a credit card’s bonus categories.
You can get cash back or earn points on Disney expenses by buying Disney gift cards with a rewards earning card that pays a category bonus. For example, my local grocery store sells Disney Gift cards that can be used at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disney Store locations in the US, and DisneyStore.com. For example, if you bought the gift cards at a grocery store using the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express that gives 6% cash back at grocery stores, up to the first $6,000 spent per year, you could save 6% on the Disney expenses you pay for with a gift card. I have also seen these gift cards at drug stores, and it wouldn’t shock me if they were at other types of retailers as well. Saving 6% back isn’t a ton, but every little bit helps with Disney charges that often are not discounted!
Tack the ticket cost onto your hotel stay and room charge.
I did this recently at the Hyatt Grand Cypress. There was a fee of a couple of dollars per ticket to do this, but it lumped it in as a hotel charge on my credit card so you could maximize with a card that gives a bonus at hotels. I paid with my Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express and earned one SPG point per dollar for the charge, but I also received a 5% statement credit for the charge thanks to the Amex OPEN program. I did not earn bonus Hyatt points for the room charge, but it’s always possible that your luck may vary with that.
Other Ways to Save:
- Some AAA offices offer discount Disney tickets, but some don’t offer Disney tickets at all. It is worth checking with your local AAA office to find out.
- If you are active or retired military you can get some great discounted Disney tickets for you and your family. I believe the current offer is a four day Park Hopper tickets for $169+ tax which is about half-off.
- Those who live in Florida and Disney Vacation Club owners can also have access to discounted tickets. I recommend heading to MouseSavers for more details for those two special groups.
New FastPass+ System:
While we are on the topic of Disney, I also want to mention that a new FastPass+ system is being “tested” (aka implemented) at Disney World. It involves reserving your FastPass times either when you arrive at the parks for non-Disney resort guests or up to 60 days in advance for Disney resort guests. The individual FastPass kiosks and paper FastPass tickets each attraction are becoming a thing of the past. You can read more about this change here. From what I have gathered, Swan and Dolphin guests can only do same-day in park Fastpass+ reservations in all the parks, but this seems to be a fluid situation.
Other Disney Related Posts:
If you have any other Disney money saving tips, I’d love to hear them!
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