Buying No Expiration Disney Tickets + Using Points to Save Money

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I wrote a few days ago about some discounted Disney World tickets, and since those who follow Disney closely are all saying that the annual price increases are about to hit, I’m actively considering options for our own planned Disney trip for later this year.  Now that we will be a family of four, there is no doubt that Disney will be on our travel radar for many years to come.  Truthfully I love Disney, too, so I have no issues visiting the parks every now and then.

Pay Much More Per Day on Short Disney Trips:

IMG_0605.JPGThis year our plan is to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party for a long weekend in October.  We had planned to take our daughter before we knew we would be a family of four by then, and we’re sticking with that plan.  I am not a huge fan of Florida in the summer as it is just too hot for me to be a happy camper, so we generally look to visit between the months of September – May.  This will be harder with a school schedule, but that’s where long weekends and other random school breaks come into play.  However, the downside of going for long weekends instead of for a week or more during the summer is that you end up paying much more per day in the parks than if you were going on one longer ticket.

Using the prices from Undercover Tourist via the MouseSaver’s newsletter link (sign-up here to get one for yourself), an adult 3 day “Magic Your Way” (not Park Hopper) ticket to Disney World is $288.99, which comes to $96.33 per day in the parks.  If you were to buy an adult 10 day “Magic Your Way” ticket, it would be $364.42, or $36.44 per day in the parks.  Obviously that is a tremendous difference in your per day price if you are able to schedule your trips in a manner that you are at Disney for a longer period of time.  In fact, if you only ever want to take one family trip to Disney, you will come out ahead by just staying longer and seeing and doing everything you could ever want on one longer ticket.  Tickets expire 14 days from the first use unless you add the “no expiration date” option.

Lock in Today’s Price for Future Disney Trips with No Expiration Date Option:

For better or worse, going to Disney World for 7-10 days doesn’t really fit into our family’s schedule right now, so a long weekend is what we have to work with this year.  We could just buy the $288.99 3 day ticket and be done with it the way we have on previous trips.  However, knowing there will be future Disney trips for our family, I started exploring the idea of getting a longer ticket, but adding the no expiration option so that we could use the remaining days on a future trip at today’s prices.  A 10 day adult “Magic Your Way” no expiration date ticket is currently selling for $709 via Undercover Tourist.

If I bought that, I would essentially be locking in the price of future trips at a rate of $70.97/day if I got the 10 day ticket now.  Whether or not this is a good deal really comes down to how you normally use your tickets.  Using current prices, at $709.68 for 10 days, you would be over-paying if you used those for two trips of 5 days each since 5 day tickets are selling for $307.99.  The real value is going to be for families who use their Disney tickets 1-3 days at a time when the per day selling price is highest.  My last several Disney visits have all been for 1-3 days at a time, so I think my family is probably the ideal candidate for buying tickets via the no expiration date option.

Of course, you have to also have the cash (or points!) to buy the pricier tickets now, and the willingness to keep up with them for years to come.  I have read that if you have a copy of all the codes and numbers on the back of the tickets that Disney will likely help you in the event your tickets are lost are stolen, though that is an unofficial policy and not a stated rule.

Save Huge by Avoiding Future Price Increases:

I imagine if we bought 10 day tickets that we would be set for at least three future Disney trips, if not four.  Since Disney tickets seem to be increasing each year at a rate only matched by ski lift ticket prices, it may not be a terrible idea to lock prices in now to cover us for the next several years.  To give an idea of how Disney ticket prices have increased, in 2000 a one-day ticket was $46.00 for adults.  By 2009 that price was $75.00-$79.00 for adults.  Now in 2015 a one-day ticket for the Magic Kingdom is $105 for adults with another price increase reported to be coming any day.  Historical price data thanks to allears.net

If we don’t lock in prices now we will certainly pay more down the road for tickets not just because we seem to only go for 1-3 days at a time, but because the prices are increasing at a rapid rate every year.  I just have to decide if we can find it in our budget to buy several years worth of Disney tickets at once.  That may or may not be feasible, but it certainly would save us some cash over the long term.

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Disney is in our future for the long haul!

Use Points Now to Save Cash and Lock in Prices:

Another option to pay for the tickets of course is to use the points earned from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®.  I’ve never used my Barclaycard points to cover Disney tickets bought via Undercover Tourist, but I know others have done so with success.  The sign-up bonus for this card is currently 40,000 points after $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days.  Once you have the 43,000 points from triggering the sign-up bonus you would have $473 in points to use toward travel (counting the 10% back for redeeming for travel).  If you wanted the 10 day no expiration ticket for $709, then I would only be out-of-pocket for about $279 if I got the Barclaycard Arrival Plus and used the points from the associated sign-up bonus.  I would also then still have $43 worth of points to use on another travel expense after getting 10% back.  That is a much more palatable number than $709.  A couple could both do that with their own Barclaycard Arrival Plus card and knock the price of their family’s tickets down considerably.  You could then keep using the card to cover other expenses you encounter on your Disney vacation.

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An even happier place on earth with discount prices

To get a $3.99 203 page e-book I co-wrote full of tips on how to save huge on visits to Orlando and Disney World trips using miles and points, head here.

Has your family ever used the No Expiration Date option as a way to purchase several years of Disney tickets at once?

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. My family goes to Disney every year and we have bought the non expiration passes for the couple times we get antsy and want to go for a quick 2-day or 3-day weekend. If you really think you guys are going to go a lot in the next few years, i’d suggest buying as many tickets now as you can afford. They are never going lower and w/ the economy as hot as it is and Disney stock price where it’s at, our family has 5 years worth of passes.

    Another tip we use is the Disney Vacation Account (https://disneyvacationaccount.disney.go.com/). It is like a bank account that you set up to specifically save for a disney vacation. You can add money as you wish and then use the funds for your WDW, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Aulani trips. Since i am the planner of all our family/extended family trips this is what I use. Why give Disney a free loan? Well, the reason is points. If lets say our family WDW trip is $5,000, I go to staples and use my INK card to buy $5k in gift cards then load them on the Disney vacation acct. Funding your Disney Vacation Account w/ gift cards is allowed. It’s a quick way for Disney goes that are points collectors to get some serious points quick

  2. Word on the street is that with the new price increase, the no expiration tickets will also be going away. So if you want to buy that option, you need to consider doing it sooner than later. Though Undercover Tourist usually maintains some supply after the price hike.

  3. If you want to stretch the vacations more, add the waterpark option to the 10 day no expire – giving you 10 trips to the waterparks also. Our family loves the waterparks – and this will save us from ever purchasing that option again (usually $50 add on each trip).

    I just bought 10 day park hopper with waterpark no expire tickets from UT, I also heard the no expiration tickets are being phased out.

    @MommyPts – another tip – you mentioned going to the halloween party – you have to buy separate tickets for that, but I believe they let you into the park with that ticket at 4pm even though the party doesn’t start until 7 or so. You can save yourself a day’s admission by sleeping in and swimming until 4pm. Might as well stay late at the party.

  4. I agree w/ TJ, buy them now and add the Waterpark option for a total of 20 days of admissions (10 theme and 10 waterpark) that will never expire! Think of it as an investment…I bought ours a few years ago, and the price increases I’ve avoided has been a better return than having the $ in an interest-bearing account.

    You’d also be locking in “child” pricing for little C, presumably. And Disney charges adult prices very early…I think starting at age 9!

    • You mean if we buy the child ticket now (for our 9 year old daughter), she can continue to use it next year(she will be 10 by then..)? thanks.

      • If you buy a no expire child ticket, the child has to use it once before they turn 10 to activate it. After they turn 10, you can exchange it for an adult ticket at guest services for however many days are remaining on the ticket

  5. Maybe you should consider other, less expensive, theme parks. Disney isn’t the only park or even chain of parks. I grew up in central Florida and have been to Disney countless times, but not in the past 9 years. Prices are just too crazy.

  6. We bought 10 day non-expiration park hopper / water park tickets from undercover tourist. They are a great value for shorter trips, but could be more expensive in the long haul if you do longer trips. At last year’s pricing, I found the break even to be in the 4-5 day range.

  7. I highly recommend that anyone going to Disneyworld check out http://www.tourguidemike.com. It costs about $20 for full functionality, but for me, the added vacation enjoyment is well worth it, and you can sign up months (maybe a year) before your actual visit and keep access to the website that whole time. I’ve paid the fee the last two times our family went. Yes, the website gives you in-depth reviews and tips about all of the parks, rides, restaurants, hotels, etc. And it has planning tools and email reminders telling you when your chosen restaurant has begun taking reservationbs for the date you want to eat there (which I think is usually like 6 months in advance). But the absolute best part is that the website saves you time in the parks, and time is money. It’s not fun to pay hundreds of dollars per day to get your family into a park, and then waste three-quarters of each day standing in lines. First, the website tells you which parks to go to on which days to minimize the crowds. Then it tells you how to structure each day to minimize the lines. It tells you which rides to hit first, and which ones to save for later because they have big lines in the morning but almost no lines in the evening. I don’t have a financial relationship with the website, I just think it is a great help and well worth the money.

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