When Walt Disney World first opened in 1971, it included the single theme park, the Magic Kingdom. Today, the Florida mega-resort, located near Orlando, offers four theme parks and two water parks (along with a slew of hotels; two shopping, dining, and entertainment districts; and many other diversions). Through the years, the prices of Disney’s park passes—along with the variety of ticket options to access the many parks—have grown exponentially.
The bad news is that the cost for a one-day, one-park ticket for ages 10 and older has skyrocketed to as high as $159. Fortunately, there are ways to bring the price of park passes down—substantially in some cases—which we will explore in our guide below. It’s important to understand how Disney World's ticket program works so that you can make informed purchasing decisions and get the best value for your ticket.
Note that Walt Disney World is open 365 days a year. All of the theme parks are open every day (although operating hours vary according to the season), while the water parks typically take a winter break in the off-season.
How Much Are Tickets to Disney World?
The prices for Disney World theme park tickets used to be uniform. But starting in 2016, the resort adopted a variable pricing model. It’s similar to airlines and hotels, which charge more, based on demand, during peak seasons. The practice is also known as “surge pricing.” The prices listed in the chart above represent the lowest possible costs at the least busy times of the year.
Disney World offers two ticket categories according to age level: One is for ages 10 and older; the other is for ages 3 to 9. Admission is free for children under the age of 3. Read on to learn about the types of passes and what is/is not included.
1 Park Per Day
The standard, most basic ticket, 1 Park Per Day is self-explanatory. The ticket allows a user to visit one of Disney World’s four theme parks in a single day. They are available in denominations of one day up to 10 days. The four parks are Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
The more days you purchase, the lower the cost per day. Significant savings don’t kick in until five days or more. For example, the lowest price for a one-day ticket is $109. But the per-day price drops to $88 for a five-day ticket. The savings are even better for a 10-day ticket, with a per-day price of only $52.
Be aware that once you choose the first day of any multi-day ticket, you will have a limited amount of time to use or lose your tickets. You do not, however, have to visit the parks on consecutive days. For example, for a five-day pass, you might have eight days from the first day of your ticket from which to choose the five days you will visit the parks. Note also that passes are non-transferable, so be sure that each member of your party has his or her own ticket.
Water Park and Sports Option
For about $70 more, you could upgrade your 1 Park Per Day ticket and get a Water Park and Sports Option ticket. In addition to being able to visit one theme park per day, you could also visit Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, the NBA Experience at Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the 9-hole Disney's Oak Trail Golf Course (which also offers a FootGolf experience), and Disney’s two mini-golf courses. The number of visits to these additional attractions is based on the number of days purchased for the 1 Park Per Day ticket. For example, a four-day ticket includes four visits, while a six-day ticket would include six visits.
Park Hopper Option
With the Park Hopper Option, you could visit multiple parks each day. For instance, you could go to Disney's Animal Kingdom in the early morning (when more animals are likely to be visible), the Magic Kingdom in the middle of the day, and cap off the evening with Fantasmic! at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
If you are planning to spend one or two days at Disney World, the Park Hopper Option would make sense. It would allow you to visit all four parks in two days for as low as $288, or $72 per park. If you started early in the morning and stayed until the last park closed each day, you'd be getting an okay deal (and tired feet).
Park Hopper Plus Option
Park Hopper Plus tickets are almost identical to Water Park and Sports Option tickets in that they include visits to the same water parks and sports attractions. The difference is that they also allow park hopping among the theme parks.
If you're only going to be here for one or two days, we do not recommend this option. Even the most proficient multitasker would find it challenging to visit multiple theme parks plus water parks or other attractions in such a short amount of time.
- Check out authorized third-party ticket sellers, such as Undercover Tourist, that offer Disney World tickets at modest discounts.
- Disney World offers discounted tickets for Florida residents, which are available on its website.
- While Disney never discounts its theme park tickets, it does offer limited-time package deals that bundle hotel accommodations and tickets. You can find these deals and other offers on the resort’s deals and discounts page.
- Disney World offers special discounts for military members and their families. It is worth checking these out as they can offer substantial savings.
Plan Your Visit
From when to visit to making ride reservations, here's how to plan your trip to Walt Disney World to save money and get the most out of your ticket.
It goes without saying that the busier the parks, the longer the waits for rides and attractions. You may not be able to experience as much, but ironically, your passes will cost more during peak tourist season. One way to save on tickets would be to plan your visit during the less-trafficked times of year, such as late August or September. In addition to saving money, you'll enjoy less crowded parks and get considerably more value.
As a bonus, hotels, airfare, and other costs are likely to be lower than during peak-visitation times. The busiest time of year, with the highest ticket costs, is the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Do the Math for Water Park and Sports Option and Park Hopper Plus Tickets
Make sure that you would visit enough of the water parks and sports attractions to justify the additional cost of a Water Park and Sports Option ticket. You would certainly get a great value if you went to the water parks or attractions every day of your visit—but if you're only planning to go to one water park, the extra cost would not be worth it. Instead, purchase an à la carte ticket to visit one of the water parks for $64 and be ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, the difference in cost between the Park Hopper and the Park Hopper Plus tickets is generally only about $20. That makes the Park Hopper Plus Option a good value for visitors planning to visit even one of the water parks.
Link Your Tickets
Regardless of the tickets you end up purchasing, you are going to want to link them to what the resort calls a “My Disney Experience” account so that you will be able to make ride reservations and plan your trip. There is both an online website and a mobile phone app that you can use in advance of your visit and while you are at the resort. It can be confusing, but it's important to understand the different elements of Disney World's trip planning resources, including FastPass+, MagicBands, and My Disney Experience.
Buy Your Tickets in Advance
You should purchase your tickets online. That way you can both do advance planning, such as making FastPass+ ride reservations, as well as save money. You’ll pay $20 less per ticket when you buy three-day or longer tickets online rather than at the parks’ ticket booths.