Planning a family vacation to Disney World? Here's what you need to know:
Young Kids Pay Less
Children aged under 3 years get in free to all four theme parks and two water parks at Disney World. Kids ages 3 to 9 pay a youth ticket price, and kids 10 and older pay the adult admission rate.
It Matters When You Go
Disney has introduced a surge pricing model for single-day tickets at Disney World. This means that admission prices now fluctuate with demand, with higher prices during peak periods and lower prices during slow seasons. This mirrors the fluctuations in seasonal room rates that have long existed at Disney World Resorts.
What does this mean for your family vacation? It makes more sense than ever to visit when the parks are least crowded. If your family can be flexible and visit at less crowded times, your tickets will cost less. If you visit Disney World during school breaks and holidays, your ticket prices will be higher to reflect this peak timing.
The new seasonal ticket pricing also means that it's more important than ever for families to spend some time planning their vacation before leaving home.
There are now three tiers for one-day theme park tickets: value, regular, and peak days. Disney uses its crowd calendars to categorize days and single-day tickets are now assigned to a specific day of use. Another change is that the ticket price varies depending on which theme park you are going to visit.
During regular days, single-day tickets at the Magic Kingdom cost $115 for adults, while one-day admission at Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios cost $107 for adults. On peak days, the price rises to $124 at the Magic Kingdom and $119 at the other three parks. The sweet spot is value days, when ticket prices remain almost at 2015 levels: $107 at the Magic Kingdom and $99 at the other three parks. Children 10 and older pay adult admission prices, kids ages 3 to 9 pay slightly less than adults, and admission is free for kids under age 3.
The Longer You Stay, The Better the Deal
Visiting Disney World for more than one day? Seasonal pricing does not apply to multi-day tickets, whose per-day cost remains substantially less than for single-day tickets. The more days you buy, the less you pay per day.
For example, a four-day ticket starts at $81 per day, which is $29 per day less than a single-day ticket. Buy a six-day ticket and the price starts at $59 per day.
Stay at a Disney Hotel Adds Value
There are more than two dozen official Walt Disney World resort hotels, available at various price points. Choosing one of these hotels is not only more convenient, but cost effective when you add in all the extra perks that help you make the most of your time at the theme parks. Most notably:
- Flexible FastPass+ Planning. As a Disney World Resort guest, you’ll be able to reserve times for rides and attractions 60 days in advance of your arrival using FastPass+, which is a full 30 days in advance of non-guests.
- Extended Park Hours. Once you arrive at Disney World, you can take advantage of Extra Magic Hours to enjoy extra time in the parks before and after the official opening and closing times. This popular perk lets you enjoy more time having fun on rides and less time waiting in line.
There's an App for That
Note that for several years Disney has been using a ticketing process called My Disney Experience which has replaced the old paper system. My Disney Experience has revolutionized the Disney World vacation by bundling nearly every aspect of your trip together. Instead of a ticket, you get a MagicBand, a rubber bracelet containing a computer chip that holds all the components of your Disney World vacation—theme park tickets, FastPass+, dining reservations, PhotoPass—and it also acts as a resort charge card.
Everyone who purchases Disney World tickets in advance can plan their trips using My Disney Experience. But where you decide to stay makes a difference in how early you can begin reserving your rides, meals, and other experiences. Park goers who stay outside of Disney World can begin reserving FastPass+ experiences and meals 30 days before arrival. If you stay at one of the official Disney World Resorts inside Disney World, you can reserve times for rides and attractions 60 days in advance of your arrival using FastPass+.
In other words, staying at Disney World gives you a 30-day head start on non-guests.