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Last revised Mon, 26-Nov-2007 15:08
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[Disney Vacation Planner]

At A Glance  

Disney ticket options are fairly extensive, and relatively complex, offering everything from one day's access to one of the theme parks, right through to annual unlimited access, and practically everything in between. Some of these ticket options are only available to Florida residents, some to employees, others to guests that are staying in one of the Disney hotels within the WDW resort.

Types of Pass Available

The main types of pass available that will be of interest to UK residents visiting WDW for an annual holiday will be:

If you are planning to visit WDW more than once in a year, or plan to visit the minor parks in preference to the major parks the following may also be of interest:

Depending on the exact time of your visit, you may also want to think about the following Hard-Ticket passes:

Where should I go to buy the pass ?

There are quite a few options on where you buy the WDW passes.

At the parks.

The first option, and possibly the most obvious one, is to wait until you get to the first theme park you intend to visit, and buy the passes there. You still get the same choice of available passes, and may buy the single dayy pass, or the All in one pass etc.

The up-side of waiting until you get to the parks before buying the passes is that it is the most fliexible option, since you can delay trying to decide which pass to buy, right up until you are about to enter the park. The down-side however, is that you'll inevitably be waiting for a while for Disney to process the tickets prior to issuing them, so may loose some time in the parks. Whilst this may seem like a small price to pay, remember that at busy times, queues form at the popular rides very quickly, and that extra few minutes may make the different between a wait of a few minutes, or a wait of an hour or so when you finally get to the ride.

From The Disney Store

You can pre-order your passes from any Disney Store, paying for them in advance, however in practise, this seems little different from waiting until you get to the parks, because normally all you'll get is a pre-paid voucher that you exchange for a ticket upon arrival at the park. Also if you happen to loose the voucher on the way to Disney, or while at home, then tough!

From the Car Rental Depot

Many car rental depots now also sell tickets to the attractions, though again these tend to be sold in the form of vouchers which are exchanged on arrival at WDW.

From Your Hotel

It's worth checking out the possibility of ordering your attraction passes when you book your hotel reservations, since many hotels can also sell tickets. Buying from a non-Disney hotel, you're just as likely to get a voucher to be exchanged for the actual tickets when you arrive at the parks, however, if you're staying in an on-site Disney hotel, you can pre-book the required passes, which will be available for collection from the main reception area on your arrival at the hotel. If you plan to stay on-property, this is almost certainly the best way to buy your tickets, unless you have an AP.

Which pass is best for me ?

It's difficult to quantify exactly which is the best pass to buy, because it depends on exactly what you want to do during your time in Florida.

Price wise, the single day pass is obviously cheapest if you only intend to visit one of the WDW theme parks each day for between one and three days.

If you plan to visit the parks for 4 or more days, the 4-day value pass is a cheaper option than the daily pass, unless you want the option of moving between parks on the same day, or plan to visit the minor parks as well.

If you have settled on the 4-day value pass as being the most suitable, but also want the flexibility of changing your mind and visiting a different park after lunch to the one you entered in the morning, then you will at least be wanting the 4-day Hopper pass, and if you plan to visit the minor parks such as the three Disney Water parks, you'll probably want the 5 Day World Hopper Pass.

The Length of Stay pass is only available to WDW hotel guests, and is only really worth considering if you are staying at WDW and intend to spend more then 5 days in the major parks. Up to 5 days it works out slightly more expensive than a 5-day World Hopper pass, but for 6 days or more it is cheaper than buying the 4 or 5 day pass, and then additional daily passes. The only real disadvantage in the Length of Stay pass is that it expires when your holiday ends, so any unused days can't be reused during a later holiday.

If you plan to spend a reasonable amount of time in the Disney major parks, but aren't staying on WDW property, the 5-day World Hopper pass is probably the best value, since it also offers access to the minor water parks.

Realistically it's probably not worth considering the Annual Passes unless you either plan to visit WDW more than once in the same year, or are a Florida resident, and it's only worth considering the Water Park annual pass and Pleasure Island annual passes if you plan to spend most of your holiday in Florida outside of the four major theme parks, but also want to be able to go into Pleasure Island each night, or to the water parks for more than five days.

Also remember that Disney isn't the only thing to see in Florida, and you may want to spend a few days visiting some of the other attractions in the area such as Sea World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Centre, Splendid China, or any of a host of others. You must give this thought when buying your Disney passes otherwise you'll be spending money for days you don't use, particularly where the Length of Stay pass is concerned.

Note that the Disney passes can be bought from a variety of locations including the entrance to the theme parks themselves, some airports and hire-car facilities sell hopper and bonus passes, as do any number of time-share resale merchants in Malls etc. Passes can also be pre-purchased at no extra cost from any Disney store in the UK, prior to departure, so this is often a good way to spread the cost of the holiday by buying the Disney passes at a Disney store before leaving the UK.

Some of the time-share merchants offer discounts on passes if you are prepared to spend a couple of hours siting though a time-share sales pitch. This may seem worth it, but remember it's often a hard-sell environment, you're not going to get the discount until you've sat through the whole thing, and every minute you spend in there is a minute you could be spending enjoying yourself in one of the parks, or even just relaxing around the hotel pool.

Finally remember that some all inclusive package holidays may include a Length of Stay pass, or hopper pass as part of the package, so you'll need to check this at time of booking before buying any tickets from the Disney Store.

Animal Kingdom and Old Passes

When the Animal Kingdom first opened, Disney would understandably not allow entrance with older tickets (those bought before the creation of the park). This has now changed however, and all tickets that were purchased prior to the Animal Kingdom opening are now be accepted as valid admission media to the Animal Kingdom, and the turnstiles have been reprogrammed to accept them, so if you have passes to the Walt Disney World parks that were bought a couple of years ago, and are still valid, you no longer need to upgrade them to include the AK.


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