Understanding Walt Disney World Ticket Options

Mickey and Minnie Disney World Tickets Cards
credit: Disney

If you’re planning a Disney World trip, you’ve probably already noticed that the ticket options are quite convoluted. And if you haven’t noticed yet, you soon will. Of course, tickets to Disney World are quite expensive as well, meaning you’ll want to make absolutely sure you’re purchasing the correct thing. This can turn ticket shopping into a pretty stressful experience, something no aspect of Disney vacation planning should be. Fortunately, there are those who have been through the Disney ticket purchasing process more than once, and we’re here to help. Below you’ll find a list of ticket options and what they include. Hopefully this will help you decide what’s best for you and your family.


1. Base Ticket

Let’s begin with the base ticket. This ticket gives you admission to one of the four main theme parks per day of the ticket. You can choose to purchase a one-day ticket or a multi-day ticket based on how long you plan to be in the resort. As many as 9 days can be included in a base ticket, and the more days you purchase, the less you pay per day. Additionally, costs are based on when you’ll be in the parks, with the cheaper tickets being reserved for the less busy times of year. Your ticket must be completely used within 14 days of first use.

2. Park Hopper Add-On Option

The park hopper option can be added to any base ticket for an even $60. This option allows the ticket holder to hop from one of the main theme parks to another in the same day. It’s ideal for those who will be visiting for a limited amount of time and wish to visit multiple parks per day.

3. Park Hopper Plus Add-On Option

Park Hopper Plus is another add-on option. This one includes the park hopping perk plus a set number of admissions to the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and/or the two miniature golf courses. You will receive one admission to any one of these “extra” options for every main theme park day you purchase. For instance, if you purchase a 5-day base ticket with the Park Hopper Plus add-on, you will be allowed to enter the main theme parks for 5 days and any of the other options mentioned above 5 times! This add-on is a flat $80 per ticket and can be an excellent value if used wisely.


4. Water Park Tickets, ESPN Wide World of Sports Admission, and Mini Golf Rounds

Want to visit a water park or one of the other on-site attractions but prefer not to invest in the Park Hopper Plus add-on? All of the additional attractions sell individual tickets as well.

5. Event Tickets

Disney World hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. Most of these occur after the host park closes, meaning special events are a great time to see the parks with fewer crowds. Some of the most popular events are Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Both take place in the Magic Kingdom and include exclusive performances, character meet-and-greets, and more. While not all attractions are open during these parties, the more popular rides are, and there is definitely plenty to do during the parties besides. Please note that special event tickets only allow admission during specific times on the specified day. They can still be a good value if you arrive right on time to take full advantage.

6. Annual Passes

In some cases, it makes the most sense to purchase an Annual Pass. This is especially true if…

  • You’re planning more than one trip in a year.
  • You’ll be in Disney World for longer than 9 days.
  • You’re a Florida resident and can drop in any time you please.

All Annual Passes (with the exception of the water parks passes) include special discounts, as well as complimentary parking. MagicBands are also included. There are several types of Annual Passes, and knowing which one to get is crucial.

7. Passes for All

Below are the Annual Passes that are available to everyone—Florida resident or not:

  • Disney Platinum Pass: Unlimited admission to all four theme parks with no blockout dates. Also includes PhotoPass (Disney World’s photo service) downloads.
  • Disney Platinum Plus Pass: Unlimited admission to all four theme parks, as well as the water parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course. Again, there are no blockout dates for this pass. Also includes PhotoPass downloads.
  • Premier Annual Passport: The ultimate Disney pass, this one includes admission to: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure, Oak Trail Golf Course. No blockout dates apply. Parking is included at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. PhotoPass and MaxPass (Disneyland’s ride scheduling option) are both included.
  • Water Parks Annual Pass: Unlimited admission to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks.

8. Passes for Florida Residents

These are the passes that are available only to Florida residents:

  • Disney Florida Resident Theme Park Select Pass: Admission to at least one of the four main theme parks every day of the year. Some days include all parks, others only one or two. Check the blockout calendar on the Disney website to learn more.
  • Disney Gold Pass: Unlimited admission to all four of the main theme parks, with very limited blockout dates. Includes PhotoPass downloads.
  • Disney Silver Pass: Unlimited admission to all four theme parks. This pass has more blockout dates than the Gold Pass.
  • Disney Weekday Select Pass: Unlimited admission to all four theme parks on weekdays only. No admission on Saturdays or Sundays, or on a relatively large number of blockout dates.
  • Epcot After 4 Annual Pass: Admission to Epcot after 4pm, any day of the week.
  • Water Parks After 2 Annual Pass: Admission to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach after 2pm, any day of the week.

9. Discount Options

Looking for a discount on your Disney World tickets? Unfortunately, these are few and far between. However, Disney will occasionally offer special discount tickets on their website.

  • Currently, they are offering the “Mid-Day Magic” ticket, which offers a decent discount to those who are willing to visit the parks only after noon. They also have a military ticket offering posted, something that is almost always available. Florida resident discounts are also often an option.
  • It also should be noted that those who purchase online will often pay a bit less than what they may have paid at the window. This, in addition to the time you’ll save by purchasing online, makes advance planning a no-brainer.
  • Finally, there is the option of a third-party seller. In the vast majority of cases, third-party sellers are not a safe option because they tend to be scams. However, there is one third-party vendor that is well trusted: Undercover Tourist. While the discounts found on this site are not steep by any means, every little bit counts!

About Chelsea Gonzales