Disney World Ticket Changes October 2018
Walt Disney World has switched to seasonal-priced multi-day tickets as of October 16, 2018. With these new tickets, the final price of the ticket depends on what dates you are planning to visit. A ticket for low season dates is cheaper than a ticket for regular season or peak season dates.
As we predicted, most tickets saw a significant price increase. Tickets during the very lowest-season dates only went down a few dollars, while tickets for moderate and peak times went up a lot.
For example, a 7-day adult Park Hopper ticket under the old pricing was $521.85 with tax, purchased in advance. Under the new system, the lowest price (only available for literally three start dates in January 2019) is $514.01, and the peak price is $583.94. In the middle of summer, which is considered mid-season, the price is $559.19.
All tickets from pre-October 16, 2018 stock will be honored through their existing expiration dates, for any day of the year, and previously booked vacation packages will stay at their current prices even if the components (tickets, dining, etc.) go up in price before your vacation (assuming you don’t make a change that causes the package to be repriced; see our information on vacation package rules). Read on for more details about the new tickets.
To buy one of the new specific-date tickets, you specify the starting date and the number of days of admission you want. 1-Day tickets don’t change significantly, except that they are valid only on the specific day you ask for, and Disney now charges the same for 1-Day Magic Kingdom tickets as for 1-Day tickets to the other three parks. Multi-day tickets are valid for 2-4 days longer than the number of days of admission, so you can skip a few park days in the middle of your trip to rest or do something else if you like. Each ticket length has a specific extra amount of days of validity: 2 & 3-Day tickets have 2 extra valid days, 4, 5, 6 and 7-Day tickets have 3 extra valid days, and 8, 9 and 10-Day tickets have 4 extra valid days.
Here’s the complete chart of ticket lengths and valid periods for tickets purchased separately (the rules for tickets in a vacation package are slightly different):
|Ticket Days||Valid Period|
|1-Day||Just one specific date|
|2-Day||Any 2 days within 4 days after the start date (5 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|3-Day||Any 3 days within 5 days after the start date (6 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|4-Day||Any 4 days within 7 days after the start date (8 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|5-Day||Any 5 days within 8 days after the start date (9 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|6-Day||Any 6 days within 9 days after the start date (10 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|7-Day||Any 7 days within 10 days after the start date (11 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|8-Day||Any 8 days within 12 days after the start date (13 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|9-Day||Any 9 days within 13 days after the start date (14 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
|10-Day||Any 10 days within 14 days after the start date (15 days for Park Hopper Plus)|
For example, a 5-Day ticket is good for 5 days of park visits any time during the 8 days after the requested start date (counting the start date as day 1). So, for example, if you bought a 5-day ticket with a start date of December 1, you could visit the parks on any 5 days between December 1 and December 8 inclusive. You could go to the parks from December 1-5 or December 4-8 or December 1, 2, 5, 6 and 8. On December 9, your ticket becomes invalid whether you’ve used it or not. You don’t have to enter a park on the given start date, but the expiration clock starts ticking on that date whether you enter or not.
The validity period is a little different when you get a Walt Disney World vacation package: the valid length of the tickets you buy with the package is the longer of the standard validity period or the length of your stay. So in other words, if you book an 8-day vacation with a 3-Day ticket, normally a 3-Day ticket is valid for 5 calendar days, but since your vacation package is longer, the validity is extended to 8 days (though you still only get to go into the parks on 3 of those days). On the other hand, if you book a 3-day vacation package with a 3-Day ticket, that ticket is still valid for 5 calendar days as per the chart above, even though your vacation package length is shorter. (When figuring out the length of a vacation package, you get one more day than the number of hotel nights, because your arrival and departure days both count. So a vacation package with a hotel length of 7 nights is considered an 8-day vacation for figuring ticket validity.)
Walt Disney World still offers flexible-date tickets, which work the same way as tickets you purchase now – they are good on any date up to the expiration date (for current e-tickets, that’s the end of 2019). They are priced just a little bit higher than an all-Peak-date ticket, since that’s effectively what they are. That means that flexible-date tickets are more expensive than seasonal-priced tickets for any dates you might choose. Flexible-date tickets, however, are valid for 14 days after the first use, just like current tickets. That could be useful if you want to visit Walt Disney World for a few days, go do something else (like a cruise or Universal Studios visit) and then come back and do more days at Walt Disney World within a single 14-day span.
Park Hopper tickets are still available and that feature hasn’t changed: with Park Hopper you are allowed to go to more than one park on any of your admission days.
Park Hopper Plus tickets are also still available and in addition to adding “plus” visits like Water Parks and golf, they add an extra day of validity, so a 5-Day Park Hopper Plus ticket is good for any 5 days of park admission as well as 5 “plus” visits over the course of 9 consecutive calendar days (versus 8 calendar days for Base or Park Hopper tickets).
If you buy a ticket and then change your plans, you can change the start date of your ticket, or change the length, or add a feature like Park Hopper and, for the first time, you should be able to make the change yourself from home using the web site or the Disney World app on your phone, or by calling Disney Reservations. You have to pay any difference in price if the changes make the tickets more expensive. If they’re less expensive, you can still make the change, but won’t get a refund. If your ticket expires and has never been used, you will still be able to trade it in towards a new ticket. If you buy your ticket from a reseller like Undercover Tourist, you get credit for the full price of the ticket, not the discount price you paid, so you should get to keep the discount, even if you end up adding days or features later.
The price of a seasonal-priced ticket will be the per-day price times the number of admission days, where the per-day price varies based on how many days you’re visiting and how busy the parks are at that time of year. Disney has not officially announced how the per-day price is calculated, but reading between the lines, we believe it’s pretty close to averaging the 1-day ticket price for all of the valid days covered and then applying a multi-day discount.
In practice you don’t have to figure all this stuff out – Disney and other ticket sellers just show you a price calendar with a price for a ticket of the given length that starts on that particular date. You just decide how many park days you want, and roughly when you want to go. The calendar shows the price options, and Disney’s hope is that people who have date flexibility will choose cheaper-priced dates, which will help spread out the crowds.
When buying these tickets, it may be useful to pick a “start date” before your actual arrival day, if that happens to be cheaper. For example, if you plan to go December 4-8 and visit the parks on all 5 of those days, you’ll need a 5-Day ticket. A 5-Day ticket is valid on any 5 of 8 consecutive calendar days, so you can get a ticket that is valid from December 1-8, 2-9, 3-10, or 4-11. They’re all valid for the December 4-8 period you care about, so you can just buy whichever option is cheapest. Most of the time the difference will be small, but every little bit helps.
Buying Tickets Separately
- For most people who just want tickets, the best place to purchase Walt Disney World tickets is to buy them from Undercover Tourist. They offer great bottom-line prices that are always lower than Disney’s for any 3-Day or longer tickets, FREE shipping and friendly customer service. You can read more about why we love Undercover Tourist on our Disney World Ticket Discounts page.
- There may be other ticket discounts you qualify for if you are a Florida Resident, member of the US Military or a handful of other categories. You can see all the discounts currently available on our Disney World Ticket Discounts page.