Where to Purchase Tickets

Note that children under three are FREE.

Option 1: Directly through Disney.

If you booked a package deal to take advantage of the free dining plan for example, then you will need to purchase you tickets through Disney directly.

Disney also offers excellent Florida Resident and Military discounts, so it’s advantageous to purchase through Disney if you fall into these categories.

You can use Disney gift cards to purchase tickets from Disney.

Option 2: Purchase through a third party.

The easiest place to get them is Undercover Tourist. I’ve done it before, and there isn’t much savings, but it’s something. 

To get tickets from Undercover Tourist for free follow this travel hacking program explained by Brad’s Deals.

There are several reputable places to purchase tickets from, and where you go really depends on how long you’re going and what options you want. WDW Prep School breaks it down into an awesome, easy to read excel document.

Sometimes if purchasing your hotel on a third party site a good deal will pop up on tickets with purchase. Weigh your options.

To park hopper or not to park hopper?

Tickets come in one to several day increments, getting cheaper per day the more days you add. The great debate usually kicks in with the park hopper option. This option allows you to go to more than one park in one day.

This isn’t a cheap option, and is really personal preference. The last time we went we did the park hopper, and I was happy we did. It allowed us to visit three parks in one day, which was easy to do with virtually no crowds. It also let us easily change gears when we found a park was getting crowded to go to another park. We were two adults though, so if moving around to different parks sounds like a nightmare with kids, a regular ticket may be for you.

Disney Hack: Best Place to See Fireworks Outside the Parks

Did you know you can see the various Disney end of day fireworks displays without paying park admission? It’s true!

There are many places to view Wishes, the fireworks display at Magic Kingdom outside the parks, but the best in my humble opinion is at the newly refurbished Polynesian Resort. There are a few restaurants there and a beach, where they even pipe in the music from the Magic Kingdom. This is on my list to do this trip. We plan on grabbing a bite to eat at Captain Cook’s quick service restaurant, and then the famous Dole Whip from Pineapple Lanai (that’s all they sell there). A bonus of this is that you can view the free boat light show which laps around the lake. Continue reading

Strategy for Savings: Riding the Disney Discount Wave

Many when planning a Walt Disney World vacation only decide to book a few months in advance. This is a flawed strategy for a few reasons.

First, did you know you can book a complete Disney vacation package including hotel, tickets, and dining with only a $200 deposit? Your entire package payment is not actually due until 30 days before your departure. In addition, that deposit, and any other payment you make is fully refundable up until that time.

You can also make any changes up until that time on your Disney vacation package. What this means is you can book early and get the room you want, and continually adjust to take advantage of any promotions that arise. Continue reading

Ways to Save on On Disney Property Hotels

Despite their premium prices, there are several ways to pay less for a Walt Disney World on property hotel. Here are a few.

  1. Take advantage of promotions offered directly by Disney. Disney offers room only, and package deals quite frequently. The best deals are in slower seasons, but if you watch closely can be found almost any time of the year. Usual hotel savings are anywhere between 10-30% depending on season and hotel level. NOTE: This is the only option available to pay with Disney gift cards. (Why would you want to pay with gift cards? Learn more here.)

Here’s a great roundup post of when deals are usually offered compiled by WDW Prep School.

And here’s a link to current promotions Disney is running.

  1. Pay with Starwood Points. Both the Dolphin and Swan hotels are members of the Starwood Points system, even though they are on property hotels.
  2. A relatively new option for major savings on property is buying or renting Disney Vacation Club points. This gives you access to the many villas throughout the Disney resorts at a savings of roughly 50%. This makes Delux level resorts accessible at more of a moderate price. DVC Rental store is a reputable company to go through.
  3. Purchase through a third party. Orbitz.com offers the same low rates that Disney does, but usually has another promotion running for an additional 15% off. Check for a promo code now. And if you do purchase on Orbitz don’t forget to use Ebates for an additional 8% cashback.

 

Pros and Cons of Staying On and Off Disney Property

True Disneyphiles will tell you never to stay off property. You never “leave the magic” they say, and they offer nice perks. True, staying on property offers some bonuses like easy transportation, Disney package deals and extra magic hours, but this will be my first trip (out of 5) staying within the Walt Disney World Resort. There are positives and negatives to each.

Ease of arrival

On Property

  • PRO: Disney offers free transportation from Orlando International Airport only, an approximate $200 roundtrip value. They will also pick up and deliver your checked luggage to your resort.
  • CON: No transportation provided from the Sanford Airport. Baggage takes on average three hours to arrive at your hotel. You will be requested to leave on a bus for your return flight 2-3 hours before flight takeoff, despite only being thirty minutes from the airport.

Off Property

  • PRO: Come and go as you please on your schedule without waiting for a shuttle.
  • CON: Airport transfer is on your own dime – approximately $200. Continue reading

Character Palooza: The Magical Unicorn of Character Experiences

Character Palooza is something I would think only exists in rumor, had I not seen photos of it myself. It’s so secret that Cast Members (Disney Employees) may say it doesn’t exit.

What is it? It’s a seemingly random mass appearance of usually rare characters in Hollywood Studios. It is, in fact a scheduled thing that if you subscribe to via Kenny the Pirate, character expert extraordinaire, you can work into your Walt Disney World touring plans.

Memory Maker photographers are NOT on hand, and it only lasts 15-20 minutes adding to it’s reclusive nature. It typically takes place at the Main Entrance of Hollywood Studios or in the Animation Courtyard near Disney Jr.

My best guess is that these characters are the same characters that appear in Fantasmic!. Since they are there already, why not parade them around for a short while and make some Disney magic?

For more information check out this post.