So You Want to Go Back
For those wanting to plan one or more future trips to Walt Disney World, there are a number of strategies that can save money. The usual method is to watch for special promotions from Disney throughout the year. While Disney has released some pretty great deals in recent years, these specials are often centered around slower times at the parks, and can sometimes be difficult for families with children in school to take advantage of. In addition, they are often for travel dates six months or less in the future, and can require making quick decisions with not a lot of time for planning or saving.
There are other approaches to planning future trips with the goal of saving money, and these generally fall into two main categories that yield savings on tickets, rooms or complete vacation packages. The two main categories involve making "purchases in advance" or taking advantage of Disney's "return" offers. The disadvantage of making purchases in advance is that it will require an up-front outlay of cash to insure future trips at a comparatively reasonable cost. The disadvantages to booking one of Disney's return offers is that you may again be in the position of having to your plan trip during off-peak times and making snap decisions, although some of these deals offer savings better than you might otherwise find.
'Purchasing in Advance' Options
Save Money With Tickets That Never Expire
Buying a Magic Your Way ticket with the No Expiration option offers exactly what it says, this ticket never expires. If you can afford it, enjoy Disney water parks, Disney Quest or even golf and sports AND believe there is at least 3 Walt Disney World Resort visit somewhere in your future, there's a great way to buy one ticket in advance and save money! When it comes to Disney admission, there are two things that are true: Walt Disney World tickets increase in price yearly and the per day cost of MYW tickets decrease with the number of days purchased.
If you go all out and purchase a 10-day MYW ticket with the Park Hopper and Water Park Fun & More options and the NO Expiration option, you would get ten days of theme park admission, plus ten days of Water Park and Disney Quests admissions or other venues in any combination. This amounts to just $41.54 per admission (theme park, water park or Disney Quest) spread out over an indefinite length of time. For the ticket price of just $830.70 (adult ticket w/tax), you could divide these into several future trips without the pressure of doing them all in three years or even ten years. For example, each of 3 future trips could consist of approximately 6 days - 3 park days, 2 water park days and a Downtown Disney/Disney Quest day. And, you'll still have an extra theme park day and water park or Disney Quest day (or other venue) to add wherever you like. That's 3 Walt Disney World Resort trips in your future of 6 or even 7 days each for the "one-time" ticket cost of just $830.70 ($796.62 last year) admission per adult. Plus, you can make the most of your park time with the Park Hopper option. At current prices an adult 3-day MYW Park Hopper with "Water Park Fun & More" option would cost $383.40 and 3 of them would total $1150.20 - that's without calculated future inflation or the cost of adding the "No Expiration Option" and minus the extra park day you get with the 10-day ticket.
The above example takes advantage of several factors regarding Walt Disney World tickets to give you an affordable way to return to Walt Disney World at least three times over several or more years:
• First, you bypass Disney's yearly ticket inflation, and with the "No Expiration" option, it doesn't matter how much time goes by between trips.
• Disney front loads their MYW tickets, with the bulk of the ticket price spread over the first 3 days. An adult 1-day base ticket costs $94-$99 and a 2-day base ticket costs $100.11 per day and 3 base ticket costs $97.27 per day. Starting with a 4-day base ticket, the savings jumps significantly. Adding 4 through 10 days increases the total price of your ticket by $10 (plus tax) or less for each extra day you add. The longer you play, the more you save!
• The "Water Park Fun & More" option gives admission to other Disney venues that can stretch out your vacation, but you could easily drop it and take shorter trips if you don't care for the water parks and other venues offered. You won't save much additional money by eliminating the "Water Park Fun & More" option but shortening your trip will save on hotel night charges.
• You pay a "one time charge" to add options to the 10-day ticket. If you purchased tickets for each trip you take you would have to pay $60 per ticket to add one option (Park Hopping or Water Park Fun and More), or $86 to add both, each time you go. And those prices are likely to increase yearly too.
• It's important to note, however, that because Disney does front load tickets and the cost of the "No Expiration" option is so expensive, dividing your 10-day ticket into two longer trips (say 5 days each) theoretically isn't going to save you money. For example, at current prices, the cost of purchasing two 5-day MYW tickets with the "Water Park Fun and More" option added would be $85 cheaper than adding the "No Expiration" option to a 10-day ticket with the "Water Park Fun and More" option. Even without the "No Expiration" option, Walt Disney World tickets that have never been used do not expire. You can buy MYW tickets at current prices even if you won't be visiting Walt Disney World for several years and ward off future inflation. The key component of this plan is your ability to stretch a 10-day ticket with "No Expiration" into three return trips.
Update:Disney World has altered the way it sells the "NO Expiration" option for MYW tickets. The option is no longer available through Disney online. The "NO Expiration" option is also no longer listed on theme park ticket signage at Walt Disney World. The "NO Expiration" option continues to be available at theme park front gates (must ask for it) or by calling Disney directly to purchase at (407) 939-7679, daily from 7:00 a.m to 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For the time being, the option also remains available to travel agents through their portal into the WDW system. Walt Disney World Tickets with the NO Expiration option are also available through our discounted ticket partner, Undercover Tourist.
Visit our Ticket Calculator page to see MYW "No Expiration" Tickets at 2014 prices.
Visit our Ticket Page to learn more about Purchasing Magic Your Way Tickets.
TheMouseForLess Tip: You also don't have to worry about children's tickets no longer being valid if a child should turn ten before a return trip to Walt Disney World. Children's Magic Your Way tickets with no expiration date and unused days can be exchanged at any park Guest Services for an adult ticket at no additional charge.
TheMouseForLess Tip: Each time I leave Disney with a No Expiration Ticket, I have it checked at guest relations. They tell me what is left and I write the days on the back with a Sharpie. I learned this the hard way after leaving without checking. ~ Linda R.
• Some of the best discounts on Walt Disney World tickets are available through Undercover Tourist. Undercover Tourist tickets include tax and the company offers free shipping to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and a few other locations abroad. From all of the raves we've heard on TheMouseForLess Group, this is a very reliable company.
Here are just a few sample prices of Undercover Tourist tickets with NO Expiration Date:
- 10-day MYW discounted base tickets with NO Expiration Date at $25 off Gate Prices
- 10-day MYW discounted Park Hoppers with NO Expiration Date at $43 off Gate Prices
- 10-day MYW discounted Water Park Fun & More with NO Expiration Date at $40 off Gate Prices
- 10-day MYW discounted Park Hopper + Water Park Fun & More with NO Expiration Date are available only online at Undercover Tourist
- Many more MYW ticket types for lesser stays with deep discounts off Gate Prices are available
Take Two Annual Trips with an Annual Pass
If you purchase an Annual Pass, you'll have until the same month and day the following year before it expires, or 366 days. You'll also have unlimited admission to Walt Disney World during that time with park hopping privileges, as well as access to other discounts and benefits. If you'd like to take your family to Walt Disney World two summers in a row, you could save money by purchasing an Annual Pass. It's all in the timing! For example, if you visit Walt Disney World on July 10th for 7 days, buy an Annual Pass right before leaving home, and plan your trip for the following year a week or two earlier, you'll save money! At current prices, two 7-day adult MYW tickets with the Park Hopper option (one for the first year and one for the second) would cost $817.92 that's $142.71 more than the $675.21 cost of an Annual Pass! If you have children under the age of nine, buying them an annual pass will save about $100.00 over the price of each of their MYW tickets with park hopping for two years. Furthermore, you'll come out ahead on this deal even if you plan two annual trips of just 4 days, and if you have no children under the age of 9, you won't lose money on this deal unless you plan trips of just two days or less!
You can also use your pass to get discounts on your resort room during certain times of the year, as well as discounts on food and merchandise. If you're staying at a non-Disney hotel, you'll also save on parking at the parks!
Here's another variation on taking two trips with an Annual Pass. Say you purchase a Disney vacation package one year at a great savings, such as the "Free Dining" deal. If you were already considering purchasing an Annual Pass for two trips, you could upgrade the MYW Base ticket that comes with the package with "Park Hopping" to get closer to the price of an Annual Pass and take advantage of the extra option at the same time (just be sure not to go over the price of an annual pass). Then before your vacation is over (or the ticket expires), upgrade to the Annual Pass for your next trip, paying the difference between the two tickets. The principle (and price) is basically the same as using an AP twice, but you can do it while taking advantage of some Disney's great vacation promotions and specials at the same time! Just remember if you add the "Water Park Fun & More" option to the ticket and then use the ticket before upgrading to an Annual Pass, you'll have to upgrade to a Premium Annual Pass. See ticket upgrades for more info.
Make Use of Old Park Hopper Passes
Unlike Disney's current MYW tickets, the unused days on Disney's former ticket media, Park Hopper and Park Hopper Plus tickets, never expire, and neither do the "Plus" options. These tickets can not be upgraded, but Disney will still honor them for admission to the park at no additional charge. If you have old Walt Disney World tickets lying around, take them to Guest Relations outside of the park to exchange them for admission tickets.
Return Offer Options
Watch for Bounce Back Offers
Walt Disney World Bounce Back promotions are special deals offered to current Walt Disney World guests to entice return visits. These are usually excellent deals with deep discounts and come in the form of flyers left in resort rooms. Such offers are made during random periods throughout the year and there is no guarantee that a guest will receive such an offer. In the past, Bounce Back offers have typically been for room discounts of 20 to 40 percent off regular rates, depending upon the class of resort, and some have been for Free Dining. Bounce Back promotions are for return visits during specific "non-peak" times of the year and must be booked with a deposit before guests complete their stays.
TheMouseForLess Tip: If you are considering booking a Bounce Back offer while at Walt Disney World, decide if you want insurance before handing over your charge card. Disney often adds insurance automatically, and once the deposit is made, the cost is non-refundable.
Free Dining Bounce Back Offers
Some guests staying at the Walt Disney World resort during Free Dining promotions have reported receiving Bounce Back offers that included Free Dining for the following year. Packages offered are typically for a 5-night/6-day stays at a particular Walt Disney World Resort hotel and included room, tickets and free dining. Other resorts and lengths of stay beyond those mentioned in the flyers were often available but limited.
There is never guarantee you will receive such an offer, and guest selection for these offers seems to be random. Reports from those staying at Disney during certain bounce back offers were that they were offered at some resorts and not at others. Guests were also told that the selection was random and resorts had no control over where they were offered. If, however, you would like to return to Walt Disney World in the near future and don't see a flyer for a Bounce Back offer in your room, inquire at the front desk as to whether a return offer is available. It never hurts to ask.
Watch for Personal Pin Code Offers
In recent years, Disney has been sending out postcard and email offers with personal PIN codes for reserving Disney rooms and vacation packages. These offers represent very good savings on select resorts during specific non-peak times of the year. It is not possible to request a PIN code offer and offers can not be used by anyone else. No one knows exactly how Disney chooses who will get a PIN code offer, and there has been much speculation on the subject. Many people who get a PIN code offer have visited Disney in the past and some who visit often never get a PIN code offer. To increase the chances of getting one of these great deals try any or all of the following. Sign up for as many Disney emailings and alerts as possible on Disney.com (the button that says "Sign Up for Disney Parks Updates" on the lower right side of the page) and order the latest Disney Planning DVD on the same page. Sign up for special emails at DisneyStore.com. Also try answering Disney surveys either online or in the parks. Cast members taking guests' information in the parks can generally be found in the area immediately after entering through the ticket turnstiles. Look for the cast member holding a clipboard.
Other Return Offers From Disney
Another class of return offers from Disney are standing and special offers to other Disney destinations. Generally, there is always a return offer from Disney Cruise Line and Adventures By Disney has been know to routinely offer guests who rebook within a year some sort of special deal.
Disney Cruise Line offers a 10% discount on select cruises plus Onboard Credits when reserving a second Disney cruise while still onboard. A deposit is required per person at the time of booking, but with the off-the-top discount and OBCs ranging from $200 for a 7-night cruise and $100 for a 3-night or 4-night cruise, it's a good deal.
Any of the above offers can be secured through Disney, and additional special offers, promotions or Onboard Credits can be obtained by transferring an existing Disney reservation or return offer reservation (made within the past 30 days) to a Disney-specialized travel agency, such as The Magic For Less Travel. Just be sure to explore all of the available options prior to checking out during your current visit. For more information on special promotions and transferring reservations, inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you've missed out on Disney return offers, visit our Current Codes and Discount page to see if there are any existing offers that will work for your future visit.