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Walt Disney World ends no-expire option for theme park tickets

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Published: January 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Thanks to Twitter follower Dustin Harter for catching this. But when you go to the page to order tickets on Walt Disney World's new website, you'll find that you no longer can add the option to keep your Disney World theme park tickets from expiring.

New WDW ticket form

In fact, Disney's website now says " All ticket days must be used within 14 days of first use" and "Tickets and options must be used within 14 days of first use."

This brings Walt Disney World's policy in line with Disneyland's where tickets also expire 14 days from first use. And it effectively ends the strategy of "overbuying" by getting a 10-day, no-expire ticket when you visit the Walt Disney World Resort, even if you won't be going to the parks for 10 days on your trip. Buying the 10-day ticket with a no-expire option "locked in" your unused visit days for future trips, at today's theme park prices. Given that Disney raises its ticket prices every year, this could be an effective way to hold down the cost of a Disney vacation. (I've got a few unused days on a 10-day ticket I bought a few years back, at an average cost of about $45 a day, with the park-hopper option included.)

Needless to say, this changes the calculus for loyal, long-time Disney visitors, eliminating one of the reasons why some of those visitors chose not to buy tickets along with an on-site hotel package.

Orlando-area readers, what are you seeing at the WDW ticket booths? Is "no-expire" gone there, too? Everyone else, what do you think of this change?

Update: Twitter user @GertieTheDino89 reports that the "no-expire" option is still available, at least for now, using the "old" version of the WDW website -- the one without the new "My Disney Experience" links.

Update 2: I've also heard from Twitter followers that the ticket booth signage for no-expire was removed last week, although other readers on our Facebook page have said you can get it if you ask, and the option remains available to travel agents through their portal into the WDW system.

So is Disney in the middle of removing the option, as it's gone from some places and remains available in others? If you want no-expire tickets at today's prices, and don't want to take chances, better get 'em now before they're gone.

Readers' Opinions

From Dan Heaton on January 11, 2013 at 12:48 PM
This change wouldn't bother me so much on its own, but combined with a lot of other rollbacks in discounts and constant ticket price increases, it's frustrating. The trends are not positive for Disney World right now, and I doubt this is the last change.
From Scott Marlow on January 11, 2013 at 12:53 PM
When I was at MK for the Very Merry Christmas, I was specifically looking for the no-expire option for just the plan you mentioned. I had purchased a 5 day no expire with water park and more a couple years ago and still have a few visits left. However, at both the Transportation and Ticket Center and Guest Services there was no mention of it on any of the signage or windows that I could see.
From robert morris on January 11, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Could this be a pre-cursor to the already discussed "premium pricing" for higher volume periods. As over time those no expire tickets would mostly have been used.

While I'm sure some frugal guest are buying them up to use on future visits but I'm sure many sit in desk drawers unused or thrown away over time like unused gift cards.


The policy more gives them increased flexibilty as many guest may just rebudget their no expiration funds into upgrading their dining plans or others options.

From 174.228.202.195 on January 11, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Could this also be because of the RFID technology? They are pushing the resort guests with room key tickets to utilize it. They are changing all of the turnstiles at park entrances. Old paper tickets wull not be valid in the future...
From 68.117.28.2 on January 11, 2013 at 1:09 PM
This policy sucks. As expensive as their tickets are it is ridiculous! I should have bought one of the no expiration 10 day tickets a couple of years ago instead of the 5 day hopper.
From Denise Rambo on January 11, 2013 at 1:42 PM
I still have 9 days left on two "No Expiration" tickets. Looks like I'm going to be buying two more 10 Day No Expiration tickets from Undercover Tourist sooner than expected.
From 68.184.94.3 on January 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM
Just wanted to say that I called and verified that the No Expiration Option is still available. They have just updated their site and all of the information is not up yet.

You can get the info by using the old website or calling. I also checked Undercover Tourist and the option is still available there as well. Whew.

From 98.90.113.34 on January 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM
does anybody have a link or a way to get to the "old" website where it's still available for purchase?
From 108.204.153.142 on January 11, 2013 at 9:18 PM
I spoke with a manager at TTC admissions today, and had another manager call two different parks. The option is still available at the parks ticket booths. There has been no internal memo about the option going away, and none of the managers have been made aware that any changes are forthcoming regarding non-expiring tickets.
From 98.24.31.68 on January 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM
Wow, Thank the Lord I checked this website. I kept hunting until I finally found a page that listed it! I've ordered four to the tune of $2,700. We have one unexpired ticket left (don't know how we ended up with an odd ticket with a family of four). I guess that odd ticket won't be used for years.

We ordered our last batch in 2006. The price for the 10-day park hopper/no expiration has increased $250 (each) since we last bought.

We own a timeshare and have gone to Orlando almost every year. But honestly, since we don't consider it a "trip of a lifetime," we only go to Disney once or twice during the week we are there. The rest of the time we go to our resort pools, Winter Park for lunch, Downtown Disney, etc. We almost always enjoy a different Disney restaurant at one of the hotels on a day we are not at a park. We'll go and explore, eat a nice dinner, and try to time it so we're finished in time to see the fireworks. Disney is making money off of us on our non-park days! To be totally honest, if we did not have the non-expiration tickets, we'd probably go to SeaWorld or Universal more often.

Because we had these tickets in our pockets, we have actually found ourselves making an unscheduled trip when we've stumbled upon an airfare deal (yes, we actually few a couple of years ago for $19/each way!).

I don't fault Disney for wanting to maximize profits (I'm a shareholder), but frankly, this stunt leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, I'm worried I'll get a surprise in a year or two with Disney telling me I'm a second class citizen and can't make dinner reservations or whatever because I have an "old" ticket.

From Anon Mouse on January 11, 2013 at 9:47 PM
I thoroughly evaluated the benefits of the no expire tickets. For most people who are tourists that visit infrequently, it makes no sense to buy no expire tickets. They work best if you visit frequently, at least once or twice within 5 years, and visit no more than 3 day trips. Otherwise, it makes sense to buy an expiring multi-day pass when you visit for 4 days or more and visit very rarely. That additional payment is very costly for the no expire benefit. It is much cheaper for most tourists to get a 4 or 5 day pass since the daily price gets lower to where the difference if extended to the 10th day is barely 20 dollars more.

Having unused tickets lying around is risky. You might forget to use it, or you may lose it.

From 72.241.25.181 on January 11, 2013 at 9:53 PM
I compared prices from Undercover Tourist and I'm not sure the "Never expires" is such a good deal, unless you are going to buy them and hold on for a long time. If you buy a 10 day PH Never Expire at $626.95 - plan to use 5 days now and 5 days later - A 5 day PH is $319.95 - your cost of the first 5 days which leads to the next 5 days costing around $307. You save $13 based on current prices - yet you risk losing the ticket.

Perhaps I'm missing something but I don't see a great appeal - if you wait 10 years then maybe its a good investment?

From Anthony Murphy on January 11, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Eh, it was bound to go.

I think this will combat people trying to resell tickets,

From 76.220.22.31 on January 12, 2013 at 1:16 AM
My family and I love the no-expire option. We have cycled through no-expire tickets with extra days since at least 2002, and have a few still.

The very best reason for getting this option is emotional. When you leave WDW with days still left, or just notice the old tickets in passing in the drawer at home, you KNOW you will DEFINITELY go back to WDW soon. This always makes us feel a little better when we'd rather be at WDW than home...

We will hate to see this option go.

From Eric G on January 12, 2013 at 2:33 AM
It doesn't make a lot of sense to get rid of this option. They charge a significant premium for the no-expiration option. On a 10-day ticket it adds an additional 25% to the price! I'm not convinced it's a good option for 95% of the people out there.

No-expiration tickets are just like gift cards and Disney should not give up on a gold mine. A significant amount of the unused days will never be redeemed. People loose the tickets. People forget they have them. People don't return at all or as often as they thought they would. And best of all Disney can book this revenue at the time of purchase unlike gift cards.

I have unused days from tickets purchased in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2008!

The no expiration option isn't the enabler for ticket resellers or renters. They can clearly work in the 14-day expiration window. Disney is largely to blame for enabling them because the biometrics should make it impossible for the ticket to be used, but clearly someone is making exceptions at the turnstile or these guys would be out of business.

From 74.82.64.160 on January 12, 2013 at 4:29 AM
Hi everyone, The thing that I fear most about this move by Disney is what will Disney do to the Walt Disney World prices in the near future. With a BILLION dollar investment into the new high tech technology, Disney will probably want a real quick return on investment. So I'm really starting to fear of a 105 to 115 dollar one day ticket to get into WDW. All I've got to say, is WDW better be coming up with some new attractions if they raise their prices to those dollar amounts, or ill just take my money to Mr. Harry Potter up the rode.
From 64.12.116.206 on January 12, 2013 at 5:11 AM
Over that last 15 years I have used this option and its wonderful. I still have one visit left from a park hopper purchased in 1992. My visits being a Florida resident were generally two day events. I would purchase 3 day park hoppers with no expiration, that would allow me to use day from old ticket and one day from new ticket and leave me the two days for my next trip. The ticket from 1992 cost $189. Now the only way to go for me as a Florida resident is to purchased the weekday select annual pass.
From 70.215.8.41 on January 12, 2013 at 8:22 AM
I added the no-expiration option to myw tickets I purchased in 2007. I didn't go two of the days so I turned them into non-expiration. I did not forget I had them. I put them in my strongbox where they remained until last January, where I had a lovely 3 night, 4 day stay with my daughter. She was considered a child in '07 but an adult five years later in '12. It was a great savings. I also purchased 7 day non-expiration park hoppers for the two of us, last June before the new price increase. With the $100 in rewards I earned on my Disney Rewards Visa, taking advantage of the value season rate and having my tickets already paid for, my day and a half stay at Disney after a Royal Caribbean cruise did not cost that much. I did go past $100 in spending with souvenirs and dining. So those of you that think short term guests spend less than long term guests, I disagree. And I definately won't forget that I have six days left on those tickets. I would never let unused days sit in a drawer never to be used, especially in this economy. They certainly won't be lost either. They are safely tucked away in my strongbox and pictures taken of the back of the tickets are stored safely away if I ever do lose them.
From janeen d on January 12, 2013 at 8:29 AM
I added the no-expiration option to myw tickets I purchased in 2007. I didn't go two of the days so I turned them into non-expiration. I did not forget I had them. I put them in my strongbox where they remained until last January, where I had a lovely 3 night, 4 day stay with my daughter. She was considered a child in '07 but an adult five years later in '12. It was a great savings. I also purchased 7 day non-expiration park hoppers for the two of us, last June before the new price increase. With the $100 in rewards I earned on my Disney Rewards Visa, taking advantage of the value season rate and having my tickets already paid for, my day and a half stay at Disney after a Royal Caribbean cruise did not cost that much. I did go past $100 in spending with souvenirs and dining. So those of you that think short term guests spend less than long term guests, I disagree. And I definately won't forget that I have six days left on those tickets. I would never let unused days sit in a drawer never to be used, especially in this economy. They certainly won't be lost either. They are safely tucked away in my strongbox and pictures taken of the back of the tickets are stored safely away if I ever do lose them.
From 108.204.153.142 on January 14, 2013 at 1:51 PM
If you click "Chat with Guest Relations" on the WDW website, they tell you that the non-expiring option can still be added at the park ticket booth:

Guest: Hello Lex - I am looking at the website to buy tickets, and I noticed the option to buy a "non-expiring" park hopper is not listed. Is this type of ticket still available?

Lex: It would still be available, but now can only be added in a Theme Park.

Guest: Great, thank you for your help.

From Brian Daugherty on January 16, 2013 at 3:17 PM
In the absence of an official statement from Disney, I think all signs point to it going away. The statement that "they just haven't gotten to adding it to their updated website" is a bunch of hooey. It's gone from the new web site AND it is removed from ticket booth signage. The latter is the big one. Disney is trying to minimize a run on the tickets during the phase out period or they are trying to minimize backlash for the move from the loyalists who remember tickets ALWAYS being non-expiration originally. Either way, this move stinks along with the yearly price increases even in a down economy. Disney needs to lead the way to sanity with a price reset. Ticket costs are absurd for a family. What are they going to be in 2, 3 or 10 years? Disney should lead the way with a roll back to the $70/day ticket. Maybe the parks and parking lots wouldn't be so empty on non-peak days. Lower the price, sell more tickets, get more people in to spend money. Stop the madness!
From Ray Schroeder on January 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM
Come on Disney... Stop being so cheap. I just used my last day of a 10 day park hopper, this past weekend, that I bought in July of '08. I used it when I did a quick weekend trip of four days or less.

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