Disney World expands date-based pricing to multi-day tickets

September 24, 2018, 12:09 PM · The Walt Disney World Resort this morning announced a new "online vacation-planning destination" for Disney visitors. What does that mean? It means that, starting October 16, tickets to Disney World theme parks will have different prices based on when go... no matter how long you are visiting.

For the past few years, Disney has had date-based pricing for single-day theme park tickets. Those tickets were priced in three tiers: value, regular, and peak, corresponding to attendance levels in the park. But you paid the same price for a multi-day ticket, regardless of whether you visited on a value, regular, or peak attendance day.

That will change next month. When booking a multi-day ticket on DisneyWorld.com, guests will need to commit to the days that they will be visiting, and the price of their ticket will depend upon the first day of their visit.

The website will quote a per-day ticket price, based on the day of the month, much like Disney's website does now for single-day tickets. You will have a certain number of days to use your tickets after that first day, so you do not have to use them on consecutive days.

And if you don't want to commit to a specific start date, you can buy an anytime ticket... but you will end up paying the peak price for that. Here's Disney video "how to" guide:

Disney will allow visitors to browse the pricing calendars to find the cheapest available tickets, which means the Disney World ticket page serves as an effective free crowd calendar for the parks.

Now, what will those ticket prices be, after this change goes into effect? The mock-up on Disney's video shows per-day prices on four-day tickets ranging from $81 to $97, as compared to the current base price of $95 a day for four-day tickets. But the mock up disclaims "prices shown do not reflect actual pricing," which should be obvious from the calendar showing lower prices for the peak-attendance Thanksgiving week. So, yeah, don't be looking for clues there.

Replies (22)

September 24, 2018 at 12:43 PM

Incredible!!! Disney grasping at pennies in a move that will just push more people away. Why should a guest visiting during an off-peak period have to pay peak prices just because they don't want to commit to starting their vacation on a specific day? If I'm visiting during a week when every day is at the off-peak price, I should be able to visit any day that the off-peak price is applicable.

What happens if our flight is delayed, or something else happens that prevents us from visiting our first park on the first scheduled day of our vacation? Do I lose that admission day? Do I lose all my admission days?
Do I have to pay a fee for not showing up on that first day? If I go the next day will the cast members at the turnstiles send me to the ticket booth to buy a new ticket?

Disney is essentially trying to collect a small amount of revenue at the risk of annoying guests even further. Clearly this is an intermediate step towards a year from now when Disney is forcing guests to declare precisely which days (and perhaps times and parks) guests will be visiting WDW. So much for "Magic Your Way".

September 24, 2018 at 12:52 PM

I've been pretty OK with most of how the Mouse manages ticket sales, but this just annoys the crap out of me. Buying tickets should not be so complicated.

September 24, 2018 at 12:54 PM

And we move one step closer to an airline pricing model. Maybe Disney can start charging people for bringing bags into the park, too?

September 24, 2018 at 1:16 PM

Absolutely Robert...On the surface this appears to be a minor change forcing guests to declare when the first day they visit WDW will be, but in reality this could be the start of something far more intrusive and annoying.

The real question is what is Disney gaining by doing this? The increase in revenue seems to be rather minimal, and this move is unlikely to impact crowd levels significantly since you'll still be able to use subsequent days of a multi-day ticket over the course of probably 10 to 14 days. So guests who arrive on a Wednesday with 3-day tickets could still use the last 2 days on Saturday and Sunday, meaning Disney still has little control on crowds from day to day (just season to season/week to week). It seems pretty clear to me that Disney is trying to slowly move to a more rigid pricing model that will force guests to purchase tickets for specific days and parks, eliminating any flexibility that is gained through the purchase of a multi-day ticket unless you're willing to pay extra for one without restrictions. With FP+ in place, they could even control the hours guests can be in the parks by turning off attraction access on their MagicBands and RFID tickets.

Who knows where this rabbit hole leads, but it definitely looks like the Queen of Hearts might be on the other side wearing Mickey gloves shaking down guests for every penny in their pocket. Disney is quickly losing sight of why their theme parks have so many fans.

September 24, 2018 at 1:17 PM

ROBERT (I don't know your middle name, but assume it's listed here) NILES!!! Do Not Give Them Any IDEAS!

September 24, 2018 at 1:22 PM

That is a great idea Robert, they also should sell 2 park tickets to larger guests.

September 24, 2018 at 1:52 PM

The video shows "flexible starting day" for $50.00 per ticket. I wonder if they will just offer trip insurance too after a while. I also wonder how long it will take for Universal to do the same thing.

September 24, 2018 at 1:54 PM

"Clearly this is an intermediate step towards a year from now when Disney is forcing guests to declare precisely which days (and perhaps times and parks) guests will be visiting WDW."

Russell, Disney is already making people declare when and where they are going to be while on vacation. It is achieved by the use of FastPass+. You need to tell Disney what day you wish to be in which park and at what times.The first visit my wife and I made to Orlando was truly magical, now you need to line up to see the characters that used to roam freely thru the park. We have a trip planned for this Easter so I guess I had better purchase my multi-day tickets now and not take the chance on prices, I can't see Easter break not qualifying as "peak" time.

September 24, 2018 at 1:54 PM

This is going to be a nightmare to sell, even more confused guests than we now have. And from what it looks like, the 14 day expiration period is going away too.

September 24, 2018 at 2:18 PM

It's as we have predicted for many a month .... Disney is seeing how far they can push the envelope. The vast majority of WDW visitors will just shrug their shoulders and move on. What else can they do ? It's easy pickings for Disney.
I'm an every couple of years 4-day pass visitor, so I'll be interested to see if they try and restrict my visiting days this time next year when I plan to get one. At the moment it's the usual buy now, use first time by the end of Dec 2019, and then I have 6 months to use the other 3 days. At $61/day (FL resident) it's still good value .... at the moment !?!?

September 24, 2018 at 2:31 PM

I really don't get any of this crap that Disney has been pulling out over the last decade. The fastpass, the maxpass, the online ordering, the advance reservations and now the super complicated ticket pricing. For a company with an amazing reputation in hospitality, they've really gone out of their way to make a visit to one of their parks infinitely more complicated than it needs to be. Seriously I have no interest in selecting where I want to eat at what time or which rides I want to ride on which days months in advance. And now this nonsense. Thank you Disney for using technology to overly complicate what should be an enjoyable experience.

September 24, 2018 at 2:41 PM

Disney can't refuse entry on selected days. Otherwise, they have to issue day passes to come back later. What if most people just want to visit Magic Kingdom? They are sold out, then what?

September 24, 2018 at 4:14 PM

There will be a new tighter limit on when multi-day tickets can be used. A 2-day ticket will have to be used up within 4 days, a 3-day ticket within 5 days, 4 within 7, 5 within 8, etc. (I don't know the effect on a FL-resident pass.)

The 1-day 1-park ticket prices for all parks (EPCOT, DAK, DHS) are going up to the MK's prices, $109-$119-$129.

September 24, 2018 at 5:02 PM

You guys might want to consider booking through someone in the UK. The only price difference I'm seeing on dates is as the new year happens (add about 10% from Jan 1)

Bear in mind all UK prices include tax (20% VAT), so prices may be better value than they seem.... They also include Memory Maker.

Before new year from https://www.disneyholidays.co.uk

Adult (10+)Child (3-9)
7-Day Ultimate Ticket
£365.00 (478.88USD) £345.00 (452.64USD)
£53/Day (69.54USD) £50/Day (65.60USD)

14-Day Ultimate Ticket (Supposedly exclusive to UK & Ireland)
£379.00 (497.22USD) £359.00(471.07USD)
£28/Day (36.74USD) £26/Day(34.11USD)

21-Day Ultimate Ticket
£405.00(531.36USD) £385.00(505.12USD)
£20/Day(26.24USD) £19/Day(24.93USD)

You'll need someone with a UK address and might need to access the site through a VPN.

September 25, 2018 at 7:27 AM

I assume they will honour any tickets we have already bought? And can we buy the old style tickets between now and 16th October? And if so, why have they given us so much warning? They don’t usually give any warning do they?

September 25, 2018 at 7:55 AM

For me the prices its really not the problem, but the period they can be used. It should ne at least, double time: 5 tikets 10 days, 6 tickets 12 days. For example if I buy 5 tickets (usually do this way Epcot, Hollywood, AK and 2 days os MK) I'll have ony 8 days to do all parks. It is very tiring! Specially with kids or elderly people. We used to do one park day, one rest day. The only way we can really enjoy the experience without feeling exausted. So sad with Disney now :(

September 25, 2018 at 10:28 AM

"Why should a guest visiting during an off-peak period have to pay peak prices just because they don't want to commit to starting their vacation on a specific day? If I'm visiting during a week when every day is at the off-peak price, I should be able to visit any day that the off-peak price is applicable."

You're not committed to starting your vacation on a specific day. Instead, you're committing the ticket validity period to start on a specific day. You don't have to visit a park on that first day, however the validity of the ticket starts on that chosen day. So, if you want to visit in a week that is off-peak, then choose the start of that week; the price is based on that first day which will be an off-peak price.

The only issue here is that the tickets will now have variable validity periods based on the number of days selected. So, if you want the tickets to be valid over a 1 week period, you're going to have to buy at least a 4 day ticket. And that's how Disney is going to make it's money - by forcing people to get slightly longer tickets in order to ensure the validity covers their entire vacation.

September 25, 2018 at 10:41 AM

The new pricing is complicated. If I price a package for 7 nights, I can get the park passes included... If I change the dates, even a couple months in advance, they may change my package price due to it being on busy dates. I agree that this isn’t reflecting on the “Magic Your Way” theme.

I understand that they want to move the crowds to cheaper (less crowded) days. But with that, they irritate the guests. Maybe they should concentrate on providing more attractions and rides. Make it so they more guests can be accommodated. But then, they would need more cast members... Costs go up. Or maybe they’re trying to get more cash to pay the cast members a higher wage? Or maybe the higher wages/salary is targeted for management!

What would Walt have thought of this idea?

As for Vaughn’s comments on Fast Passes... I got the Fast Passes I wanted in the Animal Kingdom, but the three I wanted are all on Different Days. I couldn’t get them on any single day for the week I will be there in early November. I’m really learning to HATE the fast pass concept. Paying Extra for the Park Hopper costs a lot. But it also costs a LOT of time to change parks. If I buy ANY ticket, I’m paying for that time. Why are they charging for Park Hopping? Maybe it’s to discourage the guest from using it? Or are they just greedy?

September 25, 2018 at 11:24 AM

its the same at universal Hollywood. to buy tickets you pick a day you want to go and pay that price. weekdays are cheaper than weekends. I see the point for vacationers paying a different price for the days of there vacation. but for one day people it works, find the cheapest day and go.

September 25, 2018 at 12:25 PM

"its the same at universal Hollywood. to buy tickets you pick a day you want to go and pay that price."

Except that is just for single day tickets, which is what WDW was doing prior to this announcement. This new pricing scheme now applies the seasonal pricing to multiday tickets, forcing guests to designate when they will be arriving for a multi-day visit. Using seasonal pricing for single day tickets made sense to try to limit/manage the "walk up" crowd. However, this really doesn't make much sense from a logistical perspective, because guests visiting for a week are not likely to shift their vacation dramatically based on a few dollars difference on the cost of a multi-day ticket. This is clearly just a way for Disney to further squeeze guests' budgets, and to make an already complicated prospect of visiting WDW even more so.

September 26, 2018 at 3:18 PM

I have a dumb question...how does (if it does) affect packages bought through Disney. Right now with tickets included in packages you can go to any park, any day. Will this change to having to decide which park to visit on which day now?

September 26, 2018 at 8:43 PM

I think I got this figured out. This is aimed at the people that stay off property. Figure your package price is already based on the time of year and they have you on their property pretty much all the time you are there so you spend your money at Disney. The other problem after seeing some of the other things that have been going on with Disney, I think their management has lost the vision of the Walt's and the Disney family vision. I don't belabor a company that wants to make money as that is there goal, but when they undercut their values to do so that makes me upset.

I am surprised that they still have a three tier pricing. As I have been there at all times of the year now and I don't see any difference in the size crowds in the park. This may be Disney getting ready to dump the whole tier program and charge maximum pricing for tickets.

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