Monday, February 11, 2019

Disney's 4 Day Ticket Special Offer - Is it worth it?

Plus, Disney closes FastPass+ loophole!


Disney is offering a special deal on a 4 day park ticket for select dates in 2019.  What's the catch?  Well, the ticket includes one day admission to each of the 4 parks of Walt Disney World.  In other words, you can only visit each park once.  This forces guests to spread their park touring across the board.  The assumption can easily be made that park attendance is disproportionate and Disney is attempting to even that out.  Well, we all know attendance is not even across all 4 parks.

Magic Kingdom sees the most guests, and this is to be expected.  Disney was successful in increasing park attendance at Animal Kingdom with the opening of Pandora - The World of Avatar in 2017.  I have not yet seen data on 2018 attendance, but it's safe to assume Hollywood Studios saw a bump up in the number of guests after the opening of Toy Story Land.  Star Wars Land is scheduled to open late in the fall of 2019 as part of Hollywood Studios, and interestingly, Disney's special 4 day ticket offer ends on September 30, 2019.  It should be noted that as part of this offer, tickets must be used within 7 days of the first day of use.

Let's talk money.  There are three different pricing options dependent on dates for this deal.  As one would expect, the less expensive pricing coincides with predicted slower times.  For purposes of this analysis, let's look at the most expensive of the three, which is available for popular summer dates.  An overall cost analysis is difficult here due to the constant price changes so I'm going to pick a specific week and we're going to look at that.

Week of June 24, 2019

Cost of 4 day park special offer ticket (aka 4 Park Magic Summer Ticket):
  • Adult - $380
  • Child - $360
Cost of a regular 4 day ticket (no hopper option) through WDW:
  • Adult - $406
  • Child - $389
Cost of regular 4 day ticket (no hopper option) through Undercover Tourist:
  • Adult - $405
  • Child - $388 
Two very interesting items to note:
  1. Your savings per ticket under the special offer is $26 per adult and $29 per child.  For us, as a family of five "Disney" adults, our total savings would be $130, or $6.50 per person per day.  
  2. Whenever I refer friends and family to Undercover Tourist for tickets, I always throw in the caveat that tickets may actually cost the same through Disney.  You should always compare costs through different ticket outlets before making your purchase.  

Is this "special offer" really saving you that much?  The answer to this is going to vary person to person.  My assumption is that this deal is aimed towards first time visitors, who typically plan to spend one day at each park, and if this is you, than it would save you some money.  If this isn't you, you have to ask if $6.50 per person per day is worth the loss of freedom in deciding which parks to visit.  If you've been to Disney before, you may decide to skip a certain park and spend more than one day at your favorite.  

Keep this in mind!

Did you know that the longer you stay at Disney, it becomes less expensive per day.  This is with respect to park tickets, of course.

Check this out:

6 day park ticket through WDW:
  • Adult - $436
  • Child - $418
6 day park ticket through Undercover Tourist:
  • Adult - $436
  • Child - $411  
Those costs are for June 24, 2019, the same week as above.

For an additional $56 you can add two days onto your adult park ticket.  That will give you a cost per day of $72.67 versus the cost per day of $95 under the special 4 day ticket offer.

I would suggest coming up with a total budget of what you can spend on your vacation and then breaking that down into different categories such as transportation, hotel, food, and park tickets.  Of course adding 2 days onto your vacation will increase your cost with respect to hotel and food, but there are some families who schedule down (or no park) days and may not realize that adding more days onto their park tickets causes the cost per day to decrease.  

Okay, let's move on to a bit of important FastPass+ news.  Last week, Disney announced that when guests cancel their resort reservations, their FastPass+ reservations will also be canceled.  Sooooo, apparently, people have been booking resort rooms, making their FP+ reservations at the 60 day mark and then canceling their resort rooms and staying at non-Disney properties.  Say what!  I actually had never, ever thought of this.

I've known for awhile now how there are guests who book campsites at Fort Wilderness simply for the benefits, such as booking FP+ at the 60 day mark, but they don't actually camp there.  That one doesn't bother me personally as they are paying for the benefit, but I do know it bothers those who actually want to stay at Fort Wilderness but cannot because it's booked up with people who aren't even going to stay there.  The resort room cancelation trick is on a different level though.  There must be a whole unethical underground system out there that I am completely unaware of.

That being said, I am aware of those who take advantage of Disney's guest assistance program.  When I was researching using a stroller as a wheelchair for Anna, I discovered that most guests remain vague when describing this benefit and they encourage others to do the same, to keep the scammers from collecting too much information.

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