Tickets for Walt Disney World
Pinocchio delights guests during the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida

Walt Disney World Tickets

A Brilliant Guide from Wishful Thinking

QUICK JUMP:

In our Brilliant Guides, we simplify things. Get expert tips for first-timers & returning guests. Perfect for Disney newcomers & travelers from abroad, we cover the basics & highlight what matters most.

In our Brilliant Guides, we simplify things. Get expert tips for first-timers & returning guests. Perfect for Disney newcomers & travelers from abroad, we cover the basics & highlight what matters most.

QUICK JUMP:

Walt Disney World Tickets

Theme park tickets, water park tickets, special event tickets, holiday party tickets, food festival tickets and more — Walt Disney World has just the ticket for you.

THEME PARK TICKETS

Don’t end up with the wrong park tickets. We’ll help you make the right choices for any budget.

We’ll start with the most crucial info, then dig into the nitty-gritty details.

What’s included? A park ticket gives you access to all park attractions, rides, shows, live performances, parades, nighttime spectaculars, and character experiences. 

What’s not included? Parking, food, drinks, souvenirs. These all incur an additional cost.

Where are the tickets valid? A standard Walt Disney World theme park ticket is valid for entry at any of Disney’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. Regular tickets are the same price no matter where you intend to use them. They are not valid at theme parks beyond Walt Disney World (Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, etc).

A Park Pass theme park reservation is currently required for entry — for now.  Disney limits the attendance at each park each day. Therefore, to maintain control on how many guests enter each park on a given day, Disney needs to know when and where you plan to use your tickets. You’ll need to decide in advance: which park(s) will you visit? On which day? Those reservations are called a Park Pass theme park reservation, and although Disney announced in the spring of 2023 that they’ll be changing this system, it’s still in place for now.  Learn all about the Park Pass reservation system ▸

NEW:  1 Park Per Day Ticket | Disney has recently begun to sell single-day, 1 Park Per Day dated tickets which are only valid on a specific date at a specific theme park that you select at the time of purchase. These tickets are dynamically priced, which means that a day at the Magic Kingdom may be more expensive, say, than Animal Kingdom on the date that you select. If you purchase this type of ticket, a Theme Park reservation for that park is included. 

Tickets are electronic. Tickets are not pieces of paper; they’re a digital product, similar to an airline “e-ticket.” During your time in the park, you can physically link your ticket to a free plastic card that looks like credit card / hotel room key. iPhone / Apple Watch / Android Google Pay users may also link their ticket to their smartphones or smartwatch. Additionally, you may purchase a wearable tech bracelet — called a MagicBand — and link it there.  Learn about MagicBand  

You use them throughout day. Your tickets aren’t only used for park entry — you’ll scan your plastic ticket or MagicBand when you enter the park, and then you may scan your park ticket (or MagicBand) to connect your online profile with in-park photo experiences, character experiences, or dining reservations.

Everyone needs one. Everyone (3 years of age or above) needs a theme park ticket to get into any of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks. Even if you have a dining reservation at one of the restaurants within a park, you still need a theme park ticket to get in.

Arrive when you like. With most tickets, you can enter or exit the park at any time of its opening hours; they’re valid for a full day. However, some special reduced-price tickets only allow you to enter the park after 12:00 noon.

Come and go. All ticket holders can depart and re-enter as many times as they like on the same day. No matter what type of ticket you have, after you’ve entered a park, you’re free to leave and then return to that same park at no charge. It’s common for guests to exit the parks to visit nearby resort hotels for afternoon naps, a dip in the pool, or a relaxing meal.

Optional upgrade: visit multiple parks. With a Park Hopper ticket, you can visit any or all of the four theme parks on the same day. This is a popular add-on, and If you do add this benefit to a multi-day ticket, it will be available for all your theme park days. (In other words, you can’t purchase a 5 day ticket but only add the ParkHopper for one of those days. It’s all or nothing.) As of 2021, park hopping is now permitted after 2 PM local time until the parks close.

Optional upgrade: multiple parks + water parks. With the Park Hopper Plus ticket, you receive the park hopping benefits above, PLUS entry tickets which you can use at either of Disney World’s incredible water parks or family-friendly miniature golf courses. You receive an entry for each day of a multi-day ticket.

So, for example, if you buy a 4 day ticket with the Park Hopper Plus option, in addition to your 4 days in the theme parks, you’ll also receive 4 complimentary entries to either Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Fantasia Gardens mini golf, or Winter Summerville mini golf. (You can use your entry vouchers on the same day that you enter a theme park, but many guests prefer to use them on the days when they don’t enter a theme park.) It’s an incredible value; typically, you can add this option for about the cost of a one-day ticket to a water park. Learn more about Disney’s water parks ▸

You don’t have to use multi-day tickets on back-to-back days. All multi-day tickets allow you take days off in between use, and Disney will clearly communicate when the ticket’s validity expires (the final use date varies depending on how many days are on your ticket). For example, if you have a 7-night hotel stay but a 4-day ticket, you could use your tickets on your first, second, fourth, and sixth days of your stay. It’s up to you. Multi-day tickets with the Park Hopper Plus add-on have even more days of validity, so you can enjoy full days in the water parks.

Choose from 1 to 12 days. You may select single-day tickets or multi-day, and it’s always more cost-effective to buy multi-day tickets rather than pay for each visit one day at a time. If you like, you can upgrade to add additional days to your ticket, and you’ll just pay the additional cost.

The more days you buy, the more you save. As of 2023, a single-day park ticket begins at $109. However, once you get above 4 and 5 days, the cost per day declines dramatically. The price difference between a 6-day and a 7-day ticket is just an additional $30.

Single-day tickets — for just one park — are priced differently. Disney is now selling single-day tickets with dynamic pricing for each park. The pricing for these tickets varies on when you’re visiting. In short, the most-visited park (Magic Kingdom) on the most-attended days (like the holidays) will have higher-priced tickets than the least-visited park (Animal Kingdom) on the least-attended days. This is Disney’s way to incentivize guests to visit their less popular parks. Those who purchase this type of ticket do not need Park Pass theme park reservations.

Ready to buy park tickets? Set up your ticket order  ▸

WATER PARK TICKETS

Is it best to buy water park tickets individually, or add it onto a Park Hopper? We’ll make it simple.

All Orlando visitors and locals — even those who have no other Disney plans — are welcome to visit these terrific water parks. Many simply buy a ticket for the day, but because Florida residents often receive promotional ticket offers, the weekends tend to draw a number of local Orlando residents. 

Water Park ticket prices: beginning at $69 per day for adults, and $63 for kids.

Where to buy tickets: at the park entry gate, as part of a Park Hopper Plus upgrade, or as part of a water parks annual pass.

What’s included: Admission includes access to all the park’s pools, water slides, beaches, public lounge chairs, changing rooms, and showers. If you’re a Disney resort hotel guest, fresh towels are complimentary. For all other guests, a towel rental is a small charge. 

What’s not included: lockers (which you may rent for an entire day, and access as many times as you like), food & drinks, sunscreen, etc.

Explore the water parksLearn more about Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach ▸

Buy tickets now | Wishful Thinking can set up your water park tickets ▸

Rapunzel smiles from a passing character cavalcade in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

HOLIDAY PARTIES

From late August to late December, the best Disney trips can include tickets to Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. But are they worth the extra cost? 

For many years, Walt Disney World has hosted two seasonal parties which take over the Magic Kingdom for an evening — one for Halloween and one for Christmas. Here are the answers to the questions you’re probably asking.

What are the Magic Kingdom holiday parties all about? The concept is fairly simple. The Magic Kingdom stays open extra late, exclusively for those who have a special separate ticket. During the party, a whole bunch of extra cool stuff happens.

Are all the rides, attractions & shows running? No, but almost all of them are.

Beyond the rides & attractions, what does the event include? Unique entertainment, character appearances, enhanced seasonal decorations, and unlimited free snacks (trick-or-treat candy at Halloween, holiday snacks at Christmas). The event also includes a holiday parade, a unique castle forecourt stage show with Disney characters, and a unique holiday-themed fireworks show.

Do you still need a regular theme park ticket to visit the theme park that day? No. These events are known as a “hard ticket” event. You buy your ticket separately. During the daytime hours, you’re welcome to use a normal theme park ticket (or an annual pass) to enter the Magic Kingdom. But after the park’s regular operating hours have concluded for the day, holiday party ticket holders have exclusive access to the park. (Typically, there’s about two hours of overlap where the day’s regular guests are still in the park and the new event guests have begun to enter.)

Do I need to choose a specific date when I buy a holiday party ticket? Yes. they’re only valid for the date you select. On average, they’re offered about 3 nights a week. 

Realistically, how busy is the park? Not very busy at all. Most attractions are a ‘walk on,’ which means there’s no wait. You might see occasional short waits for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Jungle Cruise, Peter Pan’s Flight — or the attractions which enjoy holiday-themed layovers.

How many hours does a holiday party last? On a typical evening, the parties are 5 hours long.

When can holiday party ticket holders enter the Magic Kingdom? Ticket holders may enter the Magic Kingdom beginning at 4:00 PM. 

How much do Disney holiday party tickets cost? Tickets range in price depending on the date. In 2023, tickets range from $109 – $199.

Some guests replace a theme park day with a party ticket. If a full day in the Magic Kingdom isn’t a priority for you, it might be smart to replace one of your theme park days with a holiday party ticket instead. This won’t necessarily save you money. However, with this plan, you could spend the day at one of the water parks or relax at your resort hotel. At night, experience the highlights of the Magic Kingdom with virtually no lines. 

Other guests use a party ticket to create an epic “Best Day Ever.”  If a marathon day at the Magic Kingdom appeals to you, you might want to enter the park at opening, then remain in the park until well beyond midnight with your event ticket.  

All things considered, are Magic Kingdom’s holiday parties worth it? Many guests think so, which is why nearly every date sells out well in advance. The late-night hours probably aren’t the best choice for guests with small kids. But teenagers and adults love the chance to ride the park’s most popular attractions back-to-back. When you add in the unique parade and fireworks, the parties add up to become a major crowd-pleaser.

Wishful Thinking can set up your tickets. No need to wait on the phone or get stuck in a digital queue. We’ll handle everything for you, and our help is free.

Set up a ticket order for a Magic Kingdom holiday party ▸

DINING EXPERIENCES 

Can you serve a dessert with fireworks? Disney can. Tickets are limited, so let’s discuss dessert parties, fireworks dining packages, and themed dinners with a wine sommelier, or a hollerin’ Hoop-Dee-Doo!

Within Walt Disney World’s terrific restaurants and unforgettable food festivals, a select number of ticket dining events are offered throughout the year. In recent years, Disney’s been truly flexing their creativity with unique, themed dining events. Here’s a quick overview of what’s happened in recent years, along with the best ways to add these events to your itinerary.

NIGHTTIME SPECTACULAR DESSERT PARTIES

If you’ve ever smushed yourself into a crowded area to see Disney’s legendary nighttime fireworks, you know what a potential headache it can be. Especially if you’ve got tired, cranky kids who simply want to see what’s overhead. That’s why Disney began offering special VIP viewing areas to a select number of guests who book one of their dessert parties or dining packages.

What’s a Dessert Party? A dessert party is essentially a mix & mingle spread, paired with by a VIP viewing area. The party includes an invitation to an exclusive, all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet table overflowing with delectable treats — both sweet and savory — along with access to the park’s very best viewing areas for the nighttime spectacular. Your time frame to enjoy the desserts, snack and drinks could happen before or after the spectacular, depending on which ticket you select. 

Standing or sitting | The Pre-Party and After-Party fireworks viewing areas asks guests to stand; if you prefer to sit down to view the fireworks, select the Treats & Seats option. 

Limited schedule & availability | It’s important to know that dessert parties are not scheduled every night of the week (and from August through December, the Magic Kingdom fireworks themselves are not scheduled every night of the week). They often — but not always — sell out in advance. Visit the links below to view the availability calendar and reserve your spot.

The current dessert parties include:

  • Happily Ever After | Magic Kingdom | Available for two time-slots: the pre-party (before the fireworks) or the post-party (after the fireworks)
NIGHTTIME SPECTACULAR DINING PACKAGES
 

What’s a Dining Package? Not to be confused with the Dining Plan, a Dining Package is essentially just a restaurant reservation with an added perk. For a set price, your pre-fixe meal includes appetizer, entrée, dessert and unlimited beverages with a spectacular location to enjoy the fireworks or evening spectacular.

Dining Packages currently feature premium seating for Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios:

Learn more about the Fantasmic! dining packages▸ 

LIVE DINING EVENT SHOWS

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue | This timeless dinner show premiered at Walt Disney World in 1974. It’s a throwback, hootin’ and hollerin’ vaudeville show. Expect light-hearted family-friendly humor and heavy dollops of some delicious Americana. On the menu? An all-you-care-to-enjoy feast of American food that sticks to your ribs: fried chicken, cornbread, barbeque ribs, corn, and all the fixin’s. When it’s time for dessert, the talented cast not only serves strawberry shortcake, they sing it. The whole thing is a homespun hanky of fun, positive energy. Very highly recommended.

To book tickets (up to 60 days in advance, or 60+ all the days of your Disney resort hotel stay) visit MyDisneyExperience ▸  

EPCOT FESTIVAL DINING EVENTS

Especially during Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Disney offers tickets to select cooking demonstrations, unique food & wine pairings, and interactive hands-on cooking classes. Tickets to these events are limited, and prices range from $45 to $200 or more. 

For help adding an event meal or dining package reservation, say hello online or shoot us an email ▸  

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL

Opening this fall, Drawn to Life is the first collaborative production between the celebrated live theater troupe and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Drawn to Life is the newest creation of Cirque du Soleil, a Montreal-based circus theatre troupe that has served as artists in residence at Disney Springs since 1998. Sit down to enjoy an innovative live theater show with an incredibly talented cast of acrobats, musicians, dancers, and illusionists.

Drawn to Life – the story | The show tells the story of a determined girl who discovers one last gift left by her animator father: a sequence of unfinished drawings. Guided by a magical pencil and a quirky troupe of imaginative muses, she embarks on an inspiring quest filled with her childhood Disney memories. We’ll follow her as she leaps into a whimsical world of animation and discovers new possibilities that animate the story of her future.

Theater Location | Drawn to Life is performed in a modern “big top” circus tent theater on the West Side of Disney Springs

Performance Schedule | Through mid-2022, performances are scheduled for Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Typically there are two performances each day, one at 5:30 PM and another at 8:30 PM. There are no shows on Sundays or Mondays. This schedule is subject to change.

Ticket Prices | Tickets range from $85 – $185, depending on the location of your reserved seats when you buy your tickets. It’s cheaper to sit further away from the stage. Guests age 3 – 9 receive discounted tickets, and children 2 and younger are free (provided they sit in the lap of a caregiver).

Appropriate for All Ages | Drawn to Life is a family-friendly theater piece that’s designed to entertain guests of all ages.

Purchase tickets | Currently, all ticketing for Drawn to Life is via Cirque de Soleil’s own ticketing site▸  

 

GUIDED TOURS

You won’t become a true Disney insider until you’ve gone backstage. On private guided tours, you can dine on the savannah, scuba with dolphins, or venture into the underground tunnels of the Magic Kingdom.

There are nearly two dozen different “behind the scenes” tours available at Walt Disney World, and these fun-filled and informative walks have become the real mark of a Disney insider.

When you’re welcoming millions of guests each year from around the world to a private resort the size of San Francisco, it’s no wonder that it takes much more than mere magic to pull off what Disney does every single day. Disney’s fascinating tours offer you the chance to peek behind the curtain and go “back stage.” The topics are varied, from the fascinating history of Walt’s original vision to the nitty gritty realities of how Disney cares for families of African Elephants and Rhinoceroses. 

Here’s a quick list of some of the tours you can book:

  • Behind the Seeds | Inside the greenhouses of EPCOT’s Land pavilion
  • Caring for Giants | Meet the Animal Kingdom’s elephants & their skilled veterinarians  
  • Keys to the Kingdom | Take a 5-hour walking tour behind the scenes at the Magic Kingdom 
  • Dolphins in Depth | A 2-hour experience where you swim with EPCOT’s dolphins and meet with their animal care team
  • Up Close with Rhinos | At Animal Kingdom, come face-to-face with these gentle giants
  • Wild Africa Trek | Enjoy a VIP walking tour through the Animal Kingdom animal savannahs 

Advance tickets are required for all tours, and they tend to fill up well in advance. For guidance and recommendations about which tours might be the best fit for you, send us a message ▸ 

A tiger shelters in a rainforest within the Magic Kingdom's attraction

KEY QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Walt Disney World in 2024 & 2025

When is the best time to visit? How busy will it be in the theme parks?

Why should I book a hotel on-property vs. off-property?

What’s located at each theme park? What’s a must at Disney Springs?

What rides, dining, & experiences are most popular & need reservations?

How can I combine park tickets, dining, and hotel stays to save money?

What are realistic tips for transportation and getting places on time?

How much do park tickets cost? Which ticket options save money?

When & where do I use the smartphone app, Genie+ and MagicBand?

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  • Bright. We’re nerd-level experts on Disney’s past, present and future.
  • Talented. We’ve been designing travel itineraries around the globe for 15 years.
  • Realistic. We help you prepare for everything and set honest expectations.
  • Whimsical. Spontaneous fun often produces our most treasured memories.
  • Inspiring. We’re still kids at heart who believe in the power of dreams.

It’s never too early to start planning!

Flying boy who doesn't want to grow up
Flying boy who doesn't want to grow up

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Wishful Thinking is an affiliate of Looking Glass Travel, a Gold Authorized Disney Vacation Planning agency, and an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner..

Disney pays us to help plan your trip, from your first wish list until your departure. We’ll even assist you during your vacation until you’re happily back home.

Our trip planning is free. When you book a Disney vacation through us, you’ll pay the same price as if you booked it on your own, yet enjoy the bliss of a talented Wishful Thinking travel planner.

A Wishful Thinking travel planner is:

  • Bright. We’re nerd-level experts on Disney’s past, present and future.
  • Talented. We’ve been designing travel itineraries around the globe for 15 years.
  • Realistic. We help you prepare for everything and set honest expectations.
  • Whimsical. Spontaneous fun often produces our most treasured memories.
  • Inspiring. We’re still kids at heart who believe in the power of dreams.

It’s never too early to start planning!

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