Thrifty Thursday: Buyer Beware When it Comes to Disney World Tickets


As a travel professional, I am asked all the time about where to buy discounted Disney World tickets and I have to say that this is a question that always makes me cringe a bit because you know that saying about “you get what you pay for”? If there is one thing that you have to be SUPER careful about when it comes to saving money on your Disney vacation, it’s where you buy your tickets. On a regular basis I read about folks who got ripped off trying to save money buying Disney tickets somewhere…only to find out that the tickets they bought were worthless. What a less-than-magical way to start a vacation, to say nothing of the money that was lost buying supposedly “discount Disney tickets” that were not valid. It’s sad, but unfortunately people just don’t know…and so they get taken advantage of.

I love talking about ways to save money on a Disney vacation, and I will gladly tell you where you can save money. There are ways to save money on Disney tickets…and there are also places you need to steer clear of. I’ve written about this in the past, but it’s SUCH an important topic, I’m going to revisit it again today.

Buy From a Travel Agent or From Disney

It may seem obvious, but this is always where to start. Disney periodically offers packages that include tickets, and sometimes meals too…and you need to start by comparing what you would pay for a package vs. buying everything separately. In the past, for example, Disney has had a “Kids Stay and Play Free” offer that could be quite a savings for a family, especially with a number of children that received tickets at no cost. Ask your travel agent about current promotions, and for advice with choosing the right ticket for your family. You can also order your tickets from the Disney website in advance, if you already know what you want. The most important thing here is that you need to buy them in advance so that they can be linked to your My Disney Experience so that you can make FastPasses….plus they just cost more at the gate anyway!

Buy From a Reputable Ticket Agency

Authorized ticket brokers are able to sell tickets for less money than gate prices because they buy tickets in bulk from each attraction and theme park, and these large quantities enable them to receive discounts which they then pass on to their customers. An authorized Disney ticket agency will display the Disney logo and the “authorized ticket agent” designation. Authorized Disney ticket agencies will also sell tickets that can be linked to My Disney Experience. If it doesn’t say that they can be linked, do not buy!

In addition, check to see if the business belongs to the local Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau, as this is a good indication of the company’s standing in the community. It’s also worth it to see that they have been in business for at least several years.

“If it Looks Too Good to be True…..”

They key to saving money on Disney tickets is frankly to remember what your mother always told you: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.” So when doing your research, know that you will find websites with prices that are lower than the gate prices at Disney…but use some caution: if they are so low they are unbelievable, you should assume that it’s a scam. You can also take a look at the URL on the website: many scams originate in Romania (you will see an .ro at the end of the URL), where they will usually request that you pay by wire transfer, which is a huge red flag. Always buy discount Walt Disney World tickets with a credit card, so that you can get your money back if there is any problem.

Do You Really Want to Sit Through a Timeshare Presentation?

A standard way that many ticket brokers provide tickets for practically nothing is to require the buyer to sit through a lengthy timeshare presentation first. Be sure to read the fine print at the bottom of the website where it will disclose if they are soliciting for timeshares. It’s certainly not a problem if they are, nor is it a problem if that’s something you want to do…just make certain you know upfront before you commit. (Keep in mind that this strategy would also mean that you wouldn’t get your tickets until after you sat through the presentation…so again, you aren’t able to link to My Disney Experience prior to your trip….so that’s another reason to avoid this option.)

Never Buy From Craigslist and eBay

Anyone who is familiar with Craigslist or eBay will know that really cheap Disney theme park tickets are available on these sites on a regular basis. But buyer beware! The problem with buying discount Walt Disney World tickets from eBay or Craiglist is that there is literally no way that you can be certain that you will get tickets that are valid…until you go to add them to your My Disney Experience OR get to the park gate and try to use them. Either way, you’ve already paid before you know if the ticket is valid….and chances are the person you bought them from is long gone in order for you to get your money back.

Part of planning an affordable Disney vacation is saving money and planning to get the most for that money while you are there. Another equally important element, in my opinion, is to protect the vacation investment that you are making. When it comes to your Disney park tickets, shop smart and buy smart. Happy Planning!

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