How to Get Cheap Disney and Universal Tickets

We’ve been inundated with questions from our readers lately — which is GREAT! We’re happy to help you with your queries about saving money on a vacation or the best things to do in your favorite destinations. So, keep those questions (and answers) coming!

One of our latest emails concerns Disney and Universal Orlando in Florida:

My husband and I (both retired) are looking for tickets to Disney and Universal. I’ve looked online and they are so expensive! Any suggestions for less expensive admission tickets would be appreciated!

disneycastleI feel your pain. A one-day Magic Your Way ticket (admission to just one of Disney’s four theme parks) is $79 on the online Walt Disney World Ticket Store. That said, if you buy multiple days worth of Magic Your Way or ParkHopper (allowing you to go to multiple parks in one day) tickets, the daily price drops up to 50 percent when you plan a week’s worth of theme park visits. (But, frankly, do you really want to spend 7 days at Disney World? I doubt it!)

Here are some Disney ticket tips I gathered from a little online research, posts on my Twitter account, and my personal Facebook page. Thanks to everyone who offered advice!

A high-school classmate who lives in Florida noted that for the remainder of the year, you can register online and visit Disney World (or Disneyland) for FREE on your birthday. (Very cool I hadn’t heard of this.)

She also suggested you find a hotel you’d like to stay at and ask if they have room packages that include discounted park tickets

We recommend checking for tickets through your membership at Costco.

One warning: do not buy park tickets from a third party on eBay. Apparently, you cannot confirm how many days are left at the park on the ticket AND there is some sort of high-tech fingerprinting scan (!) used to determine if the ticket has been transferred (which is verboten). Just sounds too risky to me. (Thanks, Suzanne Rowan Kelleher of, for chiming in on that!)

Another go-to resource for anything Disney is Mary Waring’s It’s been my bible for Disney travel for nearly 10 years. Indeed, Mary’s section on Disney World Tickets & Passes is chock full of advice, tips, and tricks.

Lanora also recommends,, and for more Disney advice.

Regarding Universal Orlando (comprised of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure), @tsekuech on Twitter says that auto association members can get discounts at the ticket window, so pack your AAA card. According to the ticket page on the official Universal Orlando site, you can save a few bucks by purchasing in advance online and printing tickets at home. And, like Disney, the more you commit — here, to a two-park pass that can be used for up to a week’s time — the more you save.

Good luck. We hope you have a GREAT vacation in Orlando!

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