With the cost of a ticket now nearing $100 for Orlando’s major attractions, it seems increasingly impossible for an average family to take on a vacation in Florida. I’ve compiled a list of Dos and Don’ts of buying discounted park tickets, so read on if you want to put a few more bucks back into your wallet.
- Plan ahead! It only takes a couple of minutes with your family to decide what days you want to do which parks. When the planning is done, it will save you a lot of time on the day you’re going to the parks. You don’t want to be stuck waiting in like with thousands of other people trying to get their tickets the day of, only to miss out on valuable time in the parks! Plus, you’ll end up paying retail pricing on your admission ticket.
- Shop around for ticket prices before you get to Orlando. But be careful! Only seek legitimate websites to do so (see the list of Don’ts below). Websites like Undercover Tourist and your local AAA office or website offer discounted ticket prices. The savings will be greater for multi-day tickets, which is where the planning comes in handy! Remember: even if it’s a couple of dollars, it could be enough to cover that Dole Whip you’ve been craving!
- Look out for employee discounts. Many companies offer benefits for their employees, and sometimes even discounts on park attractions. The company I work for offers 2 for 1 tickets to Legoland, for example, and great discounts on dining around Orlando. Inquire with HR to see all available discounts to you.
- If you’re a student, look out for discounts, too! I’m a college student as well. Upon much inquiring, I found out that Disney offers group rates to a lot of universities. These prices can be as low as $64 for a one-day ticket to Disney (that’s a savings of $30 per person!).
- Theme parks reward Florida residents If you live anywhere in Florida, or even if you just have a vacation home down here, theme parks want you to come in! From up to 30% off rooms, and $15-$20 per month payment plans for annual passes, there is always a way to save money.
Always look out for this logo when purchasing online tickets
- DON’T forget to be careful where you purchase your tickets from. John Doe from Ebay sounds like he’s giving you a killer deal on those Universal Studios tickets, but it may be a scam! Theme parks will not honor re-sale or fake tickets. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility whether or not you trust someone you’ve never met off the Internet. It’s best to play it safe and avoid these sites. Only trust authorized theme park resale companies!
- DON’T buy tickets off the side of the road. This seems to be commonplace in Orlando. Jane Doe bought multi-day theme park tickets for her family, but “something came up and she doesn’t want to lose money”—so she sells you whatever days she has left to you at a deep discount price. DON’T fall into this scam! At most Orlando theme park attractions, your ticket is attached to your biometric print, which will be required as you enter the park! Plus, in Florida, it is illegal to buy second-party tickets unless authorized by the attraction company. It’s all over the news down here, so don’t be a victim.
- DON’T fall victim to timeshare sellers. Sure, they will offer you cheap or sometimes free tickets, but know that this comes with a price. You will have to sit through hours worth of presentations and money-hungry sales pitches. If you come to Orlando to vacation, it may not be worth it for your family to spend your time there. There have also been scams from these pitches, so if you are going to go through this route to save money, be sure to do it with a reputable company
- DON’T forget your documentation. This is for those seeking Florida Resident tickets. The rules of what constitutes residency vary from park to park. Disney requires 2 documents showing proof of residency (bank statements, utility bills, etc…), or a Florida driver’s license. Note that a College ID does not count as proof at Disney (trust me, I’ve been through this). At Universal Studios and SeaWorld, a Florida ID, voter’s registration card, or College ID is required. Note that these are subject to change, and you should always check with each theme park before choosing this route
There you have it! The most essential Dos and Don’ts of getting cheap tickets to Orlando’s favorite attractions. Remember the most essential Do: think smart. Chances are, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.