Walt Disney World theme park ticket prices
A collection of brochures showing the evolution of ticket prices and ticket options for the Walt Disney World theme parks.
The history of the Walt Disney World admission tickets began with a small admission fee along with the need to purchase ticket coupon books for the individual rides and shows (hence the "E-ticket" terminology for the newest and most popular rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain). The ticket books were discontinued in 1982 when Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom switched to the current general admission tickets still being used today. Instead of paying a low entrance fee and then basically paying for each ride individually, the park guest pays a higher admission fee and is granted unlimited rides for that day in the theme park.
As the number of theme parks, water parks, and other forms of entertainment continued to grow and expand at Walt Disney World, the ticket prices and options also evolved. 1990 saw the emergence of the 5-day super pass, a new admission ticket that not only granted five days of admission to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center and the Disney-MGM Studios, but it also included a total of seven days worth of admission to Typhoon Lagoon, River Country, Discovery Island, and Pleasure Island as well.
By the late 1990s the ticket options had evolved to also include the Length of Stay pass. Exclusive for guests staying at the Walt Disney World resorts, this pass granted unlimited admission to all four Disney theme parks as well as Pleasure Island, the water parks, and the Wide World of Sports Complex (and later including DisneyQuest as well) for the guests' length of stay. The pass was active from the moment the guests checked into their resort to the time they checked out and headed back home.
The current Magic Your Way ticket program began around 2005. You begin by deciding how many days you'll be visiting the Disney theme parks, from a single day admission ticket up to a 7-day (or higher if you called customer service). This is the base ticket and it grants you general admission to the theme parks. You could then add options to the tickets such as making them Park Hoppers (changing theme parks during the day), and/or adding the water parks and DisneyQuest. What's cool about this current system is that it's based on the slogan the more you play, the less you pay per day. This means that the average price you'll be paying for each day of admission drops with the longer ticket packages. This makes it a much better deal if you can extend your stay by an extra day or two.
Why would Disney give such a good discount for getting people to stay an extra day or two on their vacation? Easy. Disney knows that it'll still be making money in the end. For those extra couple of days you'll still be staying in a hotel. If it's not at a Disney resort then you'll still be driving to the parks and paying close to $20 to park your car each day. On top of that you'll still be spending money for food and drinks, and you may purchase an additional souvenir or two before leaving. One more ride on Expedition Everest or Test Track might convince you to finally purchase an on-ride photo.
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