Have you been to Orlando before and know the tickets you want already? If so, you can head straight to the Ticket section and pick them out now. If you are new to Orlando, a bit confused, totally confused or just want to read some new ideas then take a deep breath, sit back, relax and read on.
In this written guide we will go through a lot of the logic that is coded into our Ticket Finder tool. If you would prefer a more visual and interactive guide then the Ticket Finder tool is perfect for you.
There are a lot of different tickets available and we all have different circumstances so Ticket Rangers cannot answer the question, “Which ticket is best?” What we can help to answer, however, is, “Which ticket is best for me?” There is a subtle but big difference. By helping to break down your individual requirements and circumstances we can arm you with all the knowledge needed to make the right decision.
Where to start?
The first step is to be realistic with yourself. An awful lot of people buy tickets that are above and beyond what they need and will actually use. An extreme example would be for somebody that is spending 4 days in Disney with no intention of going to any water parks or park hopping buying a 10 day Disney Hopper Plus ticket that would give 10 days of access, including to water parks and the ability to park hop. You pay more for the water parks and to park hop so this imaginary individual would be far better off with a 4 day Disney Base ticket that does not include 6 days that will not be used, does not include the water parks or park hopping and is therefore much cheaper.
Orlando is, usually, very hot and spending a day in one of the many parks is physically tiring and can really take its toll on adults let alone kids. A number of people struggle to go full throttle from start to finish, especially if you are on a longer trip so it is a good idea to try and be realistic about where you want to visit and how often. We understand a trip to Orlando can be a once in a lifetime event and the natural urge is to try and squeeze in as much as possible, some of you will manage to do that, but you will know yourself how likely you are to be one of those people and how likely you are to be a bit more easy paced. There are no right or wrong ways to be, we are just all different.
Now that you have your realistic head on, the next natural step is to make a rough itinerary of where you want to go and how often you think you would like to visit. We have some great guides on Ticket Rangers in the Attractions section that you can have a look at to help you get a feel for what each theme park offers and how much it appeals to you.
A simple way to get started is to list the dates of your trip and then next to each date have a section for morning, afternoon and evening. Start by filling in all of your 'definites' and gradually move your way down the list of attractions you would like to visit. The sections will soon start to fill up and your first draft itinerary will be ready in no time.
Things to consider when making an itinerary are Extra Magic Hours at Disney parks, where people staying in Disney hotels get early or late entry into certain parks. These can have an impact on crowd levels as they tend to be popular with onsite guests. A number of parks have shows and firework displays late in the evening so you may want to make sure that you are in Magic Kingdom on a evening when Happily Ever After is on, for example. Crowds can also be affected by special events like Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios or Mickey's Not So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom so check your potential dates for anything that may clash.
Show your itinerary to people you are going with or friends and family, review it, amend it and when you are happy then move onto the next step.
Are you flexible?
This is another area that is specific to each individual but it is an important factor when deciding which ticket(s) may be best for you. Some of you will plan your itinerary for hours, days and weeks. You will think about it at bed time, on the way to work and when you are singing along to You're Welcome when watching Moana. Others will detest planning anything and just make a mental note of where they would like to visit. The good news is that there are tickets that will cater for you all.
What you need to think about here is if your plans are set in stone and you know exactly what you are going to do, or, would you like to pay a bit more and have the piece of mind that you can change your plans as the trip goes on?
Narrowing down your options
With Disney you have 3 options.
1) Magic Your Way Base tickets can be bought for between 1 and 10 days access. They allow you to enter 1 park per day but only include Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios. You cannot visit the water parks and you cannot park hop.
2) Magic Your Way Hopper tickets can be bought for between 1 and 10 days. They are the same as the Base tickets in that they only include access to Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios but they do allow you to park hop. The park hopping gives you more a bit more freedom and so they cost a little bit more. No water parks are included.
3) Magic Your Way Hopper Plus tickets can be bought for between 1 and 10 days. Similar to the Hopper ticket in that you can park hop but they also include visits to Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach plus a few other attractions like miniature golf. These offer the most freedom and flexibility of the Magic Your Way tickets and therefore are the most expensive.
When looking at the Magic Your Way tickets you can use the filter on the left hand side to select the number of days you are looking for.
With Universal you have 5 options.
1) A 1 Park 1 Day Base ticket is a ticket for a single admission to 1 of the Universal parks for 1 day only. You will not be able to park hop or ride the Hogwarts Express.
2) A 2 Park Base ticket will allow you to enter Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure but with no park hopping and therefore no Hogwarts Express. A ticket can be bought for between 2 and 5 days and will be valid for 7 days from the first use. You will not be able to visit Volcano Bay.
3) A 2 Park Park-to-Park ticket is the similar to the 2 Park Base ticket apart from you can enter both parks on the same day and therefore also ride the Hogwarts Express. You will not be able to visit Volcano Bay. A ticket can be bought for between 1 and 5 days and will be valid for 7 days from the first use.
4) A 3 Park Base ticket will allow you to enter Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Volcano Bay but you will only be allowed to enter 1 per day and you will be unable to ride the Hogwarts Express. A ticket can be bought for between 1 and 5 days and will be valid for 7 days from the first use.
5) The 3 Park Park-to-Park ticket is similar to the 3 Park Base ticket apart from you can enter all three parks on the same day and therefore also ride the Hogwarts Express. A ticket can be bought for between 1 and 5 days and will be valid for 7 days from the first use.
Use the filter on the left hand side of the individual ticket pages to select the number of days you wish spend in the parks and check the prices for what you need.
SeaWorld Parks and Discovery Cove
The first thing that Ticket Rangers would like to point out for these parks is that Discovery Cove tickets also include entry to SeaWorld, Aquatica and sometimes Busch Gardens. That means you do not have to buy a Discovery Cove ticket and separately purchase ones for SeaWorld Parks. An Ultimate package will include all 3 SeaWorld Parks whereas the regular package includes SeaWorld and Aquatica. This makes the price of Discovery Cove a lot better value for money if you also plan on visiting the other parks.
With Discovery Cove you will need to decide if you want to have the swim with dolphin experience or not. There are also restrictions on age and health so they are worth investigating before you decide.
If you just want to visit the SeaWorld Parks and not Discovery Cove then the Unlimited Choose Your Adventure SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens ticket is, in our opinion, the best value for money ticket on the market. You will get unlimited visits for 14 days to all 3 of the parks and it also includes free parking with every visit. Single day tickets are available for each park and vary slightly in price. They are cheaper than the Unlimited Choose Your Adventure ticket so if you are definitely only going to do 1 day then they will work out best. If you are planning on doing 2 or 3 days at SeaWorld Parks then you can get tickets to match but they do not have parking included. The options for this are the 2 visits Choose Your Adventure or the 3 visits Choose Your Adventure.
Tickets for LegoLand, LegoLand water park, Kennedy Space Center and Gatorland are a lot simpler than most. We list the single day admission tickets for Kennedy Space Center and Gatorland. For LegoLand there is a bit more choice with a 1 or 2 day ticket. You can also gain access to the LegoLand water park with a 1 or 2 day combo . Keep an eye out for the special deals that you can find for LegoLand. These deals are often subject to availability and for a limited time only so you will have to be quick. Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to be informed of when these and other deals go live.