On to part 2 of our Florida vacation planning. In my previous post (which can be read here ), we booked our holiday vacation house. In this post I'll talk about our park tickets. I'll have another blog post to discuss flights and rental car and another about itinerary planning.
Depending on what sort of itinerary you have in mind for your own trip, this will be, minimally, a significant cost in your trip. In our case, it's one of the highest costs in our trip. It's very difficult to find low priced tickets for the major theme parks (Disney, Universal, Sea World, etc), although temptation is all over Orlando. Several little stores and kiosques boasting $25 tickets. I would caution it is definitely a "buyer beware" situation with these locations. These vendors are often selling partially used tickets. Keep in mind that many ticket vendors link your name to your ticket, and are sold as "non-transferable" or, in the case of Universal, fingerprints are linked to your ticket. In writing that, there's always an exception to the rule and I've heard people say they've had success with those vendors, but for every "success" story, there's often many unhappy people. I recommend seeking out authorized vendors only.
Let's start with Disney tickets. We usually only buy 1 or 2 day tickets to Disney. These tickets are usually cheapest at the gate, however, there's a risk of running in to a big line, and the savings is fairly minimal. We've purchased our Disney tickets in 3 different spots and had a good experience at each. We've purchased at WalMart, Kissimee Guest Services (http://www.kgstickets.com/) and this year we bought through Undercover Tourist (https://www.undercovertourist.com/). Our purchase at WalMart was the result of a last minute decision to visit the Magic Kingdom when our flight was delayed 3 days due to a winter storm (tough times, I know). As for KGS and Undercover Tourist, they were easy ordering processes. Simply head to their website, select the tickets and pay. Each site has support available should you have any questions. In both cases, I had quick replies to any questions I had. Both have local pickup available. Undercover Tourist offers free shipping, and KGS charges a flat shipping fee of $25 (local pickup is free). The nice thing about the Undercover Tourist site is that the prices on their site include taxes, so the price you see is the price you pay. The more days you purchase on your ticket, the higher your discount.
We also purchased tickets to Universal and SeaWorld/Busch Gardens. A note that at Universal, to ride the "Hogwarts Express" that takes you between parks, you need a "park to park" ticket. Also, if you plan to go to SeaWorld and/or Busch Gardens more than 1 day, there is a fantastic 14 day ticket for not much more than a 2 day ticket. You can also add water park options for a minimal price.
Both KGS and Undercover Tourist have special tickets available that include Universal, Sea World and water park tickets. It's important to decide what are your "must dos" on your vacation before heading to buy your tickets, because there are so many different options, it's easy to get overwhelmed.
Also, take advantage of the tips each of those pages offers when planning your trip. Undercover Tourist includes touring plans, videos, and crowd calendars, which I will discuss further in Part 3 of this series.
Any tips you'd like to share about purchasing park tickets? Share in the comments below.