6 Ways To Save On Disney Tickets (And Something That Won't Get You A Discount)

Let's face it: Disney Parks aren't cheap to visit. But any park aficionado will tell you that there are several ways to never pay the full face value price for tickets. Whether taking advantage of specials put on by the parks themselves, buying discounted gift cards to pay for them, or using other foolproof methods, Disney tickets don't have to break the whole piggy bank.

Don't get us wrong; the mouse still gets his share of the cheese. These methods aren't going to get you free tickets or massively discounted ones. What they will do, instead, is help you save some money for all those Mickey bars you can get at the park. Even if it's just a small percentage here and there, those savings add up when you're talking about thousands of dollars for a Disney vacation. Some of these ideas (like purchasing discounted Disney gift cards) can also help you save money on hotel stays, food, and merchandise, so it's savings all around! (That being said, there is something that won't get you a discount, and what it is may surprise you.)

Check specials

While specials aren't a constant thing, Disney often has ticket deals on their website. Frequently, these specials are tied to resort reservations, like discounted multi-day tickets for specific dates for on-property hotels. You won't find deals at Disney more than a few months out at a time, so this isn't a perfect system for planning ahead. Also, don't assume these deals will be around at the height of tourism at Disney World or during holiday weeks like Christmas or New Year's — Disney doesn't need to turn to discount tickets at these times to fill parks to capacity.

Still, it pays to keep an eye on their website, especially during the slow season during months like January or September (at Disney World, for example). Sometimes, you can even save specifically on tickets for kids. Although discounts for everyone in your travel party will be more beneficial for your wallet, saving on any parkgoer still counts for a lot. And don't forget, kids under three years old don't need tickets to get into the park.

Use those reward points

Part of the reason many people get credit cards is for the reward points. Although those reward points can't always be used directly for Disney Park tickets, they can frequently be used to purchase gift cards. Even if you can't get Disney gift cards directly, these gift cards can help in other ways. Starbucks gift cards, for example, are accepted at multiple Starbucks locations throughout the Disney resorts.

Or, if you are a Disney Visa cardholder, your points can be redeemed through your Disney Rewards Redemption Card. As you rack up reward points by using your Disney Visa, you can transfer them to the redemption card. These points can directly purchase things like Disney tickets, special event tickets, hotel reservations, etc. This is a passive way to collect points with everyday purchases ahead of your Disney vacation. Imagine how many points you'll get for putting a Disney vacation on your Disney Visa. More points means more fun money for your magical vacation.

Get discounted gift cards

Discounted gift cards add up no matter how you seek out the cards, whether from resale sites or membership clubs. Even if you pay market value for Disney Park tickets, by utilizing discounted gift cards to purchase them, you are getting them cheaper than you would otherwise. Bonus points if you buy discounted park admission with discounted gift cards — that's a double saving.

Some places that always have discount Disney gift cards for a range of prices include Target, Costco, and Sam's Club. At Target, for example, with their RedCard, you can buy gift cards with a 5% discount. That discount is always available any time of year as a RedCard perk.

One thing you need to be very wary of, though, is gift card reselling through social media. There are trustworthy resellers online, but there are, unfortunately, a number of un-trustworthy folks online as well. If you buy discounted gift cards from someone on a platform like Facebook, be sure to use a payment program that can be reversed if necessary. That means no "friends and family" option on PayPal.

Find a trusted discount ticket issuer

One of the dangers of trying to buy discount Disney Parks tickets is that plenty of people are out to take advantage of you. It's all too easy for scammers to sell fake tickets or trick you with doctored already used tickets, only for you to get stuck at the entry gate unable to get in. To avoid that, only use trusted issuers, like Undercover Tourist. These sites are able to sell authentic tickets at a slight discount to users, and their admissions are legit.

Driving through Kissimmee or Orlando, you'll notice little shops with giant signs for discount Disney tickets. They aren't technically lying or scamming you. You will probably get discounted tickets, so long as you attend a lengthy timeshare presentation. These shops couldn't exist if you didn't get something akin to what they're promising you. Unless you can steel yourself against heavy sales tactics, it's best to avoid these innocuous discount locations.

Buy an annual pass

Disney Annual Passes are a significant investment, especially if you aren't local. That said, if you are planning on visiting the parks once a year for at least a week, going Annual Pass is a worthwhile investment. The initial cost carries a lot of sticker shock, especially for out-of-state passholders, though it ends up being a sound purchase in the long run. (Not to mention the merchandise, food, and hotel discounts you get — and the occasional freebie, too.)

Investing in a Disney Annual Pass is essentially purchasing your park tickets in advance, as Annual Passes include your tickets to the parks. What's great is these tickets are always park hoppers, so you aren't just pre-buying regular tickets, you're getting all the multi-park benefits. As long as you visit for at least a week a year, as we mentioned above, you're ultimately saving on tickets. Plus, visiting the parks with an Annual Pass puts much less pressure on you to do everything to feel like you're getting the most bang for your buck. You'll enjoy your visit a lot more.

Don't forget military discounts

If you or a member of your party is an active or retired military member, you are able to buy up to six discounted Disney Park tickets. These tickets can be purchased by either the military member or their eligible spouse with a valid ID. Disney Military Salute Tickets come in multi-day variations of four or five days and have various expirations depending on the special running at the time. You can also purchase them with or without a park hopper or park hopper plus options, which include mini golf and the Disney water parks.

These tickets are known as Disney Military Salute Tickets, formerly called Disney Military Promotional Tickets. Eligibility for these discounted tickets are available to active or retired United States Armed Forces members, including those of the National Guard, Reservists, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Space Force, Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Seniors don't get discounts

You may be surprised to learn that Disney Parks don't offer senior discounts on things like park admission, hotels, or vacation packages. That being said, there are organizations for seniors that can offer discounts instead. AARP, for example, often has Disney ticket discounts for members. So, before purchasing your tickets, check all your organizations in case you're missing out on discounts.

The best part of these AARP discounts is that you don't have to be a senior to buy a membership. For less than $20 a year, you can join AARP even if you aren't over 65. There's no minimum age to join, so you can hop on the travel discount train at 18 if you so wish. While you're saving money on Disney tickets through an organization like AARP, you can also use these other tips to save on additional elements of your trip.