Surveys show Disney considering VIP and add-on theme park ticket options for Walt Disney World and Disneyland

in Disney, Disneyland Resort, Featured, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World


Some recent guests to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. and the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. have received surveys from Disney surrounding possible future theme park ticketing options.

Ticketing varities and special experiences Disney is considering for both resorts include:

Alternative theme park ticket options

  • Partial Day Ticket – Access to theme parks from opening until 3:00 pm or 3:30 pm until closing (between $29 and $49 per guest, per day);
  • Touring Only / No Rides Ticket – Access to theme parks to enjoy everything except the rides and shows with a queue (between $29 and $49 per guest, per day);
  • Disney Theme Park Club, Walt Disney World – Receive a Walt Disney World 7-Day Park Hopper ticket with water park access once per year for 10 years ($2,000 per person, or $200 per year – a savings of more than 50% at current prices.);
  • Disney Theme Park Club, Disneyland – Walt Disney World 5-Day Park Hopper ticket and free parking once per year for 10 years ($1,500 per person, or $150 per year.);
  • Disney California Adventure Discount Ticket – $59 per person, per day if purchased in advance.
  • VIP Treatment

  • Convenience Add-On – Pre-planned itinerary, valet parking, dining reservations, private park entrance ($100 per group, up to 6.);
  • VIP Attraction Add-On – Unlimited use of Fastpass ($150 per person on top of regular park admission, subject to availability.);
  • Exclusive experiences

  • Be Part of the Magic Add-On – Four to six hour experience “side-by-side” with select Disney characters including a “makeover,” private meet ‘n’ greet with ride experience, photo session, themed meal, and private transportation (Examples: Princess or Buzz Lightyear. $1,500 per group, up to 6.);
  • Character Nights – Nighttime visit to the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland park with all attraction wait times at 10 minutes or less, special fireworks, unlimited snacks, and more character experiences ($125 per person, per day);
  • Premium Holiday Ticket – Entrance to the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland on popular holidays with a limit on the number of guests allowed in the park, allowing more time with characters and shorter lines for attractions ($99 per person, per day – $17 more than the current one-day ticket);
  • Outside the theme parks

  • All-Inclusive Disney Resort (Walt Disney World) – Unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages, resort recreation (boat rentals, parasailing, etc.), amenities (Internet access, gym, etc.) ($40 – $80 per person, per night. Does not include room rate.);
  • The idea of Disney having VIP experiences for an extra cost has often been debated among Disney theme park regulars. Those with money to burn would surely enjoy the benefits of unlimited Fastpass or pre-planned schedules with little-to-no waiting in line for popular attractions. However, guests who can only afford Disney theme park vacations every once in a while worry that their experience will be cheapened by those who are able to skip lines and reserve seating simply by giving the Mouse a few hundred extra bucks.

    Universal Orlando, Disney’s primary theme park competitor in Florida, already offers an Express pass for an extra cost (and far less than $150 per person), allowing those who are willing to pay more to skip lines ahead of those who only purchase admission tickets. Disney’s existing Fastpass system is free but has limitations and available Fastpass tickets often run out early in the day for the most popular attractions.

    The logistics of enforcing the partial day and no-ride tickets are unknown. How would certain guests be asked to leave at 3 p.m. or be turned away from attractions? Would all guests be required to show a valid ticket before entering an attraction? It’s not unheard of. In Disneyland’s early years, the system required guests to purchase tickets for each ride they wanted to enjoy.

    Families who travel to Disney theme park regularly year after year would certainly enjoy savings in the “Theme Park Club” offerings above. Even at current ticket prices, when broken down per-year, the up-front cost of $1,500 or $2,000 is at least a 50% discount and Disney tickets rise in price nearly every year.

    But remember, none of these tickets or experiences are currently available. These are options Disney is only considering, as described in recent online surveys. Depending on the reaction from those taking the survey, we may or may not see any of them actually come to the parks in the future.

    What are your thoughts on these possible new tickets and experiences? Would you buy any of them? Or do you think paying more for VIP experiences is unnecessary and everyone should have the same access with park admission? Comment below!


    1. My head hurts from reading all those options. The “Character Nights” sounds attractive. But I would prefer they have a version that elimates the Meet & Greets and reduces the cost. Oh no! I just created ANOTHER option!

    2. Unless you wrote it wrong originally, why would they have to be kicked out at 3:00? You originally wrote the pass would give “Access to theme parks from opening until 3:00 pm or 3:30 pm until closing” So unless you were wrong there, I believe there would be no reason to kick anyone out at 3:00 b/c that is the time people with that pass would be coming in.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        Sorry if my description isn’t clear. It’s two different partial-day ticket options. One would be from opening until 3pm, the other from 3:30pm until closing.

        1. ah yes, I see now. Definitely my mistake there. I just skimmed over it and saw both times and thought you meant either or b/c you werent quite sure yet b/c this is all a little uncertain at them moment. I guess that’s why it’s a good idea to read the whole article so there isn any confusion!

        2. Linda

          The problems I see with this option is the same as with the special event nights (Mickey’s Christmas and Halloween parties). People are given a bracelet if they have purchased a special ticket for the night and are allowed to stay past regular closing; however, people have figured out that if they stay for the last parade and then duck into the stores for an hour or more and they can avoid being thrown out of the park. Once the party begins the only time your bracelet is checked is when you try to get on one of the rides (and that is usually for the 1st hour only – according to a cast memeber)after that they can come and go as they please. We saw lots and lots of people without bracelets at last year’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – and it really annoyed me.

          1. Sandi G

            That would be very aggravating. The whole point of paying the extra is that only a certain number are allowed.
            This option would be good for those of us that want to go to the parks on arrival or departure day without “wasting” a day on a regular ticket.

    3. Claen

      I love the “alternative theme park ticket options” just because when I’m going in November I would love to buy just a cheap “no ride” ticket just to see all the Christmas decorations! They’d probably enforce it just like they do for Extra Magic Hours.
      And the pre-3:00, post-3:30 options are great for families on arrival day and departure day, instead of buying a whole ticket for only part of the day.
      I could do with all the VIP options, but the alternatives seem to be very helpful for the frugal like me!

    4. Val

      I think those sound like great options! I would be willing to pay more for a better experience. I also wish they would get rid of the Disney Dining Plan.

      1. Tink

        The Disney dining plan is the best. Why would anyone want to get rid of it? You don’t have to purchase it if you don’t want to do so. I think it’s the best option EVER!

    5. Horrible ideas! Horrible!

    6. miztressuz

      Not a fan of the VIP treatment options, I’m in the camp where I think it would cheapen the experience for those who didn’t buy it. At least the way the system runs now is fair if not perfect. No matter the amount of money you have, you get the equal chance to experience everything in park like everyone else. It’s the resorts where you get the VIP experience if you pay for it. While I have the money to buy those extra add-ons, I don’t really think it’s fair. In the “real” world those with the money get all the perks – at least at Disney you can escape that and everyone is equal.
      I would love the Theme Park Club idea – even if you missed a few years out of the 10 it would still be a savings. If we think we are going to Disney, we try to buy the tickets before the price hike in August anyway. So this is right up my alley.
      The all inclusive might be a good package as well. We’ve gone on the “free disney dining plan” promotions and it was convenient using the plan so it might be worth it – depends on where on that sliding scale they price it. $80 per night is so not worth it.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        Personally, I dislike the dining plan options for exactly the same reason you dislike the VIP options. It favors traveling guests with vacation packages over locals or those who book trips separately. It causes all the good restaurants to get booked up quickly, leaving me with one heck of a difficult time finding a decent place to eat without waiting an hour to sit down. I’d rather Disney go back to not offering free dining (or any dining plan) so everyone can be on an even playing field there as well.

        1. miztressuz

          I’m not sure how it favors the traveling guest, when anyone can book a reservation online or by phone in advance (on resort, off resort, local, dining plan or non-dining plan). You don’t have to be on the dining plan to get an advanced reservation. While it may have added some people booking the reservations in advance – it’s just like any other restaurant that accepts reservations or “call ahead” seating. Those without a reservation will have to wait.

          1. Ricky Brigante

            Yes, everyone can book those reservations with ease. However, those on the free dining plan are *much* more likely to eat at a nice sit-down restaurant than they would have been otherwise. So the result is that more restaurants are seeing more patrons dining for free who, without the dining plan, wouldn’t have been there in the first place. And that makes the restaurants more crowded.

            1. Disney Grandma

              No one is dining for free. I pay for the dining plan. It is discounted, but it is not free. And if I want to dine at one of my favorite restaurants, dining plan or not, I make my reservations way ahead of time. The playing field is quite level, anyone who is willing to spend the time planning their Disney dining experience will be able to enjoy it without stressing out. If you’re not willing to plan ahead…….well, as they say, if you snooze you lose.

            2. Ricky Brigante

              Sorry, perhaps my thoughts weren’t directed at you then. There are travelers who are dining for free – many of them. Disney has run several promotions (including a current one available for booking until tomorrow) that gives you the dining plan for FREE with certain vacation packages. It’s those free promotions that have the restaurants extra clogged, not the dining plan in general.

            3. Unlimited FASSPASS sounds horrible. But allowing people to buy essentially another card, or one of the birthday/volunteer cards for a reasonable amount would be a great idea. So you get a guarantee of riding each ride once or something. Then you could choose your park based on which one you could purchase this for. I would certainly pay 10 – 20 bucks a person for this, and it would not clog up the lines much if any at all. Honestly, as much as I love Hollywood Studios, we won’t go there unless we can fight the crowd and get those Toy Story fast passes, or we will get to ride it once after standing in line for an hour.

              As 40ish year olds with kid out of the house, we go down quite often and we like the rides a lot, but we also like to take it easy. I am speaking at a conference in Orlando in October, and I plan to go over to one of the parks and finish off my prep. I still won’t be happy until I am jostled around a bit. We are going together at Christmas and the same is true, fight for fast passes, chill out and enjoy the park. The days we had volunteer passes, the heat was off (well, it was hot in June, but still) and we came there and enjoyed the early park experience. So a reasonable guarantee of a fast pass for a reasonable number of attractions is a very exciting idea.

              Ricky, I see your point about the dining plan, but honestly it is supply and demand. I personally get the lowest dining plan when we come and then pay cash for the nice restaurants a few nights of the week. We got hooked on the restaurants the first time we got the dining plan included, and before that I resisted. So having people get a nice meal on property that would have not gotten it otherwise is probably good for the future too. That is how we get hooked.

              Of course the downside to the meal plan stuff is that the menus get more and more boring each year. But that has more to do with bean counters than the meal plan.

            4. DisKimom

              I don’t like the FREE dining either. We went once where they had some people who had free dining, and we paid for the dining plan for the same time period because we booked at a different time when the promo wasnt offered, so then we had to wait 3 hours to get into Crystal Palace and ended up eating DURING the light parade. Our reservation was for 6 and we didn’t get seated until 8:30. it was a bummer. I will never travel when they are doing the free dining again.. its not worth tired kids sitting around for 3 hours waiting to eat. (cause you cant leave once you check in or they will skip you)… sorry for the venting.. 😉

            5. DisKimom, Wow, we have never waited ever for our seat, free dining times or not. That is a bummer.

            6. BJRESMOM

              Hi! If folks do not know this, IF a good promotion comes out that would work for your booked reservation, you can ABSOLUTELY call Disney or your Travel Agent, and they can re-book for you so you can take advantage of the special! (IF you are past the booking window, that won’t work, but if it comes out after you have paid your deposit and before your final payment is due, CALL!!!!)

    7. Becca

      I do NOT like it at all! I was born & raised in Southern California. I buy the annual pass for my daughter and I. We love getting there as soon as Disneyland opens, get our 1st fastpass, eat breakfast, get on a couple of rides until we’re able to get another fastpass and so on. Walk around and enjoy everything Disneyland has to offer. If they do this & I’m not able to enjoy Disneyland the way I’m use to, I will stop going.

      1. Ricky Brigante

        You say you grew up in SoCal. That likely means you’ve been visiting Disneyland since before Fastpass existed. Were you opposed to that change? It prevented you from enjoying the park the way you were used to then, but you adapted and now you’re enjoying the “new” way of grabbing your Fastpasses with your daughter.

        I realize Fastpass is free and the above options are not, but there are many that argue that Fastpass has actually created longer lines, not shorter ones. So while you may enjoy using it, others don’t. Likewise, you might not enjoy having VIP ticket-holders around, but I guarantee those who can afford it will enjoy it thoroughly.

        I love Fastpass but wouldn’t pay to use it. I wouldn’t buy into Disney’s VIP ticket program if they offered it either.

        1. Becca

          Fastpass is the best idea Disney has had and as many times as I’ve been to Disneyland I have never experienced longer lines. Maybe for the people that don’t bother to get them but that’s on them for not taking the time to getting a fastpass. I would definitely not pay another $150 on top of the regular admission price. I’m a single parent, I save to be able to pay for my daughter’s annual pass up front and pay for mine in payments. Unfortunately I don’t have the kind of money to buy into these new options. Like I said we get there early so we can enjoy everything Disneyland has to offer. I really hope this doesn’t happen. Maybe what they can do is offer these packages or options to vacationing families. I love the way Disneyland is right now. I really hope this doesn’t happen, why fix something if it isn’t broke???

    8. Many thoughts here.
      Some of these options that they’re considering sound vaguely familiar to some of my own ideas I posted a while back on my blog about Night Kingdom and Disney needing to offer more for the guests who have deeper pockets than the average visitor. Basically, they would create an exclusive pass for a limited number of guests to enter certain theme parks that have been closed early, similar to EMH, only this would be more exclusive and have a price tag.

      I have mixed feelings on some of these. While I think some of them are great options and allows Disney to offer a more exclusive experience for those willing to pay for it, I realize too that it might cut down on some of the hours the parks are open so they can offer these options.
      Some of these options also sound like they hark back to the days of ticket books.

      I could see where implementing some of these options would be easily done using the rumored RFID technologies that they’re looking at.

    9. I hope and pray that Disney doesn’t go over to the dark side and start selling Express Pass-style unlimited FASTPASS options. The current system is one of the best things about visiting Disney parks – primarily because it gives everyone a chance to avoid long lines, without creating an “elite” group of rich guests who make everyone else feel like pondlife.

      Time parks realised that their own ride’s capacity limitations cause long lines – and that ripping guests off to benefit from this is not a strategy that will create happy customers.

      1. Rachel

        You took the words right out of my mouth. We live three miles down the road from Walt Disney World and spend quite a bit of time in the parks. The way the fastpass system is fair to everyone has always been something I’m a big fan of. I can’t even begin to explain how disappointed I would be if they started selling unlimited access to this feature.

        It doesn’t fit in with my idea of the values behind Walts dream for this great place.

        Thanks for the great comment :)

    10. Marko50

      Maybe a Brazillian-for-a-day pass?

    11. Wild Ol' Dan

      Howdy Pards,

      Ya know, all these extra cost ideas, gets me to thinkin’…what would Walt think?

      Somehow, havin’ grown up in those years, I got the strong impression that Walt Disney never wanted his park(s) to be for rich people only. In fact his motivation did not appear to be the bottom line at all. You know what it was?

      It was entertaining people. Bringing a little happiness and joy into the world. Look close at those words at the bottom of the flagpole in Disneyland and no where will you see it mentioned “to charge as much as we possibly can for the experience.”
      Walt, as a child, and Walt’s family when he was young could not have afforded to visit his own park…even adjusting for inflation over all these years.
      Let me ask…who needs a little more joy in their lives? Rich people or poor people? Charging over $80 a day for one person to visit the park on top of a parking fee of $14…and people who need a little Disney magic most are effectively locked out. It hurts me to think of all the kids who will never get to experience the magic of Disney because their parents simply cannot afford it.

      Disney theme park attendance is down for a reason. The people setting around that board room table need to return to Walt Disney’s philosophy…he never dreamed of parks just for rich people. Walt wasn’t
      that kind of a man.

      I dream of a day when ordinary people can once again walk right down the middle of Main Street U.S.A.. When kids, rich and poor, can get a hug from Mickey or a kiss from a princess.

      What would Walt do?

      Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

      Wild Ol’ Dan

      1. Disney Grandma

        Well said Dan!

      2. Julie

        I agree whole-heartedly! Hope the “big people” hear his voice and don’t go through with these ideas.

    12. KC Sumner

      I do not like these ideas at all. Horrible, just horrible

      1. WDWLocal

        Sorry, but I must disagree with you.

        These ARE good ideas and I think a lot of you folks just need to open up your minds and relax and take it easy!

    13. Cricket

      Would rather they apply a payment plan to annual passes at disney world like they started in California and make it available to all who chose to purchase annual passes.

      1. DisKimom

        I agree… this is a good idea.. :) wish they had a *like* button like on facebook…lol…

      2. Jennette

        Love this idea!!! I would totally do this, as we buy annual passes each year, but could never afford the $8,000.00 it would cost my family of 4. However, I just buy annual passes, and we go for 10 days one year, and then go about 2 weeks earlier the next year for 10 days…therefore getting 20 days on 1 annual pass. that comes to about the same price, overall, and I would get more days the way I’m doing it….so maybe I wouldn’t do it after all!!! OK–maybe this is an FYI instead. If you spend about $2,000 on annual passes and use them like I do, then it would be half price, so it’s the same thing that Disney’s offering, but Disney’s only offering it for 7 days a year, and I get it for 10 days a year…..not too bad!!

    14. Andrew

      Disney Theme Park Club, Walt Disney World – Receive a Walt Disney World 7-Day Park Hopper ticket with water park access once per year for 10 years ($2,000 per person, or $200 per year – a savings of more than 50% at current prices.);


      1. DisKimom

        Yeah! this was the only idea i liked… the only problem is that we are a family of 5 and this would be a $10,000 purchase for us and we can’t do that all at once. I like Cricket’s idea of this option with a payment plan. :) disney has enough money to set up a loan type deal for people, im sure… :)

    15. etcp

      I like the after X time tickets (they have similar tickets at Tokyo Disneyland. it’s great for when you flying later (even on the early flights, by the time you get to the hotel over to the park, it’s usually already past noon). I also attend conferences in orlando that end around 3PM, so not having to spend the full $80 or so for a full day ticket is nice. They already offer this to conference attendees (if you are attending a conference on property) and this is easier to police, as your ticket just wouldn’t work at the turnstiles to let you in. I agree that it would be aggravating if people who bought the till 3PM tickets weren’t kicked out.

      The touring only type tickets use to exists in Tokyo, and as a result you had to show your ticket to every attendant. I think they took that option away. it just meant that they have extra merchandising opportunity with selling ticket lanyards.

      I dislike the other options and agree with Ricky on the dinning plan. with everyone on the dinning plan (free or not), it’s almost impossible to get a seat at any full service place without pre-planning, and personally, I don’t like to decide months in advance what I would want to eat and what park I need to be at. when I make dinning plans in advance, my trip is planned around where we have reservations, and a lot less spontaneous.

    16. brian grim

      Brings back memories of the “e ticket” nights we did years ago

    17. DeeWill

      I am sorry folks but I a have to say, if someone is willing spend the extra bucks to pay for the upgrade of tickets, VIP, or whatever, I saw let them. Last time I checked, Disney is still a business. I understand the values that everyone believes but I am also a realist. Why do airlines offer better seats or car companies offer different types of fit there consumers. I definately could not afford any other these options but I will not fault someone else for being able to and chosing to do so. At Universal I have stayed in the Onsite hotels and used the Express option and it was awesome! On the same token I have gone when I have not stayed onsite and wiated in lines and have had a great time too. It does not take away from a park when someone else choose to spend more money to get an access better than someone else when we live in a capitalistic country that incourages everyone to strive for the best. When you ask what would Walt do, the answer is let his brother Roy handle the money aspect and work on the dreams and fantasy that make people reutn to his vision every year, because in reality if Walt’s vision would have never sen the light of day with out his brother’s business savy. So I may have made some people angry, but remember I can’t afford these new products at face value but that doesn’t mean that someone else shouldn’t take advance of them because that is just silly and petty. But I will agree I hate the Disney Dining Plan! I can never eat my favorite resturants!!

    18. KenFromOC

      The “after 3 PM” discount ticket is a great idea, but the “leave before 3 PM” would not work. How would you enforce that? Give them a special colored band to wear? They could just remove it around 3 PM and stay!
      As for the “Touring” (no ride) option, I think that would be great. Sort of like the general admission (of yesteryear) when tickets books were needed. O often feel the senior folks are being cheated when all they want to do is come to the parks with their grandkids and enjoy the day (like my momo) But then again, how would you enforce that? The only way would be to have the “riding people” (full ticket price, APs, etc.) wear a colored band to identify them. And that would get old with us APs! Not to mention you could easily cut the band off and give it to a “touring” person on your way out. They could wrap it around their arm and it would be barely noticed by the CMs.
      Again, the “after 3 PM” entry is highly doable.

    19. Dorete

      I personally like the alternative ticket options especially the partial day tickets (there have been a couple of occasions, where they would have been handy) and the clubs. Not too into some of the other things especially the unlimited FASTPASS option, I think that should stay the way it is.

    20. Chris

      Ok, they have missed one that would really do a lot for them…an all you can eat pass (valid only at certain counter service locations). (Sea World in San Diego and Universal Studios Hollywood both have this option and it is great!)

    21. angel zapata

      thats just so expensive. then again they are a corporations. so greedy.

    22. Disney Freak

      I, for one, think the unlimited fastpass ticket option would be fantastic and I would certainly purchase them, but not for 150 bucks per person. That’s a bit of a stretch. Maybe half that amount.

      The partial day options are a good idea. The 3pm till closing would be simple, just change the price at 2:59pm. However, I’m not sure how the opening till 3 option would work as far as enforcing it. Disney surely isn’t going to give customers the boot, so maybe if they have to present their ticket to each attraction into some kind of scanner and it’ll stop scanning after 2:59pm and that’ll make them leave. IDK.

      I’m also in favor of the theme park club. I’m one of those people who visits DL just about every year so the savings appeal to me big time.

      As far as the VIP experience goes, I’m torn. One half of me likes the idea of having those perks such as priority reservations, skipping lines, etc. They would certainly be a time saver. The other half of me agrees with others in this post about it might make others feel cheapened. I can afford those VIP experiences, but I certainly don’t NEED them. So I’m not sure about that one.

    23. Tink

      We love the Disney dining plan and have never had any problems with it. It’s the best option that they have to offer yet.

    24. Tink

      We purchased a package to Disneyland through AAA several years ago with the benefit of unlimited Fast Passes. It was a wonderful experience except that some sourpusses complained to Disney and that package went away the following year. Why do people have to complain about the good fortune of others? Most people have AAA and could also have bought that same package. If they don’t have AAA, then I would say “too bad”. It’s just a plain case of “sourpuss” to me. Would I complain because others have the good fortune of being Club 33 members? No, they can afford it and I can’t. One day, should I win the lottery, I look forward to becoming one – plain and simple. All the options that Disney want to offer are good ones. Purchase what you can afford and quit complaining!

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