An easy guide to buying Orlando park tickets
By Helen Wright
Welcome to passportstamps.uk. This post forms part of my ultimate guide to Orlando. If you wish to read the guide from the beginning, click here. If you are looking for help or advice about booking flight or hotel packages in Orlando, I explain all the options here. This page is designed to answer questions you may have about the major theme parks, how long you need to enjoy them properly and to provide a handy guide to buying Orlando park tickets. Comments have now been deactivated on the site but please TWEET me if you have any questions or queries.
WHAT ARE THE BEST THEME PARK TICKETS?
Ah, the million dollar question. To answer this would be to know how long you are in Orlando, who is traveling with you, how much you want to spend, how much you love Disney or Harry Potter or Lego or animals etc etc etc…
Statistically, the average stay for a UK visitor to Orlando is 15 days and so let’s start there. Incidentally, the best package deals for theme park passes also happen to be for two weeks, which is handy.
(Disney do offer a 21-day Ultimate Ticket but, seriously, that is some full on Disneying and so, unless you only want to see Disney during your stay, this package is probably not necessary.)
NOT SURE WHERE YOU WANT TO GO? FIND SOME INSPIRATION IN OUR DETAILED TWO-WEEK ORLANDO ITINERARY
Unless you go for a hotel+park package, you will need to buy your theme park passes separately. I always buy my tickets before going to Orlando. This is sensible for two reasons; to manage your budget and spread the cost of purchasing them over a longer period of time. Plus, 99.9% of the time you get better value for money than when buying your passes on the gate. Now it’s time to decide which parks to go to and how long you want to spend in each park.
HOW LONG DO I NEED IN EACH PARK?
In an ideal world, it’s best to average one day per park. It might not work out like that but the parks are big, the weather is often humid and you’ll be doing a lot of walking so you may not be able to do them as quickly as you think. Plus, both getting around Orlando and moving around the parks can be much more time consuming than you expect. With this in mind, let’s have a look at the task in hand:
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO (3 days).
There are two main theme parks (Universal Studios and Universal’s Island of Adventure), plus a new waterpark (Volcano Bay).
WALT DISNEY WORLD (6 days).
There are four main theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom), plus two waterparks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon).
SEAWORLD (4 days).
As well as the main SeaWorld park, there is also Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive day resort. Plus, the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa and a waterpark (Aquatica).
LEGOLAND ORLANDO (2 days).
Legoland has a theme park and a water park.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (1 day).
The space-themed park is around an hour from Orlando.
Okay, who was keeping count? If you want to do every main park and waterpark, that adds up to, er, 16 days…two days longer than the average fornightly holiday. That doesn’t allow any time at the other fab Orlando activities, pool days or just days to sit and do nothing in the sun. For ideas to condense this and allow for a few days of calm, check out our two-week itinerary suggestion here.
How to condense the itinerary for your first visit
To simplify things, let’s remove the non-Orlando attractions (Busch Gardens and Kennedy Space Center) as well as Legoland, which is recommended primarily for children up to 12. To answer a question many of you asked, if you are short on time, it is definitely possible to do the four main Disney theme parks in three days and without too much stress. Of the two Disney waterparks, I would choose just one (and the one I would choose is Blizzard Beach).
Now we’re talking a more realistic 10 days of theme park fun. I hope you have a FitBit because you are going to clock up some serious steps on this trip. Back to the thing you really need to know – what are the best orlando park tickets to buy?
Please note, this advice is based purely on my opinion and developed over 20-visits to Orlando. It is designed to suit a general audience who want to see as much as possible on a two-week visit and are seeking advice on park tickets to best fit their time and budget.
THE BEST TICKETS AND WHERE TO BUY THEM
I’m lucky enough to have been invited to Orlando on a sponsored basis on some occasions but this guide, along with every post on passportstamps.uk, is reflective of my true and honest opinion. I have and would never recommend somewhere I didn’t believe in or solely because I was paid to do so. For your information, some of the ticket packages below contain affiliate links. This will be of no consequence to you but if you choose to return to this site and use these links to book your tickets I will receive a small financial benefit for my efforts in creating this post. I hope you remember to do so. For more information on affiliate links, this blogger explains them in more detail here.
Always use a recommended UK ticket agent
In my experience, buying passes from a ticket agent in the UK usually works out cheaper than directly from the parks with added perks thrown in. These perks can range from Disney spending money, to Airboat adventures and exclusive access deals. Wherever you buy your tickets from, always use an official seller. Of the UK-based authorised agents for Orlando theme parks, Attraction Tickets Direct are ABTA certified and frequently offer the best and most competitive prices. And if you don’t believe me, they also offer a ‘lowest price promise’ on their website. I first became aware of Attraction Tickets Direct when I made this video on how to choose a Disney Resort hotel and they are the website I always recommend to my friends who are buying Orlando park tickets and packages. Personally, I like this agent because they are based here in the UK and so if you have any questions or problems with your tickets they are easily contactable. Your theme park passes are posted to you at home which eliminates any complications collecting tickets at the gate or standing in line for the park when you could be riding the coasters. Of course, there are other vendors that offer Orlando deals but to simplify this post and provide a realistic comparison on the type and amount of tickets you need I have used Attraction Tickets Direct to highlight the best packages.
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO ORLANDO PARK TICKETS
Best choice: UNIVERSAL THREE-PARK EXPLORER PASS
Advertised as ‘three parks for the price of two’ and includes unlimited entry to both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, plus Volcano Bay waterpark for 14 consecutive days.
Benefits: Much cheaper than entry on the gate. You can come in and out as you please over the two-week period and Universal CityWalk, which offers great nightlife options, is walking distance from the parks.
Negatives: Express passes are an additional cost at Universal and so no advance-booking park perks.
Adult price: £236
Child price: £229
You can buy this pass via my link by clicking Universal Orlando Three Park Explorer
WALT DISNEY WORLD
Best choice: DISNEY 14-DAY ULTIMATE TICKET
Unlimited ‘hopper’ entry to all the Disney theme parks and waterparks for 14 consecutive days.
Benefits: Superb value if Disney is your main focus or you plan to visit every park at least once. The benefit of using Fastpass+ to ‘skip’ the lines up to 30 days in advance is great. You can visit more than one Disney park on the same day for no extra cost.
Negatives: The claim of ‘£27’ a day only applies if you go every day across the two weeks – which is unlikely.
Adult price: £379
Child price: £359
You can buy this pass via my link by clicking DISNEY 14 DAY PASS
Best choice: DISCOVERY COVE PACKAGE
This includes a full-day all-inclusive experience at Discovery Cove with a dolphin swim or shallow water interaction, plus 14-day consecutive entry to both SeaWorld and Aquatica. (A 14-day pass to SeaWorld, Aquatica and, sister park, Busch Gardens without Discovery Cove is £109, 3-PARK SEAWORLD PASS)
Adult price: £227
Child price: £227
Benefits: Since a visit to Discovery Cove includes all food and drink – including alcoholic beverages – and a dolphin swim, this package is excellent value for money.
Negatives: It’s unlikely you will need 14-days to complete these parks alone. Best value if you want to go to Discovery Cove but the three-park pass (above) is more affordable if budget is tight.
You can buy this pass via my link by clicking DISCOVERY COVE PACKAGE
ALL PARKS INCLUDED
THE ORLANDO FREEDOM TICKET
Best choice for all parks: ORLANDO FREEDOM TICKET
You wanted an easy guide to buying Orlando park tickets and this mega pass includes entry to all the parks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld* as detailed earlier in this post, for 14 consecutive days. The 14 day period starts from when you use the first ticket and you can visit more than one park in the same day. (*Does not include Discovery Cove)
Benefits: Best value combo pass for visiting all parks if you do not want to visit Discovery Cove.
Negatives: The 14-days will all start and end at the same time meaning less time to do everything than when purchasing packages individually. Does not include Discovery Cove (This would be a cost of £159 per person at the gate for entry with a dolphin swim)
Adult price: £714
Child price: £682
To buy all three pass packages above separately, the total adult cost would be £762, and total child £735. So the Freedom Pass offers a saving of £48 per adult and £53 child.
To buy this pass through my link click ORLANDO FREEDOM TICKET
GUIDE TO BUYING ORLANDO PARK TICKETS – THE VERDICT?
If your trip to Orlando is between 7 and 14 days and you plan on visiting these parks at least once, the Orlando Freedom Ticket is the best value.
If your trip is 14 days+, I would purchase the resort packages separately, staggering the start of your park visits to spread out the ‘consecutive days’ and allow yourself a longer time to enjoy the attractions at leisure. For example, you can activate your 14-days at Walt Disney World on day one, and activate your Universal tickets on day five. Then your consecutive days do not all run out at the same time. The small price increase will allow for a much more relaxing trip and more opportunity to get full use of your park ‘days’.
A quick note for those staying in Orlando for a month or six weeks+. Consider buying an annual pass for the attractions as this may work out cheaper when used over a longer period. For a price example, an annual pass to Universal Orlando is £367 (£131 more than the 14-day pass) and includes passholder privileges and discounts in the park. Find out more here.
One last thing to consider
We hope you found our guide to buying Orlando park tickets helpful! Your support keeps our site running and allows us to continue to produce quality and helpful advice that you can use for your holiday to Florida. I was not paid to write this feature. As always this post, as well as my ultimate guide to Orlando and every feature on passportstamps.uk is based on my honest and personal experience. Some of the links on this post contain affiliate links and so if you come back to my site and use these specific links to book park tickets or hotels I will receive a small financial benefit at no extra cost to yourself. I hope that you will remember to do this when you are planning your trip and I hope you have an amazing holiday in Orlando. Tweet us and let us know how you got on.
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