How Many Tickets?
(This post is similar to one in the welcome series, but stay with me, there’s a bit more here and it’s an important step in the process.)
So you have your dates, your resort, your flights. You’ve planned your arrival and departure because you read the first post in this series here. You are probably now wondering, “Do I need tickets for Arrival Day or Departure day? Do I need tickets for everyday that I’m there? Should I go to the parks every day or will that be too much?
The only one who can truly answer those is you. You know yourself and your family and their stamina. My two year old can go all day. My five year old will get whiny if she gets too tired. You know your own kids like that I’m sure.
But I can give you some guidance on how to think this through.
Keep the main thing, the main thing.
The goal is to enjoy the vacation to the maximum. Keep that in mind. I already told you you that I’m hyper Type A, so if I’m not careful I can easily turn my trip into a chore by making it my goal to see and do EVERYTHING!
With the goal of maximum enjoyment in mind, I do a lot better. I’m sure you will too! You don’t want to be tired and dragging and still forcing yourself on just because you already paid for the tickets or because that was the plan. Leave yourself some breathing room.
But good news!
The good news is that Disney always allows you to upgrade your ticket at the same cost as it would have been if you would have upgraded from the beginning. So say you have a 4 day ticket and you’ve used 3 of the days. If you want to add another day, you only pay $20 for the additional day. This is the cost difference of a 4 day to a 5 day ticket. You wouldn’t pay $100, which is the cost difference of a 1 day to a 2 day (even though that’s what you’d actually be doing at that point, upgrading from 1 to 2 days).
I’m not entirely sure how this works with adding park hopper. Say you had a 6 day ticket with no hoppers and you used 4 of the days and you have 2 left, would your hopper cost you what it would have for the 6 day ticket or the 2 day ticket? I’m an AP so I’ve never run into this, but would love to know, so please email me at LJ@SmartMomsPlanDisney.com if you have any insight!
So obviously, this means you should err on the side of having too few tickets vs. too many. You can always add that extra day if you need it, but you can’t turn extras in for a refund.
But it’ll cost less…
When considering how to structure your downtime, cost shouldn’t be a big factor in my mind, unless you have a very short trip. I read about people going to the parks from open to close and then taking the next day off, in order to save on tickets. This may make sense if you have a short trip and an additional day of tickets represents quite a cost. But after day 4 another day is only $20 a person. And after day 7 another day is only $10 a person!
So on a longer trip, it would be worth it to me to spend the extra $50 or $100 to be able to structure my downtime the way I enjoy doing it, which is to build it in to every day.
You may be different- you may enjoy going all day and then relaxing by the pool the next day.
Here’s some thoughts to help you figure this out:
How do you enjoy relaxing at home? Do you find yourself and your family staying busy all day Saturday and then taking all day Sunday to rest? Or do you like to do some things on Saturday and other things on Sunday? On a day that you find restful, do you ease into your day or jump up and go to a coffee date, followed by an afternoon nap and then you’re out again for dinner. If you don’t really know, you can pay attention over the next few weeks or months to how your days are structured when you go to bed at night feeling like it was a great day. Make a mental note of what pattern your day followed.
I’ll give you an example from my own life: my kids are homeschooled, my husband and I work from home. We don’t get out that much. We start our days slowly. My big kids routinely get up after 10am. I don’t do much with my life other than nurse the baby until around 11am. When I have to leave the farm (which I don’t like to do, unless I’m headed to Disney), I can only handle 4-5 hours before I just want to be back home. When I’ve had days that I’ve been gone for 8-10 hours, I am completely drained and feel like I need to sleep for 2 days to recover. We stay up late and we get up late. That’s how we like it.
At Disney, this translates into never getting up for rope drop. We like to get up slow, have breakfast in the room, relax, nurse the baby. We might take a swim before we go to the parks because I’m not a fan of arriving at the park between noon and two when it’s at it’s busiest. Then we mosey on over to the park at around 3 and we stay until it closes.
Back when we had outside jobs and were used to getting up and attacking the day, we did rope drop and stayed until about noon and then came back to the resort for a nap and a swim and then went out again for the evening fireworks.
When we were younger, we had a tighter budget. We had a five day vacation where we only went to the parks two of the days. And we were there open to close (we only had one little baby then.)
Do what works for you!
My point is to work within the patterns of your everyday, relaxed pace, life. You and your kids will feel better and enjoy yourselves more.
So with optimum enjoyment as the goal, think about your days.
What time will you land in Orlando? Add 2 hours to get to your room if your taking Magical Express. 90 minutes if you’re driving. Will you be tired? Are your kids going to be cranky? Will you want to go to the parks or would a nap and a lounge by the pool followed by a nice dinner be better. Maybe you could use money you’d pay for park tickets for that day to pay for a extra nice dinner at one of the resorts.
Will you be relaxed? If you didn’t get park tickets for that day, is there anything else you’d rather do with that money?
Then for your full days:
Do you want a ticket for every day or would you rather take a day off? Are you unsure? Then book for the lower amount of days and upgrade as needed.
That seemed like I wrote a lot to say a little, but I hope that it helps you with your thought process as you are making your decisions!
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