Where is the best place to buy Disney/Universal Tickets?

Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:12 PM
I'll be heading to Orlando October 22-27, and plan to visit Disney for 2 days and Universal for 2 days. Does anyone know where to get the best, prices on tickets?
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Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:28 PM
Try one of those roadside stands advertising free tickets and a glass of orange juice. ;)
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Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:46 PM
www.disneyworld.com
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Thursday, September 6, 2007 7:54 PM
On the Florida Turnpike the Yehaw Junction exit has a information stand as does the osceola exit. Osceola is much closer to Orlando, but I know they advertise good deals on tickets. I'm pretty sure that AAA will have tickets at a decent rate also. I know Yehaw had a website where you could see what the deals are, but it is litteraly a 40-50 mile drive south of Orlando. Maybee they ship?

Honestly, I would try the actual parks and websites of those particular parks and they probably have decent deals on their own. Some of them usually offer two days for the price of one and things like that this time of year. When I lived down there, once summer was over, Universal and Busch Gardens offered a rest of the season pass for $5 more than the daily ticket price. I also remember Universal, Busch Gardens and Sea World having some type of flex ticket for like four days at any of the parks for pretty cheap. Just look around and you will find good deals.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007 8:06 PM
1-2 day Disney tickets aren't discounted by much of anyone, unless you go on a timeshare tour. And, let me be the first to tell you, as someone who owns two different timeshares---the cheap tickets are not worth the hassle.

As for universal, you'll have a hard time beating their web site.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007 8:27 PM
Wal-Mart Right off of International Dr.

They have Park Hooper tickes for Disney that Never expire..etc. etc.. 2day, 4day, 6day

Thats what we did when we went!

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Thursday, September 6, 2007 10:16 PM
Universal ticket deals are all online, as long as you buy in advance.
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Friday, September 7, 2007 7:49 AM
Ebay. I did this 2 years ago and received 4 park hopper and fast pass tickets that were cheaper than regularly priced tickets.
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Friday, September 7, 2007 8:14 AM
Be careful about ebay. Unless the tickets are totally unused, they'll be biometrically tagged, and won't be usable by anyone other than the original person who is associated with it.
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Friday, September 7, 2007 9:20 AM
^^And there is no way to tell how many days are left on a ticket till you get it to Disney World. I'd stay away from ebay...

I've used this place:
http://www.ticketmania.com/

You can also find some discounts and deals here:
http://www.mousesavers.com/

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Friday, September 7, 2007 3:04 PM
So Brian, you fell prey to the sales pitch? ;)

Just so people know, 90% of those "roadside stands" are owned by the time shares. That is how they lure you in.

I usually try to get to Orlando a day or two earlier then I plan on visiting the parks. I will hit up 2 or so of those timeshare things a day. It is worth it to me. last time I went down I saved nearly $400 in tickets for my (ex)Wife and I.

Maybe I am rare, but sitting the Very HIGH PRESSURE sales pitch and telling them no over and over again does not bother me so much. The savings make it worth it.

One place I hit up even offered a pair of "Free" tickets to 1 park, and 2 1/2 off tickets to any of the other parks.

I have often been asked how these business can afford to give away tickets all the time. Here is how.

The last time share I visited was selling "condos" aka 2 bedroom apartments for $15,000 + whatever for yearly maintenance. They had 1,360 units available. The $15,000 gets you 1 week a year for a gauranteed 20 years. (they sell you by saying it is only $750 a week, prepaid, cheaper then a hotel).

So, 1,360 * 52 weeks *15,000 = 1,060,800,000. Yes, they will Gross over a BILLION dollars on the property alone. Even if it cost them 60,000,000 for the property and building costs, they still net a billion.

The yearly maintenance fees are usually anywhere from $100 to $300 and up. At $200 that grosses 14,144,000. 14 million a year in "maintenance and upkeep" costs. So that is where they get the money to pay for your "free tickets".

and yes, I realize there are staffing costs, utilities and whatnot. But the timeshares still bring in cash fistful after fistful.

The suckers who got lured in by the "free tickets" seminar are paying for tickets for all the people who said, and will continue to say, "no."


*** Edited 9/7/2007 7:07:58 PM UTC by James K***

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Friday, September 7, 2007 3:11 PM

The suckers who got lured in by the "free tickets" seminar are paying for tickets for all the people who said, and will continue to say, "no."

Goes back to that whole 'nothing in life is free' thing. Someone's paying for it.

Whether it be parking, drinks or even tickets to the parks themselves - someone is covering the costs. :)

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Friday, September 7, 2007 3:22 PM
My time is too valuable to me. I'd sooner be tied naked to a burning fence while Celine Dion sings in front of me and Norbit plays on a 60-foot screen behind her.
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Friday, September 7, 2007 3:39 PM
I got Universal tickets from Orbitz.com for $238 for 7 days at both parks, and a night of their Halloween event. I thought that was pretty good. I'm still searching for the deepest discounted Disney tickets. the cheapest I've found, where two days park hopper at $401.92. I just think that is way too steep.
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Friday, September 7, 2007 4:01 PM

So Brian, you fell prey to the sales pitch?

Not quite. My two were both bought on the resale market for a dime on the dollar. I would never pay developer pricing---at those prices, you are positively being raped. But, if you are buying resale from some poor shmuck who fell prey to the sales pitch and just wants out, you can do pretty well for yourself.

The first one I bought is a points-based 2BR oceanfront lockout in Ft. Lauderdale, but eligible for Wyndham/Fairfield's internal exchange. They have resorts in Orlando, the Dells, Branson, Gatlinburg, Anaheim, Williamsburg, Las Vegas...in short a virtual smorgasbord of enthusiast locations.

This unit sells from the developer for about $33,000 list price. You can probably get that down to about $24,000 if you negotiate a hard bargain. I paid $2,700, for it from a Wyndham reseller, including closing costs. So, the "real value" of that 2BR condo on the resale market is 52*$2,700, or $140,000, which is a steal for Florida oceanfront property.

The second one is a fixed early August week in the Wisconsin Dells. This is no longer in active sales, so I don't know what the developer would have charged. I paid $855 for it on ebay. Again, this includes closing costs. That makes this 2BR condo worth about $47,000 on the resale market.

As for annualized costs: I find it most useful to compare the cost of ownership to the cost of renting equivalent hotel lodging in the places I vacation. To do that, you have to consider both the annual maintenance fees paid, and the opportunity cost on your purchase price. I like to use 8% annually as an opportunity cost, as that approximates the average after-tax return on an S&P 500 index fund.

The annual maintenance fees on the Florida property are $684. That's a little high, but part of that is due to the high cost of storm/flood insurance for Florida coastal property, and part of it also pays to administer the Wyndham-internal points system. The opportunity cost on the purchase price is $216. So, the total cost for this week is $900. But, for $900, I get a 2BR oceanfront condo in Ft. Lauderdale for a week during peak season. That's hard to beat. Expedia wants $1300 for a 1BR oceanfront condo next week---during hurricane season, which is the cheapest time possible to visit Florida. If I want to spend only $900, that's a single hotel room somewhere in town, miles from the beach. No thanks.

The annual maintenance on the Dells week are $485. Opportunity cost is $69. Total cost, $553 for a week in a 2BR Dells condo in high summer. That's the same price as Expedia wants for a single hotel room at the Rodeway Inn next week, while all the kids are in school, but before the leaves have started to turn.

So, I get two weeks of vacation lodging per year, during peak tourist season, in 2BR condos with full kitchens and 2 bathrooms, for a total cost of $1,450.

But, I can do better.

The points-based week can be broken up into smaller chunks, and those smaller chunks can be exchanged into "over-supplied" areas. Guess what? Orlando is an "over-supplied" area. Each exchange costs me the value of the underlying chunk, plus $164. But, I can get a 2BR condo near the parks nearly any time of year using a chunk valued between $140-$350, depending on the time of year and how much advance notice I have. I booked two 2BR units for this year's Winter Break for myself and my Dad's family, at a *total* cost of $700. That's less than a single Value Disney room would cost.

I just got back from a vacation in Gatlinburg, where I also spent only $300 for that 2BR week.

What's more, I rented out this year's Dells week for $1000. As this is almost half profit, it further lowers the cost of my vacation lodging. I also had almost half of my 2007 Wyndham points left over, that I rented for another couple hundred dollars profit. In other words, I booked three weeks of vacation, and after adding up all the costs, and subtracting all the rental profits, spent a grand total of about $450 on all of it, or $150 per week.

That's alright with me.

I'm thinking about using next year's Dells week to exchange into DVC. The exchange fee for that one is lower, because DVC uses a different exchange company, but DVC also charges a "Resort Fee" to exchangers. The total cost, including the cost of the week, exchange fee, and DVC fee: $800. I saw a 1BR in Old Key West during spring break that I almost took with it, but we decided to wait to see if a 2BR shows up.

The cost to rent points from a DVC member for that 1BR Spring Break week would be $2,400, at today's going rate of $11 per point. So, I could have stayed in that 1BR DVC unit, on Disney property, for 1/3 what it would have otherwise cost me. The cash rental cost to book conventionally with Disney would be $3,700.

It took some learning, but buying timeshare resale can be a fantastic way of staying in very nice accommodations for next to nothing.

But, I don't go to the timeshare presentations. Not because I cave to the pressure---I don't---but because they are unpleasant and not worth my time. The freebies are worth about $150, but it takes at least two hours and, if you are married, both spouses have to go. That works out to about $37.50 an hour per person, in exchange for being berated by some slick salesman for the better part of a morning. My vacation time is worth more than that.

Edited for some minor clarifications. *** Edited 9/7/2007 8:25:19 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Friday, September 7, 2007 4:08 PM

It took some learning, but buying timeshare resale can be a fantastic way of staying in very nice accommodations for next to nothing.

I use the 'wife in the industry' approach. ;)

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Friday, September 7, 2007 4:12 PM
Yeah, but my wife is a psychiatrist, so I get my prescription drugs at will, without the office co-pay. That's a pretty good perk. And, as Michigan does not allow polygamy, I'm sort of stuck.

(;) for the humor-impaired, and any FDA agents who might be reading.)
*** Edited 9/7/2007 8:12:45 PM UTC by Brian Noble***

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Friday, September 7, 2007 4:48 PM
Oooh, you might have me beat.

But only on my prescription drug abuser side, not the traveling enthuisiast side.

You think my posts here are nuts? Go check the prescption drug abuser forums! ;)

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 6:23 AM
Very nice Brian N.

You have it all figured out. Sounds like you have a sweet deal going. A situation like yours would be the only time I could justify a timeshare.

I do have a question though. Do you ever feel bad being at either of your timeshares and realizing everyone around you is a sucker or just really bad at math and finances? ;)

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Sunday, September 9, 2007 9:00 AM
Yes. In particular, I am AMAZED at how many people are completely unable to think about the time value of money, let alone properly evaluate a rent vs. buy decision. I still meet timeshare owners who know about the resale market who think they can just average their purchase price across the time they own it.

That said, there are some timeshares where a developer purchase is not a bad one in rent vs. buy terms. DVC is one. Some of the other branded hotel chains are too. In fact, even the Wyndham/Fairfield points deed I own could be okay, depending on how you use it. For example, I could make money on a developer purchase if I wanted a high holiday week at Disney every year, or Bike Week in Daytona, etc.

But even so, resale is so much better!

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